Definitive Hapa Japan Books To Launch In LA

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-26 23:37Z by Steven

Definitive Hapa Japan Books To Launch In LA

Kaya Press
Los Angeles, California

Kaya Press is thrilled to announce the official publication of Hapa Japan: History Vol. 1 and Hapa Japan: History Vol. 2 edited by Duncan Ryūken Williams.

Described by Ruth Ozeki as “essential reading for all citizens of our transcultural, transnational, boundless, borderless, beautifully mixed-up world,” these volumes bring together scholarship on the rich historical and contemporary experiences and representations of global Hapa Japanese…

Read the entire press release here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hapa Japan: History (Volume 2)

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-02-26 22:17Z by Steven

Hapa Japan: History (Volume 2)

Kaya Press
400 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781885030542

Edited by:

Duncan Ryūken Williams, Associate Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Southern California

The film Kiku and Isamu (1959) was one of the first cinematic depictions of mixed-race children in postwar Japan, telling the story of two protagonists facing abandonment by two different Black GI fathers and ostracism from Japanese society. Bringing together studies of the representations of the Hapa Japanese experience in culture, Hapa Japan: Identities & Representations (Volume 2) tackles everything from Japanese and American films like Kiku and Isamu to hybrid graphic novels featuring mixed-race characters. From Muslim Japanese-Pakistani children in a Tokyo public school to “Blasian” youth at the AmerAsian School close to a US military base in Okinawa, the Hapa experience is multiple, and its cultural representations accordingly are equally diverse. This anthology is the first publication to attempt to map this wide range of Hapa representations in film, art and society.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: Leilani Nishime’s Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-09 23:22Z by Steven

Review: Leilani Nishime’s Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture


Clayton Dillard, Staff Critic

In 2003, The New York Times published an article entitled “Generation E.A.” which discussed the emergent role of multiracial people in advertising campaigns and concluded by suggesting that they’re an emerging racial category and a stepping-stone key to a race-free future. According to Leilani Nishime, such a notion has become dominant among popular media outlets, which awaits an “inevitable end to race.” For Nishime, these inclinations aren’t only misguided, but a constituent for racial oppression, since “color blindness is not the opposite of racial hierarchies; it is its enabling fiction.” These concerns form the bulk of Nishime’s focus in Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture, an exciting new addition to the canon of critical race studies, which marks the first book-length examination of media images of multiracial Asian Americans.

Nishime’s scope extends across cinema, reality TV, episodic TV drama, advertising campaigns, sports figures, and art installations to offer a comprehensive sense of the representational landscape. Thus, she devotes two chapters to Keanu Reeves, both as a celebrity persona in the 1990s and for his role as Neo in The Matrix trilogy. Within media discussions of both Reeves’s ethnicity and sexuality, Nishime finds that “writers often revert to the queer rhetoric of closeting instead of summoning the racially inflected language of passing to describe Reeves racially.”…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , ,

American Pop Culture Hides, Reveals Multiracial Asian-Americans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-26 01:45Z by Steven

American Pop Culture Hides, Reveals Multiracial Asian-Americans

Voice of America

Jim Stevenson

The discussion of race in the United States has always been complex and often difficult. Yet in an overwhelmingly large percentage of families, it is not difficult to find some evidence of a multiracial influence.

LeiLani Nishime is assistant professor of communications at the University of Washington and author of Undercover Asian. She examines how multiracial Asian Americans are often overlooked even when presented in highly visible popular media such as movies, television shows, magazine articles and artwork. Nishime contrasts the phenomenon with examples when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. She told VOA’s Jim Stevenson her fascinating study began with simple discussions in the classroom.

NISHIME: I had students in class who wanted to hear about mixed race and so I taught one class on it; they liked it so much I turned it into a two-week unit, and they liked that so much I turned it into a class, and after that I thought, “well, maybe there is enough there to write a book about.” I mostly draw from pop culture and from visual culture specifically, so advertising, television, film, that sort of thing. That’s partly just because of my own background and training, I was trained in literary studies and I did most of my dissertation work on film. I’m also interested in popular cultural icons because I feel like they have something to say about our culture more generally.

STEVENSON: Tiger Woods is definitely one of the most recognized athletes around the world, and of course, with some of the things that happened in Tiger’s career in the past few years made him even more well-known, I guess. Tiger is an interesting case: his father is African American, his mother is Thai.

NISHIME: There are times where he identifies as African-American, some as Asian-American – he had made up this term, “Cablinasian,” for a while, that he calls himself. I think though, for most of his career, he actually tries not to identify racially at all. His publicity can paint him as something new, something outside of our usual racial categories.

Read the interview here. Download the interview here.

