This is just disturbing the peace. Well, it's because this kind of peace isn't peace.

Afro-Asian

MY BOOK – Coming Fall 2014

1 - Web Version

My Book will be released this Fall 2014, by 2Leaf Press!!

Introduction by Gerald Horne

Foreword by Velina Hasu Houston

Cover Art by Kenji Chienshu Liu

Here are just a few preview comments about the book:

Fredrick Douglas Kakinami Cloyd has written a profoundly moving and thought-provoking book. He courageously challenges our neat categories of identity, going beyond broadening our understanding of mixed race to touch what is human in all of us. This book will shift readers’ perceptions and assumptions and may change many lives. Above all, Cloyd is a master story-teller who honors and respects memory.

–Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and writer

This is a mature book that moves fluidly, as the mind moves, untroubled by traditional distinctions between writing considered to be academic vs. creative, memoir vs. personal essay, sure-footed in unexpected ways. This genre-bending book is not “experimental writing.” The author knows what he wants to say and he knows how he wants to say it, seeking, in his own words, “restoration and reclamation” for silenced voices and histories never erased because they have not yet been written. Dream of the Water Children demands that its reader rigorously consider the constructed nature of memory, identities, and historical narrative. And it is also an enormously kind and passionate chronicle of a son’’s long journey with his mother. To read it is to marvel, to learn, and to discover anew what surrealist poet Paul Éluard said: “There is another world, but it is in this one.”

–Patricia Mushim Ikeda
    Buddhist teacher / activist
    Oakland, California

Can be read as a ghost story, a meditation on how to disassemble the heartbreak machines; a catalog of copious tears and small comforts. This is a challenging example of personal bravery and filial love. It puts the “more” in memory.

–Leonard Rifas, Ph.D
   Communications, University of Washington

2Leaf Press Book LINK: http://2leafpress.org/online/dream-water-children/


Upcoming Presentations I’m doing!

0 Reveries 250

October 26, 2013

8:00 pm

Reveries and Rage: On Colonization and Survival

Presenting with other Queer and Trans people against colonization

‘Dream of the Water Children’ Reading

at Audre Lorde Room, Women’s Building, Mission District, San Francisco

Tickets: $10-15  (Click here)

 

 

0 njahs lo

November 2013

1:00 pm

Generation Nexus: Peace in the Postwar

Artists’ Exhibition and Panel Discussion

National Japanese American Historical Society, Building 640 Learning Center

(at Controversial Military Intelligence Learning Center)

Presidio, San Francisco, CA

November 17: Exhibit Opening (I will have a kiosk with other artists)

November 23: Artists’ Panel Discussion on Peace in the Postwar


Congrats so far to Blackanese Singer Judith Hill on ‘The Voice’

Black-Japanese singer Judith Hill has wowed the judges on the US television show: The Voice on her first night.  I am not a particular fan of these kinds of shows, but I always appreciate a Blackanese artist of success in the public limelight!  She is truly a great singer!


My Poem published in KARTIKA REVIEW!

Kartika Review is one of the best literary journals dedicated to Asian-Americans.

The current issue– the Spring 2012 issue has just come out.

My first poem has been published in it (page 54).

It is entitled: For Kiyoko, Epitaph/Chikai - which is dedicated to my mother who recently passed, just this past September.


CORRECTED: New Blog about the historical Black Pacific

My new Blog site focused completely on my work in the world:

NEW BLOG SITE  (click here)

Some folks have noticed that I am not posting as intensely as I was a year ago.  This is because I am focusing increasingly on my presentations and work on my multimedia project and book: Dream of the Water Children.

I will continue to work here, on my ainoko blog but I will be posting on my Water Children blog, which means I will be on this ainoko site a tiny bit less frequently.  Please continue to follow me.  If you’re interested in following progress on my book and to hear the underpinnings of the project, the historical and cultural legacies and thoughts that will continue to form this multi-layered project, please visit both my website on the book, and the blog.

My Dream of the Water Children WEBSITE  is on the tab at the top of this site with the title Dream of the Water Children along with an overview.  You can ALSO CLICK HERE.

NEW BLOG SITE:  CLICK HERE

Please stop by, support, spread the word, come to my presentations, make comments, “like my posts” and whatever else you can!  Thanks!


Race-Nation-Gender-Class-Nation: Forget it. Never Forget it

Pat Parker (1944-1989), poet, teacher and activist, wrote this poem: For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to Be My Friend  and had this wonderful line:

The first thing you do is to forget that i’m Black.
Second, you must never forget that i’m Black.

For any social difference that exists in any society, we can place it there, in the space of “Black.”   In any case, color-blindness, gender-blindness, mixed-space blindness, sexual orientation blindness, socio-economic class blindness, neighborhood blindness, body-size blindness, nationality blindness etc. etc. —  we have to pay attention to how quickly we may subsume, make invisible, refuse (ignore), make trivial, something that makes a difference.  Sameness is too valorized in the globalizing society.  It’s not about any particular choices we have in holding on and letting go—-because even this is an action and a series of action (holding or letting go, that is), that come from political positionings that rely on privilege, luck, ability, amount of trauma, fear, violence, and a host of other things that come from oppression and social constructions of society.

Let us not forget how completely and utterly different we are from each other.  This way, we truly understand diversity.  If we “understand,” then perhaps we do not understand difference at all.  We just consume, co-opt, and bring into our own history and culture and language and values, that OTHER.  This is a violence to that Other.

But in saying they are different, do we automatically become AFRAID?   Or do we automatically become ANGRY?  Do we automatically IGNORE?  Do we assume we can translate, communicate?   Yes we can communicate, but understanding its partiality is important.

Honor you.  Honor me.

In our difference.  Utterly different.  Utterly ourselves.  Yet somehow, we are related as humans, as that who has experienced pain.

Perhaps other things.  But do not assume equality.

Be human.

There . . . . . .  Can we allow difficulty, struggle, powerful connection and dissonance?


