Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New York Times Just Boarded the Post-Racial Express: A critical response to "Choose Your Own Identity"


[screen shot from NY Times Magazine]

by Sharon H Chang

This Monday, The New York Times Magazine published a very unfortunate essay about multiracial Asian children: Choose Your Own Identity, by author and mother Bonnie Tsui. In it, Tsui (who is not multiracial herself) puzzles over her children's mixed-race identities, what they may or may not choose to be one day, while taking a brief foray back/forward in time to consider the sociohistorical context of mixed-race and America's impending multiracial future. After mulling on the subject for about ten paragraphs, she concludes with a seeming liberatory message on behalf of her children: "...the truth is, I can't tell my sons what to feel...I can only tell them what I think about my own identity and listen hard to what they have to tell me in turn."

Sounds innocent enough, yes?

No.

"I'm so tired of mothers of bi and multiracial children speaking on behalf of their children." ~ TS

Sunday, December 13, 2015

All about my NEW book - Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World


When Raising Mixed Race came last week (after I screamed & did a dance first)

by Sharon H Chang

I am so thrilled to announce that, at long last, MY BOOK Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World has been released on Routledge!!! This moment is so deeply meaningful to me beyond anything words can express. Raising Mixed Race represents not only years of work on my end but a multitude of others' lived racial realities; stories about and involving mixedness that are poignant, sharp, relevant and vital, and yet - remain mostly untold in America and around the world. To my immense and humble gratitude, advance reviewers have embraced this book with tremendous love; reviewed it glowingly in and out of the US. The Facebook Release Party for the book was incredibly well-attended on Friday, Dec 11, and pre-orders SOLD OUT on Amazon over the weekend! It is my sincere belief if we engage with Raising Mixed Race it can (will) challenge our thinking on mixedness to go deeper and contribute to moving society as a whole towards justice, healing and true transformation. I hope you too will read Raising Mixed Race, and join our journey.

In the mean time, you can of course find a brief Raising Mixed Race book description at any online retailer. But I know that doesn't tell much. So. I put together a little extra something to give you a closer peak. Following are summaries for the book's chapters plus short videos of ME telling you all about them (from the Facebook Release Party)! Take a look, and Happy Reading...

Monday, November 30, 2015

'Raising Mixed Race' Virtual Release Party!!



YOU'RE INVITED

I'm having a party for my new book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World on Friday December 11 and I want you to come! And guess what? If you use the Internet and Facebook - you CAN. What's a Facebook party you ask? It's easy. That's what it is. Facebookers (and newbies) just do what you always do. Log on to Facebook, go to the Raising Mixed Race Facebook page any time between 9:30am-1:30pm PST on Dec 11, read, like, comment, share and voila! We have a party. But suuuch a cool party. Really. I'm super excited. Here's some things you can expect:

  • Posts every few minutes - for four hours - so yeah, LOTS going on
  • Video "sneak peeks" of Raising Mixed Race chapters (2 mins or less promise!) 
  • Thread discussions (though this isn't a rant party, so light thread discussions)
  • Humor - as in memes and word games like "caption this" or "react to this"

But possibly the best part of the party? THE GIVEAWAYS. THE GIVEAWAYS. THE GIVEAWAYS. I'll be giving away 4 signed copies of Raising Mixed Race plus over 20 stellar donations by other authors, artists and filmmakers - all by/about mixed race Asians.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Review: "My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not to Me"



by Sharon H Chang

I'm very sorry to say this, but I can't recommend this book. God. This is the weirdest, hardest post to write. First, I don't do many book reviews. The few I've done on children's books especially have all been carefully chosen and glowing. I figure there's so friggin' few books out there on mixed race kids it doesn't serve to get overly critical and frankly we need as much uplift as possible. Second, there's an Asian mom involved here (Meilo So, illustrator, who is also mother to at least one multiracial Asian child) and I think we have to be incredibly careful about how we question our own sisters/brothers of color in a racist society so that we are transformative and don't succumb to rewriting internalized oppression upon ourselves. That said. I still can't recommend this book.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Professor Minelle Mahtani on 'Raising Mixed Race' in Canada

Following are closing remarks given by Minelle Mahtani after the premiere of my new book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World at Hapa-Palooza Festival 2015, Vancouver B.C. Minelle Mahtani is Associate Professor of Human Geography and Journalism at University of Toronto-Scarborough. Currently she is on sabbatical to host new show 'Sense of Place' on Roundhouse Radio. She is also author of the recent book 'Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality.'  

