Shapeshifting: Discovering the “We” in Mixed-Race Experiences

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2021-08-18 15:30Z by Steven

Shapeshifting: Discovering the “We” in Mixed-Race Experiences

Yes!
2021-08-09

Anne Liu Kellor
Seattle, Washington


“I am an Asian American woman. I am also mixed race—my father is White and my mother is Chinese. And I have many questions.”
ART BY TRACY MATSUE LOEFFELHOLZ

Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been longing for your whole life until you experience it. As a mixed-race woman, I never knew how much it would mean for me to finally sit in a room full of other multiracial women until, at age 45, I taught a creative writing class called Shapeshifting: Reading and Writing the Mixed-Race Experience. I was nervous because I’d never attended something like this myself. And yet, sometimes when it becomes clear that you need something that doesn’t already exist, you have to create it yourself.

I once considered myself to be a shy person, afraid to speak in public. However, my close friends knew me differently, and at my core I knew myself differently too. While I remained quiet in high school, college, and beyond, in intimate spaces I could be bold and funny. When I was younger, I used to think that my insecurities came from my youth or my gender. But the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve also come to question how much of my conditioning— to feel quiet, silent, and invisible—has come from my mixed-race heritage?

I am an Asian American woman. I am also mixed race—my father is White and my mother is Chinese. And I have many questions.

What does it feel like to grow up and never see reflections of yourself or your family in the shows you watch or the books you read, or to rarely see yourself in positions of power?..

Read the entire article here.

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Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-10-12 14:16Z by Steven

Sharon H. Chang does a deep dive of her new memoir “Hapa Tales and Other Lies” with fellow Seattle writer Anne Liu Kellor

International Examiner
Seattle, Washington
2018-10-08

Anne Liu Kellor

Sharon H. Chang recently released a memoir called Hapa Tales and Other Lies: A Mixed Race Memoir about the Hawai’i I Never Knew. The book is an exploration of her Mixed Race Asian American identity through the lens of being a tourist in Hawai’i, a place with many Mixed Race Asians where Chang was indirectly told she could find a sense of racial belonging.

Different from the trips she took with her parents when she was a kid, Chang’s adult exploration of spaces like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center tell her a more complicated history of Hawai’i and the indigenous culture – colonization, marginalization of Native Hawaiians, exploitation and appropriation. She spends significant time challenging the use of the term “hapa,” a word that originally referred to mixed Hawaiian natives, but that many Mixed Race Asians now use without any awareness of the word’s origins.

Seattle-based writer Anne Liu Kellor interviewed Chang about this exploration as they shared similar perspectives of being Mixed Race, Asian American women and mothers.

International Examiner: In Hapa Tales and Other Lies, you write that this book is a “chapter of your identity story” and “part of a larger, necessary story about the loneliness and challenge of self-defining that Mixed Race people generally face.” When did you start becoming more reflective about your Mixed Race identity, and how has this process of “self-defining” changed for you over time?

SHC: I started becoming more reflective about being Mixed Race when I met my husband (who is also Mixed) at the turn of the century. My husband had been recently politicized and the 2000 Census had just taken place where people could self-select more than one race box for the first time. When we met, he was in the process of reflecting deeply on where to step into the race conversation as a now recognized biracial person. I had never heard anyone talk about being Mixed Race like that, ever, and I was completely drawn in.

When my husband and I grew up no one talked about being biracial, multiracial, or mixed-race. That language didn’t really exist on a large scale. People like us were “half” this, “quarter” that, or you were expected to just “pick a side.” I began to see such concepts as harmfully self-divisive and wondered how things could be different. But what spurred me to go even deeper and actually begin writing on Mixed Race was the birth of my son in 2009…

Read the entire interview here.

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