Transpacific Antiracism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in 20th-Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-09-19 00:58Z by Steven

Transpacific Antiracism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in 20th-Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa

New York University Press
July 2013
254 pages
4 halftones
Hardcover ISBN: 9780814762646
Paper ISBN: 9781479897322

Yuichiro Onishi, Assistant Professor of African American & African Studies and Asian American Studies
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Transpacific Antiracism introduces the dynamic process out of which social movements in Black America, Japan, and Okinawa formed Afro-Asian solidarities against the practice of white supremacy in the twentieth century. Yuichiro Onishi argues that in the context of forging Afro-Asian solidarities, race emerged as a political category of struggle with a distinct moral quality and vitality.

This book explores the work of Black intellectual-activists of the first half of the twentieth century, including Hubert Harrison and W. E. B. Du Bois, that took a pro-Japan stance to articulate the connection between local and global dimensions of antiracism. Turning to two places rarely seen as a part of the Black experience, Japan and Okinawa, the book also presents the accounts of a group of Japanese scholars shaping the Black studies movement in post-surrender Japan and multiracial coalition-building in U.S.-occupied Okinawa during the height of the Vietnam War which brought together local activists, peace activists, and antiracist and antiwar GIs. Together these cases of Afro-Asian solidarity make known political discourses and projects that reworked the concept of race to become a wellspring of aspiration for a new society.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes on Japanese Sources and Names
  • Introduction: Du Bois’s Challenge
  • Part I: Discourses
    • 1. New Negro Radicalism and Pro-Japan Provocation
    • 2. W. E. B. Du Bois’s Afro-Asian Philosophy of World History
  • Part II: Collectives
    • 3. The Making of “Colored-Internationalism” in Postwar Japan
    • 4. The Presence of (Black) Liberation in Occupied Okinawa
  • Conclusion: We Who Become Together
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Understanding Race on Black London history walk

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2015-09-08 20:13Z by Steven

Understanding Race on Black London history walk

Sociology in the City: blogging from Sociology at the University of Westminster
University of Westminster
London, United Kingdom

Students of the first year module Understanding Race went on a walking tour this morning, led by the writer and historian Steve Martin.

Challenging the popular idea that race in Britain is a phenomenon of post-WW2 immigration, Steve gave us an insight into the longstanding presence of non-white people in London’s history, with a focus on people of African and African-Carribean heritage…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The family who never knew their father

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-08-31 00:46Z by Steven

The family who never knew their father

BBC News Magazine

Harry Low

Our story about the forced repatriation of Chinese sailors who had been recruited for the Merchant Navy during World War Two told of the devastation for those families left behind. Barbara Janecek shared her own tale in response.

She had read about Yvonne Foley, whose father Nan Young, a Chinese ship engineer, was sent back to the Far East following the end of the war. He was one of thousands of recruits from Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong who lived in Liverpool.

“I was always waiting for my father to come back, I was always daydreaming he would,” says Barbara, whose father John had suffered the same fate. John Ong had married Eileen Hing in 1943 when they were both aged 23. Eileen was devastated when her husband left, leaving his wife to raise three children under the age of four…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Looking for my Shanghai father

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-08-30 02:17Z by Steven

Looking for my Shanghai father

BBC News Magazine

Jody-Lan Castle

Yvonne Foley with her mother Grace

After World War Two ended, the British government forcibly repatriated hundreds of Chinese sailors who had been recruited for the Merchant Navy. Their sudden departure had a devastating effect on families left behind, like that of Yvonne Foley.

“You’re just like your father,” Yvonne’s mother exclaimed, “always arguing, trying to change the world.”

The nine-year-old was confused. That sounded nothing like her father.

“I mean your Shanghai father,” her mother insisted.

Who? Yvonne was momentarily baffled, but then put it to the back of her mind.

Two years later, in 1957, the subject came up again. This time her mother, Grace, wanted to tell her more.