My book 'Raising Mixed Race' will be released December 11, 2015

*     *     *     *     *


Minelle Mahtani [image from Twitter @mminelle]

"Hi everybody. I’m going to keep this really short and sweet because I just think that we’ve heard so many really important things. But I just want to say thank you, Jeff, for that really warm introduction. And I just want to thank Sharon and Professor Wei Ming Dariotis for the extraordinary contribution they made here tonight.

For me being in this room really means a lot. I think it’s really rare that so many mixed people come together to have these conversations...I think it’s really valuable to remember that you’re not alone in this and that there’s other people around who want to share in these conversations. I grew up as a person of mixed race identity. I’m [of] Indian, Iranian, Muslim, Hindu background. And that was a really complicated identity to have in the suburbs of Toronto, mostly white area, that I grew up in.

I remember being called the N-word in grade three, coming home and telling my mother...and my mother bursting into tears.

I’ve been called every single racial slur you can imagine. I remember being called the N-word in grade three, coming home and telling my mother (I didn’t even know what it meant), and my mother bursting into tears. So what does that story tell us right? In terms of the kind of information that we receive and the kinds of information we get from our parents in terms of how they can cope with these stories. Instead of my mother explaining to me the tortured history behind that word - she immediately felt guilty. I think that’s really important. I think that’s what we need to think about.

But...I want to talk about Sharon for a minute.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Talking Race, ID & Racism with Families of Color Seattle

with FOCS Board and Staff [Photo Credit: Amy Pak]

by Sharon H Chang

On Saturday October 10 I had the very distinct honor of being part of Families of Color Seattle (FOCS)'s first of five Community Dialogues on Race and Family: "Talking Race, Identity and Racism." FOCS is an emerging, young local nonprofit whose mission is to build strong communities of color by supporting families via parenting programs, resource sharing, and fostering meaningful connections. Their vision is children of color will be born into loving world that is racially and economically just. This is the first time the org has undertaken a community dialogue series. The other dialogues will include: "Multiracial Families," "Anti-Bias Education and Schools," "Anti-Racist Birthing," and "Transracial Adoption Experiences."

Technically I was the kickoff keynote at this first launch event but it didn't feel like that - which was actually kind of awesome.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#RaisingMixedRace @Hapapalooza 2015 - BOOK PREMIERE


Premiering Raising Mixed Race at Hapa-palooza 2015
by Sharon H Chang

I just had the best launch-premiere for my debut book Raising Mixed Race EVER. 

No really. It was the most heart-warming, inspirational and energizing experience I could have ever dreamed of. And I am so humbled, honored and grateful.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why the Seattle Teachers Strike Should Matter to Every American


My 5-year-old standing in solidarity with his teachers

by Sharon H Chang

By now many of you have probably heard about the massive teacher strike launched this week in Seattle Public Schools, the largest school district in Washington state. Also happens to be the district my 5-year-old is entering this year as a kindergartner and, really, we're all entering together as a public school family (because if you think school is only about kids and teachers you're dead wrong). School was supposed to start Wednesday but after six years of being denied cost-of-living pay increase in one of the nation's top ten fastest gentrifying cities (read most expensive) while simultaneously being asked to work longer hours with growing class sizes and less recess (down to 15 min), and also being increasingly held curricula-hostage by excessive standardized tests and hand-tied-bullied by corporate education reform -- our teachers HAD it.

And damn well they should.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Woman of Color's Reflections on the 2015 American Sociological Association Meeting #ASA15



by Sharon H Chang

Words never suffice, but if I had to describe what I do in one word it would be "writer". That one strand of six letters does me best, right now anyway, because I wear a lot of writer hats and other labels just don't solo-suit. I write as a blogger. I write as an editorialist. I write as a critic and commentator. But I also write as a journalist. I write as a researcher. And I write as an independent scholar and book author (i.e. not affiliated to any specific college or university).

As the latter I've gone to several academic conferences over the last couple years. The most recent being the American Sociological Association (ASA) Meeting in Chicago, August 22-25. The ASA Meeting is by far the biggest conference I've attended to-date. It's huge, HUGE, representing around 600 program sessions, 3,000 research papers and 4,600 presenters. The scope is overwhelming, enormous, gargantuan. It's a place where a lot of big name sociologists as well as up-and-coming sociologists present their research for the first time. It's prestigious, internationally attended, and sort of a "gold standard" for folks in that field. Which certainly shows how massive the field of sociology is.

