Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-12-30 04:08Z by Steven

Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

University Press of Mississippi
192 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4968-1422-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4968-2346-5

Myra S. Washington, Associate Professor
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of New Mexico

An exposition of a dynamic, multiracial-racial identity

Myra S. Washington probes the social construction of race through the mixed-race identity of Blasians, people of Black and Asian ancestry. She looks at the construction of the identifier Blasian and how this term went from being undefined to forming a significant role in popular media. Today Blasian has emerged as not just an identity Black/Asian mixedrace people can claim, but also a popular brand within the industry and a signifier in the culture at large. Washington tracks the transformation of Blasian from being an unmentioned category to a recognized status applied to other Blasian figures in media.

Blasians have been neglected as a meaningful category of people in research, despite an extensive history of Black and Asian interactions within the United States and abroad. Washington explains that even though Americans have mixed in every way possible, racial mixing is framed in certain ways, which almost always seem to involve Whiteness. Unsurprisingly, media discourses about Blasians mostly conform to usual scripts already created, reproduced, and familiar to audiences about monoracial Blacks and Asians.

In the first book on this subject, Washington regards Blasians as belonging to more than one community, given their multiple histories and experiences. Moving beyond dominant rhetoric, she does not harp on defining or categorizing mixed race, but instead recognizes the multiplicities of Blasians and the process by which they obtain meaning. Washington uses celebrities, including Kimora Lee, Dwayne Johnson, Hines Ward, and Tiger Woods, to highlight how they challenge and destabilize current racial debate, create spaces for themselves, and change the narratives that frame multiracial people. Finally, Washington asserts Blasians as not only evidence for the fluidity of identities, but also for the limitations of reductive racial binaries.


  • Acknowledgments
  • CHAPTER ONE: Theorizing Blasians
  • CHAPTER TWO: Birth of a Blasian
  • CHAPTER THREE: Modeling Race: Refashioning Blasianness
  • CHAPTER FOUR: “Because I’m Blasian” Tiger Woods, Scandal, and Protecting the Blasian Brand
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Sporting the Blasian Body
  • CONCLUSION: En-Blasianing the Future
  • Notes
  • Index
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Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-11-26 22:23Z by Steven

Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

International Journal Multicultural Education
Volume 18, Number 3 (2016)
pages 40-57
DOI: 10.18251/ijme.v18i3.1193

Hyein Amber Kim, Lecturer in Korean Language
University of Washington

This study examines two cases of Black-Korean biracial individuals and 4 Black-Korean biracial public figures who were playing influential roles in South Korea (Yoon Mi-Rae, Hines Ward, Insooni, and Moon Taejong). The purpose of this study was to understand how Black-Korean biracial individuals construct their identities, how they navigate various identity options, and how they understand experiences they have in South Korea that are significant to their identity development. This study raises a number of issues in the Korean context where the ideology of a “pureblood” Korean race still prevails, and biracial Koreans continue to face implications of racism and colorism.

Read the entire article here.

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Rearticulating Black Mixed-Race in the Era of Globalization: Hines Ward and the struggle for Koreanness in contemporary South Korean media

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-10-16 03:24Z by Steven

Rearticulating Black Mixed-Race in the Era of Globalization: Hines Ward and the struggle for Koreanness in contemporary South Korean media

Cultural Studies
Volume 28, Issue 3, 2014
pages 391-417
DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2013.840665

Ji-Hyun Ahn
University of Texas, Austin

Since the mid-2000s, the term multiculturalism has entered the Korean lexicon as migration has become more and more prevalent due to globalization. The cornerstone of this multicultural explosion was a 2006 visit by American football star Hines Ward, born to an African-American father and a Korean mother. As a black mixed-race sports celebrity, he suddenly became an emblematic media figure in the Korean televisual landscape, signifying a broader racial reconfiguration in Korean society. This media event – what I shall call ‘the Hines Ward moment’ – created and opened the discursive space for racial politics and multicultural issues in Korean society. Hence, this article aims to look at what this discursive explosion of multiculturalism and mixed-race means in the context of globalization. Reading the Hines Ward moment as a symbolic media text, the paper examines how the media discourse on Hines Ward articulates the issues of national identity and racial politics in contemporary Korean society. For analysis, newspaper articles, television programmes and television commercials that deal with the Hines Ward case are examined. By analyzing the modes of articulation of the Hines Ward moment, this study deconstructs the image of a ‘global, multicultural Korea’ shaped by the Korean media and examines the struggle for Koreanness in the televisual area of contemporary Korean media.