R&B! Black-Japanese and Italian-American Japanese R&B Singers Team up: Judith Hill & AI

“For My Sister” –  a collaboration between Black-Japanese singer Judith Hill and Japanese/Italian-American Asian sensation AI.

AI is a huge R&B sensation in many Asian countries including Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, etc.  Judith Hill, as said in my earlier post of her music videos, is a sensation who was a former back-up singer for Michael Jackson.

AI – Facebook Page here

Judith Hill Facebook Page here

 


MORE Jero ジェロ

 

JERO - English language introduction  -  from Reuters.





嘘泣き


JERO ジェロ – Performs 晴れ舞台 in San Francisco, April 2011

I cried this past weekend, from seeing and hearing the African-American singer JERO in San Francisco on the night of April 8th at the Mini-concert he gave for the Hapa Japan Conference held at UC Berkeley.

I cried because of one song in particular called “Harebutai.”  This song, which can be named “Gala” but has the concurrent meaning of a Performance Stage that is a wide-open, sunlit, clear sky.  Please refer to my earlier posting which addresses who Jero is, in the history of traditional Enka music in Japan.  He is a huge star at present, in a genre that was relegated to the dust-heeps of Japanese music history, as something passe.  Much like how we treat elders increasingly everywhere, Japan–even as people like to think of it as a nation that reveres elders, is increasingly forgetting and with this forgetting goes history.

Jero performs this song, dedicated to his grandmother, with a sensitivity that records an inter-generational intimacy, where he wants to acknowledge the painful past in Japan (and also in the present) that Japanese women endured, when marrying western men, and in particular, African-American men.  Like my own mother who protected me often from racist brutalization in Japan when I was growing up, the hardships that these women, our mothers and grandmothers endured, are ‘forgotten’ because they are too traumatic and unacknowledged by most of our young.  with it goes knowledge and history that could help us, as human beings, get through our struggles with race, sexuality, socio-economic class and gender relations, among other violent hierarchies of identity, that continue to determine much of our social relations, silences, rage, grief, and international politics, not to mention how these are reflected in our family and communal dynamics.

I cried when I experienced this song.  At the evening get-together after the day’s conference events, Jero was there, offering his quiet, gentle, yet strong presence.  I had the opportunity to tell him that he was living out my own dream as a dark-skinned singer in Japan, considered ‘foreign,’ singing the Enka music which kept me alive and comforted through many dark times in Japan.  These songs, often of sadness and longing, are soulful for me, of my generation, growing up as outsider in Japan.  In addition, the song “Hare-butai” was written by Nakamura Ataru, for Jero, with Jero’s thoughts and sentiments regarding his singing as a way of an offering to his deceased grandmother, who did not get to see him perform on the ‘Kouhaku Utagassen’ show that runs every New Years’ Day in Japan since the Postwar era, celebrating the best of Japan’s popular singing stars.  This show is a testament to artists who have ‘made it’ in Japan and Jero’s grandmother would’ve been proud.

I have included my version of the English translation of the lyrics to 晴れ舞台   “Harebutai”.  You can see get a glimpse of honoring and care and inter-generational respect that has gone into this song.  It is no wonder that folks like me, and especially the older women of that generation alive today, cry upon hearing this song.  It is healing.  And even those of the younger generation now, who had forgotten about the Enka and considered it stupid, are now listening.

Jero’s popularity is not only that he is such an anomaly as a race and nation outsider, who has now been considered legitimate as a singer in Japan, especially in a genre not dominantly considered “American,” ‘Modern” or “Black.”  His singing is actually outstanding and nuanced emotionally in perfect pitch.  His Enka singing is really really good!!  It is not just that.  He is also known for his good character.  But it is also true that many young people in Japan are increasingly identifying and admiring Blackness as a way to resist their homogenization into the general Japanese identity-systems and are creating fewer ways in which the youth of Japan can exist with difference.  This dynamic creates problems as well, because the notion of challenging racism is a fairly new aspect of reality that is only in its infancy in regards to dominant Japanese society.  Histories of racism are complex because of European race-science and its role in the rise of Japan as a nation that could be seen as legitimate by white societies in history, and also its relation to the tightly woven caste system that has ruled Japan for hundreds of years.

I give to you the song and translation with notes, of Jero’s song “Hare Butai.”   The Music video here, of the song “Hare Butai” is *NOT SUNG by JERO* but by a pretty good singer.  Because I could not find the music video of the song online, I have included this version (with the original music background) by another singer, to give you the song.  The other videos are of Jero’s performances, including the popular ‘hip-hop’ moves that are a part of his  Live performances.

“Hare Butai” was written by Ataru Nakamura for Jero, both of them contemporary singers in Japan.

The song’s composer is Ataru Nakamura, who writes beautiful melodies and lyrics from the standpoint of her marginalized and often brutalized experiences as an outsider in Japan as  a MtF (male to female) transsexual, especially during her middle and high school years.

Jero (Jerome White, Jr.) is a computer engineer/English teacher, African American and  Japanese, who decided to fulfill a promise to his deceased Japanese grandmother that he would perform enka – the traditional popular music of Japan – on the big stage.

When Jero performs this song in Japan, many people of my generation and older, especially mothers of the mixed-race children, or who were from poor families, for instance,  who went through the tremendous hardships in war-time and postwar Japan where generational experience was dislocated and displaced by forgetting, cherish this song and often cry openly.

Indeed, during the recent mini-concert Jero gave in San Francisco at the Hapa Japan Conference at UC Berkeley on April 8, 2011, I cried, and almost the entire row in the concert hall who could understand Japanese, cried when we heard this song.  As I have been working on publishing a manuscript about my relationship with my mother, as a mixed Black-Japanese boy being raised in 1950s Japan, I had begun to realize how much my mother has gone through in order for me to be able to live and how often women’s and other marginalized peoples’ and communities’ experience is relegated to the backroads of history.  In hearing this kind of song, there is a healing and inspiration.  I hope that other young people, who understand those whose backs we stand on, can take inspiration from Jero’s example.

