Monday, July 18, 2016

Tragedy, Trauma, and Telling Our Kids the Truth



by Sharon H. Chang

On Thursday morning, July 14, I had the honor of talking on-air with Minelle Mahtani -- author of Mixed Race Amnesia and host of Sense of Place at Roundhouse Radio -- about race, tragedy, parenting and our kids. Of course we did this show to engage with a string of recent tragic shootings that have left many reeling: the mass shooting of queer people of color (predominantly Latinx) at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, which resulted in 49 deaths; the highly publicized police shootings which killed two Black men - Alton Sterling and Philando Castile - in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, respectively; and the subsequent mass shooting of police officers in Dallas, TX, at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, which resulted in 5 officer deaths. And sadly much more has happened since.

Minelle and I took questions via email, tweet and call-in. Parents and teachers asked, how do we broach this incredibly painful subject of racism and escalating violence with children? It is more and more obvious that we have to as our children pick up and absorb the increasing myriad of racialized messages being delivered by society about these tragedies. We’re seeing, hearing, observing our kids using race and racist words and ideas, and they’re also starting to ask us really tough questions. What is our response? How do we know what’s age appropriate? When do we start? What if we frighten our kids or leave them depressed with hopelessness? How do we find time and space to even begin said conversations when we don’t have a lot of time and space ourselves?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

YOU'RE INVITED! Raising Mixed Race at Elliott Bay, Seattle WA

http://www.elliottbaybook.com/event/sharon-chang-friends

SO EXCITED to invite you an incredibly special Raising Mixed Race book event at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, WA!!! If you're a Seattle-ite (or can be for the evening) you seriously don't want to miss this interstellar collaboration including book talks, readings, local music, powerhouse Asian Pacific Northwest women writers and contributions from local chefs. Our night will open with a set by super talented local musician Brenda Xu + yummy food samples from Hood Famous Bakeshop and Marination. Next up, I will of course speak and read from Raising Mixed Race. But then it's not over. Following I'm so honored to panel with badass Canadian authors/editors Minelle Mahtani and Brandy Lien Worrall-Soriano for critical conversations on mixedness. There will definitely be time for Q&A ~ and ~ Brenda Xu merchandise + copies of all writers books will be available for sale/signing.

See? Told you. Don't want to miss it...


Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 - 10th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122 
(206) 624-6600

This event is free and open to the public. Doors open 6:30p.

Go to the --> Facebook Event Page: Raising Mixed Race @ Elliot Bay


 

Music / Brenda Xu ~ Ambient/folk artist, Brenda Xu (pronounced “shoo”) has been building a steady following since her arrival on the Seattle music scene a few years ago. The momentum she created with the release of her last album "For The Winter" (2014) has led to two successful western U.S. tours and a recent feature in the MTV show "Awkward." Compared to artists such as Cat Power, Daughter, and Aimee Mann, her sound has been described as "treading the delicate line between washed-out ambient tones and carefully crafted acoustic arrangements." She is currently working on her fourth album and plans to tour the U.S. and Europe this year. http://brendaxu.com/

 
Panel / Minelle Mahtani ~ Minelle is an author, journalist and Associate Professor of Human Geography and Planning, and the Program in Journalism at University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). She has written two books: Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality and Global Mixed Race. She is a former CBC TV journalist, sits on the steering committee of UBC’s journalism school and has won several awards, including a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for her contributions to journalism. Minelle is currently on sabbatical from University of Toronto to host the exciting new show 'Sense of Place' at Roundhouse Radio.

 

Panel / Brandy Lien Worrall-Soriano ~ Brandy is editor of the recent anthology Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art (2015) and author of What Doesn’t Kill Us (2014), a groundbreaking memoir about growing up in the din of her Vietnamese mother and American father’s trauma from the Vietnam War, and how it related to her breast cancer experience as a young adult. She is also the author of eight collections of poetry and owner/editor of Rabbit Fool Press, a small family-owned-and-operated publishing company based in Vancouver. https://brandyworrall.com/


Videography & Photography / Devon de Leña ~ Devon is a storyteller, filmmaker, and powerful community facilitator. As a mixed-raced filipina/white woman she values the importance of intersectionality and honoring complexity within our stories and movements. She believes in building power through healing, creativity and cultural work. Her vision is to weave stories of identity, resilience and imagination together so that we can cultivate authentic representations of people living at the intersections and fringes of our society. http://www.devondelena.com/

 
Cheesecake / Chera Amlag ~ Chera is a co-founder of the Food & Sh*t monthly pop-ups in Seattle, where diners became enamored with her desserts that blended Filipino flavors with familiar Western desserts. When her ube cheesecake debuted in 2013 it quickly became the most demanded item on the menu leading Chera to grow a branch on the Food & Sh*t tree and the larger Filipino food movement -- the Hood Famous Bakeshop!

