Seeing Opportunity In A Question: ‘Where Are You Really From?’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2013-11-11 20:38Z by Steven

Seeing Opportunity In A Question: ‘Where Are You Really From?’

Morning Edition
National Public Radio

Renee Montagne, Host

Steve Inskeep, Host

Michele Norris, Host/Special Correspondent

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

“Where are you from?”

“No, really, where are you from?”

Those questions about identity and appearance come up again and again in submissions to The Race Card Project. In some cases, Norris tells Morning Edition‘s Steve Inskeep, people say it feels accusatory — like, ‘Do you really belong?’

It’s also a question that Alex Sugiura, because of his racially ambiguous appearance, can’t seem to escape.

Sugiura, 27, is the child of a first-generation Japanese immigrant father and a Jewish mother of Eastern European descent. Sugiura’s brother Max looks more identifiably Asian, but when people meet Alex, they’re often not satisfied to hear that he’s from Brooklyn

Read the article here. Listen to the story here. Download the audio here. Read the transcript here.

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De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor

Posted in Articles, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-11-06 04:58Z by Steven

De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor

The New York Times

Michael Barbaro

David W. Chen, City Hall Bureau Chief

Bill de Blasio hugged his son, Dante, at an election night party on Tuesday. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Bill de Blasio, who transformed himself from a little-known occupant of an obscure office into the fiery voice of New York’s disillusionment with a new gilded age, was elected the city’s 109th mayor on Tuesday..

His overwhelming victory, stretching from the working-class precincts of central Brooklyn to the suburban streets of northwest Queens, amounted to a forceful rejection of the hard-nosed, business-minded style of governance that reigned at City Hall for the past two decades and a sharp leftward turn for the nation’s largest metropolis.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat who is the city’s public advocate, defeated his Republican opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

It was the most sweeping victory in a mayor’s race since 1985, when Edward I. Koch won by 68 points, and it gave Mr. de Blasio what he said was an unmistakable mandate to pursue his liberal agenda….

…To an unusual degree, he relied on his own biracial family to connect with an increasingly diverse electorate, electrifying voters with a television commercial featuring his charismatic teenage son, Dante, who has a towering Afro…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial America Makes Census Boxes Obsolete

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, United States on 2013-11-04 18:49Z by Steven

Multiracial America Makes Census Boxes Obsolete

The Root

Keli Goff

As the nation becomes more multiracial, some question whether the survey can accurately reflect the country’s true diversity.

Editor’s note: This is the first of three in a series.

(The Root) — In 30 years, America will look very different than it does now. According to analysis of census data, by 2043 white Americans will no longer be a majority. But an equally significant population milestone will arrive in 2020. That is the year in which the next census takes place, and it will be the first one tasked with successfully chronicling the most racially and culturally mixed population in American history.

Governing the nation at the very time the census is grappling with this issue is the country’s first biracial president. Though President Obama has said he identifies as black on the census, there is a growing population of people who may share a similar background but do not wish to identify as he has chosen to. Helping to ensure that these Americans are adequately and accurately counted through his administration’s efforts to perfect a modern census could end up being a significant part of the Obama legacy.

Multiracial Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the country, yet the U.S. Census Bureau has struggled with how to effectively capture the changing racial makeup of America. In his new book What Is Your Race: The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans, Kenneth Prewitt takes the census to task for its many shortcomings when it comes to painting an accurate portrait of America’s racial and cultural landscape. Prewitt, though, is not just any run-of-the-mill critic. He is a former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, where he served from 1998 to 2001.

In an interview with The Root, Prewitt explained that America is unique in its racial categorization and its reasons for categorizing. “We decided why we wanted racial statistics and the purpose of them, and then designed statistics to accomplish those purposes.”…

Read the entire article here.

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the road weeps, the well runs dry

Posted in Arts, History, Live Events, Native Americans/First Nation, New Media, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-26 02:19Z by Steven

the road weeps, the well runs dry

Los Angeles Theater Center
514 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
Telephone: 213.489.0994

2013-10-24 through 2013-11-17
Thursday-Saturday: 20:00 PT (Local Time)
Sunday: 15:00 PT (Local Time)

Written by Marcus Gardley
Directed by Shirley Jo Finney

Rolling World Premiere

Surviving centuries of slavery, revolts, and The Trail of Tears, a community of self-proclaimed Freedmen creates the first all-black U.S. town in Wewoka, Oklahoma. The Freedmen (Black Seminoles and people of mixed origins) are rocked when the new religion and the old way come head to head and their former enslavers arrive to return them to the chains of bondage.  Written in gorgeously cadenced language, utilizing elements of African American folklore and daring humor, the road weeps, the well runs dry merges the myth, legends and history of the Seminole people.