Other videos to begin:  a Reuters introduction in English, of Jero and a video of his live performance, complete with the hip-hop a la Japan moves, of his Debut Hit “Umi Yuki” which means “Ocean Snow.”

Here is a Link to an Interview with him from the Discover Nikkei website:

http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2010/2/1/jero/

Live Performance of is DEBUT song "UMI YUKI"



Note on English translation of HAREBUTAI:

I have taken a bit of liberty with the translation to show the emotion that would be lacking in a literal English translation.  I have translated ‘Oira’ as ‘young-one’ or “ol’ me.”  It could be “Me—the young bumpkin” or something like this.  It is a term used by people in the informal form, and is a term used often by people in the rural areas of Japan to refer to “I” and “self” and “we” and “us.” It is a very intimate, tender term, most often used by youth.  So in other words, ‘oira’, all simultaneous include all meanings of Me, I, we, your children, your child, us young ones, we the outsiders, the younger generation, the forgotten generation or people (the rural people), little ol’ me, etc. in this context.

The Term “Hare” is also difficult to translate.  It is usually translated as ‘clear weather.’  It is used to refer to a sky that is blue and open and sunny (as opposed to a rainy day, cloudy day, etc.).  It connotes most adjectives in western languages that may describe the state of a clear blue, expansive, sunlit sky: unfettered.  I have translated it as “clear sunlit, but we must include all other qualities simultaneously: Sunlit, clear, expansive, cloudless, blue, bright, etc.

In Japanese language, much like many languages, the meanings are embedded in the words themselves, unlike dominant forms of English, for instance, where it must be ‘inferred’ or ‘alluded to’ as a ‘metaphor’ or ‘simile’ etc.  In Japanese, many of the words carry multiple meanings simultaneously.  Therefore, in my translation, I played with the many meanings to give more of the texture of the song in my own interpretation, rather than giving a literal translation, which is always contested when crossing languages, cultures, histories, etc.)

The below is a Link to the video of his performance of ‘Hare Butai’ at the Japan Society in New York City.

Remember:  This is *not* Jero singing the song, but is a well-done cover because I’ve not found this done by him in video online.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85hIXLkUOV8

晴れ舞台

Gala  (The Clear Sunlit Stage)

(Expansive, unfettered, clear-blue/open sky Space-of-performance)

ジェロ

Jero

作曲:中村中
作詞:中村中

Lyrics and music by: Nakamura Ataru

Dark curtains open to a tonight that seems similar to the colors of the news of the world, opens once again

Every time when in the blinding light I cover my eyes, I remember that smile.

Even as I intend to converse with you about  the past, “I’ve forgotten” is all you’ve been left to say.

But Mama, we do know.

Bring it all here to ol’ me, Mama—all those forgotten pasts that

cry at night (like a burden) without even a light being lit.

Because for the kind gaze that you left behind in your homeland,

I want to show them my(our) form/ my (our) actions.

To see and then laugh listening to “The Echigo Jishi Song” so many times until

it’s worn out and torn.

Mama, because you laugh and say that only our songs are precious jewels

We young-ones can’t dilly-dally around.

Come on over here Mama, the dawn is close

It’d be great if you could see my debut, leaving it (for eternal posterity) on the clear sunlit stage.

The name that they announce while I bask under rays of the spotlights is

the name you’ve raised me with.

In place of the past you’ve long forgotten, Mama I’ll give room for your dreams.

Pretty soon the dark curtains will open.  Just you watch!, my form/my actions.


March 10: US Military, Race & Sex in Japan

CRG Thursday Forum Series presents…

DEPLOYMENT, BASES, AND

THE U.S. MILITARY IN MOVEMENT:

Imaginging Japan and the Self through Race & Sex

Thursday, March 10, 2011

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

691 Barrows Hall

UC Berkeley

******

We Call It ‘The Rock':

Circulating the Imaginary of Okinawa in the Military Diaspora

Mitzi Uehara Carter, Anthropology

My paper will explore how U.S. military personnel and their families, currently or formerly based in Okinawa (re)create and circulate narratives of Okinawa within military communities both in and outside Okinawa.  I will focus on how those narratives are shaped against their own identities as US soldiers, veterans, racialized/gendered citizens, spouses, and tourists within Okinawa.  Michael Taussig described the cultural productions of fear and the processes of sustaining Otherness in his work on colonial Colombia as a mix of  “Indian understandings of white understandings of Indians to white understandings of Indian understandings of whites.”  Likewise, I argue that Okinawan militarized and transnational space is a mix of military understandings of Okinawan understandings of US/mainland Japanese understandings to Okinawan understandings of military understandings of Okinawans.

