“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-07-10 13:36Z by Steven

“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

Routledge
2015-11-03
208 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-893393-4

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and The Asian Journal of Social Science

“Mixed race” is becoming an important area for research, and there is a growing body of work in the North American and British contexts. However, understandings and experiences of “mixed race” across different countries and regions are not often explored in significant depth. New Zealand and Singapore provide important contexts for investigation, as two multicultural, yet structurally divergent, societies. Within these two countries, “mixed race” describes a particularly interesting label for individuals of mixed Chinese and European parentage.

This book explores the concept of “mixed race” for people of mixed Chinese and European descent, looking at how being Chinese and/or European can mean many different things in different contexts. By looking at different communities in Singapore and New Zealand, it investigates how individuals of mixed heritage fit into or are excluded from these communities. Increasingly, individuals of mixed ancestry are opting to identify outside of traditionally defined racial categories, posing a challenge to systems of racial classification, and to sociological understandings of “race”. As case studies, Singapore and New Zealand provide key examples of the complex relationship between state categorization and individual identities. The book explores the divergences between identity and classification, and the ways in which identity labels affect experiences of “mixed race” in everyday life. Personal stories reveal the creative and flexible ways in which people cross boundaries, and the everyday negotiations between classification, heritage, experience, and nation in defining identity. The study is based on qualitative research, including in-depth interviews with people of mixed heritage in both countries.

Filling an important gap in the literature by using an Asia/Pacific dimension, this study of race and ethnicity will appeal to students and scholars of mixed race studies, ethnicity, Chinese diaspora and cultural anthropology.

Contents

  • 1. Finding the “Mixed” in “Mixed Race”
  • 2. Mixed Histories in New Zealand and Singapore
  • 3. The Personal in the Political
  • 4. Being and Belonging
  • 5. Roots, Routes and Coming Home
  • 6. Conclusion
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Mixed Race Okinawans and Their Obscure In-Betweeness

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-07-03 19:30Z by Steven

Mixed Race Okinawans and Their Obscure In-Betweeness

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 35, Issue 6 (November 2014)
pages 646-661
DOI: 10.1080/07256868.2014.963531

Mitzi Uehara Carter

While critical mixed race studies and popular discourse of haafu (half) are proliferating in Japan, the case of mixed race people in Okinawa remains obscure within these studies as exceptional cases of non-serial mixed bodies. Locally mixed Okinawans have been used to demonstrate incompleteness of sovereignty in Okinawa yet globally have been hailed under the haafu boom as ‘bridge people’ under a liberalist ideology of difference, sometimes naturalizing and justifying the controversial US base presence. This paper centers on the lives of mixed Okinawans I interviewed. I analyze how they engage with various mixed race discourses, concepts of Okinawan difference, and security imaginaries. Through their stories, I suggest that in Okinawa, mixed race as situated transnationally ‘in-between’ circulates against rationales of modernity that are embedded in security narratives in ways that the haafu boom does not address and therefore encapsulates mixed Okinawans as obscure. I argue that despite this positioning, many mixed Okinawans have cautiously rooted themselves locally through language, fluctuating imaginaries of citizenship, and diasporic meanings of Okinawan belonging.

Read the entire article here.

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Post-Magical Thinking America

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-30 18:12Z by Steven

Post-Magical Thinking America

The Offing: A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel
2015-06-05

Matthew Salesses

This semester, a strange thing happened. A student came to my office hours to complain about the difficulties of understanding her own oppression.

I teach a course called “Asians in the Media” at the University of Houston, where I am a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Creative Writing. The student is Asian American and has taken other courses in Asian American Studies. Her complaint was how hard it is on her to know that she is oppressed systematically by her country. She had it easier, she told me, before she knew that she was being marginalized. She expressed a wish to go back to not knowing. What could she do? She has a white boyfriend whom she wishes to marry. Why shouldn’t she be able to become a doctor or lawyer and live out a sort of ignorance-is-bliss?

I found myself very much identifying with her desire, and empathizing with her fear of the world she now knows she lives in. Sometimes knowledge is a very difficult thing to deal with. As a teacher, I admitted to her, that difficulty is something we want — we want to complicate knowledge. And yet. I could understand the very real truth that perhaps her life would be happier if she didn’t know that her country values her happiness less than certain other people’s happiness.