 

Sliders & Tacos / Kamala Saxton & Roz Edison ~ In 2009 Marination owners Kamala and Roz decided to run their own business. Big Blue took to the streets in June with a unique Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine in tow. Over one million tacos and nearly five incredible years later, Marination has grown into a big aloha family! One truck, one little brick-and-mortar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and one beachside restaurant with a full bar, huge patio, and a TO DIE FOR view.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

These 2 Ads Might Say Everything About How Global Racism Really Is


by Sharon H. Chang

sigh. 

SIGH.

Siiiiiiiiigh.

Alright that's done. I want (pause) -- well I don't want, but feel like I need to show you two TV ads recently posted to YouTube literally within days of each other. Both are out of east Asia, Japan and China respectively. The first is a Toyota commercial out of Japan. It portrays a shiny techno-future funneled through the nostalgic eyes of a white father and happy memories of his mixed race Japanese family/children:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Raising Mixed Race and the Danger of Racial Assumptions



by Sharon H. Chang

I'd like to clarify a few things about my book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World. And full transparency here - this emerges from a recent email thread I was part of as well as a notable number of exchanges, side comments, critiques, messages, emails, etc. at this point where I've come to see folks make a lot of assumptions about my book based on its title, cover image, and the fact that it's about parents and children. Now it's important to say I have also gotten a lot of really amazing, positive feedback at this point too from tons of supportive, engaged and brilliant readers which you can read here and here. I think overall there have been far more folks who love and support Raising Mixed Race than those who pigeonhole and pin it down with their presumptions.

That said I think it's still worthwhile to look at the handful who have allowed their assumptions to take hold. They tend to look like this: Politicized readers who don't like "post-racial" in the title, think I'm espousing post-raciality, and refuse to read the book. Activists who see mixed-race identity politics as unimportant, ask how I will put aside ideas about "specialness" in service of greater racial causes, and probably won't read the book. Parents who have read the book but are frustrated because they expected a parenting guide and feel I "didn't tell them what to do." People in Preschool, K-12 learning and the general public who are confused because they thought the book would be about celebrating ethnic and national heritage, multiculturalism, and multiracial children as bridge-builders. And then everyone who cannot (or will not) believe that young children know anything about race and so will never read it ever. Oh - and I supposed I should tack on everyone who thinks mixed race is not really a thing (or if it is, then it's an anti-POC thing) and so will never read it ever.

Let me clarify . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Passing" "Presenting" & the Troubled Language of Mixed Race



by Sharon H. Chang

I'm a light-skinned mixed race Asian/white woman. I don't deny it. On my lightest day, in the deep of winter, under cover of endless Seattle clouds, I could definitely hold my arm next to some white people and almost match (though the tinting never seems quite right). Because I'm non-Black and light-skinned I am not vulnerable to police brutality, housing discrimination, hate crimes, excessive surveillance, racial bullying and assault, and the many, many forms of violent oppression acted upon visibly Brown and Black peoples every day. This is undoubtedly a privilege, one that I actively acknowledge and try to hold in constant consciousness and conscientiousness as I write about race and am involved in social justice work. My main responsibility is often going to be de-centering myself to make room for the voices of others most impacted; to listen, not lead; support and even sometimes leave spaces entirely because my presence may interrupt safety and sacredness.

And yet, these are the things that have been said to me recently by whites and people of color (POC), men and women, young and old:

What are you? Because if you had said you were white - I would've believed you.
Man! How do you people do that international thing??
Excuse me, I'm sorry, but can I ask what your mix is?
There is no pure Asian anymore.
 You Asian? I need help with my gardening.
So what do you do? 
Are you a flight attendant, stewardess?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

YOU'RE INVITED! Raising Mixed Race Signing 2, Portland OR


Please join me next Saturday for a talk + signing of Raising Mixed Race in Portland / Beaverton, Oregon! So thrilled to also be screening short documentary film, "What Are You?" by Sarah Nicole Donaldson and hear a reading by Gian-Luca Matsuda. Following I'll speak on the book, followed by Q&A and Meet and Greet. Looking forward to seeing everyone there...

