Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, United States on 2014-06-16 02:28Z by Steven

Elliot Rodger’s half-white male privilege

Salon
Thusday, 2014-05-29

Joan Walsh, Editor at Large

The killer’s Asian heritage matters. So does his ugly class entitlement. Misogyny crosses lines of race and culture

The widespread recognition that Elliot Rodger’s killing spree was the tragic result of misogyny and male entitlement has been a little bit surprising, and encouraging. Why, then, has it been so hard to get his race right?

From the left, headlines (including on Salon) have labeled him “white,” though most stories at least nodded to his Asian heritage (his mother was ethnic Chinese Malaysian). Chauncey DeVega’s fascinating piece on Rodger’s crime as evidence of “aggrieved white male entitlement syndrome,” a malady that includes other white male mass killers from Columbine’s Eric Klebold to Newtown’s Adam Lanza, didn’t mention his status as half-Asian.

When commentators noted the omission, DeVega (whose work I admire) doubled down in a follow-up piece,“Yes, Elliot Rodger is white!” He argued that Rodger “constructed an identity for himself as ‘Eurasian’ and proceeded to internalize American society’s cues and lessons about power, privilege, race, and gender. He then lived out his own particular understanding of what it means to be white and male in the United States.”

Not that I have a lot of sympathy for Rodger, but it twists his already twisted story to label him simply white…

…“The media, as usual, has oversimplified his identity and experience of race in typically binary terms, which miss the complex nuances and grey areas of that identity and experience,” University of California, Santa Barbara, sociology professor G. Reginald Daniel told me via email. (Daniel is also the editor in chief of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies.) “My feeling is that some of his many issues are related in part to his struggles with or questions about how ‘white’ he was or was not allowed or perceived to be.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-06-15 23:29Z by Steven

Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

University of Illinois Press
January 2014
264 pages
6 x 9 in.
15 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03807-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-07956-6

Leilani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communications
University of Washington, Seattle

Representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans. Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

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‘Mixed Blood’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2014-06-15 23:23Z by Steven

‘Mixed Blood’

Ecns.cn: The Official English-language website of China News Service
2014-06-05

To many, the US is no doubt a cultural melting pot as over the years people from various ethnic backgrounds have inhabited the land and collectively created an all new culture. Yet, all the way on the other side of the Earth, a similar situation seems to be emerging in China. Through images seen at the exhibition for Mixed Blood at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, visitors will have the chance to glimpse these changes for themselves.

Cosponsored by the US Embassy in Beijing and the Today Art Museum, the Beijing exhibition for Mixed Blood features photographs and documents created by artist CYJO from 2010 to 2013 documenting 19 families of mixed ethnicities, races and cultures living in Beijing and New York.

In the photographs, family members stand in their own homes in a line with arms at their sides, while next to the photographs are introductions explaining the background of each family member and the story of their family.

Standing in the exhibition hall, these photographs don’t just provide a clear image of the life of “mixed families” commonly seen in big cities, but also raise the question: “How far has our society progressed when it comes to ethnicity and race?”…

Read the entire article here.

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After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-08 21:41Z by Steven

After Tiananmen Square, New Lives On A New Continent

Tell Me More
National Public Radio
2014-06-04

Michel Martin, Host

After the democracy protests were crushed in 1989, many thought China would turn inward. Instead, a million Chinese citizens moved to Africa. Howard French discusses his book China’s Second Continent.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I’m Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We’re going to start the program today by taking note of a difficult moment in history. Twenty-five years ago today, the Chinese army attacked demonstrators who had been occupying Tiananmen Square, protesting for more democracy and freedom. The crackdown brought international condemnation. Some observers believed it would lead the communist country to become increasingly inward-looking and isolated. It turned out that did not happen. Today, China stands as a major global power, and one part of the world in which it clearly rivals the U.S. as an influence on politics and the economy is Africa. Thousands of Chinese companies have established themselves in Africa over the last two decades. China-Africa trade has surged from $10 billion in 2000 to $200 billion last year, far surpassing the U.S. and any European country. China’s top leaders make multiple trips to the continent every year. But, as author Howard French tells us in his new book, just as important as those high-level visits are the people who are rarely discussed. And they are the million or so Chinese expatriates who aren’t just passing through, but are staying and moving into all walks of life. That’s who the former New York Times bureau chief spent time with as he prepared his latest book, “China’s Second Continent: How A Million Migrants Are Building A New Empire In Africa.” And Howard French is with us now. Welcome back to the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