Introduction: imagining a multicultural, global Korea?

There has been a common belief that South Korea (hereafter, Korea) has always been a racially homogeneous country because of the strong myth of ‘one people one nation’ (hankyoreh hanminjok) (Shin 2006, G.-S. Han 2007). However, this common myth no longer seems as effective as it was in the past…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Rise of Ethnic Pride for Multicultural Americans

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2013-05-07 03:00Z by Steven

The Rise of Ethnic Pride for Multicultural Americans


Damien Haynes

In America, race and skin color are some of the most critiqued and analyzed issues within our society. For some people, growing up of mixed race decent can either be a detriment or a blessing. It can separate you from the rest of society or educate you to aspects of society that (for most people of a monoracial background) would go unlearned. People who are of mixed race decent is considered to be the fastest growing populous in the United States with a 32 percent increase as of 2010 on the U.S Census, according a CNN report. Although asking someone “What are you”, or “Where does your family come from,” is not lost in the consciousness of American conversation. The acceptance of persons who are of mixed race decent and those who identify as bi-racial or mixed, is on the rise.

To be of a multiracial background, a person has to be categorized as having the racial makeup of two or more ethnic groups. In a world where checking one box on a job application or census report is all that is offered, some people are caught between choosing one race over the other, not only on paper, but in some cases, all together within society.

The analysis of the United States population shows that multiple race groups such as White and Asian combinations, and White and Black combinations are the highest contribution to the change in the United States Census reporting since 2000…

…According to Andrew Jolivétte, Associate Professor and Chair of the American Indian Studies Department of San Francisco State University, more and more individuals are identifying themselves as multiracial due to an overall sociological acceptance and shift in perception….

Read the entire article here.

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Stepping toward multiculturalism

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2013-04-11 20:26Z by Steven

Stepping toward multiculturalism

The Korea Herald

Cho Chung-un

Experts call for a long-term vision of Korea as a multiethnic society, social agreement on overall immigration policy

Globalization, demographic change and economic growth have led Korea to embrace cultural diversity and tolerance toward others. But biases and discrimination against foreigners remain and Koreans’ pride for ethnic purity is deeply entrenched. This 10-part series will offer a glimpse into the nation’s efforts to promote multiculturalism and challenges in immigration law, education, welfare, public perception, mass culture and more. ― Ed.

Korea is one of a few countries that have long remained racially homogenous. But a growing number of immigrants since the late 1990s have prompted the nation to embrace multiculturalism as a key national policy and cultural movement.

It is no longer rare to see mixed-raced children mingling with Korean peers at schools and streets. More Koreans marry foreigners and immigrants are playing an increasingly big role in society. The nation now has its first foreign-born lawmaker representing ethnic minorities.

Despite diminishing prejudices and discrimination against the newcomers, Korea still has a long way to go with its immigration laws, education and welfare policies and people’s tolerance toward different cultures, experts say…

…It is somewhat surprising that the Korean government started to take the immigration issue seriously only in 2006. At that time, then-President Roh Moo-hyun was under pressure from the international community to address concerns about Korea neglecting human rights issues involving immigrants and foreign workers and brides. The fear of losing the productive population in the future due to a record-low birthrate was another reason. But it was the visit by American football star Hines Ward that dramatically turned Koreans toward a multicultural society.

Ward, born to a Korean mother, became a proud son of Korea and inspired many that people from a multicultural background could also become an important asset to the country.

But it took four years for the government to launch the first phase of the comprehensive multicultural project. The 2010 plan focused on supporting them financially and institutionally. Critics said that the initial plans led many Koreans to build a new type of prejudice against multicultural families…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Celebrities on Race, in their Own Words

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2011-02-17 05:33Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Celebrities on Race, in their Own Words

Time Magazine: Healthland

Meredith Melnick, Reporter and Producer

Who Are You?

If biracial and multiracial celebrities have anything in common, it is that they are often asked to explain themselves. That may sound familiar to any person of mixed ancestry for whom questions like “What are you?” and the slightly more delicate “Where are your parents from?” are the norm.

“Historically, racism is equated with segregation, separating people,” says Marcia Alesan Dawkins, a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. “In turn, we think racial progress is racial mixing. But the problem is, [that progress is] still based on appearance.”