I have been thinking about our conversation ever since. I have been thinking about how close the student seemed to a breakdown. I have been thinking about whether it indeed screws up her life to know about white supremacy. I have been thinking about how unhelpful it is to tell students that in a decade or so, they will appreciate having learned what they learned. I have been thinking about how unhelpful it is to tell students that they will live more fulfilled lives if they understand the system under which those lives are led. I don’t know if that is even true…

Read the entire article here.

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Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-06-14 16:18Z by Steven

Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir

Modern History Press
2014-08-15
158 pages
6.7 x 0.3 x 9.6 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-1615992331

Sherry Quan Lee

Love Imagined is an American woman’s unique struggle for identity.

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Whasian

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels on 2015-06-09 17:19Z by Steven

Whasian

Harken Media
2015-11-02
340 pages
6 in x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-9887757-6-3
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9887757-5-6
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9887757-4-9

Joy Huang Stoffers

Young adult literary fiction for teens struggling with racial and cultural identity and racism.

The thing about secrets is they force you to choose—especially the ones that hurt so much you keep them from your best friend. Ava Ling Magee hopes college will free her from the past: high school, parents, everything. Freedom from her Asian mother’s control, her Caucasian father’s neglect, and the world’s confusion, however, requires more than a dorm room. Sure, she makes new friends, separates herself from the parental units, and parties. Yet, Ava’s secrets linger, binding her to the past and cleaving her in two. She must choose between the darkness she knows and unknown perils. Sometimes, when life hurts the most, we discover our freedom lay within all along.

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Why Media Representation Matters To Biracial And Multiracial People

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-09 00:57Z by Steven

Why Media Representation Matters To Biracial And Multiracial People

Blue Nation Review
2015-06-04

John Paul Brammer, Identity Editor

“So, you’re sort of nothing then.”

I’ve only heard this once. Someone asked me what my race was because they were curious. I explained to them that I was mixed, that I had both indigenous and European blood, and after mulling it over for a second, that was their response.

They meant no malice by it. If anything, they were trying to be playful. But it still reminded me that when it comes to the dominant narratives on how we perceive race and culture in this country, I don’t quite fit the story.

I am reminded of this again with the debate over Emma Stone’s multiracial character in Cameron Crowe’s certified stinker Aloha. Stone, a white woman, was cast to portray a half-white, quarter-Chinese, quarter-Native Hawaiian character by the name of Allison Ng.

Crowe has come forward and apologized for his decision. But casting Stone in the first place has opened a very necessary dialogue on multiracial characters in the media.

In the context of the media diversity debate, multiracial people exist in a precarious place. On the one hand, they seem to be left out for the sake of a more direct approach to criticism of media representation of minorities

Read the entire article here.

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Racism under a Friendly Guise

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-06-08 01:35Z by Steven

Racism under a Friendly Guise

Joy Huang Stoffers: Writer and Novelist
Saturday, 2015-05-09

Joy Huang Stoffers

racism, n.

A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated. Hence: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of other racial or ethnic groups (or, more widely, of other nationalities), esp. based on such beliefs. —The OED.com

Since beginning my MA degree in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, England, I haven’t been subject to racism. Maybe it’s because the British are usually reserved. Maybe it’s because I don’t go out much. Most likely the answer lies in an amalgamation of these two factors and others.

Today, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, this changed.

This morning I ordered a taxi to go on my once-a-month trip to Costco. (For those of you who don’t know, Costco is a warehouse that offers members sundry high-quality goods, often in comical bulk.) The cabbie was a jovial, middle-aged Caucasian man with an understandable Geordie accent. I buckled myself in and he, smiling, immediately began to interrogate.

“Joy, right? Where are you from?”…

Read the entire article here.

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The beauty contest winner making Japan look at itself

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-06-05 14:05Z by Steven

The beauty contest winner making Japan look at itself

BBC News
2015-06-04

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, Tokyo Correspondent

At first sight even I am a little confused by Ariana Miyamoto. She is tall and strikingly beautiful. But the first thing that pops in to my head when I meet the newly crowned Miss Universe Japan is that she doesn’t look very Japanese.

In just two years here I have clearly absorbed a lot of the local prejudices about what it means to be “Japanese”.

My confusion lasts only until Ariana opens her mouth. Suddenly everything about her shouts out that she is Japanese, from the soft lilting tone of her voice, to her delicate hand gestures and demure expression.

