‘Half Asian’? ‘Half White’? No — ‘Hapa’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-16 01:37Z by Steven

‘Half Asian’? ‘Half White’? No — ‘Hapa’

National Public Radio
Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
2014-12-15

Alex Laughlin, Social Media Journalist
National Journal

She was tall and freckled, with long, dark hair — and we stood out in the same way. As I leaned in to say hi, she yelled over the din, “You’re hapa, aren’t you?” It was the last word I expected to hear in D.C., but I welcomed the refreshing respite from the constant and inevitable question: “What are you?”

What am I? This is what they’re really asking here: What is the particular racial mix that created you? Because YOU don’t fit into a single box in my mind, and that confuses me.

I’m half Korean and half white, and it’s usually easier to just leave it there. If I were to volunteer my identity though, I would tell you I’m hapa.

Hapa is a Hawaiian pidgin word used to describe mixed-race people — primarily, though not exclusively, those who are half white and half Asian. It’s short for hapalua, the Hawaiian word that literally means “half” — and it originated as a derogatory term toward mixed-race children of plantation guest workers from the Philippines, Korea, China and Japan, and the women they married in Hawaii in the early part of the 20th century

…Artist Kip Fulbeck lived in Hawaii for several years, and he remembers a more keen awareness of racial and cultural differences among nonwhites than on the mainland.

“If I’m living in Hawaii and playing pickup basketball,” he said, “they’ll say ‘Hapa haole, throw me the ball!’ or ‘Hey, buddhahead! Hey, kimchi!'”…

…In 2000, Fulbeck started taking photos of hapa people and inviting them to identify themselves in their own words. The collection of photographs grew into the Hapa Project, a multiracial identity project encompassing traveling exhibits, presentations and a published book: Part Asian, 100% Hapa. He has photographed thousands of people for the project, and the community surrounding it remains lively online…

Read the entire article here.

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Legacy of the President’s Mother

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-10-15 16:21Z by Steven

Legacy of the President’s Mother

Mālamalama, The Magazine of the University of Hawaiʻi System
January 2009 (2009-01-14)

Paula Bender
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi


Stanley Ann Dunham

The candidacy and election of President Barack Obama drew international eyes to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where his parents met. But among some at the university, it is Obama’s late mother who stirs strong emotions of memory and hope.

Stanley Ann Dunham took an unconventional approach to life on both personal and professional levels. Her son’s book portrays her as an innocent, kind and generous; academics who knew her and reporters who have discovered her describe the idealism and optimism of her worldview and work ethic.

In her work, she was not a romantic, rather appreciating the artistic while dealing with the realistic, one contemporary observes.

Dunham was born in Kansas and attended high school in Washington State. Moving to Hawaiʻi with her parents, she entered UH in 1960. In Russian class, she met the first African student to attend UH, charismatic Barack Obama Sr., who moved in politically liberal, intellectual student circles that included future Congressman Neil Abercrombie. They married and had Barack Obama Jr. in 1961.

Obama Sr. left his family for Harvard [University] and then Kenya. Dunham returned to UH, earning a math degree. She pursued graduate work, married another international student, Lolo Soetoro, and returned with him to Indonesia. There she began extensive research and fieldwork and welcomed the birth of daughter Maya Kassandra Soetoro, nine years Barack’s junior.

Although eventually divorced a second time, Dunham is credited with encouraging her children’s appreciation of their ethnic heritages…

Read the entire article here.

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DANCE/CHANGE: The Mixed-Race Polynesian Body in Settler and Indigenous Performance

Posted in Anthropology, Live Events, Media Archive on 2014-10-05 21:53Z by Steven

DANCE/CHANGE: The Mixed-Race Polynesian Body in Settler and Indigenous Performance

University of California, Riverside
900 University Avenue
Riverside, California 92521
Athletics & Dance Building Dance Studio Theatre, ATHD 102
Tuesday, 2014-10-21, 16:10-18-00 PDT (Local Time)

Maile Arvin, UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Riverside

The Mixed-Race Polynesian Body in Settler and Indigenous Performance

This talk examines the genealogy of settler images of the mixed-race, “almost white,” Polynesian body within early twentieth century eugenics. I look at why the idea that Polynesians used to be white, and are destined to be white again in the future, persists, and how it structures settler colonialism in Polynesia, with a particular focus on Hawaiʻi.

