Sunday, November 16, 2014

Reflections on the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

Fred Sasaki performing "How to Hafu it All: Three Easy Steps to 100%" [image from CMRS Facebook]

by Sharon H Chang

Ah. Where do I begin. I'm sitting on a plane waiting to takeoff to Seattle (correction, taking off) thinking on my last 3 days in Chicago at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference. I'm exhilarated, emotional, exhausted, enlightened. I got to present some of my research for the first time. After years of researching, MAJOR milestone. I got to be with and meet in the flesh so many folk doing great work whom I had mostly only known by name or via social media thumbnails till that point: Eliaichi Kimaro of A Lot Like You; Jeff Chiba Stearns of One Big Hapa Family, Yellow Sticky Notes, and the forthcoming Mixed Match; Megumi Nishikura of Hafu; Fanshen Cox of One Drop of Love and, with partner Chandra Crudup, Mixed Roots Stories; Ken Tanabe of Loving Day; Co-creators of War Baby / Love Child (as well as two of the conference's founders) Laura Kina and Wei Ming Dariotis; and Steven Riley of MixedRaceStudies.org.

with Jeff Chiba Stearns of Yellow Sticky Notes

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Heading to Chicago to Get Critical About Being Mixed!



image from criticalmixedracestudies.org

by Sharon H Chang

Today I'm heading inland from (strangely) sunny Seattle to the Windy-Much-Colder-City for the 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference! I've never been and I'm excited. So excited. That's actually putting it kind of mildly. In three decades of life I haven't yet had the opportunity to be in a space filled with mixed-identifying folk and get gritty about what being multiracial means. And I don't mean like a multicultural festival where we revel in ethnic foods, get profound about international music, hold hands while singing All You Need Is Love, and wax poetic about globalization. I've done those. They can be fun. But they don't get at what it's like to move through a racially divided world that persists in being starkly unequal when you're a person who embodies crossed racial lines. Not even close. For instance, when half the planet's entire population lives in Brazil, the US, and primarily Asia, what is the perception of others and daily experience of being a mixed-race person of Asian/white descent? By contrast, when the poorest countries in the world are in Africa because the continent remains devastated by Western conquest and Blackness worldwide continues to suffer heavy negative perception, what is the experience of being a mixed-race person of Black/white descent? There is a trend today of lumping multiracials together as if our lived lives stood apart in some ethereal, united place. But we are not the same, though we may stand together on shared ground, nor do we transcend race by our mere "non-conforming" existence. People identifying as mixed, like all racialized peoples, need the chance to come together too to talk about who we are, how we are alike but different, what we're proud of, what pisses us off -- and what we're going to do about it. Can't wait.

In three decades of life I haven't yet had the opportunity to be in a space filled with mixed-identifying folk and get gritty about what being multiracial means.

Please take a quick look at my Storify slide show below or view it at here at storify.com. Over the last week I've been counting down to the conference on Twitter by tweeting about presenters, panelists, performers, etc. This is your chance to learn something about the many great multiracial people out there who are reflecting upon, researching deeply, and writing about the mixed experience. There are some fabulous photos, shows to catch, names to look up, links to click, films to watch, books to read  (*note: mouse-over photos/images to view captions). I assembled a list of Tweeps to follow at the end. During the conference this week, I'll be tweeting live as much as possible. You can follow me on Twitter @multiasianfams OR if you aren't on Twitter (and don't want to be), you can read my Twitter Feed live at this blog in the sidebar to the right. Come with me on my journey...it's going to be a great ride!