“I think the part that struck me most in this movie was when the mom told all the kids to go in each direction. Well my mom did the same thing. She told me to ‘just go’ . . . I remember holding onto her leg and not wanting to go. But I had to. And I never saw her again.
After being here I learned that she died soon after because of starvation. And then I remembered her giving me the rice soup, which was just water, but she still gave me all her portion. So now I understand why she starved to death.
But with that in mind, I never really did forgive her. I hated every Mother’s Day. I lived quietly and carelessly. I didn’t think about a lot of things I chose to do or did. I didn’t care. I guess that’s how I numb myself. I don’t talk about it and I didn’t care.
And I [held] a lot of grudge [toward] my mother. I put all my energy towards that but I never talked about it. Until my adulthood I still blamed her for not keeping me with her. Because I wanted to be with her. So that’s why I don’t tell my story.
But now I have two sons of my own–they’re ten and twelve–and, you know, it’s okay to talk about it . . . I now understand [my mother] because I’m a mother. What she did was she gave me a life. I didn’t understood that. I kept on blaming her, hating her, hating life. Well, that’s why I’m alive–because of her and her decisions.”
After researching European colonialism intensely the last month for my second book and thinking deeply about systemic racism as a colonial project–I had the crap experience of watching Iggy Azelia’s new music vid “Mo Bounce” the other day, sequel to her blatantly orientalist “Bounce” of 2012. If you haven’t seen the new vid I don’t recommend it. But you’ll probably watch it anyway for the same reason I did. It’s the kind of plasticized, botoxed stuff a la the Kardashians and Real Housewives that we tell ourselves is a train wreck but watch anyway cause it’s so sickly fascinating we can’t help it (plus, white supremacy)–and then it makes a ton of money off our consumption. Sigh.
Burlington WA–Worker and Immigrant Solidarity March, Feb 12 2017 / photo by Sharon H Chang
by Sharon H Chang
I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in a Worker and Immigrant Solidarity March this last Sunday in Burlington, Washington. It’s the first rally/march I’ve been to out of Seattle in a while and it got me thinking. A lot.
Garfield High School Multiracial Student Union protesting Trump‘s election / photo by Sharon H Chang
by Sharon H. Chang
Where does a biracial activist stand in “Trump’s America”? As one of my so-called sides in solidarity with everyone else? Or as nothing in solidarity with everyone else? Perhaps I can only stand in alignment with monoracial movements now because times are urgent, crises are at hand, there’s only space for frontline issues in chaos, and mixed-race isn’t a real racial group anyway (or if it is, it’s not a politicized, radical, justice-seeking one)? Maybe I just don’t get to be my whole self for the next four years or however long this shit show lasts?
Last year with Rocky Donaldson and Shanelle Donaldson West (among others) I helped organize a gathering of Black folks and people of color at Leschi Elementary in Seattle to congratulate kids for completing their first week of school. We were inspired by powerful gatherings of Black men who had done the same across the nation in Georgia and Connecticut. The goal was to show children of color positive images of Black people in their community instead of the negative and damaging images commonly portrayed in the media. We had an amazing, uplifting, incredible morning at Leschi. Six months later, hundreds of Black men turned out to greet children at Seattle’s South Shore PK-8 School as part of National African American Parent Involvement Day.
We loved the spirit and impact of this effort so much, we decided to do it again!
Expert opinion for The Stranger. Article by Ana Sofia Knauf:
According to Sharon H. Chang, author of Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World, the UW study’s findings completely go against “the ‘telling polls’ trotted out by mainstream media saying that ‘levels of acceptance are so high.'”
In the process of writing her book, Chang extensively studied the history of racial doctrine, which dictates that populations of differing races must stay siloed away from each other.
“Society ingrained that we shouldn’t mix. Our nation is founded on that kind of ideology and it’s still woven into our culture today,” says Chang, who is mixed-race Asian and white.
Chang recalls a shopping trip with her son where a Filipino store clerk approached them to ask if they were mixed-race. “I said ‘yes’ and she said something like, ‘Oh, there’s no pure blood anymore,’” says Chang.
A growing body of research looks at minority kids with parents who grew up in the majority, although much of it focuses on transracial adoption of monoracial children. Sharon H. Chang, author of the book “Raising Mixed Race,” cautions against applying this research to families like mine. The experiences of monoracial minorities and mixed-race people, she explained by email, are like “apples and oranges. Monoracial people have not lived the experience of mixedness, no matter their minority or majority status.”