HOWARD FRENCH: It’s great to be with you again…

…MARTIN: If you’re just joining us, I’m speaking with Howard French. We’re talking about his new book, “China’s Second Continent: How A Million Migrants Are Building A New Empire In Africa.” The former New York Times bureau chief conducted interviews in Mandarin, French and Portuguese, among other languages, to, kind of, get to the ground level of how China is influencing the continent. One of the characters that struck a chord with me was Hao Shengli, whom you met in Mozambique. Tell us a little bit about his story, if you would. I was struck by the fact that he wanted his sons to marry local women, but I didn’t get the sense that this was a love-match he was seeking, here.

FRENCH: Hao was interesting because, unlike most of the people I profile, he was not a working-class person. He had started up several businesses in China that had done reasonably well. He had some savings. He set off to the Middle East – tried to do business there. He failed. He comes back to China. And he goes to a trade fair and meets some people in Guangzhou who tell him that there’s all kinds of opportunity in Africa. And so he then begins to fixate on Africa. And he ends up in Mozambique on the theory that, as a Portuguese speaking country, they’ll be very few Chinese people there. He spoke no Portuguese, but he figured, at least, he wouldn’t have any cutthroat Chinese competitors. And so he goes to Mozambique. He doesn’t do well in the capital. He discovers, to his disgust, that there are a lot of Chinese people there, in fact. And so he sets off for the countryside. And he ends up finagling his way into buying a very nice piece of irrigated, very rich farmland. And he gets into these relationships with the local people. And their relationship becomes ever more testy, and so he’s worrying. Even though he’s got a long-term lease, he’s wondering if the villagers won’t find a way to contest it, or the local government will take it back from him. And he settles upon a scheme, which absolutely astounded me, of bringing his teenage sons from China to settle there with him – and to have children by local women, in whose names he could place the property and control it indirectly through these people, who, as Mozambican citizens, would legally have the right to own land forever. And so that’s the scene that I stumble upon in this rural place.

MARTIN: It was interesting to me how much racism you personally encountered over the course of your travels. I mean, just the kind of day-to-day, casual reminders of distance that is certainly not polite in this country anymore. I’m thinking about when you went to this hotel in Liberia. And then you went to this room to drop off your things and wash up, and there was no towel there. And then when you told your host this, he summoned a young Chinese man who worked for him and told him to fetch me one. He says, we don’t usually give them out because most Chinese bring their own. They wouldn’t want to use one that a black person might have used. I mean, put this in some context for me. I mean, do you think that this is, kind of, growing pains, and that at some point will people have moved beyond that? What’s your sense?

FRENCH: Everywhere I went, the local Chinese person referred to the people, in whose midst they had come to settle, as black people. You know, they would say, the blacks, the blacks, the blacks, the blacks. They wouldn’t say the Ghanaians, or the Tanzanians, or the Zambians, or the this or the that. It was just, the blacks. And this refusal, or reluctance, to allow any kind of finer identity – to render them totally anonymous as just simply black, as if that was the only pertinent detail about them, was very telling for me. That whether or not this is a passing phase, I can’t really say. But for the time being, the Africans are just, essentially, serving as a backdrop for Chinese processes – somebody that will be useful for them – or a place that will be useful for them for the time being along the way, as they proceed up the ladder of hierarchies, if you will, of civilizations of nations…

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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China in Africa

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-05 14:29Z by Steven

China in Africa

The Leonard Lopate Show
WNYC 93.9 FM New York
2014-06-04

Leonard Lopate, Host

China’s presence in Africa has been growing and it is shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. Howard French, prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, talks about China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent. In China’s Second Continent, French crafts a layered investigation, looking at policy-shaping moguls and diplomats and the ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity in Africa.

