Two Cities: Guangzhou/Lagos

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Economics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-08-19 04:34Z by Steven

Two Cities: Guangzhou/Lagos

Institute of African Studies
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Volume 2 (Fall 2011)
pages 174-197

Wendy Thompson Taiwo, Assistant Professor of African American Studies
San José State University, San Jose, California

Nokoko 2 - Cover

I was in Nigeria in May, the year I turned twenty-nine. And aside from the few hours of electricity per day, the way most of the food twisted my stomach or burned my tongue, and that the terrible stifling heat made life difficult at times, I was excited to be exactly where I needed to be: Lagos. Once the political center of Nigeria, it is still reigning as the financial and economic capital. And from what I saw, it was a thriving, bustling, chaotic metropolis where swindling police officers, savvy market women, racing okadas, and the occasional goat shared the streets with everyday Lagosians.

I was pursuing the second leg of a research project devoted to examining the everyday lives of Yoruba traders I had met in Guangzhou. In 2009, a series of news reports shifted focus to a sizable West African trading community in southeastern China following a protest by an approximated two hundred African men in front of a police station that drew a crowd and shut down traffic. The protest was in response to earlier events in which an immigration raid staged by Chinese police in a clothing mall frequented primarily by Nigerian traders led to at least two reported injuries, one critical…

…I had so many questions and saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to sort out some of the anxieties I had about race, borders, and the bodies of my parents—one black and one Chinese. I assumed that many African traders would have had to interpret and negotiate these same themes and embarked on my journey to encounter these new global citizens…

Read the entire article here.

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War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

Posted in Anthologies, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2013-01-28 01:12Z by Steven

War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

University of Washington Press
January 2013
304 pages
63 illustrations, 44 in color, maps
7 x 10 in.
ISBN: 978-0-295-99225-9

Edited by

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University

Wei Ming Dariotis, Associate Professor Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

Cover art by Mequitta Ahuja

War Baby/Love Child examines hybrid Asian American identity through a collection of essays, artworks, and interviews at the intersection of critical mixed race studies and contemporary art. The book pairs artwork and interviews with nineteen emerging, mid-career, and established mixed race/mixed heritage Asian American artists, including Li-lan and Kip Fulbeck, with scholarly essays exploring such topics as Vietnamese Amerasians, Korean transracial adoptions, and multiethnic Hawai’i. As an increasingly ethnically ambiguous Asian American generation is coming of age in an era of “optional identity,” this collection brings together first-person perspectives and a wider scholarly context to shed light on changing Asian American cultures.

Visit the website here.

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Afro-Asian Encounters: Reading Comparative American Racial Experiences

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Course Offerings, Media Archive, United States on 2013-01-17 16:24Z by Steven

Afro-Asian Encounters: Reading Comparative American Racial Experiences

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
Africana Studies/Asian Studies
Spring 2013

Wendy Thompson Taiwo, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies

Surveys a breadth of historical and contemporary encounters between African Americans and Asian Americans in the United States. Begins with the earliest waves of Asian immigration in the mid-nineteenth century and ends with contemporary critiques of Blackness and Asianness in what some call a post-racial era. Students learn how various political, economic, and social shifts have contributed to the racial positioning of Black and Asian peoples in relation to dominant white American culture and to each other and what this means in relation to the stratification of racial identities in America. Readings center on themes of shared experiences with and conflict over labor, community-building, interracial relationships, foodways, popular representations, and public perception.

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Never did I question the validity of these statements that cut me off from my mother, from Chineseness, nor did I feel much at home in my blackness alone.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2009-09-15 01:34Z by Steven

..It was always a longstanding, almost obsessive concern with me to attempt to build an existence outside of the world of racism, animosity, and rejection that I felt, separated from other Chinese people.  I was told I was not Chinese by both relatives and unrelated people alike and believed that I wasn’t because of it.  Never did I question the validity of these statements that cut me off from my mother, from Chineseness, nor did I feel much at home in my blackness alone.  And so I lived with this sense of tension inside me, a tension built on popular belief that blackness as a race, as a color was capable of canceling out anything lighter than itself, erasing all other parts of culture, enveloping a person in darkness.  But I refused to see the eclipse, to believe my experience, my identity inherited maternally through blood and culture was false…

Wendy Marie Thompson, “Black Chinese: Hybridity, History and Home,” Chinese America: History and Perspectives. (January 2007).

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Black Chinese: History, Hybridity, and Home

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2009-09-10 02:48Z by Steven

Black Chinese: History, Hybridity, and Home
(Original Title: Black Chinese: Historical Intersections, Hybridity, and the Creation of Home)

Chinese America: History and Perspectives
Chinese Historical Society of America

Wendy Thompson Taiwo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities & Social Sciences
Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York

In entering into the twenty-first century, one might affirm that the face of Chinese America has changed or has it? Chineseness has been constantly conceptualized through the measure of phenotype, the quantity of blood, the preservation of language, or the possession of surname.  But what happens when African American bodies and other nonwhite cultural sites are introduced into dialogue with Chineseness and Chinese American history in order to create a different story?…

…Regarding sexual relations, with the ban on immigration and entry of Chinese women into the country, Chinese men were encouraged to seek out arrangements with local women but with a catch.  Stringent antimiscegenation laws made this endeavor a severely limited one due to restrictions that made involvement with white women illegal. And so if not with white women, Chinese men took up freely with Spanish, indigenous, and African American women. (4) In terms of relationships built around the institution of the small Chinese store, it was found common for the owner to shack up with hired African American women who assisted around the store, many of these relationships having moved organically from employer-employee to that of live-in partner.

This added benefit of having an African American woman around the store begged to legitimize the Chinese store owner’s place within a black community where he made his business. It also opened up the opportunity for the Chinese owner to start a family where immigration blockage inhibited reentry or fatherhood within a Chinese family context. For most, it was a matter of a long gap in time until they returned to China, if they returned at all. Also of benefit was the African American female partner whose marriage promised small social accommodations, such as courtesy from whites when they learned of her last name, class, status, and relation…

…This is where my own personal investment in this topic comes from as it is not likely obvious from my name or in photographs where my mother is absent; it is that I am an African American Chinese living in the center of two cultural imaginations.

My birth occurred in January 1981 to a Burmese Chinese woman and her African American husband in the California Bay Area exactly fifteen years after antimiscegenation laws meant to prevent black-white sexual relations and intermarriage in the United States were struck down by a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Loving v. the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I was born the eldest of three girls who all hold a different skin tone, phenotype, hair texture, and relationship to race and cultural identity. However, what we share is an individual relationship to Chineseness, a personal quarrel with having to prove that we owned a biracial space outside of a generalized assumption of what we were and where we should stay because of it.  Since childhood, we tended to identify culturally with our mother–who we spent most of our time with, who we felt comforted by, who we loved dearly, and who conversely saw her offspring as Chinese Americans…

Read the entire article here.

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