Defining racism in S. Korea

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-09-29 00:49Z by Steven

Defining racism in S. Korea

AsiaOne
2014-09-05

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

“We apologise, but due to Ebola virus we are not accepting Africans at the moment.”

This is what a bar in Itaewon, a popular area for expats and tourists in Seoul, publicly posted in front of its property last month.

The statement triggered thousands of angry comments online, both from expats and locals ― especially after the public learned of reports that the bar admitted a white person from South Africa, while banning almost all dark-skinned individuals, regardless of their nationalities.

The incident is likely to get attention from Mutuma Ruteere, the UN special rapporteur on racism. Ruteere is scheduled to visit Seoul later this month to monitor the situation of racial discrimination and xenophobia in Korea and will file a report to the UN Human Rights Council next year.

The incident is one of the growing number of racism cases in the country ― Asia’s fourth-biggest economy, a key manufacturing powerhouse in the region, as well as the producer of hallyu.

While the nation’s immigrant population continues to rise, Korean racism ― both structural and internalized ― is becoming a growing concern to the international community.

Complex nature of racism in Korea

Korean racism, however, must be understood differently from its Western cousin, experts say.

It is a complex product of the country’s colonial history, postwar American influence and military presence, rapid economic development as well as patriotism that takes a special pride in its “ethnic homogeneity,” according to professor Kim Hyun-mee from Yonsei University…

Korean racism also contains internalized white supremacy, Kim added. “After the Korean War, Korea became a country with US military presence. At the same time, it was exposed to American popular culture, including Hollywood films, and was influenced by their representation of visible minorities,” Kim said.

“We need to note that interracial marriage was legally banned in (parts of) the US until 1967. The very first children who were sent overseas for foreign adoption in 1954 from Korea were mixed-race children born to African-American soldiers and Korean women.”

Internalized white supremacy can be seen even in today’s TV shows in Korea, according to a local NGO Women Migrants Human Rights Center of Korea.

When a Korean person is married to a (white) citizen of Western country, his or her family is referred as a “global family” with a positive connotation by hosts on TV programs, while families consisting of a Korean man married to a woman from a Southeast Asian country is called a “multicultural family,” a term that is rather stigmatizing and discriminatory among Koreans, the NGO wrote in a report to be submitted to UN Rapporteur Ruteere.

Racially insensitive programming on Korea’s national broadcasting networks have also emerged as a problem. In February, national broadcaster KBS aired three Korean comedians, dressed as “Africans” by wearing a curly wig and painting their faces black, in a segment in its comedy show “Gag Concert.” The programme received a criticism from expats here, saying that it was racist and extremely inappropriate…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Alien Citizen’ delivers a raw, moving sociological odyssey

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-29 00:34Z by Steven

‘Alien Citizen’ delivers a raw, moving sociological odyssey

The Williams Record: The Independent Student Newspaper at WIlliams College since 1887
Williamstown, Massachusetts
2014-09-24

William Walker, Staff Writer

If there’s anything that students at the College love to think about, it’s identity. Indeed, the big questions about who we are, what we want to do and what we can (or in some cases should) become are some of the most fundamental, dynamic issues we grapple with, shaping the ways we think and interact. Which is why, at least for this Williams student, Elizabeth Liang’s one-woman show “Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey,” performed last Thursday at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, strikes such a profound and memorable chord.

After all, the show deals with just that problem. Telling the largely auto-biographical story of Liang, “Alien Citizen” describes a girlhood spent travelling between Central America, North Africa, the Middle East and New England, a journey ever-complicated by Liang’s own biracial status. And, like any journey, there are certainly plenty of obstacles to overcome – obstacles, in this case, which include the threats of racism, classism, sexism and, obviously, alienation. Indeed, perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the journey Liang goes on is its profound sense of loneliness – as a self-described “Third Culture Kid,” Liang feels like a foreigner even in the places where she’s stayed the longest…

Read the entire review here.

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Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2014-09-28 20:21Z by Steven

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

2Leaf Press
October 2014
300 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-28-5
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-29-2

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

Dream of the Water Children, at once a haunting collective memory and a genre-bending critical account of dominance and survival, interweaves intimate multi-family details with global politics spanning generations and continents. Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut work defies categorization as histories and families are intimately connected through sociological ghosts alive in the present. It is a one-of-a-kind ‘non-fiction’ inter-disciplinary evocation that will appeal to not only those interested in Black and Asian relations and mixed-race Amerasian histories, but also a wide general audience including those interested in Asian, Asian-American, Nikkei, African-American, and mixed-race identities as well as multicultural literature, history and post-colonial memoir. Those focused on academic studies such as women and gender studies, ethnic and critical mixed-race studies, social justice curriculum, political histories, memory, feminism, and militarization, etc. will appreciate the profound questions for thought that rise up from the pages. Cloyd’s book not only challenges readers to explore technologies of violence, identity, difference, and our responsibilities to the world, it will also move readers through emotional depths.