People who embody racial diversity can’t be expected to explain the concept to everybody else, but their thoughts on the matter are often illuminating. As Dawkins said, “It’s still important to bring issues of multiracial identity to the public’s attention.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Steelers and Ward nominated for Positive Peace Awards

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, New Media, Social Work, United States on 2010-12-06 22:54Z by Steven

Steelers and Ward nominated for Positive Peace Awards

Pittsburgh Steelers News

Celebrate Positive announced today that the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Hines Ward have been nominated for the inaugural  2010 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Awards in the Professional Sports Team and Professional Athlete categories. This award, viewed as a 21st century peace prize, honors and recognizes individuals, businesses, athletes, sports teams, entertainers and schools around the world for their positive contributions.

…The nomination of Hines Ward came from Pearl S. Buck International Inc. [for] his critical work in Korea which has changed the perception of the biracial population in the community. His involvement has attracted influential Koreans to join him in his efforts.

“Hines Ward changed the cultural landscape of Korea,” said Janet Mintzer, President/CEO of Pearl S. Buck Intl. “After Japanese invasions, Korea placed high value on being pure-blooded Koreans, creating prejudice of biracial people. As a successful biracial Korean-American, he returned to Korea, creating media attention which sparked a cultural shift.”…

Read the entire article here.

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More than a Metaphor: Blood as Boundary for Korean Biracial Identity

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations on 2010-07-28 03:26Z by Steven

More than a Metaphor: Blood as Boundary for Korean Biracial Identity

NCA 95th Annual Convention
Chicago Hilton & Towers
Chicago, Illinois

Myra Washington
College of Media, Institute of Communications Research
University of Illinois

When Hines Ward was named MVP of Super Bowl XL, his Black and Korean biracial status became the touchstone for conversations about mixed-race people in Korea. His “homecoming” trip generated a frenzied discourse around the limits of Korean identity and the location of bi/multiracial individuals within it. Ward’s racial representation allows for the analysis of nationhood, citizenship, difference and race as imagined through blood metaphors.

Read the entire paper here.

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Ward Helps Biracial Youths on Journey Toward Acceptance

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-06-21 02:37Z by Steven

Ward Helps Biracial Youths on Journey Toward Acceptance

The New York Times

John Branch

PITTSBURGH — Steelers receiver Hines Ward surrounded himself with old friends at the dinner table on a recent Saturday night. The bond was as obvious as the look on everyone’s faces — half Korean, half something else. The shared experience was far more than skin deep.

There was a boy who was bullied into depression and tried to commit suicide. There was a girl ordered by a teacher to keep her hair pulled back tight, to straighten the natural curls she inherited from her black father. There was another too intimidated by her taunting classmates to board the bus, choosing instead the humiliating and lonely walk to school. There were the boys who were beaten regularly and teased mercilessly. There were college-age girls who broke into tears when telling their stories of growing up biracial in South Korea.

But when they looked around the table, they saw familiarity. And a future…

…“It was hard for me to find my identity,” Ward said. “The black kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I had a Korean mom. The white kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was black. The Korean kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was black. It was hard to find friends growing up. And then once I got involved in sports, color didn’t matter.”

But there is no such relief valve for most of the estimated 19,000 biracial children in South Korea. The fast-growing majority of them are Kosians, with a parent from a different Asian country.

The number of Amerasians — those generally with white or black American fathers, often from the military — is slowly shrinking. But their mere appearance leads to harsher discrimination, officials said.

“Korea is traditionally a single blood,” said Wondo Koh, a Korean who met up with the group in Pittsburgh while doing business. “We Koreans are not comfortable with this mixed-blood situation. We have become familiar now, but we did not know how to cope.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The President, the Professor, and the Wide Receiver

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-05-04 21:50Z by Steven

The President, the Professor, and the Wide Receiver

When the biracial U.S. President Barack Obama visits South Korea tomorrow, he will be visiting a country grappling with its prejudices about race.

Foreign Policy

James Card

This week, U.S. President Barack Obama, the son of a black father and white mother, is making his landmark visit to Asia, including a Wednesday stop in Seoul, where South Korea is in the midst of a racial reckoning. His visit could have positive repercussions for years to come. Race is a thorny issue in the country, and biracial persons especially so. Both North and South Koreans embrace pure bloodlines, untainted by non-Korean DNA. Biracial children are broadly considered unadoptable, and children and adults of mixed race endure ostracism and bullying. But in the past few years, a number of events and people have made South Koreans reconsider racism and persons of mixed race…

Read the entire article here.

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