‘Spy In The House Of Race’: A Daughter Of Black, Chinese, And Jewish Parents On Belonging Everywhere And Nowhere

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-01 22:28Z by Steven

‘Spy In The House Of Race’: A Daughter Of Black, Chinese, And Jewish Parents On Belonging Everywhere And Nowhere

LAist
Southern California Public Radio
Pasadena, California
2021-05-14

Lili Nadja Barsha


Lili Barsha, left, as a child with her parents, Tony and Yen, and younger brother Jake.
(Courtesy of Lili Barsha)

I’m an American of African, Asian, European, and Native descent.

I’ve lived all over the world and have been taken for many things. I describe myself as multi-racial, Mixed in America, blended. I tend to reject the hyphen — I see it as a little plank that walks us off our citizen ship. By us, I mean we people of color other than white. I have too many planks to walk as a Black, white, red, yellow — therefore, tan — American.

I’m nobody’s All-American, a spy in the house of race.

Ethnicity shapes what I eat, what music I listen to, what I read, and who I keep as company. It defines culture, family, history, and aesthetics.

I am the bloom of my ancestors. A vessel filled with genetic memory. That, and memories of otherness. Here are some of them…

Read the entire article here.

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Tamarind Sky, a Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels on 2021-07-21 20:52Z by Steven

Tamarind Sky, a Novel

Inanna
2020-10-15
412 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77133-733-5
ePUB ISBN: 978-1-77133-734-2
PDF ISBN: 978-1-77133-736-6

Thelma Wheatley

When British immigrant Selena Jones marries Aidan Gilmor, a Sinhalese-Eurasian — part British — from Sri Lanka in the 1960s in Toronto, a passionate clash of culture ensues. Selena’s mother in Wales is horrified when Selena brings Aidan home to Wales for the wedding. Back in Toronto, Selena faces further prejudice and disapproval of her “mixed marriage,” despite Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s new “multiculturalism,” which was being encouraged but also resented. She is shocked not only by the reaction of neighbours but by the teachers at the all-White school in Toronto where she teaches, and she pretends that Aidan is a White Canadian. When two poor West Indian and two East Indian children from a new government housing project nearby unexpectedly arrive at the school, Selena is forced to take a stand in their defence. Gradually she learns to face her fears and confront racism. She is drawn into a deeper understanding of her Sri Lankan family, and especially of her father-in-law, a former tea planter under the British, who left Ceylon after Independence in 1956. She sees the effect of colonialism on Aidan and his family, trying to be “British” while caught in the middle of the civil war conflict in Sri Lanka. The revelation of her father-in-law’s secret guilt about the past leads to an inevitable and shocking climax.

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Personal Attention Roleplay, Stories

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Novels on 2021-07-21 00:59Z by Steven

Personal Attention Roleplay, Stories

Metonymy Press
2021-10-19
280 pages
13.3 x 20.5 x 1.27 cm
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7774852-1-4

Helen Chau Bradley

A young gymnast crushes on an older, more talented teammate while contending with her overworked mother. A newly queer twenty-something juggles two intimate relationships—with a slippery anarchist lover and an idiosyncratic meals-on-wheels recipient. A queer metal band’s summer tour unravels amid the sticky heat of the Northeastern US. A codependent listicle writer becomes obsessed with a Japanese ASMR channel.

The stories in Personal Attention Roleplay are propelled by queer loneliness, mixed-race confusion, late capitalist despondency, and the pitfalls of intimacy. Taking place in Montreal, Toronto, and elsewhere, they feature young Asian misfits struggling with the desire to see themselves reflected—in their surroundings, in others, online. Chau Bradley’s precise language and investigation of our more troubling motivations stand out in this wryly funny debut, through stories that hint at the uncanny while remaining grounded in the everyday.

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Elizabeth Miki Brina: “The historical and the personal are intertwined.”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2021-07-17 00:10Z by Steven

Elizabeth Miki Brina: “The historical and the personal are intertwined.”

Guernica
2021-05-10

Elizabeth Lothian, Digital Director


Photo credit: Thad Lee

The author of Speak, Okinawa talks about learning her family history, writing from guilt, and questioning her father’s values.

Elizabeth Miki Brina’s debut memoir Speak, Okinawa is a nuanced investigation of self, lineage, and inheritance. Born in the 1980s to an Okinawan mother and a white, American, ex-military father, Brina struggled with the duality of her identity. She connected more with her father—the dominant force in her family triad—often in an attempt to fit in with the 99 percent white suburb in which she grew up, and this made her feel distant from her already isolated mother.