So. What was it like for a feminist of color, multi-hat, independent "writer" (who writes on systemic racism, mixed race, the Asian American diaspora, and is unattached to academia) to go to this annual academic ASA Meeting for the first time? Well. I'll tell you...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#RaisingMixedRace ~ BOOK UPDATE ~ August 13


 


Alright time for another check in. We've all been waiting, waiting for my forthcoming book Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. And I have good news. It's COMING. Last I wrote to you things had mightily stalled because of a publisher merger/acquisition. Original release date was supposed to have been June but we weren't anywhere close in May. There was a lot of frustration all around. But since that time the wheel has started turning again and the outlook is super good! So here's where we're at now...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What It Was Like Being Mixed-Race Photographed By National Geographic


[image source]

by Sharon H Chang

Remember these pictures? They were part of National Geographic's mixed race photo campaign "Changing Faces" published in October 2013. "We're becoming a country," stated the magazine, "Where race is no longer so black and white." The images were shot by famous German portrait photographer Martin Schoeller who said he liked "building catalogs of faces that invite people to compare them." I think it's safe to say that happened. The gallery was widely viewed (it being National Geographic after all) and more or less greatly admired (it being Martin Schoeller after all). But there was some criticism, including my own, which I wrote about for Racism Review in Mixed or Not, Why Are We Still Taking Pictures of "Race"? One of the larger questions I raised was around the idea that we use images of mixed race people to debate race, without including those mixed folk in the debate themselves. I concluded that essay with a proclamation:

While modern race-photography believes itself to be celebrating the dismantling of race, it may actually be fooling us (and itself) with a fantastically complicated show of smoke and mirrors...We need to make much, MUCH more space for something ultimately pretty simple — the stories of actual people themselves which in the end, will paint the real picture.

But here's a truth I want to share with you. I also felt at the time that me making this proclamation wasn't enough. That I had to do more than just say it. I needed to live it; make a commitment to the practice I was preaching. So. As an old friend used to say, "Where attention goes, energy flows." Soon after making this personal resolve I had the amazing good fortune of running into Alejandro T. Acierto, a mixed race identifying person who was photographed for National Geographic's campaign. He graciously agreed share with me/us what "Changing Faces" was like for him through his own experience, his own words, and his own lens.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Simple Story About Children Being Brilliant Undoing Racism


image credit: Ad Council, source: weknowmemes

by Sharon H Chang

I want to tell you a simple story. And I don't think the first part of it is that unusual. The other night I was home with my 5-year-old and noticed him playing with his eye shape. That is, using his fingers to pull his eyes back/up/down/sideways etc. You know the drill. A lot of parents have relayed to me having this experience with their young children. It's not necessarily something the children learned from racist teasing and taunting (though it might be so definitely check). A lot of times it's just basic body exploration and experimentation. Like, "Look what I can do!" But of course when we see our Asian or mixed Asian children pulling their eyes into a slant for the first time, most parents of Asian/American descent have a quick, visceral, sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs. I certainly did. And rightfully so.

image by Dr Seuss, source: "Dr Seuss's Racist Anti-Japanese Propoganda (And His Apology)" by Hashi

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When "Smart" Is a Bad Thing for People of Color


[image source]

By Sharon H Chang

Nowadays it's on the table. And let me be clear I think that's a VERY good thing. We ruminate, debate, question, call out, piece apart and break down this pervasive stereotype - this idea that Asian/Americans are somehow a magic "model minority". The thinking goes: if you have to be a person of color, at least be an Asian one cause Asians are smart, they'll listen, work hard, won't act out, blah blah blah.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Yea 'Aloha' is Super White, But What's Up With the Way We're Talking About It?


From left to right Aloha stars: sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Pu'uhonua Kanahele (as himself), Bradley Cooper (as a white guy), and Emma Stone (as a white person playing a mixed-race Hawaiian/Chinese/Swedish person) [image source]

by Sharon H Chang

Okay first let's just get this out of the way. Aloha is a really, really bad movie. Like REALLY bad. It's getting horrible reviews (as it should) for lousy directing, a terrible script, mismatched A-list actors, poor production etc. It's boring as hell to watch. I'm not going to even bother giving a a story synopsis here because the plot is so pointless and uninteresting, it doesn't matter anyway. If you want or need a synopsis, it's easy to find one online. Just do a web search.