I also show how Indigenous artists work to decolonize categories of race and gender attributed to Polynesian bodies, reframing their own bodies within Indigenous frameworks and futures.

For more information, click here.

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Possessions of Whiteness: Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness in the Pacific

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2014-06-04 19:22Z by Steven

Possessions of Whiteness: Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness in the Pacific

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society
June 2014 (2014-06-02)

Maile Arvin, University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California, Santa Cruz

I confess: I avoided watching the 2011 Oscar award-winning movie The Descendants (directed by the acclaimed Alexander Payne of Sideways and Nebraska, starring George Clooney) for a long time. I had read the book of the same name, by Kaui Hart Hemmings, on which the movie is based. I have complicated feelings about the book—a witty and often wrenching portrayal of a rich Native Hawaiian family that doesn’t seem to feel, look, or know much about being Native Hawaiian. Though I recognize such struggles, about feeling or being disconnected from your own culture and nation, as a very Native story (or perhaps, more precisely, as the story of settler colonialism), I don’t recognize the ending of Hemmings’ story. After much turmoil, the protagonist of her novel decides not to sell the land he has inherited from his family. It is hard to connect with the rich protagonists of Hemmings’ novel because I don’t know any Native Hawaiians who have land to be inherited. I don’t know any Native Hawaiians who frequent yacht clubs. And I don’t know any Native Hawaiians who seem so completely unaware of the truly amazing achievements of recent cultural revitalization efforts in the Native Hawaiian community—from language revitalization to traditional seafaring (our beloved Hōkūleʻa has set sail on a round-the-world voyage this past week). But, to each her own, I thought.

When I did finally watch the movie, despite the fact that I knew the story, despite the fact that I spend most of my time writing, researching and thinking about whiteness and settler colonialism in the Pacific, and despite the fact that I attended (for a time) the very same, very white-dominated private high school in Honolulu that Hemmings (and, incidentally, President Obama) attended, I was stunned. In the film, the residents of Hawaiʻi are shown to be, almost entirely, white people…

…Another way that settler colonialism and white supremacy buttress each other, but are not exactly the same, is that “racial mixture” is encouraged under settler colonialism, in order to make Indigenous peoples, and their particular claims to land, less distinct from settlers. Any kind of “mixture” allows Indigenous peoples to be seen as less “authentic,” as “dying out.” However, the goal of settler colonialism is to mix the population in such a way that it is closer in proximity to whiteness. These ideologies filter down into Indigenous communities in subtle and sometimes surprising ways. For example, many Native Hawaiians are multiracial, and are widely accepted within Native Hawaiian communities if their “racial mix” includes white or Asian. Being Native Hawaiian and black, however, is often less embraced, less recognizable, and less valorized…

Read the entire article here.

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GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

Posted in Africa, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2014-03-11 19:08Z by Steven

GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

University of Michigan
G648 Haven Hall
505 S State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
2014-03-13 through 2014-05-02
Opening Reception: 2014-03-14, 17:30-20:00 CDT (Local Time)

Hosted by the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

GalleryDAAS presents So Called, a photography series by award-winning artist and U-M professor Edward West. Curated by Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, So Called is a transnational project about multi-ethnic identities in three locations: Honolulu, Hawaii, Havana, Cuba and Cape Town, South Africa. The series includes photographic portraits of individuals drawn from these communities and focuses on the issue of race, specifically the mixing of races and its social complexities. While the mixing of races has long been a consequence of diasporic/nomadic history, we have only recently found a place in our cultural imaginary for a fuller representation of these collective and individual identities and destinies. The introduction of a mixed race category on the U.S. census, literary and filmic treatments of racialized lives, the emergence of postcolonial studies, all suggest an expanded space for the reception of ideas and issues concerning creolization. See GalleryDAAS here.

A practicing artist for more than 30 years, Edward West’s creative work includes photography, collage, and installation. His exhibitions include installations at the Smithsonian Institution, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rose Art Museum in Boston, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of American Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

For more information, click here.