The man Yvonne had been calling “Dad” was not her biological father. Instead her birth father was Nan Young, a Chinese ship engineer her mother had met in Liverpool in 1943…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Holocaust Art By A Jew Who Was Black Josef Nassy’s Vision Of Nazi Camps Has Its First U.s. Show Here.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-08-18 01:11Z by Steven

Holocaust Art By A Jew Who Was Black Josef Nassy’s Vision Of Nazi Camps Has Its First U.s. Show Here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Leonard W. Boasberg, Inquirer Staff Writer

There are strength and pathos in the drawings. There are loneliness and community, a sense of the desperation of the individual – the prisoner, the victim – who, in the grasp of malevolent brutality, nevertheless maintains his will to survive.

There are watchtowers and barbed wire and closed gates and prison bars and armed guards, and there are portraits of pensive men who might be anywhere but are, in fact, confined for no crime but their existence.

The works are by Josef Nassy, a black artist of Jewish ancestry, who survived three years of Nazi prison camps during World War II and, in his art, left a lasting record of what he saw and felt.

A collection of Nassy’s works – about 115 paintings, drawings and ink washes – is now on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Judaica, located in the synagogue of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St. The exhibit, titled In the Shadow of the Tower, is the first U.S. public showing of Nassy’s works, which are on a three-year international tour that will take them to Jerusalem; Hamburg, West Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Chicago, and New York…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Japanese women who married the enemy

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-18 00:52Z by Steven

The Japanese women who married the enemy

BBC News Magazine

Vanessa Barford

Seventy years ago many Japanese people in occupied Tokyo after World War Two saw US troops as the enemy. But tens of thousands of young Japanese women married GIs nonetheless – and then faced a big struggle to find their place in the US.

For 21-year-old Hiroko Tolbert, meeting her husband’s parents for the first time after she had travelled to America in 1951 was a chance to make a good impression.

She picked her favourite kimono for the train journey to upstate New York, where she had heard everyone had beautiful clothes and beautiful homes.

But rather than being impressed, the family was horrified.

“My in-laws wanted me to change. They wanted me in Western clothes. So did my husband. So I went upstairs and put on something else, and the kimono was put away for many years,” she says.

It was the first of many lessons that American life was not what she had imagined it to be…

…”The war had been a war without mercy, with incredible hatred and fear on both sides. The discourse was also heavily racialised – and America was a pretty racist place at that time, with a lot of prejudice against inter-race relationships,” says Prof Paul Spickard, an expert in history and Asian-American studies at the University of California…

…The War Brides Act of 1945 allowed American servicemen who married abroad to bring their wives home, but it took the Immigration Act of 1952 to enable Asians to come to America in large numbers.

When the women did move to the US, some attended Japanese bride schools at military bases to learn how to do things like bake cakes the American way, or walk in heels rather than the flat shoes to which they were accustomed.

But many were totally unprepared.

Generally speaking, the Japanese women that married black Americans settled more easily, Spickard says…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Imperfect Unions: Staging Miscegenation in U.S. Drama and Fiction by Diana Rebekkah Paulin (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-13 20:00Z by Steven

Imperfect Unions: Staging Miscegenation in U.S. Drama and Fiction by Diana Rebekkah Paulin (review) [Black]

TDR: The Drama Review
Volume 59, Number 2, Summer 2015 (T226)
pages 178-180

Alex W. Black
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Imperfect Unions: Staging Miscegenation in U.S. Drama and Fiction. Diana Rebekkah Paulin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 336 pages.

Imperfect Unions is Diana Rebekkah Paulin’s award-winning study of “the symbolic and material implications of interracial unions” in the United States from the Civil War to World War I (3). During this period, interracial sex was often “the black-white headliner that overwrote stories featuring other intersecting relationships,” including those of gender and class (xvi). For example: In her 1892 pamphlet Southern Horrors, Ida B. Wells demonstrated that black men were lynched in the postbellum South not because they were a sexual threat to white women, but because they were an economic threat to white men. Paulin calls the process through which miscegenation came to stand in for such conflict “demographic distillation” for the way it “elided other types of power relations” (x, xiii). Interpreting drama and fiction to investigate “the contours of the color line,” Paulin argues that “the black-white encounter overshadows the complex” identities of, and relations between, all Americans, regardless of their race or ethnicity (xi, ix).