Tags: , , ,

LeiLani Nishime explores the Asian American experience in her new book

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Social Science, United States on 2014-06-16 02:48Z by Steven

LeiLani Nishime explores the Asian American experience in her new book

The Seattle Globalist

Diane Han
University of Washington

We understand that race doesn’t exist biologically, but it doesn’t mean that race isn’t real.

“We think we see race because it exists in the world, but really, we learn to see race,” says LeiLani Nishime, author of the recently published “Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture.”

“I think the approach to race is not to ignore it or pretend it is not there, but to confront it, see that it’s there, and understand what it does for us in a social context.”

Nishime’s book is a critical examination of the ways multiracial Asian Americans are represented in mass media…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-06-15 23:29Z by Steven

Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

University of Illinois Press
January 2014
264 pages
6 x 9 in.
15 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03807-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-07956-6

Leilani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington, Seattle

Representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans. Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

Tags: , , , , ,

Why isn’t College for Learning About Mixed-Race Identities?

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2014-03-10 18:51Z by Steven

Why isn’t College for Learning About Mixed-Race Identities?

Racism Review: scholarship and activism toward racial justice

Sharon Chang

There are some incredible opportunities out there right now to get certificates, higher ed and even advanced degrees specializing in the experience of Americans of color. Want a degree in Asian American Studies? Sure. How about African American, Native or American Indian, Latin American, Mexican American or Chicano studies? Absolutely. Google [Search] all of these and you’ll find brilliant choices to be credentialed in these heritage experiences at very fine colleges and universities.

But what if you ID as mixed-race multicultural across any of these racial lines? Is there a degree for that?

Not that I’m aware of,” writes Steven F. Riley of (46), “The vast majority of courses on mixed-race studies are within the disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, History and Literature, etc.” Despite the fact that the crop of students moving through college today is the largest group of self-identified mixed-race people ever to come of age in the U.S., “In traditional Ethnic Studies,” writes University of California, Berkeley: Center for Race and Gender, “Mixed race scholarship has often been marginalized, misappropriated, tokenized or simply left out.”

Indeed it has only been in recent history that an arena for multi-race discourse has even forcibly begun construction mostly due to multiracials themselves. In the US this is because we have (a) not only a history of denying mixed race which persists but (b) a habit of continuing to operate under the assumption that race can be easily identified and filed away. Anyone who can’t be instantly categorized by visual scanning either gets shoved into something that kinda sorta fits, shows up as a mere blip on the cognitive-radar screen or flies under it completely. Case in point, whether by choice or lack of choice, some of the more visible mixed-race Asian scholars/authors right now are embedded in other departments at their campuses: Laura Kina (Art, Media, & Design, DePaul University), Leilani Nishime (Dept of Communication, University of Washington), Stephen Shigematsu-Murphy (Asian American Studies, Stanford University), Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain (Sociology, University of Ireland)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

How to Rehabilitate a Mulatto: The Iconography of Tiger Woods

Posted in Books, Chapter, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-11-26 20:34Z by Steven

How to Rehabilitate a Mulatto: The Iconography of Tiger Woods

Chapter in East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture (pages 222-245)

New York University Press
May 2005
382 pages
29 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9780814719626
Paperback ISBN: 9780814719633

Edited By:

Shilpa Davé, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Assistant Professor of Media Studies and American Studies
University of Virginia

LeiLani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
University of Washington

Tasha Oren, Associate Professor of English
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Foreword by:

Robert G. Lee, Associate Professor of American Studies
Brown University

Chapter Author:

Hiram Perez, Assistant Professor of English
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

“A Real American Story”

Tiger Woods’s tongue-in-cheek identification as “Cablinasian” on the Oprah Winfrey Show in April 1997 resulted in such contentiousness within the black community that Winfrey followed up later that same month with a program devoted to the “Tiger Woods Race Controversy” Woods’s identification as Cablinasian during that interview has more often than not been taken out of context. He relates arriving at that category (“Ca, Caucasian; bl, black; in, Indian; Asian—Cablinasian”) during his childhood as a survival strategy against racist taunting and violence, including an incident after the first day of kindergarten when he was tied to a tree and called a monkey and a nigger. However, that moment on Oprah when he pronounced the word “Cablinasian” constituted for the multiracial category movement an Amalgamation Proclamation of sorts. Following the program, he was soundly blasted by black media and intellectuals, among them Manning Marable, but such criticism has only deepened the resolve of the multiracial category movement that its ranks are misunderstood and victimized not only by a dominant culture but by other racial minorities, particularly what they regard as a militant, uniracial old guard.