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Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2014-02-23 22:48Z by Steven

Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

University of California, San Diego
2013
320 pages

Maile Renee Arvin

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnic Studies

This dissertation analyzes how scientific knowledge has represented the Polynesian race as an essentially mixed, “almost white” race. Nineteenth and twentieth century scientific literature—spanning the disciplines of ethnology, physical anthropology, sociology and genetics—positioned Polynesians as the biological relatives of Caucasians. Scientific proof of this relationship allowed scientists, policymakers, and popular media to posit European and American settler colonialism in the Pacific as a peaceful and natural fulfillment of a biological destiny. Understanding knowledge as an important agent of settler colonial possession—in the political as well as supernatural, haunting connotations of that word— this project seeks to understand how Polynesians (with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians) have been bodily “possessed,” along with the political and economic possession of their lands. Thus, the project traces a logic of “possession through whiteness” in which Polynesians were once, and under the salutary influence of settler colonialism, will again be white.

The project’s analysis coheres around four figures of the “almost white” Polynesian race: the ancestrally white Polynesian of ethnology and Aryanism (1830s- 1870s), the Part-Hawaiian of physical anthropology and eugenics (1910s-1920s), the mixed-race “Hawaiian girl” of sociology (1930s-1940s), and the mixed-race, soon-to-be white (again) Polynesian of genetics, whose full acceptance in Hawaiʻi seemed to provide a model of racial harmony to the world (1950s). Rather than attempting to uncover “racist” scientific practices, the project reveals how historical scientific literature produced knowledge about the Polynesian race that remains important in how Native Hawaiians are recognized (and misrecognized) in contemporary scientific, legal and cultural spheres.

In addition to the historical analysis, the project also examines contemporary Native Hawaiian responses to the logic of possession through whiteness. These include regenerative actions that radically displace whiteness, such as contemporary relationship building between Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. At the same time, other regenerative actions attempt to reproduce Native Hawaiian-ness with a standard of racial purity modeled on whiteness, including legal fights waged over blood quantum legislation. Overall, the project provides a scientific genealogy as to how Polynesians have been recognized as “almost white,” and questions under what conditions this possessive recognition can be refused.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Signature Page
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Vita
  • Abstract of the Dissertation
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Polynesian Problem and its Genomic Solutions
    • Part 1: Defining the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.1.1: From Who to Whose: Origins, Identity, and Possession of the Indigenous Pacific
      • 1.1.2: Polynesia Through the Christian Lens of Degeneration
      • 1.1.3: Heirlooms of the Aryan Race
    • Part 2: (Un)Mapping Humanity: Genetic Sameness and Mixture in the Pacific
      • 1.2.1: Genetically “Solving” the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.2.2: The Hawaiian Genome Project
  • Chapter 2: “Still in the Blood”: Past and Present Configurations of the “Part-Hawaiian”
    • Part 1: Eugenic Thinking About Native Hawaiian Betterment
      • 2.1.1: Eugenics Pedagogy in Hawaiʻi: Uldrick Thompson’s Hopes for the Hawaiian “Remnant”
      • 2.1.2: Sullivan’s “Two Types” of Polynesians
    • Part 2: Leveraging Blood and Whiteness
      • 2.2.1: Polynesian Blood and the Pre-requisite of Whiteness
      • 2.2.2: Calling the Law on “Native Hawaiians with a Capital N”
  • Chapter 3: Re-envisioning “Hybrid” and “Hapa”: Race, Gender and Indigeneity in Hawaiʻi as Racial Laboratory
    • Part 1: Hybrid Hawaiian Types: Native Hawaiian Women in Hawaiʻiʻs Racial Laboratory
      • 3.1.1: The Racial Laboratory of Romanzo Adams and the Chicago School of Sociology
      • 3.1.2: Hybrid Hawaiian Girls
    • Part 2: Hapa and Whole
      • 3.2.1: Kip Fulbeck’s Vision of Hapa as a “Whole” New Race
      • 3.2.2: Re-constellations of Asian Settlers, Haoles Settlers, and Native Hawaiians
  • Chapter 4: Beyond Recognition: Native Hawaiians, Human Rights, and Global Indigenous Identities
    • Part 1: Polynesia and Hawaiʻi in the Science of Race After World World II
      • 4.1.1: The Polynesian Problem as Anti-Racist Example
      • 4.1.2: “Tropical Democracy” and the Science of Stabilizing Mixed Race
    • Part 2: Reframing Recognition: Indigenous Rights and Relationships in Oceania and Beyond
      • 4.2.1: Polynesian / Pacific / Pacific Islander
      • 4.2.2: Indigenous / Non-Self-Governing Territory
      • 4.2.3: Native American / Alaska Native / Idle No More
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Hawai’i’s Interracial History, Culture, and Tradition: Construction and Deconstruction (Sawyer Seminar VIII)