Kinokuniya Bookstores
10500 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy
Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 641-6240

This event is free and open to the public.
 

Go to the --> Facebook Event Page: Raising Mixed Race - Portland, OR



Film / Sarah Nicole Donaldson ~ Sarah is an Asian-American scholar and independent filmmaker. Her short documentary film on the multiracial/ethnic identity, “What Are You?,” was aired on Oregon Public Broadcast in August 2015. Her research focuses on the preservation and modern representations of Indonesian folklore, and she is fluent in the Surabaya dialect of Javanese. Sarah’s other passions include conflict resolution, creative writing, fashion design, and binging on Netflix.


 
Reading / Gian-Luca Matsuda ~ Gian-Luca Matsuda is a Portland based queer techie who is the product of a Black Puerto Rican mother and a Japanese-Brazilian father. His work focuses on environmental justice, technology access, and the intersectionality of racial, environmental, and social justice. Gian-Luca is currently in school studying computer science and environmental science. You can find Gian-Luca knitting, inhaling caffeine, or doing other weird nerd things in his free time.
http://www.gianlucamatsuda.net/


Read Gian-Luca at BuzzFeed: "The Concept of Being Latino and Why I'm Not Here For It"



Reading / Rebeka Markillie ~ Rebeka Markillie is a student at the University of Portland studying communications and minoring in biology. She has a passion for books, science, and writing. She has worked with student media for three years as a writer, journalist and design editor. In January 2015, Rebekka redesigned student newspaper, The Beacon , which won First Place for General Excellence at the College Media Association and First Place for General Excellence and First Place for Best Website at the 2015 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Awards.

Read Rebekka at The Beacon: "Race Isn't Just Black Or White"



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TO PASS or NOT to PASS



[Photo Credit: Mario D Lemafa]


by Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
(aka #LULUNATION)


I know what it is like to be passed…
from community to community
And passed by with no notice of being Queer
Of being Filipino
Of being Black
Of being Christian
Of being Radical
But still marked as "other"
As "outsider"
That not only my body,
But even my spirit is weary from these travels

I have been passed around so much
That I was late in understanding my identities…
As Mixie
As Revolutionary
As Drag Queen
As Gender Queer
As Dreamer
As a Believer
As Faith Healer
Even As Lover

I am draw upon as something unknown
As some Thing not to be.
I am marked as NOT the NORM
As NOT the STANDARD

So I marked my body with tattoos
And exposed the drawings of history
That traced my back
Back to my ancestors for protection
And forgotten memories

I have been read by others!
And their experiences
through their eyes,
they carve fears on my Black & Brown /Queer/ Body
Sometimes they use ropes
And I have grooves upon my wrists and neck from the strain
Stretched skin forms lashes of memories
Marking me dangerous and visible
New lynching ropes in modern times

These lashes are made with fake Asian accents to cross out my mouth
Marking me invisible once again
My story erased

So I have put substances into my veins
To blow them off my mind

My Body makes marks on communities!!!

As folks wonder where I fit
NO SAFETY as I have stood with hands and mouth
Pushed OUT!
With no excuses!!!

So I can just pass into sleep
To dream and believe.

Without my moves being watched and examined
so I can hum songs of my history to rock me to sleep
Upon waking my body vibrates with memory
So when shaken daily
light can shoot through my eyes
As I answer questions

Black Sister?
Maybe not, but definitely a Black Queen, a Queer one.

Filipina ka ba?  Are you  Filipina?
Opo! Yes, Filipino ako,
but not made for beauty pageants,
whitening creams,
or diets.

“Bakit?  Why?” I ask
“Kumusta ka na?”
“How are YOU doing today?”
Since you forgot to even greet me.

“Queer?”
“Yes,”
but crossed too many times
And marked with racism and poverty
As my body moves in spaces.

So I put folks on Notice…
“YOU are on NOTICE!”
Since you didn't notice that my body had a name
Luzviminda for the Filipina Babaylans murdered
Uzuri for the African slaves forgotten
I have stamped my name on my Body
To remind me
And stamped the places my Body has traveled
And passed throughout time

And I carry it on my back
A willing target in old age
And old rage…..at judgment.

So notice
And move past me
So I can focus and remember who I am
And who my ancestors are
Without the blockages of eyes and ears
On my road to communities
And transformation
And all my people's liberation.



-----


© Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
Printed here with permission. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

See Lulu perform this piece --> at the first Raising Mixed Race signing