Previews: October 24 & 25

For more information, click here.

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School aims to give biracial kids a place to ‘be themselves’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, New Media on 2013-10-20 22:07Z by Steven

School aims to give biracial kids a place to ‘be themselves’

Japan Times

Michael Bradley, Special to the Japan Times

NAKAGUSUKU, OKINAWA – Melissa Tomlinson doesn’t have very happy memories of elementary school. As an 8-year-old, she “never had a chance to eat lunch normally — the other kids put something in it, or they mixed the milk and soup and orange together and told me to eat it.”

Like the three or four other mixed-race children in her class, Tomlinson was bullied on a daily basis. Now a 26-year-old high school English teacher, she still recalls how “they told me to go home to America, and they talked bad about my mom.”

Her teachers did little to stop the abuse — indeed, some, wittingly or not, even contributed to it. Every summer, on the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa — the three-month assault in which around 100,000 Okinawan civilians perished — Tomlinson would become the focus of the class. “The teacher always said, ‘Melissa, can you stand up? So, you are half-American, what do you think about this?’ For me, I was like, ‘I grew up here, I don’t know about American things.’ ” Tomlinson had no memory of her father, a U.S. serviceman who’d split from her mother when she was still a baby.

Tomlinson’s story is far from unique. Since 1946, many children here have been born to U.S. military fathers and Okinawan mothers. Sometimes (and especially when the fathers are deployed elsewhere) the mothers are left to bring up the children by themselves, and, like Tomlinson, those children don’t always have an easy time at school.

When five single mothers set up a school for their own “Amerasian” children in Okinawa 15 years ago, they were not so much worried about bullying as concerned about getting their kids a bilingual education. The only one of the women still involved with the school — the current principal, Midori Thayer — explains: “Our children needed to learn both languages because of their two different heritages. They had to be themselves.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Review of Adult Supervision at Park Theatre Finsbury Park

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, New Media, United Kingdom on 2013-10-20 21:54Z by Steven

Review of Adult Supervision at Park Theatre Finsbury Park

Alan Franks, Senior Reviewer

Adult supervision, if you remember, is what Barack Obama said Washington needed. This was back in 2006, two years before his election as forty-fourth president of the US, and the first black incumbent of the office. So there could hardly be a more timely moment than now for a play bearing his words as its title, with America once more squeezing through one of its congressional crises which baffle the world with their apparent childishness.

What’s more, Sarah Rutherford’s play is set on that giddy evening five years ago when the votes were counted, the unthinkable happened and a black American family prepared to move into the White House. So the joyful political liberation plays out as a running backdrop to the get-together of the four youngish women on whom we are here to eavesdrop. More a frontdrop actually, since the TV is situated on the fourth wall, which means they gawp and whoop at us as the results of the count come in. It is as if we are making our own fleeting guest appearances at the unfolding drama.

Our hostess is the controlling Natasha, lawyer turned full-time mother who loses no opportunity for trumpeting the moral virtue of her career shift. Her children are a statement in their own right; she is white and they are black, the fruits of an adoption mission to Ethiopia. One of her guests is the angry Mo, whose husband is black; another is Issy, Natasha’s supposed best friend; the third, and only black woman is the heavily pregnant Angela. In Natasha’s patronising, or matronising vision, the four of them are bonded by their commitment to mixed-race progeny…

Read the review here.

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The Era of Black Indian Transcendance

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Native Americans/First Nation, New Media, United States on 2013-09-29 16:49Z by Steven

The Era of Black Indian Transcendance


Phil Wilkes Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, California Seminole Mico (Nation of One) and Heniha for the Wildcat/John Horse Band of the Seminoles of Texas and Old Mexico

I was a 52 yr. old African-American, when I discovered that I was really an African-Native American. This epiphany took place 14 years ago. Since then, my quest for identity has been featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s, book and exhibit, entitled: indiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas. It’s a banner show, that has been touring the U.S. since 2009.

A few years ago, I submitted a long held idea to Indian Voices, an online/on stand monthly newspaper, which is published by Rose Davis. My idea was to create a news entity, called the Bureau of Black Indian Affairs (BBIA).  A news column, designed to address some of the issues that affect Black Indians, who only have Oral History to go on. Mr. William L. Katz, the Father of Black Indian Studies in the United States, was fully in favor of my idea and came on board with the full force of his incredible body of work. I suggested that the BBIA be formed as a News Bureau—not as an organization whose mission it was to replicate what, the Official US Government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has done, mostly for By-Bloods. It would report on the status of Black Indians. While the 3 co-founders were Phil Wilkes Fixico, Rose Davis and Wm. L. Katz; Rose Davis, a Black Seminole, is carrying on with it…

Read the entire article here.

