In her first work of literary nonfiction, Sharon H. Chang reflects critically on her Asian American, Mixed Race, and activist identity through the prism of returning to Hawai‘i as a tourist. While visiting O‘ahu and Kaua‘i she considers childhood trips to Maua‘i and the Big Island, pop culture and Hollywood movies of her youth that perpetuated Hawaiian stereotypes, and what it means that she has been stereotyped as a “Hawai‘i Girl” her whole life though she has never lived on the islands. But what begins as a journey to unpack the ways she has been perceived and treated as a multiracial woman evolves into much more as Sharon learns the real impacts of colonization and corporate tourism on Hawai‘i and uncovers what her Asian multiracial “mainland” identity actually looks like in relationship to the land, its Indigenous peoples, and the Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement.
Paperback: 210 pages
Publication: September 15, 2018
Sharon H. Chang’s memoir delves deeply into issues of the construction of race, cultural appropriation, and colonization both in Hawai‘i and the rest of America. From Hollywood to Honolulu to the techie capital of Seattle, Chang explores what it means to be a Mixed-Race Asian American woman today with candor and courage.
May-lee Chai, Author of Hapa Girl and The Girl from Purple Mountain
Hapa Tales examines the entanglements of Asian American mixed race and settler colonialism. It shows how mixed-race people, suspending in a state of liminality, can too easily succumb to a desire for a “hapa” piece of the American pie. Instead of allowing this vulnerability to be used as a lever of exploitation, Chang develops a method of listening in everyday life that tunes into what Native Hawaiians have been saying all along.
Annmaria Shimabuku, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, New York University, Author of Alegal: Biopolitics and the Unintelligibility of Okinawan Life
Sharon Chang’s novel is a powerful, self-reflective testimony on the complexities of racial belonging and what it means to be home. Navigating her identity across the continental U.S. and Hawai‘i, she reminds us that the fluidity of multiplicity is oftentimes confronted by the rigid expectations and ignorance of others, which lends to a deeply introspective account of what it means to be an Asian Mixed Woman in multiple settings . . . Hapa Tales and Other Lies is a wonderful addition to the growing body of literature of critical mixed race studies.
Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies, Arizona State University, Co-Editor of Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawai’i
…a poignant and thought-provoking memoir, one that graciously forces you to check yourself and holds you accountable when needed.
The International Examiner
Each chapter in her book tackles a different problem perpetuated by colonialism and how Hawai‘i helped Chang alter her views about the state and her mixed-race background.
Asian Review of Books
Hapa Tales and Other Lies, fittingly, is a hybrid narrative — both in subject matter and in form. Moving between her candid, vulnerable stories to her interrogation of our present-day white supremacist American culture, Chang tackles timely, essential questions of cultural appropriation, racial categorization, intersectionality, and non-binary thinking.
The Seattle Globalist
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