The white parents of biracial (in this case, usually black and white) children constitute the majority of the proponents for the addition of a multiracial category to the census. These parents are attempting to protect their children from what they perceive as the hardships that ensue from identification as black. As Tanya Katerí Hernández explains, “White parents will seize opportunities to extend their privilege of whiteness to non-White persons they care about.” Their naiveté lies in the belief that evading the legal classification “black” or “African American” will entirely spare a child from the socioeconomic and psychic hardships common to black people. An examination of the history of passing confirms that the legacy of hypodescent is never eradicated by the act of passing. Part of the insidiousness of racial classification in the Americas, which relies on notions of racial contamination and purity, is the manner in which that one drop of tainted blood assumes a ghostly life, not just in terms of its symbolic quality (by which the threat of invisibility is managed) but by its perpetual return either across generations or, for the subject who passes, at that inevitable moment of confession or betrayal.

I argue that the celebrity of a figure such as Tiger Woods functions to rehabilitate the mulatto in order to announce the arrival of a new color-blind era in U.S. history. Woods’s multiracial identity is recuperated as a kind of testimonial to racial progress that simultaneously celebrates diversity in the form of Cablinasianness and the multiplicity that category suggests while erasing the histories of black disenfranchisement, racial-sexual violence, and U.S. imperialism that generate, result from, and entrench the legal, scientific, and popular definitions of race, including each racial component of Cablinasianness and their various amalgamations. The word Tiger Woods chooses to describe his racial makeup effects, ironically, his racial unmaking. As I demonstrate in this essay, Nike advertising, with the exception of the company’s very first television advertisement featuring Woods, obliquely references race only to register its insignificance (within the discourse of constitutional color-blindness) or to capitalize (just as obliquely) on racial fantasies about the black body and the Asian body. The Tiger Woods iconography shuttles seamlessly between race consciousness and racial elision. That seamlessness is facilitated by the unlikely union in recent years between the ostensibly incompatible ideologies of multiculturalism and color-blindness. Although multiculturalism and the rhetoric of color-blindness appear to espouse contradictory positions, these philosophies ultimately advance very similar ideologies, as various critical race theorists and cultural critics have already argued. Diversity, as a central goal of multiculturalism, does not transform the economic, legal, and cultural institutions that secure white privilege. Both multiculturalism and color-blindness conceive of racial difference as independent of institutionalized racism. The inconsistencies implicit in the iconography of Tiger Woods (i.e., a celebration of multiraciality that simultaneously heralds color-blindness) become transparent in the U.S.,” provides one of the earliest articulations of the model minority stereotype: “At a time when it is being proposed that hundreds of billions be spent on uplifting Negroes and other minorities, the nation’s 300,000 Chinese Americans are moving ahead on their own with no help from anyone else.” Just as model minority rhetoric functions to discipline the unruly black bodies threatening national stability during the post-civil rights era, the infusion of Asian blood together with his imagined Confucian upbringing corrals and tames Tigers otherwise brute physicality. Some variation of his father trained the body and his mother trained the mind is a recurring motif for sports commentators diagnosing Woods’s success at golf. Earl Woods has encouraged this fantasy:

Her teaching methods weren’t always orthodox, but they were effective. When Tiger was just a toddler, she wrote the addition and multiplication tables out for him on 3-by-5-inch cards, and he would practice them over and over every day. He started with addition and later advanced to multiplication as he got older. His reward was an afternoon on the range with me. Tida established irrevocably that education had a priority over golf. (Woods 9)

The qualities of Woods’s model minority mother compensate for the black man’s cognitive deficiencies. In fact, since the stereotype of the model minority secures the normalcy of whiteness by attributing Asian American successes (the evidence for which is often exaggerated and overly generalized) to a biological predisposition toward overachievement, the contributions of the Asian mother actually exceed the capacity for white blood and a Protestant work ethic to compensate for black degeneracy. Woods’s success at golf, traditionally a sport reserved for the white elite, is in part explained by the logic of eugenics.

The celebration of Tiger Woods as the embodiment of American multiculturalism and racial democracy institutes an instance of “organized forgetting.” Oprah Winfrey’s celebratory vision of Tiger Woods as “America’s son” displaces, for example, historical memories of the bastardized children of white slave owners or U.S. soldiers overseas. Miscegenation as a legacy of slavery is forgotten, as is the miscegenation that has resulted from the various U.S. military occupations in Asia dating back to the late nineteenth century…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Is George Zimmerman white, Latino or mixed race? Depends on who you ask.

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-02 04:46Z by Steven

Is George Zimmerman white, Latino or mixed race? Depends on who you ask.

The Seattle Globalist: Where Seattle Meets the World

Leilani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communications
University of Washington, Seattle

It’s been nearly two weeks since the George Zimmerman verdict was handed down, and the conversations in my Facebook feed have shifted from outrage and sorrow to more nuanced discussions of the state of race in the U.S.