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Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies; The Multiracial Experience in the US (AAST498Y)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Course Offerings, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-09-28 20:17Z by Steven

Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies; The Multiracial Experience in the US (AAST498Y)

University of Maryland
Fall 2014

Lawrence Davis

Course will focus on multiracial (“mixed race”) identity and how the experiences of multiracial people contribute to our broader understanding of racial identity and formation. Course draws on literature and research produced by and about multiracial people. In addition, students will access the topic through comment boards, live chat sessions, podcasts, and multimedia. Readings and other course materials have been selected to challenge and grow students’ understandings of race and mixed race. Also offered as AMST418W.

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Black Fathers, Present and Accountable

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-24 16:38Z by Steven

Black Fathers, Present and Accountable

Lens Blog: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism
The New York Times
2014-09-19

Maurice Berger, Research Professor and Chief Curator
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

An anxious little girl hugs her father as a shark swims overhead in an aquarium. A man feeds his baby as he keeps a mindful eye on his three other rambunctious children. A single father reveals the tattoo on his forearm that depicts him as his son’s guardian angel. A young man poses proudly with the teacher he sees as a father figure.

While these photographs depict everyday situations, they are in one sense unusual: Their subjects are black and counter mainstream media that typically depict African-American fatherhood as a wasteland of dysfunction and irresponsibility. These images appear in a groundbreaking new book, “Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood” (Ceiba), by Zun Lee, a photographer and physician based in Toronto. A reception and book signing to mark its release will take place Friday night at the Bronx Documentary Center.

In 2011, Mr. Lee began photographing black men and their children from New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Toronto, Newark and other cities. He relied on friends and social media to find his subjects. Intent on creating a nuanced and affirmative view of these families, Mr. Lee spent weeks at a time getting to know them.

“Out of the hundreds of fathers I came across, the ones I ended up photographing were right for this project for very simple reasons,” Mr. Lee, 45, wrote in his book. “Not only did we develop a trust that allowed me into the inner sanctum of their private lives, but something about these fathers’ interaction with their kids resonated in ways that redeemed my own story.”

Mr. Lee’s personal history informs the project in complex and surprising ways. When he was in his 30s, his Korean mother confessed to him that his biological father was a black man with whom she had a brief affair. This knowledge, combined with the physical and verbal abuse he endured from the Korean father who raised him, stoked anger and confusion. Mr. Lee wondered why his biological father abandoned his mother, why he had made no effort to reconnect with his son, and whether his childhood would have been better had he been raised by both of his biological parents…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Hapa-palooza’ Celebrates Canada’s Mixed-Heritage Residents

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2014-09-23 15:06Z by Steven

‘Hapa-palooza’ Celebrates Canada’s Mixed-Heritage Residents

NBC News
2014-09-22

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Vancouver is gearing up for the Hapa-palooza Festival, the world’s largest celebration of mixed heritage and hybrid identity, to be held at locations throughout the city this month. The word “hapa” usually means a person who is part Asian or Pacific Islander, but festival organizers are taking a much more expansive view to include “mixed heritage and hybrid cultural identity.”

“Growing up there was little to no awareness about the experiences of being mixed,” says festival co-founder Zarah Martz. “Canada prides itself on being a multicultural country, and Hapa-palooza explores the blending of various cultures and backgrounds.”

Read the entire article here.

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Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-22 17:36Z by Steven

Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
2014-09-17

Madeline Vuong, Special to Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont

WILLIAMSTOWN — “Where are you from?”

It’s an easy question on the surface, but a more complicated matter if you’re Elizabeth Liang, a child of mixed-race parentage, who grew up in six different countries — Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt and the United States.

“‘Where are you from?’ was a question I got with almost boring regularity,” Liang said.

But as soon as she tried to answer, many people’s eyes glazed over, she said, and they assumed she and they had nothing in common. She learned not to talk about her life experiences.

“I listened instead,” she said.

She didn’t want to sound as though she were bragging, or as though she thought she was more worldly than her peers, she said, because that would isolate her more.

But after a childhood of staying quiet and trying to blend in, Liang decided she needed to talk openly about the experience of growing up internationally, especially as a mixed-race woman. Drawing on her training as a professional actor, she created a solo show, “Alien Citizen,” which she will perform tonight at the ‘62 Center at Williams College.

“[My show is] very personal, from a kid and teen’s perspective of living in these countries,” Liang said: “What it’s like to bike to school in a Cairo suburb, what Christmas in Guatemala is like, what it feels like to get stuck in a sandstorm on the sidewalks of Casablanca. And because I’m a kid and teenager through most of the show, there’s all the first love and crushes, and caring-about-being-cool stuff, too…

Read the entire article here.

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Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive on 2014-09-22 17:16Z by Steven

Number of multiracial students on rapid rise

The Korean Times
2014-09-21

Kim Se-jeong

The number of elementary, middle and high school students from multiracial families soared to a record high of 67,806 as of April, the Ministry of Education said Sunday.

That accounted for 1.07 percent of the 6.33 million total and is the first time the group has surpassed the 1 percent mark, according to the ministry.

It was also a sharp increase from last year’s 55,780 ― the total is projected to reach 100,000 in three years.

