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


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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Aftershocks: A Memoir

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-06-04 14:57Z by Steven

Aftershocks: A Memoir

Simon & Schuster
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781982111229
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781982111236
eBook ISBN-13: 9781982111243
Unabridged Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781797108698

Nadia Owusu

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, a deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award–winner Nadia Owusu about the push and pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the heart it takes to pull through.

Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia’s nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo.

With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together.

Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand.

Heralding a dazzling new writer, Aftershocks joins the likes of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and does for race identity what Maggie Nelson does for gender identity in The Argonauts.

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To Fathom His Very Roots: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance and “Evidence” of His Literary Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-06-04 02:29Z by Steven

To Fathom His Very Roots: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance and “Evidence” of His Literary Racial Passing

J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Volume 9, Number 1, Spring 2021
page 69-80
DOI: 10.1353/jnc.2021.0008

DeLisa D. Hawkes, Assistant Professor of English
University of Texas, El Paso

During the latter part of the long nineteenth century, actor and author Sylvester Clark “Chief Buffalo Child” Long Lance completely discarded his African American ancestry to assert a composite Native American identity. He did so in hopes of escaping anti-Black violence. His writings suggest that he believed that performing the racialized stereotype of the “noble savage” would better position him to achieve inclusion in US society, which was otherwise denied to him in his legal “colored” (read: Black) racial identity. His complex and problematic approach to his ancestry and racial identity invites scholars to critically consider how some authors simultaneously challenged yet adhered to social expectations regarding racial identification when reflecting on their personal lives and asserting their racial identities in literature. Long Lance’s life and writings invite scholars to question what counts as “evidence” to prove so-called racial passing when authors or their characters reflect on certain aspects of their ancestry and racial identity. In this essay, I examine the complexities of racial passing in nineteenth and twentieth century literatures with attention to Long Lance’s unique perspective of his racial identity and shows how he used literary and legal racial passing to challenge racial binarism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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