‘Burdened by bigotry …’

This is Cristy Austin with her 19-year-old daughter, Kylie.  Kylie’s original name was Keisha Lenee Austin.  Kylie’s mother, who is white, had a specific reason for selecting the name “Keisha”:

… to her, it represented a strong, feminine, beautiful black woman. As a white woman who would be raising a biracial daughter she wanted to instill that confidence and connectivity to the culture.

“I saw it as a source of pride,” Cristy says. “I wanted her to have that.”


Kylie had her reasons for changing her name: Continue reading

If Romney were Latino …

Photo from Univision via democraticunderground

… he wouldn’t feel the need to brown up for the people.

Okay, I have to admit I initially thought no way but it appears that I am actually an optimistic sort who gives people the benefit of a doubt.  Because it sure looks like Romney is wearing bronzer  for his appearance with Univision.  Here’s a brief clip where you can see a closeup of his face.

Have at it in comments.  #IfMittRomneyWereLatino

The hive tells me no.

(Also, ten bucks says Eli Steele is related to Shelby Steele.  You know, the “Content of Our Character” guy.)

This piece of byte-waste from the LA Times is about how the new interracial generation will save us all.  It’s yet another version of once we all f*ck each other and the races mix we will have harmony. No, seriously. Because identity politics are the cause of all our racial problems:

The day will arrive when this interracial generation reaches political consciousness and finds itself at odds with America’s divisive identity politics. Of all Americans, they represent the best opportunity to end these politics and point America back to its tradition of individualism.

People who identify as mixed race have already reached “political consciousness.” There are groups such as Mavin and Swirl and numerous hapa organizations. Do they find themselves “at odds” with identity politics? I can’t really say.  But what I do know is that many multiracial people self- identify as people of color.  Is that buying into “divisive identity politics”? Continue reading

Being ‘different’

A white adoptive parent once came up to me after I had given a talk about interracial and intercultural relations.  I had prefaced my speech by explaining that I could not provide suggestions about handling any given situation.  Rather, my goal was to challenge the audience to learn to think about how they would like to respond.

But this parent wasn’t satisfied.  (And I note a number of other audience members apparently weren’t either, as evidenced by comments left on the evaluation form.)  She complained that I did not give her one concrete suggestion for how she might go about creating relationships with people who shared her daughter’s ethnicity.  And then she begged me to tell her just one thing that she should do.

So I told her to move to a diverse neighborhood.  Continue reading

‘Adopted from Korea and in Search of Identity’

From the New York Times:

As a child, Kim Eun Mi Young hated being different.

When her father brought home toys, a record and a picture book on South Korea, the country from which she was adopted in 1961, she ignored them.

Growing up in Georgia, Kansas and Hawaii, in a military family, she would date only white teenagers, even when Asian boys were around.

“At no time did I consider myself anything other than white,” said Ms. Young, 48, who lives in San Antonio. “I had no sense of any identity as a Korean woman. Dating an Asian man would have forced me to accept who I was.”

Why can’t you?

I was laughing at this Elie Mystal opinion piece about post-racial America. Here’s a quote:

If he [Barack Obama] can do it, why can’t you?

Whenever a homeless white person asks me for change, I always sneer at him and say: “You can’t be serious. You’re white. Look at Bill Gates. Why don’t you go invent an operating system instead of trying to freeload off of society you lazy white man.”

Oh wait, I never say that. Because that would make me a giant prick.

My mom would say that. In fact, she has sometimes said, “He’s white, what’s his problem?”

I have to admit I’ve thought similar things. You can call me a giant prick. Just don’t say anything about my mom.


This is an article about Japanese enka singing sensation Jero (Jerome White, Jr.).  Notice the head on the article reads “Unlikely Japanese Music Star Jero Opens the National Cherry Blossom Festival.”  I had to read the article to find out if it was unlikely that he was a star or what.  Apparently Jero is from Pittsburgh; his grandmother was Japanese.

Will French POCs finally be seen?

Let me be clear about this: I am not a fan of Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s “playboy” president. I would not have voted for him and I don’t normally agree with much he says.

But I have to agree with the statement he issued regarding his plan to collect voluntary data on race:

He said the lack of data on ethnic minorities was hampering the ability to measure inequality and deal with it.

Having lived in the country for over a decade and a half, I can assure you that racism is rampant. I also therefore agree with the race campaigners in the article who say that the society is “plagued by discrimination”. This is a country that only got its first primetime newscast journalist of colour this decade.

However, I really do not believe that any light can be shed on the extent of this discrimination until reasonably reliable statistics are produced. Unfortunately, many, many groups do not agree with me, including the ground-breaking SOS Racisme. Continue reading

A rose by any other name

About two years ago, I met a DNC trainer who was of Indian heritage.  He told an anecdote about Bobby Jindal, who is pretty actively despised by most of the Asian Americans I know.  Anyway, he related how every time he sees Jindal, he yells, “Hey, Piyush!”

“Piyush” is Jindal’s given name.  He’s chosen to use “Bobby.”

I had mixed feelings as I listened to this anecdote.  It made me laugh, because it was intended to remind Jindal of his heritage.  But by the same token, I was more than a little uncomfortable.  I knew that it was something that I would never choose to do.  And inside the confines of the Asian American community, I thought that perhaps this anecdote was acceptable.

Now I’m not so sure.

Continue reading