It is only years later, after moving out of her parents’ enveloping orbit, that Brina comes to question why she feels so disconnected from her mother and Okinawan ancestry. She then sets out to explore her heritage—half that of the colonized and half that of the colonizer. We take this journey with her as she recounts the history of Okinawa. These chapters, voiced brilliantly in the first person plural “we,” tells the reader of Okinawa’s conquest by China and Japan, the horrors it faced in World War II—nearly a third of its population was killed in one battle alone—and the subsequent US military occupation of the island, which continues to this day.

As Brina learns the history of her maternal lineage, she comes to better understand not just her mother but herself. She is then forced to reckon with the role her father played in dictating her worldview and to try and unknot how America, as both a political entity and a cluster of ideals, has marginalized other ways of being…

Read the entire article here.

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Speak, Okinawa: A Memior

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Monographs, United States on 2021-07-13 21:18Z by Steven

Speak, Okinawa: A Memior

Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Randomhouse)
2021-02-23
304 Pages
5-5/8 x 8-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525657347
Paperback ISBN: 9781984898463
Ebook ISBN: 9780525657354
Audiobook ISBN: 9780593348925

Elizabeth Miki Brina

A searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman’s journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage.

Elizabeth’s mother was working as a nightclub hostess on U.S.-occupied Okinawa when she met the American soldier who would become her husband. The language barrier and power imbalance that defined their early relationship followed them to the predominantly white, upstate New York suburb where they moved to raise their only daughter. There, Elizabeth grew up with the trappings of a typical American childhood and adolescence. Yet even though she felt almost no connection to her mother’s distant home, she also felt out of place among her peers.

Decades later, Elizabeth comes to recognize the shame and self-loathing that haunt both her and her mother, and attempts a form of reconciliation, not only to come to terms with the embattled dynamics of her family but also to reckon with the injustices that reverberate throughout the history of Okinawa and its people. Clear-eyed and profoundly humane, Speak, Okinawa is a startling accomplishment—a heartfelt exploration of identity, inheritance, forgiveness, and what it means to be an American.

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‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-07-09 02:19Z by Steven

‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

gal-dem
2021-06-30

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


image credit: Tao Leigh Goffe/Canva

In this extract from ‘The Other Windrush‘, writer Tao Leigh Goffe explores the history of relative Hyacinth Lee, who migrated to the UK from Jamaica.

Family history is colonial history. How, then, to understand the vernacular photographic record and what is missing about the Windrush era, itself already an omission from British history? Since the inception of the technology of photography in the 1840s, the family photo album as an heirloom to be passed down, vertically, has formed the flesh of blood relation. The family album is also a literary surface inscribed with multiple meanings about race, gender, sexuality, class and who does not belong in the family tree. The visuality of collected images forms the fleshy proof of a seemingly biological argument for bourgeois belonging and familial intimacy. Blood is proof of kinship; the family portrait is flesh, and often colonial belonging.

Because family history is inevitably colonial history, I am invested in what and who is left out of the family album and outside of colonial history. Of particular (and selfish) interest to me is the impossibility of subjects of African and Chinese heritage. Photographs of Afro-Chinese families pose a challenge to the British colonial Trinidad experiment that wished to introduce Chinese labour to the Caribbean plantation to replace Africans in the early nineteenth century.

The ‘experiment’ documented in a secret Parliamentary Papers memorandum predicted the races would not mix. African and Asian people did, of course, ‘mix’; and many subsequent channels of migration were formed from Africa meeting Asia (both China and India) in the Caribbean. Where do we see these descendants present in the routes of the Windrush generation?…

Read the entire article here.

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A Japanese School Edited Her Yearbook Photo. She Says It Was Racist.

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive on 2021-07-03 03:35Z by Steven

A Japanese School Edited Her Yearbook Photo. She Says It Was Racist.

VICE World News
2021-07-01

Hanako Montgomery, Reporter


AI NISHIDA’S HAIR IS NATURALLY BROWN (LEFT), BUT HER HAIR WAS EDITED TO APPEAR BLACK IN HER SCHOOL’S YEARBOOK (RIGHT). PHOTO: COURTESY OF AI NISHIDA

Ai Nishida had never been punished for her brown hair before.

