Saturday, May 24, 2014

3 New Books by Radical Women of Color Scholars

Yesterday I had (childcare) and the very great privilege of going to a book talk by 3 recently-published-superhero-smart women of color scholars at the University of Washington:

[image from]
Leilani Nishime
[image from]
 Suhanthie Motha

[image from]
 Megan Bang

The event was put together and hosted by the university's fairly new but super kickass group WIRED: Women Investigating Race, Ethnicity, and Difference, "An organization dedicated to providing participants professional advice, intellectual stimuli and support in balancing demands at home and work." Members are assistant professors and mostly women of color. I pretty much live-tweet almost every talk I go to these days. Why? I like the brevity, the real-time interaction online (i.e. folks from all over the world listen & weigh-in), and the ability to string simple notes together post-event in a Storify Slideshow. I feel like so many of us deeply care but just don't have the time, ability, access, educational privilege (possibly even patience) etc to get to or into these kinds of things. On the flipside Twitter is a widely accessible platform which sort of forces us to get points across in fewer, plainer words. That can be really annoying and disempowering in some arenas, but for jargonny academics, theorists, "experts" I think a good challenge AND maybe more importantly an opportunity for all - not just some - to participate. So in the interest of public access and easier entry-points into knowledge I think everyone should be able to partake in -- without further ado here's my short and hopefully sweet Storify Slideshow of UW + WIRED's "Cultural Orientations: New Books in Visual Media, Science, and Language Education." Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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

[image from]
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  ~
“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.”