No all you need to know, if you don't already, is this: Set in Hawaii where Native Hawaiians continue to be besieged by whites and the military, the movie centers white people and the U.S. military anyway, all of which is supposedly made better by the conceit of a military-serving mixed-race Hawaiian/Chinese/Swedish character, who is actually played by a white actress.

Yup. Pretty much.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How 'Ex Machina' Abuses Women of Color & Nobody Cares Cause It's Smart


Sex slave "Kyoko" played by Japanese/British actress Sonoya Mizuno [image source]

by Sharon H Chang

Last month British science fiction thriller Ex Machina opened in the U.S. to almost unanimous rave reviews. The film was written and directed by Alex Garland, author of bestselling 1996 novel The Beach (also made into a movie) and screenwriter of 28 Days Later (2002) and Never Let Me Go (2010). Ex Machina is Garland's directorial debut. It's about a young white coder named Caleb who gets the opportunity to visit the secluded mountain home of his employer Nathan, pioneering programmer of the world's most powerful search engine (Nathan's appearance is ambiguous but he reads non-white and the actor who plays him is Guatemalan). Caleb believes the trip innocuous but quickly learns that Nathan's home is actually a secret research facility in which the brilliant but egocentric and obnoxious genius has been developing sophisticated artificial intelligence. Caleb is immediately introduced to Nathan's most upgraded construct - a gorgeous white fembot named Ava. And the mind games ensue.

As the week unfolds the only things we know for sure are (a) imprisoned Ava wants to be free, and, (b) Caleb becomes completely enamored and wants to "rescue" her. Other than that, nothing is clear. What are Ava's true intentions? Does she like Caleb back or is she just using him to get out? Is Nathan really as much an asshole as he seems or is he putting on a show to manipulate everyone? Who should we feel sorry for? Who should we empathize with? Who should we hate? Who's the hero? Reviewers and viewers alike are melting in intellectual ecstasy over this brain-twisty movie. The Guardian calls it "accomplished, cerebral film-making"; Wired calls it "one of the year's most intelligent and thought-provoking films"; Indiewire calls it "gripping, brilliant and sensational". Alex Garland apparently is the smartest, coolest new director on the block. "Garland understands what he's talking about," says RogerEbert.com, and goes "to the trouble to explain more abstract concepts in plain language."

Right.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#RaisingMixedRace ~ BOOK UPDATE ~ May 26




Many of you know (and hopefully are as excited as me!) that I've got my first book in the works, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. But what many of you don't know and have been asking me a lot recently is, "What's going on? Is it done? When's it coming out?"

For sure.

First, I hear you. Second, I am SO PLEASED you're looking forward to this important book being released. Three, I value you-the-reader more than words can say. What would any of this writing be without your eyes, minds, and thoughts? Writing that is never read, lives alone. You make it worthwhile. You make the change happen by joining the conversation and spreading the word. It's so much about us together. And that's why I'm 100% committed to keeping you in the loop. So. Here's a book update especially for you...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Book Review & Author Interview: "T Is For Tokyo"


T is for Tokyo by Irene Akio, from ThingsAsian Press

by Sharon H Chang

This Mother's Day 2015 I'm so pleased to share with you an extraordinary picture book by multiracial-identifying artist, illustrator, author and mother -- Irene Akio. Her debut children's book T is for Tokyo was released by ThingsAsian Press in 2010 as part of their series "ThingsAsian Kids" (great titles btw, definitely check them out). It's a stunning bilingual English/Japanese pictorial and cultural exploration of Tokyo that children and parents of all ages will find themselves mesmerized by. Like Irene who was born in Northern Japan and spent summers there but grew up largely in Michigan, the book's narrative is built upon a child's bi-national awareness and budding identity. Little Mina asks her father in the very first pages, "Papa, tell me again about the city I was born in," and he answers:

"You were born in a city called Tokyo. It's bigger than you can imagine..."

artwork copyright 2010 by Irene Akio

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Racializing Infants: When Anne Geddes Came to Seattle


from Google image search for "Anne Geddes"
by Sharon H Chang

She's been called legendary; famed; one of the world's most respected photographers. Her images are award winning, internationally acclaimed, considered iconic and beloved by many. She's sold over 19 million books and 13 million calendars in at least 83 countries and translated into at least 25 different languages. Anne Geddes is a globally renowned photographer famous for her whimsical portraits of infants and children in fanciful, fairytale-esque costumes and settings. The Australian born artist is also a global advocate for children. She founded the Anne Geddes Philanthropic Trust in 1992 and has worked to raise awareness around many child-related issues from abuse and neglect, to premature birth and the threat of meningococcal disease. "Protect. Nurture. Love," her website reads, "These three words have served as my mantra and inspiration throughout my 30-year career as a photographer."

