On the First Asian-American President

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-26 22:16Z by Steven

On the First Asian-American President

Vogue
2016-12-21

Eric Chang

Given the poise with which Barack Obama has taken on his role as president (measured here at minimum by the absence of personal scandal, gaffes, or brushes with death via pretzel), it’s easy to forget how difficult it was to imagine a figure even approximately like him, prior to 2004. The concept of a black president was once a rhetorical construct used to highlight unlikelihood, if not outright impossibility, up there with winged pigs and a frozen inferno. So entrenched was the hegemony of white male leadership in America that in 1998, Toni Morrison wrote the following of then-President Bill Clinton in The New Yorker (to no terrific protest): “Years ago . . . one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.”

Much has been made of this designation. It’s been frequently misattributed to Morrison alone, when by her own account she was reporting a thesis aggregated from several different conversations (those “murmurs,” collected from her community). It’s also been decontextualized to insidious effect, often in attempts to bolster Bill Clinton’s bona fides as a champion of black Americans…

…The visceral recognition I and Asian-Americans like me see in President Obama rests on a similar foundation, and so I frame my argument as an intentional parallel to Morrison’s: Black skin notwithstanding, this is our first Asian-American president…

Read the entire article here.

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Fatherless and Abandoned, Vietnamese-Americans Search for Their Families

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-26 21:17Z by Steven

Fatherless and Abandoned, Vietnamese-Americans Search for Their Families

Voice of America
Learning English
2016-12-21

Hai Do
VOANews.com

Moki, Tan and Jannies were babies at the close of the American war in Vietnam in the 1970s. Their mothers were Vietnamese. Their fathers were American soldiers. In one way or another, they were all abandoned.

Now, the search for their birth families has brought them together. Here are their stories…

Read the entire article here.

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BEST OF 2016: Fractionalized — Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-12-26 20:24Z by Steven

BEST OF 2016: Fractionalized — Stories of Biracial Joy, Pain, Struggle and Triumph

Madison 365
Madison, Wisconsin
2016-12-26

Mia Sato
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Mixed.

Multi.

One-half-this and one-quarter-that. Biracial, mixed-race, “two or more races.” In a world obsessed with labels, the pressure to claim oneself as part of a racial group is an inescapable reality for a small but growing population. We are confronted by it with questions like, “What are you?” which we can instantly recognize as a question pointing to heritage. Census forms or surveys ask us to check a box identifying our ethnicity; on rare occasions we’re offered “Multiracial” but we frequently settle for “Other.” People identifying as mixed race may feel connected to all of their backgrounds, only one or some of them, or to none; race is complex enough as it is, but once two or more categories come into play, even more questions are raised.

What is clear is that people who carry a mixed race identity do not experience their race in the same way, even if they share the same racial mix. Location, social interaction, family attitudes about race and environments all inform how they think, feel and speak about being mixed race. Even more, an individual’s own interpretation of their multicultural background may shift and change with time; it is a process of discovery, affirmation, questioning and rejection.

Below, five individuals share their own journey of a mixed-race identity. No story is the same, but all lead to one reality that is obvious: they are hardly a fraction of a race. They are full, whole, complete, and here are their stories, in all their diverse glory…

Read the entire article here.

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Patricia Park talks about her Korean American spin on Jane Eyre

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-26 17:58Z by Steven

Patricia Park talks about her Korean American spin on Jane Eyre

The Los Angeles Times
2015-05-12

Steph Cha


Patricia Park, author of “Re Jane” (Allana Taranto/Viking)

What if Jane Eyre was a Korean American girl and Rochester was a English professor? Patricia Park on ‘Re Jane

Patricia Park’s debut novel, “Re Jane” (Pamela Dorman/Viking: 340 pp., $27.95), is a retelling of everyone’s favorite Gothic Victorian Brontë romance, “Jane Eyre,” transferred to New York and South Korea in the early 2000s. Her heroine, Jane Re, is a half-Korean orphan raised by her uncle’s family in Flushing, Queens, a neighborhood that feels “all Korean, all the time.” When a prestigious post-college job offer falls through thanks to the dot-com crash, Jane takes a job as an au pair in Brooklyn in order to escape Queens and her uncle’s grocery store.

Her employers are Ed Farley and Beth Mazer, two Brooklyn English professors with an adopted Chinese daughter. Ed, as you may have guessed, is brooding and manly, with a strong jawline and a Brooklyn accent—pure Kryptonite for our wide-eyed, 22-year-old Jane. He lives in the shadow of his older, more accomplished wife, an eccentric feminist scholar with an attic office, who takes it upon herself to educate their sheltered au pair.

With her mixed blood and her torn loyalties, Jane embodies the confusion of both young adulthood and the hyphenated American experience. Impressionable and accommodating at the start of the novel, she struggles to find her own identity as the places and people in her life try to claim her. Her journey is a pleasure to follow, immensely rewarding and speckled with humor and romance…

Read the entire interview here.

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Re Jane: A Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2016-12-26 02:27Z by Steven

Re Jane: A Novel

Pamela Dorman Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
2015-05-05
352 Pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0525427407
Paperback ISBN: 978-0143107941

Patricia Park

  

For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. Re Jane is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.

