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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Jordan Peele Says Tiger Woods Is ‘In The Sunken Place’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-27 02:39Z by Steven

Jordan Peele Says Tiger Woods Is ‘In The Sunken Place’

The Grapevine
The Root

Angela Helm

Donald Trump greets Tiger Woods after the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship as Eric Trump looks on at the Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 10, 2013, in Doral, Florida. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

My question is – has Tiger Woods ever not been in the sunken place?

This is the man who was so non-black identified that he made up his own race (including giving Caucasian and American Indian equal footing to black and Asian with an African-American father and mother from Thailand.) Then he turned out to be just nasty with his prolific dick slanging in his now defunct marriage to a nanny. And now, the 41-year-old who has a mug shot floating around with a face and hairline that makes him look like a baby boomer, is going to play golf with Donald Trump, the president who loves to smear black athletes…

Read the entire article here.

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Tiger Woods says he’s ‘Cablinasian,’ but the police only saw black

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-27 00:48Z by Steven

Tiger Woods says he’s ‘Cablinasian,’ but the police only saw black

The Undefeated

Michael A. Fletcher

The golfer’s DUI arrest highlights the country’s ‘one-drop’ rule and his complex relationship with black America

Tiger Woods, once the fresh-faced future of golf, stared into the police camera with a forlorn look and hooded eyes. A 41-year-old man who has famously insisted on his mixed racial heritage was identified in the arrest report with one word: black.

The former No. 1 golfer in the world was sleeping at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz early Monday when Jupiter, Florida, police said they spotted his car stopped in the road, its blinker flashing and engine running. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is scheduled for a court appearance on July 5. Woods, who is recovering from back surgery, apologized for the incident, saying in a statement that it resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Tiger Woods at 40: The 14-time major champion’s legacy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive on 2015-12-30 20:59Z by Steven

Tiger Woods at 40: The 14-time major champion’s legacy

BBC Sport

Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent

Masters 2001: Woods seals ‘Tiger’ slam

Imagine Earl Woods choosing to put a baseball bat rather than a golf club into the hands of young Eldrick, his toddler son.

How different would golf be if Tiger Woods, who turns 40 on 30 December, had chosen to play something else?

As the ailing 14-time major champion struggles to swing a club again, he can celebrate this landmark birthday by reflecting that no-one has had a bigger impact on the game…

…Woods was golf’s poster boy. He was different – a black man in an overwhelmingly white sport – and he became the inspiration for the players who populate the top of the current world rankings.

“What Tiger Woods has done for golf, I’m not sure anyone would do again,” four-time major champion Rory McIlroy told the BBC.

“Not just how unbelievably talented he was, but what he stood for, where he came from. He brought a whole new demographic into golf and sort of made golf cool again for kids.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-12-22 04:18Z by Steven

Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture

Rutgers University Press
256 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-7070-9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-7069-3
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-7071-6
epub ISBN: 978-0-8135-7537-7

Jennifer Ann Ho, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The sheer diversity of the Asian American populace makes them an ambiguous racial category. Indeed, the 2010 U.S. Census lists twenty-four Asian-ethnic groups, lumping together under one heading people with dramatically different historical backgrounds and cultures. In Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture, Jennifer Ann Ho shines a light on the hybrid and indeterminate aspects of race, revealing ambiguity to be paramount to a more nuanced understanding both of race and of what it means to be Asian American.

Exploring a variety of subjects and cultural artifacts, Ho reveals how Asian American subjects evince a deep racial ambiguity that unmoors the concept of race from any fixed or finite understanding. For example, the book examines the racial ambiguity of Japanese American Nisei Yoshiko Nakamura deLeon, who during World War II underwent an abrupt transition from being an enemy alien to an assimilating American, via the Mixed Marriage Policy of 1942. It looks at the blogs of Korean, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese Americans who were adopted as children by white American families and have conflicted feelings about their “honorary white” status. And it discusses Tiger Woods, the most famous mixed-race Asian American, whose description of himself as “Cablinasian”—reflecting his background as Black, Asian, Caucasian, and Native American—perfectly captures the ambiguity of racial classifications.

Race is an abstraction that we treat as concrete, a construct that reflects only our desires, fears, and anxieties. Jennifer Ho demonstrates in Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture that seeing race as ambiguous puts us one step closer to a potential antidote to racism.