But that's not exactly what happened when Geddes came to Seattle last year for a three day workshop and photo shoot for her 2017 Zodiac Calendar.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Does It Matter That Purvi Patel's Baby Was Mixed-Race?


[image source: YouTube]
by Sharon H. Chang

In February/March of this year Purvi Patel, a 33-year-old Indian-American woman, became the first woman in the U.S. to be charged, convicted and sentenced for feticide and child neglect over the loss of her late-term fetus.

It started with barely a hunch. I read, "resulted from...relationship with a married co-worker," "didn't want her conservative Hindu parents to know," "shouldn't have sex outside of marriage," and a light bulb was dimly lit in my mind. I reflected on those words and in them I saw boundaries, boundary-crossing: (cis)female/male, married/unmarried, Hindu/non-Hindu, proper/improper, faith/fear, expectation/defiance. The light bulb grew brighter; an unformed contemplation sat vaguely in the corner. Then other details emerged: immigrant/American, authority/subordinate, empowered/disempowered, justice/injustice. The light bulb grew even brighter, illuminating an idea that stood up and stepped forward out of shadow.

Patel being from an immigrant family in the U.S., living unmarried in an inter-generational conservative household, supporting her Indian parents, hiding her pregnancy, having to negotiate her culture of origin within home against a vastly different mainstream American culture out of home. Here was a highly racialized gender-baised case rife with all parties exploding because of fences being traversed. I suddenly and reflexively thought to myself with clarity, "I bet the baby was mixed-race."

And guess what? It was.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What Happened When I Google-Searched Women of Color


[image source]

by Sharon H Chang
for Racism Review ~ www.racismreview.com
March 27, 2015

I decided to run a little Net-search experiment on women of color (WOC) the other day. I think we can all admit that net (re)searching to look at social issue climate is something almost everyone does. In some ways the Internet offers a lot of insight into the public imaginary and what’s going on people’s minds. But we do have to dig. A lot. And even then it’s near impossible to rummage through the multitudes of crap to get to just a fraction of what’s substantial online. That’s where search engines – which employ pretty powerful algorithms for searching the vast endless sea that is web content – become well, kind of irresistible. What happens when I Google this? What happens if I Google that? We really do live in the age of the Googlization of everything, as Siva Vaidhyanathan suggests. So, I wondered, has information about women of color been Googlized, too?

So this particular morning I was thinking about racialized gender bias; how women of color experience sexism if different racist ways. My memories rushed online as I thought back to all the articles and posts I’d read on WOC over the last months. Of course there’d been narrative patterns in what I’d read, but the webbed interconnectivity of those patterns, the outline, wasn’t always something I paid attention to in a big-picture way. And so then of course I couldn’t help it, I thought, “I wonder what happens if I Google labels like ‘Black women,’ ‘Native women,’ ‘Latina women,’ ‘Asian women’ and look at the results aside each other? What will I see?”

All women of color are painfully oppressed but their oppressions are constructed by oppressors in different ways.

First some disclaimers. One, I fully recognize Google’s algorithms tailor to user history so what I got wouldn’t be the same as what you’d get. Two, I acknowledge Net searches are snapshots in time and results change by the probable millisecond so my results should not be understood as static by any means. Three, Google searching is not “formal” social science research so this post should not be taken as hard evidence but transformative discussion. And four, the goal here is not to create a suffer-meter for gauging “who has it worst.” Rather the point is that all women of color are painfully oppressed but their oppressions are constructed by oppressors in different ways.