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-03 13:03Z by Steven

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Fresh Air, WHYY-FM Philadelphia
National Public Radio
2014-05-27

Terry Gross, Host

Dave Davies, Senior Reporter

China’s economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

Journalist Howard French, who spent years reporting on Africa and China for The New York Times and The Washington Post, has a new book that looks at these trends. In China’s Second Continent, French draws on interviews with Chinese and African businesspeople, government officials and ordinary citizens to explore China’s presence in 15 African countries.

He says there’s a debate about the long-term consequences of China’s push into the African continent: Will it create development and prosperity, or will it lead to exploitation reminiscent of 19th-century European colonialism?

French tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that African citizens, for their part, would like Chinese businesses to be more open and transparent. He also explains that when Chinese leaders look at Africa, they don’t just see arable land and natural resources — they see a potential market for Chinese products…

…DAVIES: You spent some time in Mozambique with a Chinese immigrant, Hao Shengli – is that – am I getting close to his name?

FRENCH: Hao Shengli.

DAVIES: Hao Shengli. Just tell us a little bit about how he got there and what kind of farming business he established.

FRENCH: So Hao Shengli had a been sort of a moderately successful businessman back in China who had a peculiar marital history. He had taken on several wives in succession, but after each divorce, had maintained an intimate and financial relationship with the past wife, even as he took on a new wife. And so this led to a need for him to continually amass more and more money. And this drove him eventually to seek opportunity outside of China.

He initially tries to open some businesses in the Middle East. They don’t succeed. And he went to a trade fair in southern China where, for the first time, he’s exposed to talk about opportunities in Africa. And he decided to try his hand there, and this leads him to go to Mozambique where he believed, because it was a Portuguese-speaking country, he wouldn’t find any Chinese people. He -Hao Shengli was driven by this very common motive that we’ve talked about before, where, you know, he wants to get to a place where there’s not going to be any competition from other Chinese people. And so he goes to Mozambique, and I meet him in the capital, Maputo. And he very generously drives me to his farm.

DAVIES: And how is he able to buy so much arable land?

FRENCH: So Hao had come with a certain amount of savings. He was a businessman. In China, he had had a reasonable success. He had saved up – I don’t know – over $100,000, which he had arrived with. And he described a process to me where he sort of makes his way from county to county ingratiating himself to local officials. And in the county where he finally settled, he had apparently helped in the construction of some local roads there. And this had won him great favor with local officials. And he ends up using these relationships to secure interest in this land.

He made a payment for the land, and then he settles on the land. He begins farming Stevia, which is a plant that produces sweeteners that are used in diet sodas. And his scheme is to become a giant Stevia producer and to export to the likes of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, etc. Hao very quickly, though, runs into trouble with residents of the surrounding villages around his land who are resentful of the fact that he secured this very rich and irrigated valley, which had been years earlier owned and run by Portuguese colonials.

And so he develops this scheme to bring his sons to Mozambique – teenage sons, one of them about 17, one of them a few years younger. And his idea that he comes up with is that if he marries off or at least has his sons procreate with local women, that the children of these couplings will become part of his clan. And as Mozambican citizens, they will be able to own the land legally in perpetuity. And his hold on this rich valley then can’t be challenged.

DAVIES: Well that’s – that’s an entrepreneurial spirit to family building, isn’t it?

FRENCH: Absolutely.

DAVIES: This immigrant, Shengli, who had bought this land and was bringing his sons over and had big plans, how exactly did he figure his son would get African wives? I mean, what would they do to get them? Is it a matter of dating? Is it a matter of visiting their parents?

FRENCH: Very good question. I mean, so the exact details are a bit hazy here. But as I began to talk through these questions with Shengli, it emerges that he himself may have had something of a relationship with the girl who ends up being the girlfriend of his first son—either that or he had a relationship with a friend of the girl who becomes the girlfriend of his son.