This presentation will point to some of my general findings thus far, focusing on the framing of Okinawan difference.  For instance, I argue that local Okinawan difference from mainland Japan is emphasized and celebrated within military literature and welcome videos/blogs about Okinawa for military newcomers to Okinawa, a long used political and cultural tactic that was so effectively encouraged and orchestrated by US military administrators directly following WWII to try to quiet Okinawan dissent and slow the popular momentum to revert to mainland Japan.  However, when military and Okinawan relations are enflamed, the framing of difference is erased and the discourse shifts to a more global scale and fits in more with the US-Japan power bloc configuration of power.

~~~

Being a Black MP in Postwar Japan:

Memory and Identity through Resistance and Accommodation

as a Subaltern Occupier

Fredrick Cloyd, California Institute of Integral Studies, Anthropology

The positioning of the US as a victorious occupier over the subordinate and pliant people of Japan as the defeated was a carefully choreographed affair after WWII with its precursors in imperialism, colonialism, and neo-liberal capitalist expansionisms. In Japan and Okinawa, during and following the official occupation, steady anti-US violence by the Japanese was barred from being reported in the strictly controlled military and civilian media while the different racial groups in the Allied and US military were also living in violent relations with one another on and off bases in Japan, Okinawa and Korea. In this atmosphere of the occupation, my father re-imagined himself from poor African-American man to occupying military police. My mother wanted desperately to escape the ruins of Japan, both imaginatively and literally. In researching for a book on my family’s life and legacies, in thinking/writing nation, culture and race–colliding together through war and re(de)-construction, how has my father viewed himself through the lens of race and nation/husband and father? What becomes prioritized? What becomes linked with frames and thoughts previously unrelated? What becomes new forms of dominance and resistance that continue or resist certain forms of justice and survival?

Delicious refreshments served!

More info: http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/deployment-bases

CRG March10_flyer


Black Tokyo: Afromentary

From BlackTokyo website:

Black Tokyo (BT) was created in 1999 to provide a voice and a network for Blacks living in Japan.

The BT website (www.blacktokyo.com) provides news and commentary on Japan and commonly addresses inaccurate information, stereotypes and other issues concerning Blacks in Japan.

This goal of the Black Tokyo Afromentary series is to provide the viewer or listener with information on life in Japan from an afro perspective and to encourage discussion.

The Black Tokyo afromentary chronicles experiences in Japan from 1981 to present. Zurui shares his various points of view having served as a former US Marine based in Japan, an educator, japanese company employee, business owner and as an actor on primetime Japanese television.

Be sure to follow blacktokyo on twitter for additional updates!


Black-Okinawa in flux: Race/Space -February 11, Friday. Event in California

 


Event:  Blackness in Flux in Okinawa + Black Japanese Guest Artist

Time:        Friday, February 11 at 4:00pm - 6:30pm
      
Location:    UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall, Rm. 691

Organizers: PHD students, Co-recipients of UC Center for New Racial
Studies Grant,2010-11

Eriko Ikehara (UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies)
Mitzi Uehara-Carter (UC Berkeley Anthropology)

"Making Race in Between Racial "States of Being"

Two black-Okinawan graduate students at UC Berkeley will
present some of their research findings and their works in
progress on race, space, and US militarization in Okinawa.

This forum will also bring together several black- Japanese
who will share their poetry, art, and other creative works
which speak to blackness in flux in their own lives.


Guest performers:

Fredrick Cloyd
Sabrena Taylor
Michael James
Ahmed Yamato
Ariko Ikehara
Mitzi Uehara Carter

Program A: 4-4:45 pm

Mid-Year Grant Report

Ariko Ikehara: “Situating black-Amerasian Okinawans in
mixed space/race history”

Mitzi Uehara Carter: “Nappy Routes and Tangled Tales of
Blackness in Okinawa”

Program B: 5pm-6pm

Guest Performances

black-japanese-forum-flyer-final


Happy New Year – for blasians???

A New Year!! Another useful and constructed moment in our passing of life and time. Can we use it? And in using—what do we repeat? What do we do that we think is great but repeats some kind of problem? What do we do that would be fantastic if it weren’t for someone or something, some force–crushing it at its birth? What have we not thought of? What can we do if we’re too busy caught in traps of what we’ve inherited? What can we do if we’re too busy not acknowledging and perhaps honoring our ancestors and how they live in us? The photo on this blog is an example. The Black-Asian ‘beautiful’ is made into something. By what for what?

Celebrate and lament? I am happy for the new categories that now proliferate across America, then to the world, on identity formations, labels and then political jostling. Re-shuffle, renew, engage, dismantle….yes the new identity categories for mixed-race peoples are growing in our globalizing, corporatizing, shifting world. But people forget so easily, that each of our nations, countries, cultures, come from what has passed–what is good and bad. I, for one, wish that we would become more educated and more ethical. Knee-jerk, spontaneity is great but can also hurt, debilitate, crush, annihilate, make invisible, as well as create the ‘new.’ Too much speculative forms of intellectual play can disconnect, hurt, debilitate, crush, annihilate, make invisible, as well as constructing the ‘new.’

Just to mention the different labels and ways of being in the world with race and racial terrain, in culture and nation, subaltern and dominant, we have created many things. For those of us whose heritages are of African/Black and Asian, living in the US, there are now a host of different cultural and heritage labels: Blasian, Blackanese, Blambodian, Amerasian, Hapa, Blorean, Blietnamese, AfroAsian, Black-Asian, Japa-nigga, Blilippino, on and on and further. We can see, also in the US, that identity is often about ‘feeling happy with our self’ and wanting the world to ‘accept us.’ It’s almost always about the ‘self.’ Often, we may connect this to a color or race, memories. But where is social justice? I’m not talking about getting what we want in the USA. Is race and color enough for unity? And if it isn’t, then arent’ we participating in the very disconnecting, isolating structure of individualism – that is devoid of history? I’m all for individuality. But extreme individualism is often the result of the isolating ‘self’ and glorification of a hero-self; successful ‘self’, the happy ‘self’ and the perfect ‘self.’ In the US, often, this is how identity and life is supposed to be lived. Or it’s the nuclear family version of making our specific families happy, glorious, accepted.