Posted in Anthropology, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Oceania on 2014-02-21 08:58Z by Steven

Hawai’i’s Interracial History, Culture, and Tradition: Construction and Deconstruction (Sawyer Seminar VIII)

University of Southern California, University Park Campus
Doheny Memorial Library
East Asian Seminar Room (110C)
Friday, 2014-02-28, 09:00-13:00 PST (Local Time)

How are islands connectors of flows of peoples and culture? What types of constructions and deconstructions of race and identity have influenced Hawai’i’s interracial history? How might the past impact the future of racial/ethnic relations on the Hawaiian islands?

PRESENTERS

“Hybrid” and “Hapa”: Challenging the Construction of Hawai‘i as America’s Racial Laboratory

Maile Arvin, University of Santa Cruz, California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow; Ph.D. UC San Diego
Author of Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race (2013).

“Chinese-Hawaiian Hybrids,” “Hapa Haoles,” and Other Categories: Mixed Race and Racial Consciousness Across the Native-Settler Divide in Territorial Hawai‘i

Christine Manganaro, Assistant Professor
Maryland Institute College of Art
Author of Assimilating Hawai‘i: Racial Science in a Colonial Laboratory, 1919-1959 (forthcoming)

Respondent:

Duncan Williams, Associate Professor of Religion
University of Southern California

For more information, click here.

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Intermarriage, even at high rates, does not, however, encompass or even represent the scope and nature of ethnic relations in society.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-04-04 04:01Z by Steven

Intermarriage, even at high rates, does not, however, encompass or even represent the scope and nature of ethnic relations in society. While clearly influenced by the structure of ethnic group relations, intermarriage nonetheless is still fundamentally an interpersonal relationship. There has been a decided tendency to overemphasize the significance of outmarriage on the overall quality of interethnic relations in Hawai‘i. High rates of intermarriage may indicate an ethnically tolerant society but not necessarily a harmonious or egalitarian one.

Jonathan Y. Okamura, “The Illusion of Paradise: Privileging Multiculturalism in Hawai‘i,” in Making Majorities: Constituting the Nation in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Fiji, Turkey, and the United States, edited by Dru C. Gladney (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1998), 269.

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Assimilating Hawai‘i: Racial Science in a Colonial “Laboratory,” 1919-1939

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-09-21 21:57Z by Steven

Assimilating Hawai‘i: Racial Science in a Colonial “Laboratory,” 1919-1939

University of Minnesota
July 2012
322 pages

Christine Leah Manganaro

A DISSERTATION IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

This dissertation demonstrates how American physical anthropologists and sociologists working in Hawai‘i framed the biological and cultural assimilation of mixed race people and Asian migrants into Americanness as natural rather than ideological, thus naturalizing the islands’ incorporation into the United States as a story about integration rather than colonization. Scientists argued that mixing in this “racial laboratory” improved the quality of the majority non-white population, that migration and colonization were features of a natural historical trajectory of Americanization, and that race relations in the islands were the product of a human ecology that went hand in hand with capitalist development. All of these ideas became the racial common sense that traveled to the continental U.S. and perpetuated American amnesia about empire.

This project revisits the historiography of the supposed retreat of scientific racism and, by closely examining the methods, actual data, and conclusions of scientists whose work shaped their disciplines, demonstrates how racialist thinking persisted in work that has been characterized as either questioning the race concept, as politically progressive, or both. Taking cues from studies of settler colonialism in Hawai‘i and recent debate about the actuality of a retreat of scientific racism in the United States, this dissertation demonstrates how treating assimilation as a natural process that needed to be better understood, rather than a discursive project of colonial governance, legitimated American power in the islands.