Journeying from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul, and back, this is a fresh, contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre and a poignant Korean American debut.

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China Machado, Breakthrough Model Until the End, Dies at 86

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-12-21 17:59Z by Steven

China Machado, Breakthrough Model Until the End, Dies at 86

The New York Times
On The Runway
2016-12-19

Vanessa Friedman

China Machado, the first non-Caucasian to appear in the pages of an American glossy fashion magazine and a model who broke not only the race barrier but also the age barrier, died on Sunday in Brookhaven, N.Y., on Long Island. She was 86.

Her family said the cause was cardiac arrest.

Ms. Machado (whose first name was pronounced CHEE-na) lived a colorful life: She was born Noelie de Souza Machado on Christmas Day 1929, in Shanghai; fled the country with her parents in 1946, after the Japanese occupation; had an affair with Luis Dominguín, the Spanish bullfighter, who left her for Ava Gardner; and socialized with François Truffaut

Read the entire obituary here.

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Avoiding the One-Drop Rule

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-20 23:31Z by Steven

Avoiding the One-Drop Rule

The Harvard Advocate
Fall 2016

Eli Lee

This past January, I attended a concert at Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church. The audience in the church’s dimly lit basement was tattooed, bedecked in social justice slogans and, like most punk show crowds, predominantly white. Two hours into the show, a local hardcore band with both white and Black members took the stage. As they launched into their blistering set, I followed my instinct and, bobbing to the rhythm, started to work my way forward through the crowd. By the time the band had finished playing their first song, I had made significant progress toward the stage. That’s when the band’s lead singer leaned into the mic and yelled: “It’s fuckin’ 2016! BROWN PEOPLE TO THE FRONT!”

As the drummer counted in the next song of the set, I began to experience a minor identity crisis. I am a person of mixed Jewish and Vietnamese heritage, and my skin is several shades darker than that of the average Anglo- American. Indeed, even during the dimmest days of winter, my complexion never brightens beyond an even tan. But at that moment, I asked myself: am I brown or not? And if not, then what was I doing pushing myself towards the front of the crowd? I didn’t know the answer to the rst question—or maybe I couldn’t decide—and so I found myself frozen, rooted to my spot, unable to even pogo.

That confusion—that sense of misplacedness and strangeness in the face of a racial binary—is nothing new in America. Since anti-miscegenation laws were ruled unconstitutional in 1967, the population of multiracial Americans has grown to represent nearly seven percent of the country. Today, multiracial America is expanding at a rate three times as fast as the country’s population at large…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed race couples still face racism in Australia

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2016-12-17 19:59Z by Steven

Mixed race couples still face racism in Australia

news.com.au
Sydney, Australia
2016-12-17

Ginger Gorman


Ginger, her husband Don, and their daughter Elsa when she was younger.Source: Supplied

BETWEEN us, my husband and I have got Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, Slovakian, English, Scottish and Irish heritage. In appearance, he’s Asian and I’m caucasian.

This is 2016 and so you wouldn’t even think that was even worth mentioning. But the fact is, reasonably often this affects the way other people treat us.

When we first got together, I just didn’t notice. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I refused to notice. (Backstory: I spent years at an international school where every second person had mixed-race parents. For me, this was just an everyday occurrence.)

Then one day when our eldest daughter, Elsa, was about 18 months old we took her to the doctor. My husband, Don, was holding Elsa in his arms at the reception counter. In the familiar way of a couple, I was standing to his left and our arms were casually touching.

A lady standing to the right of Don commented on how cute Elsa was and then asked him: “Where’s your wife?”

Don pointed to me and the lady went bright red in the face and started stammering: “Oh, oh.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Uganda is worried about the number of Chinese men marrying their women

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Economics, Media Archive on 2016-12-12 21:33Z by Steven

Uganda is worried about the number of Chinese men marrying their women

Quartz Africa
2016-12-09

Lily Kuo

Contractors, petty traders, investors, and entrepreneurs from China have been pouring into Uganda for the past decade. China is a top investor in the east African country, accounting for as much as half of total foreign investment between 2014 and 2015, according to the Uganda Investment Authority.

But according to Ugandan immigration officials, there’s one major downside: an increasing number of Chinese men are marrying Ugandan women to gain residency and continue their business interests in the country.

Officials told a parliamentary committee in late November that they are seeing more and more Chinese-Ugandan couples, often in sham unions. Couples are normally interviewed before spousal status is granted and Chinese men involved in sham marriages are deported.

“But we have many who are marrying and even producing… Even our Ugandan women are accepting to [reproduce] with these men,”an official from Uganda’s directorate of citizenship and immigration control told the committee.

Read the entire article here.

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When Looks Deceive: Being Biracial in Poland

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-12-11 21:21Z by Steven

When Looks Deceive: Being Biracial in Poland

Wanderfull
2016-11-14

Julia Kitlinski-hong
San Francisco, California

It was a late December evening and my mom had just arrived in Krakow, where I had been studying for the past three months. We were making our way from my apartment to where she was staying in the nearby city center.

As we approached the Main Square, a group of rowdy young men approached us.

It happened in a brief second, but their words were unmistakably clear.

“Ching-ching-chong.”

It lingered in the shadows of the street long after they disappeared down the road…

Read the entire article here.

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