Many of these conversations have focused on Zimmerman’s racial identity and, more recently, the identity of the lone “non-black” juror.

Zimmerman’s mixed ethnicity has stirred up conversation about how much his race “counts”: To what extent does he identify as Latino, and does it make a difference in how he saw himself and how he saw Trayvon Martin?…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

The Case for Cablinasian: Multiracial Naming From Plessy to Tiger Woods

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-04-02 02:58Z by Steven

The Case for Cablinasian: Multiracial Naming From Plessy to Tiger Woods

Communication Theory
Volume 22, Issue 1 (February 2012)
pages 92–111
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2011.01399.x

LeiLani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington, Seattle

This article advocates for the interdisciplinary use of critical race theory and critical rhetorical theory in communication to analyze racialized language and to evaluate the cultural and political significance of new racial discourses in the United States. The article examines the dissenting opinion in Plessy v Ferguson (1896) and the congressional hearings on the Tiger Woods Bill (1997), two key instances of public debate over multiracial categories. The article then turns to Tiger Woods’ term “Cablinasian” and the possibilities of an alternative and contestory multiracial nomenclature, shifting the critique away from Woods’ celebrity or politics and toward the legal history and rhetorical potential of the word itself.

In 1996, Oprah Winfrey, on her U.S. television show, asked Tiger Woods how he racially identified. He famously responded by saying he made up his own word, “Cablinasian,” combining the words Caucasian, Black, Indian, and Asian. His comments stirred so much passionate response Winfrey scheduled another show dedicated to the issue. At the center of the debate was the perception that Woods was advocating for his own racial exceptionalism, an exceptionalism that endeared him to many in the multiracial movement and alienated him from many African American activists (DaCosta, 2007; Spencer, 2003; Squires, 2007; Weisman, 2001; Williams, 2006; Wu, 2002). He was roundly criticized in the popular press for buying into the historical social elevation of multiracial African Americans and rejecting a communal African American identity (Black America and Tiger’s Dilemma, 1997; Nordlinger, 2002).

His supporters, such as conservative republican Thomas Petri, sponsor of the so-called Tiger Woods Bill (1997), did not help Woods’ reputation with civil rights groups. The bill called for the inclusion of a “multiracial” category on the census and was opposed by organizations such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. They argued that the new category would undercount legally recognized racial groups resulting in less political power and fewer resources for those groups. The debate, now aligned along a left-right axis, deepened the divide between a conservative, colorblind, embrace of the term Cablinasian and a race-conscious, civil rights-based, rejection of Woods.

Academic treatments of Woods have also been highly critical of his use of the term Cablinasian. Whether primarily grounding their arguments in the public policy implication of the term (Hernandez, 2003; Spencer, 2003; Wu, 2002) or in media representations of both Woods and the controversy (Billings, 2003; Cashmore, 2008; Dagbovie, 2007; Houck, 2006; Palumbo-Liu, 1999; Yu, 2003), they argue that the term ultimately concedes to a colorblind worldview. The media critics point out Woods’ own apolitical indifference to social issues and document the ways in which his celebrity persona affirms the liberal individualist ideology of a U.S. society “beyond race.”

Rather than reiterate arguments about the way Woods represents and reflects prevailing views of race, a topic that has been covered so convincingly and so well by the scholars cited above, I propose an alternative framing of the issue. Conceived as a complement to rather than a replacement of more traditional communication approaches to the Tiger Woods phenomenon, this analysis will center on the term Cablinasian. It argues for the possibilities of an alternative and contestatory language of multiracial nomenclature, shifting the critique away from Woods’ celebrity or politics and toward the legal history and rhetorical potential of the word itself.

Contextualizing the term within a longer history and broader social context makes clear the relationship between colorblind rhetoric, multiracial naming, and the race-based inequalities often hidden by both. Through a comparative reading of two attempts to legally define racial categories, the dissenting opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and the congressional hearings on the failed Tiger Woods Bill (1997), I trace the rarely acknowledged exploitation of Asians in constructions of both multiraciality and colorblindness in the United States. The deliberate choice of two unsuccessful bids to alter racial language highlights challenges the bills posed to prevailing racial norms. Neither became law, but in their moment of rupture with a “common sense” racial order, they enable us to perceive race as an order.

This article, therefore, is a case study of the term Cablinasian linking together early and more current narratives of multiraciality and makes a case for Cablinasian as a method of critique. For the purpose of this article, the term functions as an exemplary approach to multiracial naming rather than an idiosyncratic solution. Its significance is not as a singular and specific word but in the possibilities it presents for reconceiving the way we name racial allegiances and understand racial identities. When used as a critical tool, Cablinasian presents a challenge to racial categories by making visible multiple racial allegiances rather than reverting to a celebration of colorblindness…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,