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‘It’s not written on their skin like it is ours’: Greek letter organizations in the age of the multicultural imperative

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2013-09-19 22:05Z by Steven

‘It’s not written on their skin like it is ours’: Greek letter organizations in the age of the multicultural imperative

Volume 13, Number 5 (October 2013)
pages 519-543
DOI: 10.1177/1468796812471127

Joanna S. Hunter, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Radford University, Radford, Virginia

Matthew W. Hughey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Connecticut

Today’s students wrestle with the continued salience of racial identity on campuses that encourage the celebration of ‘diversity’ while at once digesting messages that the USA is now largely ‘post-racial’. Based on data collected through fieldwork observation, focus groups and in-depth interviews with a local Multicultural Greek Council for fraternities and sororities, we argue that ‘multicultural’ student organizations engage in a variety of racial identity tactics that simultaneously constrain and enable the perception of their racial identities. By relying on the two cultural narratives of multiculturalism—abstract and organizational—members of Greek organizations that do not conform to the White/Black binary can construct identities and a movement understood as rational, progressive and generally innocuous. Yet, in practice, the dominant expectations to perform ‘multiculturalism’ were manifest in narrow, essentialist and singular expressions of ethnic pride as an oppositional identity to Anglo-conformity and color-blindness, rather than an embrace of pluralism and multiculturalism per se. By highlighting how members of multicultural student organizations navigate this troubling paradox, our study raises important questions about the concept of multiculturalism, especially as it is constructed and enacted by the millennial generation.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Vietnam Legacy: Finding G.I. Fathers, and Children Left Behind

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-09-16 20:57Z by Steven

Vietnam Legacy: Finding G.I. Fathers, and Children Left Behind

The New York Times

James Dao, Military and Veterans Affairs Reporter

SALTILLO, Miss. — Soon after he departed Vietnam in 1970, Specialist James Copeland received a letter from his Vietnamese girlfriend. She was pregnant, she wrote, and he was the father.

He re-enlisted, hoping to be sent back. But the Army was drawing down and kept him stateside. By the time Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, he had lost touch with the woman. He got a job at a plastics factory in northern Mississippi and raised a family. But a hard question lingered: did she really have his child?

“A lot of things we did in Vietnam I could put out of my mind,” said Mr. Copeland, 67. “But I couldn’t put that out.”

In 2011, Mr. Copeland decided to find the answer, acknowledging what many other veterans have denied, kept secret or tried to forget: that they left children behind in Vietnam…

Read the entire article here.

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Are Latinos “White”?

Posted in Articles, History, Latino Studies, New Media, United States on 2013-08-31 18:29Z by Steven

Are Latinos “White”?

Jesus For Revolutionaries: A Blog About Race, Social Justice, and Christianity

Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Hundreds of years of cultural politics underly the current debate over the proper racial categorization for Latinos.   For the greater part of U.S. history, Latinos argued for legal “whiteness” as a means of shielding itself from racial discrimination.  At the same time, up until the present day, many Latinos have consistently identified as “white” based upon the influence of colonial notions of race in Latin America.  Such identification with whiteness has the dual negative effect of disassociating the Latino community from the contemporary civil rights struggle in the United States, and perpetuating Latin American racist ideology.

Following the Mexican American War of 1848, Anglo American politicians struggled with how to incorporate more than 115,000 former Mexican citizens into United States society.  Many politicians argued vehemently, and publically, that they did not wish to confer the full rights of American citizenship upon the Mexican population which they viewed as an inferior cultural group.   The compromise, articulated in Article IX of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, was that Mexicans in the conquered territories could choose to become U.S. citizens, but that such citizenship would not take effect until an undetermined future date to be decided upon by Congress.  More than two decades after the signing of the treaty in 1848, the citizenship status of thousands of Mexicans remained ambiguous and unresolved.

Mexicans in California were finally declared to be American citizens in 1870 as part of the famous case of People v. De la Guerra.  Since U.S. citizenship at that time was reserved for those defined by the law as “white,” Mexicans at that moment gained not only citizenship, but also an implicit judicial declaration of whiteness.   Despite their legal whiteness, however, Mexicans, and other Latinos continued to experience explicit, and pervasive, racial discrimination in housing, education, and every other facet of American life…

Read the entire essay here.

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