As we talk these things through, he tells me that through a variety of payments made to essentially the family members of the clan of eligible girls—eligible in his view—girls, he had been able to secure relationships with various local girls. And he exhibited a great deal of impatience for his younger son, who he called Little Fatty. This is a prepubescent – I don’t know – I want to say 14-year-old, who had just arrived very recently from China and really had no sort of native interest in girls yet. And Hao was deeply irritated by this, saying, you know, we’ve got to get on with this, we’ve got to get on with this. You know, he’s thinking about building his clan, and he’s paired off the older son with a girl and – who knows? – but they may have had children by now. And he’s very anxious to see this happen with the younger boy as well…

Read the article here. Listen to the interview (00:26:23)  here. Download the audio here. Read the transcript here.

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China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Books, Economics, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2014-06-02 20:26Z by Steven

China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

Knopf
2014-05-20
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0307956989
9.3 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches

Howard W. French, Associate Professor of Journalism
Columbia University

An exciting, hugely revealing account of China’s burgeoning presence in Africa—a developing empire already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people.

A prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, Howard French is uniquely positioned to tell the story of China in Africa. Through meticulous on-the-ground reporting—conducted in Mandarin, French, and Portuguese, among other languages—French crafts a layered investigation of astonishing depth and breadth as he engages not only with policy-shaping moguls and diplomats, but also with the ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity forged by this seismic geopolitical development. With incisiveness and empathy, French reveals the human face of China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent—and in doing so reveals what is at stake for everyone involved.

We meet a broad spectrum of China’s dogged emigrant population, from those singlehandedly reshaping African infrastructure, commerce, and even environment (a self-made tycoon who harnessed Zambia’s now-booming copper trade; a timber entrepreneur determined to harvest the entirety of Liberia’s old-growth redwoods), to those just barely scraping by (a sibling pair running small businesses despite total illiteracy; a karaoke bar owner–cum–brothel madam), still convinced that Africa affords them better opportunities than their homeland. And we encounter an equally panoramic array of African responses: a citizens’ backlash in Senegal against a “Trojan horse” Chinese construction project (a tower complex to be built over a beloved soccer field, which locals thought would lead to overbearing Chinese pressure on their economy); a Zambian political candidate who, having protested China’s intrusiveness during the previous election and lost, now turns accommodating; the ascendant middle class of an industrial boomtown; African mine workers bitterly condemning their foreign employers, citing inadequate safety precautions and wages a fraction of their immigrant counterparts’.

French’s nuanced portraits reveal the paradigms forming around this new world order, from the all-too-familiar echoes of colonial ambition—exploitation of resources and labor; cut-rate infrastructure projects; dubious treaties—to new frontiers of cultural and economic exchange, where dichotomies of suspicion and trust, assimilation and isolation, idealism and disillusionment are in dynamic flux.

Part intrepid travelogue, part cultural census, part industrial and political exposé, French’s keenly observed account ultimately offers a fresh perspective on the most pressing unknowns of modern Sino-African relations: why China is making the incursions it is, just how extensive its cultural and economic inroads are, what Africa’s role in the equation is, and just what the ramifications for both parties—and the watching world—will be in the foreseeable future.

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What is Luring a Million Chinese to Africa?

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Economics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-06-01 17:57Z by Steven

What is Luring a Million Chinese to Africa?

OZY
2014-05-15

Jacob Kushner

Like immigrants the world over, the million Chinese who’ve landed in Africa are plucky, hugely ambitious and have an eye for opportunity. They’re also helping make China a big player on a continent once dominated by the West.

You’ve seen the headlines: China is taking over Africa, and the United States and Africa’s former colonizers in Europe have lost sway.

Mostly, it’s true. Throughout Angola, Ghana and the Congo, some of China’s largest companies are building roads and railways. They’re backed by Chinese banks, and they’ll pay off their loans in kind through mining and oil deals. All the while, small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs are moving to Africa, opening pharmacies, trading furniture or buying land to farm, much as earlier generations did in Southeast Asia and North America. African governments are welcoming them with open arms, and for the most part, so are Africans themselves.

