Changing Face, Changing Race, The Remaking of Race in the Japanese American and African American Communities
King, Rebecca Chiyoko and McClain DaCosta, Kimberly (1996) Changing Face, Changing Race, The Remaking of Race in the Japanese American and African American Communities. The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontiers .
Growing up in Chicago, I can't remember a time when I did not know that I was part Japanese American.My mother taught us about internment; we played with our "Japanese" dolls; and we ate our hot dogs and bologna cooked in shoyu (soy sauce).Although our hot dogs, like our home, were not "normal," to my sister Debbie and me , they were. When I first came to california to attend graduate school and began teaching in the Asian American Studies department, this notion of myself as Japanese American was seriously challenged for the time. Many of my students wanted to know my qualifications to teach Asian American studies. "You don't look Japanese so how would you know about raciam?" they would say. Clearly I was not Japanese American enough. Fron Chicago to Californiam the social context changed and with it my acceptance as a member of the Japanese American community. Other hapas (a Hawaiian term that has come to refer to mixed-race Asian Americans)in California invited me to attend a Hapa Issues Forum meeting, and I did , but with reservations. What I found was that this once indivdual and anecdotal experience was made collective within the Hapa Issues Forum organisation. No longer was being hapa an individual challenge, but one that was shared collectively-multiraciallity was and is moving from being an individual isolated expeerience to one that is increasingly collectively organized, not only with Japanese American hapas, but also in coalition with multiracial people of many different heritages. This chapter was born out of one such group, the Multiracial Alternatives Project, which sparked an intellectual dialogue about the mixed race-experience in comparative perspective.
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