In Japan, the self is assimilated into blending in, to doing what ‘Nihonjin-ron’ wants. Most Black-Japanese in Japan, for instance, are working in bars, as singers or are agents of entertainers and models. The most beautiful and ‘exotic’ looking ones are in singing and modeling. They are ‘forced’ into a version of ‘Blackness’ borrowed from Japanese images which are from the American commodified versions of Blackness. Indeed, in the US, most Blackanese struggle to be other than ‘only-Black.’ Often, I see Black relatives and friends of mine, accuse me and others I know that are Black and Asian mixed, of being afraid of or not proud or dismissing Blackness if we claim another heritage. “We’re BLACK.”

I’m afraid that those of us in my own generation, struggle to be part of the dialogue and mix on cultural heritage. This also means the PROXIMITY TO WAR CULTURE needs to be examined. Amerasians from Vietnam may be somewhat ‘better off’ in the USA but are still going through nightmarish existences under prejudice in Vietnam. Especially if one of their parents is Black. In Korea and Okinawa and the Philippines, there is the ongoing existence of American military bases. Around the bases, there are what is called ‘Base towns’- which have a culture all its own. Children of American military men and local ‘Asian’ mothers are plenty. Most of them without their fathers who have left their girlfriends with child. And there is the further reality of sex-work and survival for many of these women, who are stigmatized. The offspring of these women are ostracized and abused.

Laws, of course, don’t help in most cases. For instance, many of the children of Japanese mothers are considered STATELESS. They are nether citizens of Japan or the US, since they are born to single mothers. However, if they are children of JAPANESE MEN and American women, they are Japanese citizens. This creates horrific circumstances for both the mothers and the biracial children. Often, the US military refuses to take any responsibility for the tens of thousands of babies born to US military men and the local Asia-Pacific women. For Black-Japanese, Black-Okinawan, Black-Korean, Black-Filippino, Black-Vietnamese, Black-Cambodian biracial children, there are many hurdles and perhaps made impossible through the combination of local racism and anti-Americanism and both the local laws as well as US law.

I am a child born in the 50s in Japan, then able to come with my father and mother to the US in the 60s. I experienced tremendous violence in both Japan and in the US growing up. I also experienced tremendous support and love from certain individuals in both countries. I am a child whose proximities to World War II is very close. Those born in the 1940s and living, are even closer. Those born after these periods, still experience the residuals emotions and parenting from the parents and/or orphanages or foster homes or the streets in which their childhoods were formed. Many honor their fathers, but not their mothers. Or mothers are relegated to the label ‘war bride’ and are made tragic heroes who served lumpia or kimchi or takuan with some kind of ‘Black’ food and cuddled us at night. It’s an ‘exoticizing’ that works well into blending into American society, becoming entertainment for others to oggle us. It’s very gendered and unaccommodating to historical realities. When African-American men were fighting for their survival and dignity in the 1950s through 70s for civil rights in the US, it was a tremendous struggle. But for the mothers who often lived through devastation through bombings and then perhaps various ostracizing behaviors and abuses from their families and/or the general cultures, then perhaps experiencing displacement in coming to the foreign country, in fear and trepidation and confusion, then what is our family and how shall we honor?

Across generations, across proximities to wars and military bases, across gender, across nation and poverty and or wealth, across rank, across civilian/military divide, across language, how can we work together????? What is pride when it is not about raising our brothers and sisters in other places and other memories and existences? What about ourselves? Is becoming a middle-class success enough? In globalization, one of the key factors in globalizing, is FORGETTING. The reality of forgetting makes us weak, depressed, isolated, dishonoring, disconnected. Of course, there are some things that should be forgotten. However, there are things that some people cannot forget. Memory is in the body, forever there. For others in privilege, forgetting is normal and perhaps made superior. Often, we relegate social traumas (such as experiences of extreme violence, prejudice and war/genocide) to something that is abnormal and taken care of in therapy. It’s so convenient.

In the US, the victorious of World War II, the nation was created. People helped make bombs and planes. I am also grateful, lest Japan would have continued with their terrible weapons of imperial suicide. Now America plays out self-destruction. In being ‘Blasian’, or multiracial black-asian identity, what does this mean? So you are happy. Now what? What shall we do in this new year?


Un-racialize; become more uncomfortable

Understand the particulars and rejoice in them.  Most are afraid.

I say I am ‘black-japanese’ or ‘afro-japanese’ or ‘african-american japanese’ or ‘blasian’ or ‘blackanese’ or ‘japanegro.’   These are racial terms.  Meaning: we create race-terms to point to differences.  We use the language and cultural milieu of our locations.   In the UK, or the Netherlands, Germany or Argentina…..wherever….the terms and meanings will change.   However there is one fact:  without it, there is the ‘color-blindness’ that makes many people disavow their racism and the racism of the national systems that perpetuate it.  ‘Normal’ is infused with ‘race.’   Racialization!

Periods and times make differences.  I think we have to dialogue between and across generations and social classes, gender and national and cultural locations, sexualities and orientations, size and occupation, abilities and other differences.   Being a ‘Konketsuji’ — which is the old terminology for Mixed-blood people in Japan in the 1950s through the 70s, is no longer in use and that is why I use it for myself.  To designate and point to the intense stigma and ostracization that has passed for Japan’s democracy, while hiding racism in the US against those like me in those days.

In the present, the multicultural movements have offered spaces for empowerment.  But as I have mentioned in previous postings, whenever there is a black-mix somewhere, it is seen as tainted.  Taintedness may not mean direct hate or condescension.  It could be as inocuous as subconsciously expecting a black-mixed-race person to be ‘better at playing drums’ or more athletic or a ‘mix’ of chitlins and the ‘other’ culture.  And black individuals may see that person as tainted (not black enough) with another ethnicity and/or race or just ignores that aspect and continues to see them as a threat if that person doesn’t say they’re ‘black’ and only ‘black.’

In being ‘accepted’ in multliculturalism, there is  the tendency to think of the humanist definition of a ‘fully-arrived’ human– which is usually very whitened.   Even though people may look different due to anthropomorphic features and skin color, the behavior signifies an upward mobility and/or perfection, or a downward mobility and a ‘tainted-ness.’   The European and American colonization that passes for ‘globalization’ is also quite hybrid and has mixed with elite governing peoples globally, joining the wishes for social control and wealth production in localities.   Transnational capital continues to also make things more complex.  In this, racialization plays a huge role in the positioning of a person, nation, community, area, people, group, corporation, business—–all in very minute and diverse shiftings that include the other ‘isms’ of difference (gender, size, socio-economic class, etc.).    So history is always with us in the present, as much as we  would like to think that we are progressing and the past is past.  But the past changes as the present changes, which then guides the future.