Table Of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Ambiguous Americans: Race and the State of Asian America
  • 1. From Enemy Alien to Assimilating American: Yoshiko deLeon and the Mixed-Marriage Policy of the Japanese American Incarceration
  • 2. Anti-Sentimental Loss: Stories of Transracial/Transnational Asian American Adult Adoptees in the Blogosphere
  • 3. Cablinasian Dreams, Amerasian Realities: Transcending Race in the Twenty-first Century and Other Myths Broken by Tiger Woods
  • 4. Ambiguous Movements and Mobile Subjectivity: Passing in between Autobiography and Fiction with Paisley Rekdal and Ruth Ozeki
  • 5. Transgressive Texts and Ambiguous Authors: Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Literature
  • Coda: Ending with Origins: My Own Racial Ambiguity
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and racial identity in sports

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-09-11 20:55Z by Steven

Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and racial identity in sports


Mike Wise, Senior Writer

Mike Wise writes that Serena Williams has embraced her blackness and found a spiritual home while Tiger Woods has been proudly biracial and found a perhaps unintended kind of isolation

You can’t miss the term “black excellence” pulsating through Claudia Rankine’s provocative story on Serena Williams in last week’s New York Times magazine. Though Serena never goes there herself, the acclaimed poet and professor takes the journey for her, living vicariously through Serena’s sass and brass. “Serena’s grace comes because she won’t be forced into stillness; she won’t accept those racist projections onto her body without speaking back.”

Rankine’s affection for Serena’s defiance is so deeply personal, she almost channels John Carlos and Tommie Smith, raising their black-gloved fists into a Mexico City summer night some five decades ago.

Step off, backward white folk.

Between black excellence and her picture next to the Twitter hashtag #BlackGirlMagic, Serena is clearly playing for more than herself and history at the US Open this week.

Meanwhile, a term not found with a Google search: “Cablanasian excellence.”

This is possibly because Tiger Woods has not won a major since the Bush administration, and he has been careful not to singularly co-opt any one part of his multiracial identity (African-American, Thai, Caucasian, American Indian, Chinese and beyond).

But now that we’re routinely taking stock of two seminal athletes of color, both of whom dominated their Downton Abbey-white sports at different times in their careers, it’s fair to delve into how they both handled race and ask a simple question:

Is the importance of a strong racial identity — especially being viewed as authentically black — something to fall back on during career and life struggles?…

Read the entire article here.

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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.

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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.

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Hello World: How Nike Sold Tiger Woods

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-11-26 21:01Z by Steven

Hello World: How Nike Sold Tiger Woods

The Margins (After 1989)
Asian American Writer’s Workshop

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

How did a multinational corporation like Nike appeal to diverse markets without violating the principle of colorblindness that became increasingly and insidiously sacrosanct in the U.S. in the 1990s? A deconstruction of two infamous Tiger Woods ads sheds some light.

Percussion punctuates the chanting voices of boys and men as images of Tiger Woods, first as a toddler, then a young man, are choreographed into a montage that builds to an emotional, triumphalist crescendo. Over footage of fist-pumping victories and slow-motion shots of Woods, golf club in hand, walking across greens surrounded by galleries of peers, media, and fans, the following title sequence appears:

Hello world.

I shot in the 70s when I was 8.

I shot in the 60s when I was 12.

I played in the Nissan Open when I was 16.

Hello world.

I won the U.S. Amateur when I was 18.

I played in the Masters when I was 19.

I am the only man to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles.

Hello world.

There are still courses in the U.S. I am not allowed to play

because of the color of my skin.

Hello world.

I’ve heard I’m not ready for you.

Are you ready for me?

Nike made Woods the new major face of its brand when he turned professional in 1996. That year Nike signed Woods to a 40-million dollar, five-year contract (eclipsed by the $100 million dollar contract that followed in 2001) and released its controversial “Hello World” television campaign. The skilled editing, writing, and scoring of the ad elicits goose bumps to this day, even from cynical viewers (like me)…

…Tiger Woods’ racial celebrity personifies the paradox of ’90s racial discourse: a simultaneous institutionalization of diversity politics and colorblind universalism. This union of seemingly contradictory ideologies becomes a hallmark of liberal multiculturalism and its commodity forms. Race does not matter, or it matters only insofar as it can be commercialized.

We see this clearly in “I am Tiger Woods,” the second Nike campaign for Tiger Woods released in 1996, which universalizes multiraciality to herald colorblindness. The television commercial begins with a black boy pronouncing, “I am Tiger Woods.” The next shot features an Asian girl doing the same—hardly a coincidence since Woods is the son of a black father and Thai mother. Accompanied by percussion and the flute-like sounds of a falsetto chant, several more children follow, each making identical pronouncements. In the final shot, Tiger Woods appears on a dewy green striking a golf ball in slow motion, and a white subtitle at the bottom of the screen announces, “I am Tiger Woods.” The ad succeeds in evacuating the fact of Woods’ blackness much more effectively than his now infamous identification as “Cablinasian.” Personal criticism of Woods at the time for his use of this neologism could have been more productively directed at Nike’s construction of Woods’ transcendent racial celebrity, an iconography that so effectively sutured multiculturalism to colorblindness. The celebrity of Tiger Woods and its corporatization safeguard status quo, institutionalized racism.

However paradoxical, colorblindness and multiculturalism ultimately advance similar ideologies. Each imagines racial difference independently from systemic racism. Liberal multiculturalism promotes diversity for the sake of diversity and has little interest in radically challenging the institutions that secure white privilege…

Read the entire article here.

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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…

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