Earlier literature on China’s rise in Africa pushed us past the easy — and flawed — paradigm of China as Africa’s latest “colonizer.” But in his forthcoming book, China’s Second Continent, Howard French argues the Chinese who migrate to Africa do so as individuals motivated by simple, familiar dreams of opportunity.

A former China bureau chief for The New York Times and veteran Africa correspondent, French traveled the African continent, speaking Mandarin with Chinese men and women who had grown weary of the daily grind in their homeland. The characters French encounters are risk-takers: sometimes foulmouthed, often lucky and universally ambitious.

OZY: What has lured a million Chinese people to Africa?

French: Many Chinese people came here in the first wave because they were part of a work crew that built a big project somewhere. They typically came with absolutely no idea of what they were going to find on the ground, what Africa would be like. Some people that thought this place would be horrible, [with] hostile people or dangerous animals and diseases, find out it is also fairly pleasant: “I feel comfortable navigating in this society. And most importantly, everywhere I look, there are opportunities to make money.” They come and see opportunity everywhere they look…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Verboten Topic: Elliot Rodger, ‘Mixed Race’ Identity, Internalized Racism, and Mental Health

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-05-31 03:17Z by Steven

A Verboten Topic: Elliot Rodger, ‘Mixed Race’ Identity, Internalized Racism, and Mental Health

We Are Respectable Negroes: Happy Non-Threatening Coloured Folks, Even the Age of Obama
Wednesday, 2014-05-28

Chauncey Devega, Editor and Founder

The 24/7 news cycle is not interested in finding the truth about a given matter, and then subsequently offering up useful information that can in turn be used to create an educated and informed electorate.

Instead, the mainstream corporate news media is driven by superficial discussions of topics of public concern that can drive ratings.

As I suggested earlier, Elliot Rodger should be a focal point for a discussion of broader issues about race, gun violence, gender, and mental health issues. Apparently, those most obvious concerns and questions are verboten on the Right…and even among some on the “Left” who have internalized the norms of “colorblind” racism…

…However, I have not seen (with a few exceptions)–and do please share and educate me if I am wrong (I am not able to watch or listen to every broadcast)–a focused discussion of how Elliot Rodger, a white Asian, internalized white racism and White Supremacy against people of color, and then acted upon it through misogynist violence.

Nor have I witnessed a conversation in the mainstream media about Elliot Rodger, the question of “mixed race” identity–I would suggest that such constructs are extremely problematic and facile in the American racial order, yet an increasing number of people are embracing them as a way of distancing themselves from people of color–and the specific >mental health challenges around self-esteem and anxiety which some self-identified “bi-racial” and “mixed race” people may face because of their “racial” identities.

My claims are precise and careful: I am not arguing that self-identified “mixed-race” or “biracial” people are more prone to mass shootings, gun violence, or the like. No. The data do not support such a claim…

Rather, I am interested in how the media is not talking about how Elliot Rodger, a version of the tragic mulatto figure, a self-hating Asian-American with deep levels of internalized racism, had those feelings mated and mixed with (likely) preexisting mental health issues, and then committed mass murder based on his racist and sexist motivations

Read the entire article here.

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Understanding Hapa Identity: More Research, Not Manifestos

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-05-31 02:30Z by Steven

Understanding Hapa Identity: More Research, Not Manifestos

AAPI Voices: Amplifying the voices of Asian Pacific America.
2014-05-29

Danielle Lemi, Guest Columnist and doctoral student
University of California, Riverside

As more details about the tragic events at UC Santa Barbara come to light, so too have details about Elliot Rodger, particularly with respect to his racial background. In response, bloggers have begun discussing racial identity issues among hapas, focusing heavily on issues of internalized racism or psychological problems because of supposed racial identity crises.

But what does the research say?  Do multiracial individuals have more mental health problems than those not identified as such?  Early research that was poorly designed said yes, but more recent research indicates otherwise…

Read the entire article here.

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