Like many other schools in Japan, her middle school required all students to have black hair. But having told her teachers of her mixed heritage, she was exempt from this rule. Besides, she thought, she looked the part of the mixed-Japanese and white girl, so it was unlikely faculty would forget her lighter hair color was natural.

But when she received her middle school yearbook just days after graduating, she was shocked to see her picture had been edited. Nishida’s hair was painted black, a thick slab coated over her locks. For the first time, she felt someone was telling her she looked wrong. She’s called the school’s actions “racist.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2021-06-29 23:12Z by Steven

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
November 2018
256 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8708-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9

Edited By:

Luisa Marcela Ossa, Associate Professor of Spanish
LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Debbie Lee-DiStefano
Springfield Lyceum College Preparatory, Springfield, Massachusetts

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean explores the connections between people of Asian and African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although their journeys started from different points of origin, spanning two separate oceans, their point of contact in this hemisphere brought them together under a hegemonic system that would treat these seemingly disparate continental ancestries as one. Historically, an overwhelming majority of people of African and Asian descent were brought to the Americas as sources of labor to uphold the plantation, agrarian economies leading to complex relationships and interactions. The contributions to this collection examine various aspects of these connections. The authors bring to the forefront perspectives regarding history, literature, art, and religion and engage how they are manifested in these Afro-Asian relationships and interactions. They investigate what has received little academic engagement outside the acknowledgement that there are groups who are of African and Asian descent. In regard to their relationships with the dominant Europeanized center, references to both groups typically only view them as singular entities. What this interdisciplinary collection presents is a more cohesive approach that strives to place them at the center together and view their relationships in their historical contexts.

Table of Contents

  1. Afro and Chinese Depictions in Peruvian Social Discourse at the Turn of the 20th Century
  2. Locating Chinese Culture and Aesthetics in the Art of Wifredo Lam
  3. Through the Prism of the Harlem Ashram: Afro-Asian-Caribbean Connections in Transnational Circulation
  4. Merging the Transpacific with the Transatlantic: Afro-Asia in Japanese Brazilian Narratives
  5. Parallels and Intersections: Literary Depictions of the Lives of Chinese and Africans in 19th Century and Early 20th Century Cuba
  6. Erased from Collective Memory: Dreadlocks Story Documentary Untangles the Hindu Legacy of Rastafari
  7. Body of Reconciliation: Aida Petrinera Cheng’s Journey in Como un Mensajero Tuyo
  8. “I am Like One of those Women”: Effeminization of Chinese Caribbean men as Feminist Strategy in Three Contemporary Caribbean Novels
  9. La Mulata Achinada: Bodies, Gender, and Authority in Afro-Chinese Religion in Cuba
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Ceremony

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, United States on 2021-06-10 02:09Z by Steven

Ceremony

Penguin Random House
2006-12-26 (originally published in 1977)
272 Pages
5-5/8 x 8-7/16
Paperback ISBN: 9780143104919
Ebook ISBN: 9781440621826

Leslie Marmon Silko
Introduction by Larry McMurtry

The great Native American Novel of a battered veteran returning home to heal his mind and spirit

More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry.

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As a ‘white-passing’ Asian American, I feel grief, shame and confusion right now

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-06-04 15:24Z by Steven

As a ‘white-passing’ Asian American, I feel grief, shame and confusion right now

TODAY
2021-04-02

Maura Hohman, Weekend Editor and Reporter


Melea McCreary and Maura Hohman, a broadcast producer and digital editor for TODAY, share their experiences growing up with Filipino mothers but passing as non-Asian. As Asian Americans across the country are targeted for their appearance, they share their identity crisis. Courtesy Maura Hohman/Melea McCreary/ Fabio Briganti

Schoolmates never pulled their eyes sideways at me, but one did ask if my mom was my nanny and tried to convince me I was adopted.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPI movement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.

I’ll never know exactly how much privilege my face has afforded me, though I’ve often wondered about the magnitude. No stranger has ever yelled a racial slur at me, but at a previous job a client spoke poorly of Filipinos not knowing half my family is from there. Schoolmates never pulled their eyes sideways at me, but one did ask if my mom was my nanny and tried to convince me I was adopted. In the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings that left eight people dead, including six Asian American women, a few friends have texted to see how I’m doing. But over the years, so many friends have said they don’t consider me Asian...

Read the entire interview here.

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