Paulin’s “miscegenated reading practices” draw on performance studies and literary history to examine formally hybrid productions like Thomas Dixon’s play The Clansman, which he adapted from his own novel, and Pauline Hopkins’s Winona, which she began as a play but rewrote as a novel (xiii). If the name Paulin gives to her method is provocative (one may argue how parallel the lines of color and of scholarship are), the method itself is productive. Her approach is consistent with the objects of study, which often make their arguments in theatrical terms — many are filled with spectacular enactments of identity — and with their creators, who worked in multiple media. More than viewing performance as a metaphor, these writers saw their texts as “mediating between the imagined world and the realities of everyday experience” (3): Louisa May Alcott based “M.L.” on the well-known case of a black male professor eloping with a white female student (30); Charles Chesnutt sent a copy of The Marrow of Tradition to Congress (104); James Weldon Johnson wrote The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man while serving as an American consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua (206).

In the first chapter, “Under the Covers of Forbidden Desire: Interracial Unions as Surrogates,” Paulin shows that miscegenation was viewed as a threat to the family and the nation it represented. In the Civil War era, America was figured as a divided house and as a mixed race. The title character of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 play The Octoroon embodies and inspires transgression: the other characters respond to her resistance to classification by revolting against their own classes — and races and genders (13, 10). Both of Alcott’s 1863 short stories, “M.L.” and “My Contraband,” feature white women who desire mixed-race men and their own liberation from patriarchal society (32, 44).

In the book’s second chapter, “Clear Definitions for an Anxious World: Late Nineteenth-Century Surrogacy,” Paulin describes how Americans dramatized national issues on an international stage. In the period between Reconstruction and Plessy v. Ferguson, they imagined Europe as a place where miscegenation originated or where it could settle and be resolved. The ambiguous racial status of the heroines of Bartley Campbell’s 1882 play The White Slave and William Dean Howells’s 1892 novel An Imperative Duty are resolved through marriage. In the former, a man declares his granddaughter (fathered by a foreigner and born abroad) to be his slave’s daughter to hide her illegitimate birth; her whiteness and their property are redeemed when she marries her grandfather’s adopted son (70–71). In the latter, a woman who learns that her mother was an octoroon chooses marriage to a white man and emigration to Europe over the cause of black uplift (87).

In chapter 3, “Staging the Unspoken Terror,” Paulin finds that Americans at the turn of the century connected the future of the nation’s government to the issue of miscegenation (102). This is the first chapter to present texts by a black writer and a white writer who take opposing positions, even if they foresee the same outcome: In Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, a white woman is killed (and rumored to have been…

Read or purchase the review here.

Tags: , , , ,

The Next Great Migration

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-06 02:01Z by Steven

The Next Great Migration

The New York Times

Thomas Chatterton Williams

PARIS — AT dinner last summer with my brother-in-law, a grandson of Jews who fled Algeria for France, the conversation turned to the rash of anti-Semitic incidents plaguing the country. At such times, the question inevitably arises in the minds of many Jews: “Where could we go?” He mentioned Tel Aviv, London and New York, but the location mattered less than the reassurance that departure remained an option. He’s not alone in this thinking: 7,000 French Jews emigrated in 2014.

Over the past year, as I watched with outrage at the dizzying spate of unpunished extrajudicial police killings of black men and women across America, I’ve wondered why more black Americans don’t think similarly. Why shouldn’t more of us weigh expatriation, even if only temporary, as a viable means of securing those lofty yet elusive ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Blacks leaving America in search of equality is not new. The practice dates from at least antebellum Louisiana, when free mulattoes in New Orleans sent their children to France to live in accordance with their means and not their color. It continued after World War II, when a number of black G.I.s, artists and jazzmen shared Richard Wright’s sentiment that there is “more freedom in one square block of Paris than there is in the entire United States of America.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Occupation Babies: Mixed-Race Japanese Children

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-03 15:24Z by Steven

Occupation Babies: Mixed-Race Japanese Children

Wonders & Marvels: A Community for Curious MInds who love History, its Odd Stories, and Good Reads

James McGrath Morris, Guest Contributor

One of the pleasures of researching a book is coming across something you don’t anticipate, something surprising that is fascinating to both the reader and the writer.