Well of course she is. Ariana was born in Japan and has lived here all her life. She knows little of her father’s home back in Arkansas in the United States. But to many Japanese, and I really do mean many, Ariana Miyamoto is not Japanese. Not fully anyway.

Ariana is what is known in Japan as a “hafu”, taken from the English word “half”. To me the word sounds derogatory. But when I ask her Ariana surprises me by defending the term, even embracing it…

…Many people here genuinely believe Japanese are unique, even genetically separate from the rest of us.

When my (Japanese) wife got pregnant, one of her friends congratulated her with the words: “It’s not easy for us Japanese to get pregnant with a foreigner”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Of course this myth is complete nonsense. Japanese are an ethnic hotch-potch, the result of different migrations over thousands of years, from the Korean peninsula, China and South East Asia. But the myth is strong, and that makes being different here hard…

Read the entire article here.

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Schools for European and Eurasian children in India: Making of the official policy in colonial India and its contemporary significance

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2015-06-01 18:48Z by Steven

Schools for European and Eurasian children in India: Making of the official policy in colonial India and its contemporary significance

Policy Futures in Education
Volume 13, Number 3 (April 2015)
pages 315-327
DOI: 10.1177/1478210315569040

Heeral Chhabra, M.Phil Research Scholar
Department of History
University of Delhi, India

The history of education in India has been looked into with a view which has been narrow in its expanse, often missing out on many social categories which had a relatively limited, yet important, presence in colonial India. Sufficient attention has been paid to the official policies of the British Indian government (starting from Macaulay’s Minute). However, a critical analysis of it is assumed to be provided by the nationalist discourse, which is popularly perceived as almost an antithesis of colonial education. In the entire process, the discussion on education broadly gets limited to two sections – the ruler and the ruled, thereby eschewing the diversity within the realm of those seeking and providing education. In this paper, an attempt will be made to understand the emerging importance of ‘Europeans and Eurasians’ as a social category with a peculiar position in colonial India. Though technically part of the ruling ‘race’, their economic standing was not always congruent with their assumed racial superiority. Termed as ‘poor whites’ their presence in India posed challenges to the British government especially after the 1857 mutiny. Employed in the ‘communication network’ of the British Raj, their presence in postal, railways and telegraph departments was imperative for its successful working. The first part of the paper seeks to explore the making of these European and Eurasian communities in India. An official stand regarding schooling of European and Eurasian children was formulated for the first time through Canning’s Minute of 29 October 1860. Analysis of this Minute is vital to understand the very nature of education extended along with religious overtones providing these schools with a distinct identity and status. Using archival sources, this paper seeks to explore the making of distinct schools for them at hill stations and in the plains. Many of these hill schools still exist and have become a symbol of ‘modernity’. Quite ironically their association with the colonial past provides them with a certain elite reputation in independent India (where nationalism is closely tied to education). Analysis of this opens up scope to investigate the ways in which ‘modernity’ is not only understood but professed and adapted through such an educational setup.

Read or purchase the article here.

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How A Latina-Asian American Ascended Amazon’s Ranks

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Economics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-29 19:28Z by Steven

How A Latina-Asian American Ascended Amazon’s Ranks

NBC News
2015-05-29

Stephen A. Nuño, Associate Professor of Politics & International Affairs
Northern Arizona Univeristy

If you have ever bought anything from the online retail giant, Amazon.com, you probably didn’t know that a multicultural woman is one of the managers leading the work behind the scenes with software developers, user interface (UI) designers and product teams to help you spend your money.

In an age where the tech industry has increasingly come under fire for being mostly male and for its lack of diversity, women like Erica Gomez are serving as role models and urging others to break through the technology ranks. Currently Amazon’s Senior Technical Program Manager, Gomez has also worked at Microsoft as an engineer and program manager for the Bing search platform and at Boeing as a software developer for real-time aircraft monitoring programs.

A lover of trivia and a tennis athlete, Gomez illustrates the proliferation of people who identify with multi-ethnic backgrounds since the U.S. Census began allowing respondents to check multiple boxes for their racial and ethnic identity in 2000. She is also an example of the growing diversity among Latinos.

Gomez’s mother, who is of Japanese-Scottish descent, was born on an Air Force base in Texas and grew up mainly in Taipei. Gomez’s father is Puerto Rican; her grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles before her dad was born and he grew up bouncing between the island and Los Angeles. His family eventually settled in San Clemente, California, a sleepy surfers’ haven in Orange County

Read the entire article here.

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