Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Hafu" an AMAZING Start But We Need to Go Deeper


[image from hafufilm.com]
About a week ago I had the chance to do something I've been wanting to do (and bugging the filmmakers about for a long time) -- finally go to a local screening of the documentary Hafu, meaning "half," which represents 5 stories of mixed heritage Japanese folks navigating their multi/identities in Japan today. The film was made by a production team of mostly mixed-race Japanese themselves many either having been raised, born and raised, or with very close ties to the country. The movie shares with us the lived lives of: Edward (Venezuelan/Japanese), The Oi Family particularly their son Alex (Mexican/Japanese), David (Ghanaian/Japanese), Fusae (Korean/Japanese), and Sophia (Australian/Japanese).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Talking Mixed-Race Identity with Young Children



by Sharon H Chang
for Hyphen Magazine: Asian America Unabridged  ~ www.hyphenmagazine.com
 
“Mom, am I white?”

A few weeks ago, I got this question from my four-year-old. Technically he is “biracial”—but that label does him a severe representative injustice, because his bloodline is actually Japanese, Taiwanese, Slovakian, German, French Canadian, British, and Welsh. He also does not possess a parent of one race and a parent of another race as “biracial” is usually assumed—both my husband and I are mixed-race Asian/white too. To that end, I much prefer to describe us, and him, as multiracial.

I write about and research race, families, and children with an especial focus on multiraciality and the intersection of mixed-race ID/Asian. I don’t believe in avoiding race talk with my child, though I do discuss it in age-appropriate ways. I’ve tried to stand by my conviction that it’s better he learn how to think and talk about these issues within the family first, rather than have normative ideals force-fed down his throat by everyone else when he walks out the door.

That said, I wasn’t fully prepared when he turned to me and asked, “Mom, am I white?” When I told him no, he immediately followed up with, “Am I Black?” Then when told he wasn’t that either, he started crying and plaintively turned downtrodden eyes to me, “But I want a color too.”