Friday, January 15, 2016

My 2015 Year In Review


by Sharon H. Chang

I recently saw a fellow blogger pull together a year-in-review roundup and thought, "Why haven't I been doing that? I'm gonna try that!" So I sat down one morning and started rifling through 2015's posts and events and you know it was actually pretty fascinating. Fascinating how much can happen in a year; how momentum just moves you in certain directions when you don't even know what those directions are; how you start wondering where the journey will take you next. Okay, stopping. Won't get too heady. Needless to say I'm happy to share now, without further ado, my 2015 Year In Review . . .

Wrote the Most Viral Pieces I've Ever Written


In chronological order

Feb 2: Kicked off the year right here on Multiracial Asian Families with Are Mixed Race Asian/Whites, "Basically White"? 

Mar 2: My first piece for The Seattle Globalist, Time to shed the ‘progressive mystique’ and confront racism in Seattle, went viral AND was responded to by well known local writer/filmmaker Charles Mudede over at The Stranger.

Mar 3: My first piece for ThinkProgress went viral, Domestic Violence Survivor Found Guilty Of Child Abduction For Fleeing With Daughter, May Be Deported. Very tough to write because the circumstances were so devastating but definitely opened my eyes to the power of activist journalism.

May 21: Then my first piece for BuzzFeed, This Mocha-Caramel-Honey Post-Racial Fantasy Is Making Me Sick, went MASS viral with over 50,000 hits. To date it remains the most viral piece I've written.

Jun 2: Most popular piece I've ever written here on my blog, Yea 'Aloha' is Super White, But What's Up With the Way We're Talking About It? It was cross-published by Racialicious (another first).

Jul 29: Another that was widely viewed on Multiracial Asian Families, What It Was Like Being Mixed-Race Photographed By National Geographic. Really special to see so many of my blog posts go viral this year. It's one thing when you get published on a big platform with almost guaranteed readership. It's another thing when you're building your own platform from the ground up.

Oct 18: This editorial for The International Examiner was incredibly hard to write because the circumstances were so violent. But I remain forever grateful that readers resonated and shared across their networks, Closure of POC Yoga due to hate, death threats a tragedy for all people of color.

Dec 16: And lastly, closed out the year with another successful essay here on Multiracial Asian Families, New York Times Just Boarded the Post-Racial Express: A critical response to "Choose Your Own Identity"

Wrote the Most Hated Piece I've Ever Written 

[image source]
There's one viral piece I haven't mentioned yet though. On May 30, 2015, I wrote a critique of the heady sci-fi film Ex Machina and what I saw as it's abusive treatment of women of color characters, "How 'Ex Machina' Abuses Women of Color and Nobody Cares Cause It's Smart". While it was the first post of mine to ever be cross-published twice, on Racialicious and boundary2, it also was the first to open my eyes to real public attitudes about gender violence. Wow. Scroll the comments and you can see how events unfolded. While at first other women of color stepped forward to voice their relieved gratitude, their voices eventually faded to be quickly replaced by vitriolic trolls who have attacked me over, and over, and over. I still get hateful comments about this piece about once a month. I publish them for posterity. Of all the pieces I've ever written, this is the only one that's ever generated so much hate and hated staying power. I'm sad to say I learned a lesson that at least right now is informing my writing choices very carefully --> violence towards women is grossly epidemic but also grossly accepted by society and not something most people want to talk about in the slightest. If you are a woman (esp woman of color) and you try to speak out, you are seen as an easy target for more violence. So. There's that.

Won My First Writing Award

[photo credit: The Seattle Globalist]

On the other hand, I also won my first writing award this year: The Seattle Globalist's 2015 Social Justice Commentator of the Year. That rocked. Many thanks to the Globalist!

Raising Mixed Race Was Released!

Raising Mixed Race virtual launch Dec 17 (view time 14:39)

IT WAS. The high point of the year of course. At long last my book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World was born Dec 11, 2015. I preview-premiered it (amazingly) in Vancouver B.C. the September prior thanks to a lovely invitation by the organizers of Hapapalooza. In October I had the excellent opportunity to speak from this blog and the book at a local community dialogue sponsored by Families of Color Seattle. Then on the actual release day I hosted a Facebook virtual launch which was exhausting but so much fun! Grateful to say the book has been very well-received thus far. It sold out via Amazon pre-orders before it was even available and has received caring praise by those who've read it. I'm hopeful for the future, am forging ahead, and really looking forward to what its first year in the world will bring.

Started Interviewing for Book No. 2 

Actually at this juncture I've finished interviewing. But yes, lastly, thrilled to share I'm now working on a second book looking at Asian/American women and gendered racism. It will feature the voices of at least fifty-six politicized Asian/American women ages 17-75 representing multiple ethnic subgroups (including South and Southeast Asian). The project is already under contract (i.e. signed to a publisher) and will be co-authored with preeminent sociologist Joe R. Feagin, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of over sixty books on race, class and gender; most recently How Blacks Built America.

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My deepest gratitude however is always for your solidarity, support, and for sticking with me all this time. As the cliches go - it simply put would simply be nothing without YOU. Truth is I always look forward to your work too and the transformative/restorative convos we'll have together. Let's do this thing called 2016. Onward ho . . .


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