Disclaimers now disclaimed. Here were the first-page results of my searches:

Friday, March 20, 2015

"What Are You?" That's None of Your Business




by Sharon H Chang

A couple months ago I got cornered big time by a stranger and their "What are you?" mind-meld. The unsolicited probing went on for a while. Honestly something I'm used to. But this time was crazy multidimensional and unique in a way I don't know I've ever experienced. It involved not only me, but my child, and then HER mixed children by comparison. This stranger just couldn't resist wanting to know my and my son's specific mixes, explained her husband was "American," then wondered out loud if her son would one day look like my son and if her daughter would one day look like me. I was declared white-looking while my son was judged Asian-looking. A picture of her own children was then shown proudly with seeming expectation for praise (which I uncomfortably indulged). There was also some lecturing/instruction on how I should feel about my particular Asian heritage (which she shares) and why I should be able to afford visiting my paternal homeland (which I actually can't). Finally, because she felt this exchange had laid the groundwork for connectivity, she asked to exchange info and wanted to set up a play date.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baby Gammy and the Sexual Politics of Mixed Race Asians


[Thailand] Baby Gammy with his surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua

[Australia] Separated twin sister, Pipah, with Wendy and David Farnell (bio father)

by Sharon H Chang

A couple years ago young Thai mother Pattaramon Chanbua agreed to be a surrogate for Australian couple David and Wendy Farnell. It was a disaster.

Last week Thailand legally banned commercial surrogacy, which is now a criminal offense.

The law comes after many abusive surrogacy arrangements exploiting Thai women over the years. But the Chanbua-Farnell surrogacy in particular expedited legislation after snowballing into an international scandal that garnered the attention of the world and spotlighted inescapably the controversial ethics and regulation (or lack thereof) of global surrogacy. Chanbua’s 2013 fertility treatment in Thailand was successful and she carried mixed race Asian/white twins Gammy and Pipah to delivery for the Farnells by the end of the year. But while Pipah was born healthy and typically developing, Gammy was born with Down’s Syndrome and severe health challenges. Shortly thereafter he was left behind with Chanbua when his Australian parents took his sister back to Australia without him. Gammy’s story was internationally publicized summer 2014 when Chanbua, aided by fundraisers, worked to crowdsource financing for his expensive medical care online. The tragic story coupled with a plethora of images of surrogate mom and left-behind infant living with disability exploded across the media, touching the shocked hearts of millions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Are Mixed Race Asian/Whites, "Basically White"?


Amerasian Le Van Minh in post-war Vietnam, Newsday photo by Audry Tiernan (1985)
[She] never told the son who was crippled by polio about her relationship with his father. All she said was that the man was an American, a sergeant in the Army. He was one of the thousands of GIs who left children behind as victims of the conflict that the United States never officially called a war.
-- "Life and Times of Le Van Minh" by Irene Virag

by Sharon H Chang

I've gotten some pretty vitriolic comments these last months regarding my writings on white-mixing not being synonymous with whiteness. A recent response to my piece protesting Asian Fortune's troubled 2013 "Hapa" article:

"Guys...Sometimes you just need to calm the f down. You need to get out of your heads a little bit and stop over analyzing things. I'm sure all you hapas out there have some understanding of the way hapas are treated in Asia. Talk about superficial stereotypical understandings! Your ultra-liberal, ultra-progressive, straight-out-of-an-undergraduate-African-American-studies-class mumbo jumbo would only ever be considered in White countries. And you know damn well that you benefit from 'White privilege.' The reason I put that in quotes is beyond the scope of this comment. Don't write back with some bullshit about traffic stops - I know the statistics." (October 26, 2014) 

Another recent response, this time to my piece on talking mixed race identity with young children for Hyphen Magazine:

"'mom am i white?'

the answer is yes, he is. Stop confusing the poor child and STOP telling him he's of Asian descent when you and the baby daddy are clearly white. He will grow up with an identity problem and will very likely hate you for it. Have some decency as a parent." (February 10, 2015) 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Big Hero 6 Was Great and I Got Mad


[image source]

by Sharon H Chang

Well Big Hero 6 was great. But I hardly need to tell you that.

At this point many of you have probably already seen it or at least have heard rave reviews and plan to see it. Big Hero 6 (the film) is a computer-animated superhero movie produced/released by Disney in 2014 and inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It's something of a coming-of-age story about 13yo robotics genius Hiro Hamada who faces tragedy and learns to move through his grief by caring for others, valuing the future, and understanding how his genius can be leveraged for good. Another way to say it is he basically becomes a kickass superhero mind-wizard battling "evil forces" with his kickass friends whom he crafts into sidekick superheros by designing them kickass robotic armor and delivering lots of pep talks (which start as misguided and move to kickass). And you should know there is a marshmallow robot involved named Baymax of whom I will say nothing more. Go see the movie. But why I'm really writing about this film -- again if you don't know already -- is because of something centrally pretty kick-ass and important for us here. Hiro Hamada is mixed race Japanese/white.

Hiro Hamada [image from Disney Wiki]