This is where ‘change’ comes into play.  Change may influence the past, present and future.  How we see the past and how we act in the present and how we change, affects the future.  There’s lots to be done.   Racializing must be seen as a way we see difference through the prism of 16th to 19th century scientific discourse developed in order to justify colonial rule and social engineering.

If we talk about cultural inheritances, legacies, then it’s different.  We can be proud of our people, but see it as socially contingent and resting on the problematics of social and cultural dominations, technologies of ‘difference-making’ in relation to domination and institutionalization, and is often the measure of how much and how far we ourselves are willing to shift in order to maintain or change these things.

I, will continue to racialize in the name of social justice.  But I understand that categories of ‘race’ are contingent, dependent on who I’m speaking with, and my own continual education on what ethics I bear in the world in relation to my wish for the lessening of purposeful and meaning-making structures that force a face-to-face clarity and negotiation toward working TOGETHER to alleviate suffering.

Nowadays some people still feel that majorities are ‘allowed’ more power and control, that the majority makes the rules and the minority must suffer.  I hope we begin to start understanding, at least, that suffering in some form, is a fact of life, but that decisions on the welfare of humanity cannot be expected to be democratic when the parameters of these decisions will FAVOR a few or even most.   Instead of deciding in relation to what WE KNOW, we should enter more complex and ethical forms of communication, understanding that tension and contradiction and conflict are inevitable.  Right now, capitalist finance controls and effects decisions.  What in the future?  Where are the questions?  What do we ask ourselves?

We must struggle to do it.  Here lies the issue in modernity.   We want it comfortable, safe, secure.   These three things are contradictory to social justice.


‘Taint’ – afro-japanese poetic musing & Point

TAINT

I exile myself from myself.  and YOU——-Don’t see yourself as…….Tainted.   If you do….you hide it and make me tainted and I see you Sad.   And that makes you see me angry, insane.  Impossible.

When I do, I’m home.   Home is exile.  Exile because there’s no way what you call ‘home’ can be mine.

And as if home doesn’t change, morph, move into something — always unrecognizable.  It’s too late for recognition.  But I will show you something and you will recognize it for what you think and feel and hear and taste.  My body is colonized by your gaze.

We’re people-of-color.  That’s an identity that’s tainted.  But without it I completely become white and Japanese and black. Colonized by those rules of walk, talk, understanding, dance.

When I choose my ‘own’ way, I know it’s not my own.  It’s been handed down.  If so, who gives a shit?

It doesn’t matter in this so-called ‘post-social’ world of ours….alienations and displacements where people who have had communities continued in another land, another space/time and call it ‘home’ will ————look down——-down——on me and those like me.  And we can pretend to be brothers and sisters because we share.  And some who don’t look down on me,  think we are equals.   No time/space, no legacy, no sekihan, cho-cho, miso shiru, barbecued ribs, konketsuji, nigger, left unconscious dead.   I’m not allowed.  So in that time where you cannot bear my pain and it is exiled into me, we SHARE ———the colonized mind.   But there are those who do share.  There’s no need for the pain, but there’s a need for allowing and alliance.

Can we ‘Be’——with our differences?   The thousand bombs and body-part explosions, mushroom clouds and slavery whips, and imprisonments of my ancestors and the occupation of my body in heterosexual mindscapes and border-guard territories———will NOT make you superior to me. Because you don’t remember.   Forever you may enslave yourself but I remain TAINTED in your result, your gun.  Your attitude-pistol that props you up WITH it.   Instead of takuan, I eat hamburgers in that place.  But I eat takuan uh huh.   Hungry.

Forever blackened in your multicultural superiority that pretends equality.   Forever not right.  Forever imprisoned.  No matter how many songs I sing to you, no matter how many silences and gentle hands, I’m only a big penis, a tawny muscle movement, a …a…..a….a.  some ‘THING’ that is compared to your utopia. Utopia……the unconscious colonial organ.

‘Thing’ yourself with your colonized mind, until you crave, then so so tired   tired     you start to see me.  Perhaps someday….we may actually touch beyond eyes here.  Right here, and between your complete and beautiful to my complete and beautiful.  Always it is part, incomplete, moving and dancing in time.  complete is incomplete always and beautiful, but justice moans. Then we understand that we are scarred.

Scarred and twisted in your so-called will to perfection.  That is perverted….tainted.  Just ‘being’ I am tainted because YOU are tainted.  Funny thing is…. there doesn’t need to be this———TAINT.  But what?

Taint me and I you.   Let’s walk y’all.


Hilarious video for Mixed-Race Asians – bishop cd miller

This is a hilarious video (I think) regarding our ethnic, racial, national, cultural labels. Bishop CD says: “Am I a Hapa? Am I too old to re-frame myself!” Hilarious!! What’s ‘Hapa?’  Why ‘re-frame?’

The term ‘Hapa‘ is a newly-circulating label for mixed-race Asian-Americans and perhaps, nowadays, including all mixed-race and multi-ethnic Asian identities. It is an old Hawaiian term for mixed-race Hawaiian Asians. However, this term is increasingly becoming popular to note this very diverse group. As most of us understand identity in the present, the old categories have become increasingly irrelevant in many ways, as we delve into the politics of identity and the re-positionings of power toward justice.  So as we discover terms that are new that circulate, that touch upon ourselves, we may struggle.

Further commentary follows the video!

Miller say’s “I’m too old to re-frame myself!” Heard that!! But in seriousness, we must and we shall……or we cling to the old words that are no longer useful in some ways. However, I feel that all labels, making us into objects, are tools for some kind of jockeying for power, control. Having ‘no identity’ is also a label and stinks of dominant privilege and disconnectedness. So we must re-frame, if not for ourselves, then for others who necessarily suffer because of the bodies that are marked by territory, social class, nation-state hierarchies, gendered norms, sexual orientation secrets and revelations, words that define but never grasp, yet tear our bodies into pieces. Go on Bishop CD Miller! I’m of your generation too! Continual re-frame!! How many frickin’ times do we have to question how others view us, define us and label us? And then what do we do to ourselves? and to our ancestors? What of them? Who were they? How do they live in us and through us today? However, labels will never define us. Labels, however, if we must use them, must be for social justice in this cruel, cold, fiery world full of secrets and displacements, torture and loneliness, ecstasy and understandings. Well….I’m almost too old…….. Bishop CD Miller says often that she is ‘White, Black and Filippino.” My own father says he is African-American, but we are aware of his Cherokee heritage. My mother’s mother was Austrian-Chinese mixed. Between the three of us, we have been through many continents, cultures. But what has been the label? Is there a need? It depends.  As Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, and others help us to think into our words and the structures of reality, they also ask us to understand the play of power and justice, disempowerment, ignorance, and the making of objects through labels, through which our world is largely organized.