In my case, in the course of working on Eye on the Struggle, I learned for the first time the story of mixed-race babies in Japan born from African American soldiers and Japanese women in the years shortly after World War II when American troops occupied Japan. White soldiers fathered children as well, but the offspring of black fathers were far more ostracized.

Being of such visible mixed race, the babies were unwanted by the Japanese, who abhorred what they viewed as the tainting of their blood. They were frequently abandoned upon birth. In one case, a train passenger unwrapped a cloth bundle she spotted on the luggage rack to discover the corpse of a black Japanese baby…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Laura Kina: Blue Hawai’i

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-18 02:58Z by Steven

Laura Kina: Blue Hawai’i

Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery
New Jersey City University
Hepburn Hall, Room 323
2039 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, New Jersey

2015-01-27 through 2015-03-03
Artist Reception: 2015-01-29, 16:30-19:30 EST (Local Time)
Artist Talk: 2015-03-02, 17:30-18:30 EST (Local Time)

Laura Kina, Canefield Workers, 2013, oil on canvas, 30 x 45 inches.

“You won’t find Elvis or surfboards or funny umbrella-topped cocktails in my dystopic Blue Hawai’i.” The Chicago-based artist Laura Kina speaks of her latest series of paintings which are featured in this exhibition. Drawn from her family albums, oral history and community archives, Kina’s ghostly oil paintings employ distilled memories to investigate themes of distance, longing, and belonging. The setting of these paintings is her father’s Okinawan sugarcane field plantation community, Piʻihonua, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi near Hilo. The predominant blue color of the series was inspired by the indigo-dyed kasuri kimonos repurposed by the Issei (first generation) “picture bride” immigrants for canefield work clothes. Blue Hawaiʻi echoes the spirits of Kina’s ancestors and shared histories of labor migration.

In 2009, Kina accompanied her father back to his hometown community in Hawaiʻi to interview him along with other Nisei (second generation) and Sansei (third generation) about their memories of plantation life. In 2012, she traveled to Okinawa with her father, collecting stories of heritage and history. She learned of her grandmother and great aunts having been Kibei Nisei, i.e., sent to Japan for their education and that in the devastation of WWII and the Battle of Okinawa, four family members were killed–two by forced suicide.

As U.S. relatives ceased to use the Okinawan dialect of Uchinaguchi or standard Japanese, stories like these were lost. In Blue Hawaiʻi, Kina seeks to reclaim these histories via reanimated traces from old photographs and present-day vestiges visible in paintings such as “Okinawa—All American Food” and “Black Market,” which capture the remnants of war and a continued American military presence in contemporary Okinawa. Risking distortion, misreading, nostalgia and erasure, the artist fully engages in, what she calls, “the messy business” of memory, collapsing time and space into one Blue Hawaiʻi.

Laura Kina is Vincent de Paul professor of Art, Media, & Design at DePaul University. She is the coeditor, along with Wei Ming Dariotis, of War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art (University of Washington Press, 2013); cofounder of the DePaul biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies conference; and cofounder and consulting editor of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies and reviews editor for the Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas.

Her solo exhibitions include Blue Hawaii (2014), Sugar (2010), A Many-Splendored Thing (2010), Aloha Dreams (2007), Loving (2006), and Hapa Soap Operas (2003). She has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, India Habitat Centre, Nehuru Art Centre, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, the Rose Art Museum, the Spertus Museum, the University of Memphis, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

For more about the exhibition, view an on-line catalog here.

Tags: , , ,