Most of the children had Korean fathers and foreign born mothers and the majority of the latter came from China followed by Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Mongolia. In the case of Vietnam, the number of children almost doubled last year’s total of 6,310…

Read the entire article here.

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Proving Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-18 20:09Z by Steven

Proving Race

Ms. Food Queen: Cooking Across Difference
August 2014

Christine Gregory

I am standing in the lobby of a Korean restaurant. In the split second before I’m seated, I make a conscious decision of whether or not to speak Korean. I know that if I do, it will lead to many benefits, tangible and intangible. I will receive better service. The wait staff will smile at me. I will be given special side dishes that are not on the menu, (for which I will not be expected to pay). I will feel welcome.

I know that if I do not speak Korean, I will be given a cordial and obligatory “Hello.” I will be seated and served what I ordered. I will dine and go, like a stranger. They will look at my brown face, and maybe even smile, but they will fail to recognize me as one of their own.

I almost always elect to speak Korean. Given the benefits, the reasons might seem obvious.   But it isn’t for the discounted pedicures, free sodas at the sushi carry out, and – believe it or not –occasional yellow croaker given gratis by the fish monger at the local Korean mart. It’s because I want them to see me. I want them to know that I am Korean. Speaking the language is the way that I prove my identity.

I am black and Korean, but could easily “pass” for Latina, Ethiopian, South Asian, Polynesian, or Indian. Despite my racially ambiguous appearance, I’ve grown quite deft at subtly revealing my identity to other black folks. I effortlessly code switch and drop hints that would lead whomever I am addressing to surmise that, “Yeah, she must be black.” For example, I mention that I attended a historically black college; share a photo of my African American husband; or drop the name of the church that I attend, all excellent sources of proof

Read the entire article here.

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David Palumbo-Liu interviews Ruth Ozeki

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, United States, Women on 2014-09-17 21:51Z by Steven

David Palumbo-Liu interviews Ruth Ozeki

Los Angeles Review of Books
2014-09-16

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor; Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Stanford University

Where We Are for the Time Being with Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and a Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of three novels: My Year of Meats (1998), All Over Creation (2003), and A Tale for the Time Being (2013). Her website and other web sources portray a diverse and fascinating set of life experiences and a considerable skill set: she worked on cult SF classic Robot Holocaust and has done straightforward commercial film work, started a language school in Japan, worked as a bar hostess there, made award-winning films herself (Body of Correspondence, Halving the Bones), done extensive study of Zen, and worked as a Zen teacher. Among other things.

In 2013 A Tale for the Time Being was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well as for a National Book Critics Award; it won the Kitschies Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. The reviews in the United Kingdom tended to stress that, as The Independent had it, “her novels are witty, intelligent, and passionate.” The reaction of the American press was more boisterous: The Chicago Tribune noted “their shrewd, playful humor, luscious sexiness, and kinetic pizazz.”

Her work is all that, and much more. Her books are deeply involved in issues of science, technology, gender, and attend both to deep history and to the contemporary. They are concerned with our minds and bodies, but even more particularly with our spirit, and with our commitment to the future. I spoke with Ruth Ozeki at Stanford in 2013 and then corresponded with her during the book tour that followed, and am delighted that My Year of Meats was selected as one of the three books all incoming frosh will read at Stanford this autumn. Now in its 11th year, the texts for this year’s Three Books program address the theme of “Science”: Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller, My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki, and Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. I cannot think of a better humanistic author to feature for this series.

DAVID PALUMBO-LIU: Ruth Ozeki — thanks for sitting down with me as you return from doing extensive travel and readings of A Tale for the Time Being. You have given a huge number of interviews, so I’d like to make this relatively targeted. First, in all your work you are especially interested in the complex interweaving of narrative voices. This latest work is the one in which your Buddhism shows up the most explicitly. How does a Buddhist sense of Self (or non-Self) work to help shape this novel, especially in terms of constructing your different narrators? Who are these “people”? What kind of character “development” or “intregity” should we find?

RUTH OZEKI: This notion of self (Self?) is a great place to start, and immediately I find myself resisting the capitalization of the word, which in itself is significant. The capital S seems to imply a fixed and singular entity, a God-like Self, whereas my sense of self is a more shifting (shifty?) and pluralistic entity, an interdependent collectivity of lowercase gods, demigods, and demons…

…Even in My Year of Meats, my first novel, I was playing with fictionalized autobiography. One of the narrators of that book, Jane, is a mixed-race documentary filmmaker who lives in New York. I, too, am a mixed-race documentary filmmaker who lived in New York. I knew readers would assume that Jane equaled Ruth, so I made Jane six feet tall and dyed her hair green, so readers could tell us apart.

I bring this up because I think my mixed-race identity is why I experience myself, and the world, pluralistically. I’m a racially hybridized, genetically pluralistic entity, who has never lived in any one place or culture. As Jane says, “being half, I’m neither here nor there.” Or maybe that was me who said that.

Anyway, I certainly don’t think I’m unique in this regard. All of us are racially, religiously, and/or culturally pluralistic, and increasingly so. As human beings, we’re all trying to integrate and make sense of our pluralistic elements, aren’t we? To find some kind of wholeness?…

Read the entire interview here.

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