Multiracial: Border Crosser: Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu navigates nations, cultures and academia

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2011-02-24 03:13Z by Steven

Multiracial: Border Crosser: Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu navigates nations, cultures and academia

Nichi Bei: A mixed plate of Japanses American News & Culture

Akemi Johnson

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu is looking again toward Japan.

A psychotherapist, writer and academic, Murphy-Shigematsu has lived in Palo Alto, Calif. the past eight years, teaching at Stanford University and running an independent multicultural consulting practice. Life in the Bay Area, he says, is easy for someone like him, the son of an Irish American man and Japanese woman. Conflict—tensions associated with being mixed race—is rare.

This wasn’t always the case. Early in his career, Murphy-Shigematsu, who was born in Tokyo in 1952 and raised in Massachusetts, faced questions about his legitimacy working in Asian American studies. In 1984 he began an internship at the National Asian American Psychology Training Center. One of the first people who welcomed him there said, “So, you’re interested in working with Asian Americans?”

“That really threw me,” Murphy-Shigematsu said. The other man saw him as an outsider to the workshop, whereas Murphy-Shigematsu viewed himself as an insider, a fellow Asian American.

Or there was the time in the late ’80s when Murphy-Shigematsu spoke to an Asian American studies class at San Francisco State University.

“Are you Asian?” the students asked.

“Why do you ask?” Murphy-Shigematsu replied.

“Because you don’t look Asian,” they said.

At academic conferences, Murphy-Shigematsu would stand out physically, and some people would regard him with an attitude of “Why are you here?”

An influential figure for Murphy-Shigematsu during that time was Lane Hirabayashi. Hirabayashi, a noted mixed-race Japanese American scholar, had advocated using the word “hapa,” and claiming the right to self-define, instead of being labeled by well-intentioned others. Impressed with this, Murphy-Shigematsu sought out Hirabayashi…

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ASNAMST 173S: Transcultural and Multiethnic Lives: Contexts, Controversies, and Challenges (AFRICAAM 173S, CSRE 173S)

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Course Offerings, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2010-12-13 01:38Z by Steven

ASNAMST 173S: Transcultural and Multiethnic Lives: Contexts, Controversies, and Challenges (AFRICAAM 173S, CSRE 173S)

Stanford University
Spring 2011

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

Lived experience of people who dwell in the border world of race and nation where they negotiate transcultural and multiethnic identities and politics. Comparative, historical, and global contexts such as family and class. Controversies, such as representations of mixed race people in media and multicultural communities. What the lives of people like Tiger Woods and Barack Obama reveal about how the marginal is becoming mainstream.

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Addressing Issues of Biracial Asian Americans

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Chapter, Media Archive, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2010-10-31 18:38Z by Steven

Addressing Issues of Biracial Asian Americans

Reflections on Shattered Windows: Promises and Prospects for Asian American Studies
Washington State University Press
Chapter 15, pages 111-116

Edited by: G. Y. Okihiro, S. Hune, A. A. Hansen, and J. M. Liu

Stephen L. Murphy-Shigematsu

Revising the Asian American Studies curriculum

One of the more dramatic changes in the post-World War II Asian American population is the increase in those of biracial ancestry. Over the past forty years large numbers of Asian women have married Americans and come to the United States. [n 1] During this period, too, thousands of Asian American men and women have married outside their ethnic group. [n 2] The burgeoning population of biracial youth that has resulted from these developments, represents a significant change in the face of Asian America.

In the light of the above situation, one of the challenges confronting Asian American Studies is to adapt and revise a curriculum created in the early 1970s that was designed primarily for American born Chinese and Japanese. It has become necessary to redesign courses to better accommodate the needs, interests, and backgrounds of the more diverse group of Asian Americans who are presently underrepresented in the curriculum, and increasingly in Asian American Studies classes and in the general population. Those of biracial ancestry are one emerging group whose experiences and needs must be addressed in curriculum development…

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