During a period when scientists and politicians alike were interested in fitness, degeneracy, and the consequences of immigration and miscegenation as part of debates about national progress, scientists viewed Hawai‘i as a laboratory where they could conduct research on heredity and cultural change that was difficult or impossible to do in the continental United States. American social scientists working in Hawai‘i framed the processes they studied, particularly the assimilation of mixed race people and Asian migrants into American culture and identity, as natural rather than ideological. American scientists with sometimes opposing political orientations such as Louis R. Sullivan and L.C. Dunn concluded that, unlike mixed race people generally and especially “mulattoes,” Chinese-Hawaiian “hybrids” were actually improvements on their supposedly pure parents (chapter 1).

Physical anthropologist Harry Shapiro, in his study of racial plasticity among migrants in a changed environment, developed few concrete findings, but helped establish Hawai‘i as a long-term human research site. Sociologist Romanzo Adams, who was trained at the University of Chicago, produced the history of Hawai‘i as a history of admixture that exaggerated the degree of interracial reproduction and suggested that the territorial population was well on its way to complete biological amalgamation (chapter 3).

Through a series of interviews with couples in interracial marriages and the collection of student papers about identity and racial prejudice, many of which contradicted Adams’ findings and predictions, graduate researcher Margaret M. Lam recorded the testimony of residents who both resisted certain types of racialization as they also participated in the construction and maintenance of racial boundaries and meanings (chapter 4).

Finally, sociologist Andrew Lind, framed social inequality and tense race relations in the territory as a product of competition for jobs and housing, a “natural” feature of “human ecology,” rather than a product of intentional labor control and government decisions (chapter 5). This advanced the idea that social conditions in Hawai‘i were a natural product of modernization rather colonization.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: “Biologically Better” Studies and Hybrids: The Persistence of Racialism in Studies of Race Mixing in Territorial Hawai‘i, 1916-1932
  • Chapter 2: A Racial Laboratory for the World: Establishing Studies of Race Mixing, Migration, and Environment in the 1930s
  • Chapter 3: Turning a Colony into a Melting Pot: Romanzo Adams’ Interracial Marriage in Hawaii and the Natural History of Hawai‘i’s Americanization, 1919-1937
  • Chapter 4: Narrating Colonial Racial Formation: Race Consciousness and Identity in the Vernacular, 1928-1936
  • Chapter 5: Defining an “Island Community”: Race Relations as Ecological Succession, 1927-1939
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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President Obama’s basketball love affair has roots in Hawaii high school team

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2012-06-10 18:39Z by Steven

President Obama’s basketball love affair has roots in Hawaii high school team

The Washington Post
2012-06-09

David Maraniss

To say that President Obama loves basketball understates the role of the sport in his life. He has been devoted to the game for 40 years now, ever since the father he did not know and never saw again gave him his first ball during a brief Christmastime visit. Basketball is central to his self identity. It is global yet American-born, much like him. It is where he found a place of comfort, a family, a mode of expression, a connection from his past to his future. With foundation roots in the Kansas of his white forebears, basketball was also the city game, helping him find his way toward blackness, his introduction to an African American culture that was distant to him when he was young yet his by birthright.

As a teenager growing up in Hawaii,he dreamed the big hoops dream. He had posters of the soaring Dr. J on his bedroom wall. A lefty, he practiced the spin moves of Tiny Archibald. And in the yearbook of an older high school classmate who wanted to be a lawyer, he wrote: “Anyway, been great knowing you and I hope we keep in touch. Good luck in everything you do, and get that law degree. Some day when I am an all-pro basketballer, and I want to sue my team for more money, I’ll call on you. Barry.”

It never happened, of course. But the adolescent known as Barry kept on playing, even after he took back his given name of Barack and went off to college at Occidental, Columbia and Harvard and went into community organizing, then politics in Illinois. He played whenever he could on playgrounds, in fancy sport clubs, at home, on the road. During his first trip back to Honolulu after being elected president, he rounded up a bunch of his old high school pals, got the key to the gym at Punahou School, and went at it. When the pickup game was over, Darryl Gabriel, who had been the star of their championship-winning team, found himself muttering to another former teammate, “Man, Barack is a lot better than Barry ever was!”…

Read the entire article here.

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