Poem: Who is Hiroshima?

Photo: Osaka from the air after bombings

WHO IS HIROSHIMA?

It was no mushroom cloud. It wasn’t

When I speak……… WHO is Hiroshima? WHO owns its name?

What does its memory confront or continue?

The heavy boots of US American navy men, running off of their American boats onto the shores of Naha in Uchina, Yokohama, Tachikawa or Yokosuka—into the bars where the so-called ORIENTAL girls are there, ripe for their pickin’s and choosin’s. Attractions, games, bribes, collusions, rapes. The pliable and obedient oriental slaves. The imperial Japanese……watching, planning, bribing, stealing, Starved for food, comfort, defeated, wanting, Starving flesh.

No rule of law in Japan can touch Americans there. This started BEFORE Hiroshima was on the maps of any American. Before anyone else existed, all others are inferior.

What is Hiroshima? Who carries its name? Hiroshima overcrowds the real story, the real picture, the BIG picture.

Month after month //////// daily fire-bombings///// Tokyo, rubbles, stench……….. One month of the torture-fires at night came to Osaka where my mother was a child, forgotten now even in history books. It’s only a shadow of Hiroshima if that. Screams. Screams. Burnt flesh. Shanghai, Nanking Chinese cries under Japanese bombs. Now Tokyo under Americans.

Sirens, burning flesh, screaming, running, sweating/////// Quivering lips in bomb shelters…… Limb-flying explosions. The limbs without bodies….the end…the beginnings.

My mother the little girl—a nameless black-haired girl under flying, released, BOMBSsssssss /////

Her life supposedly never happened for neither the Japanese nor the Americans. Bone-rattling///Poundings, chemical-fires of the inside-out…….

Little GIRL survived…………the rats she ate in poverty, the hanging skin of her friends’ burnt flesh, the plea for food and water…..scrap metal roofs and trash for walls………never happened except in a warbride diary of someone else’s land. SHE was in OSAKA, Tokyo—NOT Hiroshima. And yet……..IT was Hiroshima we only utter….and remember. But as what?

It was another war////////// different from what Japanese say……….. Americans say……….burning.

I knew my mother as KIYOKO. She signed her name on her checks in the stucco red desert house……..Albuquerque. and there it was on her ID card: KIYOKO ……… written carefully, slowly, with flare by her aging hands. American military jeeps in her eyes and splinters of her friends’ bodies in her skin.

She practiced for three months everyday for one hour, to write her name in English.

Why did my FATHER, her husband, and my mother’s brother TERUO, call her EMIKO?

Over genmai-cha and osembe……I asked her at 27 /////////

She tells: Kiyoko is my sister’s name. She died in Hiroshima.

Our family papers were disappeared on AUGUST 6—you know—the JIGEN BAKUDAN. To marry your father, I needed papers.

She marries an American occupation soldier—a military policeman, just 16 years old, faking it so he can fight for the country that hates him in his own land–African-American, almost proud to be an American but this American…..is a promise and a hope, not real. Even as he was an occupation policeman with gun in hand, the lynching of black prisoners in the US military jails in Japan haunted him. He bears the only truth he knows.

I, as a son of the victor and the defeated ////////// Hiroshima is unending. Hiroshima covers all issues. Hiroshima was a wall of fire and 3000 degrees Celsius.

It was not a mushroom cloud. Blood. Scream. Flying. Death…..wall of fire.

I, the son of a Black and Yellow. I, must now…… Articulate this Place, in my body, everywhere.

Ghosts passed onto lands and dreams.

Soochow….Osaka…Tokyo…Yokohama…Tuskeegee…Nashville….Detroit….San Francisco Peace Treaty signed…then….A-bomb…Pyongyang….DaNang …Albuquerque….Stop. Listen.

When I speak………….. WHO is HIROSHIMA now?


Afro-Japanese Historical Project: a call to participate

I am beginning an outreach for persons of African-American, Japanese, or Afro-Japanese mixed descent, for three different purposes.  I am especially interested in those of the above heritages who have experience, or are a child of those who experienced living during  the US/Allied Occupation of Japan in the post-World War II period or were raised by people who were.

I am also interested in meeting people who have had friendships and relationships with those who are from that heritage/background and history.

I am interested in putting out this call for two purposes:  1) To connect with others, like myself, who are of the heritages mentioned and who have experienced life in Japan during the post-WWII Allied Occupation, or who are children of those who have, to share stories and concerns and memories; 2) To find those willing to participate either as interview subjects, or would like to participate in a research project on Afro-Asians and their relations from that time-period.  This research project will become aspects of a book(s) and also possible multimedia projects on the history of Afro-Asians, Blackness, and Asian-ness in the Asia-Pacific experience and impacts on social justice and history.  This project is only in its infancy and will be crafted as I go along in the coming months with other Afro-Asians in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This project is just beginning, in the idea stage.  It will unfold more in the coming months and into years.

At present, there have been no volunteers (as of March 27, 2012).  I have made this part of a larger project I am concentrating on, entitled:  The Black Pacific Project.

Please see my blog and videos at: http://waterchildren.wordpress.com/

Youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackPacificMemory?feature=watch

For information/connection, you can EMAIL:  blackpacificmemory@gmail.com


Biracial Japanese group event in Japan: July 2010 主催の花見イベント

Hana mi 花見 is a Japanese tradition of ‘flower viewing.’ It is a celebration of the turning of the seasons and the appreciation of nature and the blooming of flowers in Japan. It is still celebrated.

The Hapa Project is an interesting project in Japan and for myself, I must say it is much needed in Japan, in order to be discussed and acknowledged as a reality (Hapa is an originally Hawaiian Islands term for mixed race persons of Japanese and non-Japanese ancestry). In Japan there are problems of historical invisibility and condescension, brought about through several wars, social upheavals, and US and European colonialisms. It is also about nationalism, as it is everywhere, that a ‘purity’ of a nation is designed by elites in order to ‘unify’ and create nations. Every nation-state, pretty much, has done this. Otherwise, there is no reason for a nation. In Japanese discourse, this unity has included a homogenization and purity which allows for racisms coupled with an intense caste-system that exists, that perpetuates economic, social (gender, for instance), cultural, and ethnic hierarchies. Purity has been one of the cornerstones of the return to certain forms of persecution and exclusion of biracial and multiracial Japanese nationals and non-nationals.

