Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Kids Movies, White Still Seems to Be Right

(from left to right) Robert Lopez, Idina Menzel, Demi Levato, "Elsa" from Frozen

by Sharon H Chang

I don't pay much attention to the Academy Awards anymore for various reasons among them racial inequity, emphasis on commercialization, consumerism, and wealth, as well as the perpetuation of harmful normative stereotypes about practically everything from gender, gender roles and sexual orientation, to class, culture and language. And of course I'm the mother of a young child and just don't have time to watch movies. That said, there was one win that especially caught my multiracial eye this year. Robert Lopez along with his wife nabbed Best Original Song for their wildly popular ballad "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. Significantly, the award catapulted multiracial Filipino Robert Lopez to rare status, the 12th and youngest EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner ever. You know I pay attention to this stuff because my mixed race Asian son has so, so, so few racial role models that hold a solid standing in the public image. As he grows up I want to be able to point out leaders to him and say, "See! YOU can be a songwriter, politician, Olympian, CEO, activist, author, actor, etc. too!" But that's really hard to do right now when I can barely find children's books that reflect his racial image.

Anyway. So Robert Lopez. YES. Hadn't heard the song yet, but certainly made a point to after that. I screened it on YouTube thinking for sure I'd show it to kiddo. But then something else quickly caught my eye...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Some Things Never Change? Multi/Asian Women & the New Millennium

Hawaiian Types (1945)
book of photography by Henry Inn, image from ebay

"Certain it is that Hawaii of 1944 offers America's most impressive large scale demonstration of racial democracy at work."

France Nguyen Vannga, multiracial Asian actress (1958)  
South Pacific movie poster, Thailand release, image from ebay
"Bali Ha'i will whisper
On the wind of the sea:
'Here am I, your special island
Come to me, come to me'"

Hawaii Now (circa 1960s)
United Airlines Hawaii travel poster, image from Ripley Auctions

Nancy Kwan, multiracial Asian actress (1961)  
Flower Drum Song movie poster, Belgium release, image from LA times
"When I hear the compliment'ry whistle
That greets my bikini by the sea,
I turn and I glower and I bristle,
But I'm happy to know the whistle's meant for me!"

Meet the Golden People of Hawaii (circa 1970s)
Matson Line Hawaii cruise poster, image from Pinterest hawaii's

New Millennium

Kelly Hu, multiracial Asian actress (2002)  
The Scorpion King [film] promotional shot, image from

Devon Aoki, multiracial Asian model (2009)  
The Boop Troop by Ellen Von UnWorth, image from La Vie en Pose

Right There (2011)
Nicole Scherzinger dancing hula-fusion in Right There [music video] image from Wikipedia

"Me like the way that you hold my body
Me like the way that you touch my body
Me like the way that you kiss my...
Me like the way that he put it on me
Me like the way that he push up on me
Me like the way that he goin' down..."

What's Your Mix? (2012)
Bay Clothing ads feature multi/Asian women in mathematical equations, image from Bila Kapamilya
"Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class."

Jessica Gomes, multiracial Asian model (2013)
 Sports Illustrated swimsuit spread, image from (Re)Mixed

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why Isn't College for Learning About Mixed-Race Identities?

[image from]

By Sharon H Chang, as seen on Racism Review

There are some incredible opportunities out there right now to get certificates, higher ed and even advanced degrees specializing in the experience of Americans of color. Want a degree in Asian American Studies? Sure. How about African American, Native or American Indian, Latin American, Mexican American or Chicano studies? Absolutely. Google all of these and you’ll find brilliant choices to be credentialed in these heritage experiences at very fine colleges and universities.

But what if you ID as mixed-race multicultural across any of these racial lines? Is there a degree for that?