There has also been various shifts in the intensity of exclusion, violence, and persecution–both through social interactions in the everyday and the political policy level concerning rights and exclusions. When I was born, biraciality was a scorn and violence was the norm. Many of my Black-Japanese friends committed suicide because of the pressure. Some actually were killed by their parents before the parents killed themselves. Others quietly lived under tremendous pain in certain areas of towns and cities. Many were given up to orphanages where many of them became destitute and turned to robbery and prostitution to survive, where they were scorned for those things that offered survival. But there was nowhere else to go for those “brothers and sisters” of mine. From Japan when I was 7 years old (year 1962), our family moved to the United States. In the US I was called both nigger or Jap as well as gook and mutt, and experienced physical violence as well. However, American society had already begun to shift and many people–classmates and teachers, also came to my aid and protected me. Some years later when our family moved back to Japan for a few years, I was no longer scorned. I was a middle school student and was sought after for my exoticism and Japanese people were more fascinated with me than abusive. I found it relieving and also interesting. At the same time, I was also quite annoyed and bothered. In either case–abuse or fawned over, I was not me, but some representation of their own relation to this body, this mind, this history. And No, not everyone is like that (in case some of the readers were wondering!)

Today, being biracial and multiracial is more accepted in Japan, as it is also in many western countries. But this acceptance does not mean there is no discrimination and violence. Today, many people in the entertainment industries such as music and modeling in the US and Japan and Europe, are mixed race. The Hapa Project in Japan is trying to bring more awareness and discussion to the Japanese people, as well as providing a place for biracial and multiracial Japanese to be together, to create a space where that multiplicity can be lived, freeing that multiplicity from the compulsory singularity of a single-nation, single-culture identity. In many ways, some of the mono-cultural, single cultural identity circles, are jealous of and envious of multi and biracial people in the US, Europe as well as in Japan.

If we look closely, and listen to this great video, reflecting on what is said and not said, and the differences in history and in time from twenty years ago, forty years ago, and even a few years ago, we can also see that most of the people in the Hapa Project are not speaking about the differences and hierarchies in relation to Black-ness. There are no ‘black-Japanese’ present, with voice, in this particular video. I do know that some are a part of the Hapa Project. But it is no surprise that public reaction and response to Black-Japanese biracials, are different from responses to white-mixed Japanese persons. Blackness, as it is in the US, Europe, Korea–is seen as associated in many ways, to be a less-desired position and identity. We can appreciate the body and face and skin-color of a Blasian or Blackanese person, but there is still less of a preference in regards to their actual presence, intimacy with many people. The black-bodied Japanese and East Asians, are associated with rebelliousness, criminality, and un-wanted Asian-ness, while white-bodied mixed Japanese or Asian, are seen as closer to white, and therefore more acceptable. Blackness, in other words, is still a subaltern terrain governed by white supremacy, even as we may enjoy them on television or desire them (us) as sexual objects. Or hate them for the same. Or hate them because we are jealous. It is not only ‘blackness’ that is somewhat invisible and uncomfortable. For example, what of Ainu, Okinawan or Buraku mixed race people in Japan. They are also severely ostracized and demoted in the imagination and in political oppressions in Japan because of their already-demoted status as Japanese persons in Japan before their mixture with non-Japanese-ness. In effect, there is the exclusion from Japanese national identity, as well as Japanese cultural identity. Sometimes it is only one or the other. For others, it is both and it is shown and performed as exclusion, ostracization, demotion, abuse.

The other problem is that we seem to fetishize ‘identity’ and color and culture, but do not think politically about how it works. We need much more ‘real talk’ on the subject of having mixed race friends, but not wanting anything to do with the troubles experienced. Much like the African-American communities in the US, which have basically been driven through to succeed in sports and entertainment, must sacrifice much of their lives and attitudes in order to enter other careers or to even make their own way without the dominant notions of living and thriving in this world. The spaces become smaller for difference. Whether one is liked or not, or whether we like ourselves or not, are important questions but those questions are vacuous in relation to the structures that create those kinds of questions. In one small segment of the video below, one person describes an experience of a mixed-race person questioning which country they belong to: Japan or the US? What culture they belong to? Why does one need that question asked and answered? Even in Japan there are different ethnic groups that don’t remember their difference or have been forced to forget. Nationality is a political construct which might be important in order to access certain things (such as passports and freedom to travel, etc.) but how does this work culturally and historically? Why can we not appreciate ourselves and others for our legacies while we work to struggle against the abusive and unjust elements of our everyday? Why must one choose? There are many reasons, I am sure. It’s just that for me, I was never concerned about my accepting that I have several cultures moving as I move. My biggest worries were other people and countries and policies. I did not want to be ‘included’ with others, I wanted to be myself and it will be different. People who think that everyone should be alike plays into the homogenization project and are predisposed to not accept difference. I say this is a product more of our education and soci0-cultural assimilation and un-thinking rather than intention. This is why I always stress that there needs to be accountability with our leaders in creating our social realities.

In any case, much work needs to be done in decolonizing our imagination towards justice and peace in as much of our spaces as possible, to challenge the hegemony of white supremacy within ourselves and each other and in our policies and organizational structures.  For instance, how does white-ness, link with Japanese-ness, in the contexts I have mentioned?  What does that link allow and disallow?  Who does it cost spiritually and physically, emotionally and economically?  Who benefits?  How can it not be a constant battle without the topic/reality being swept under the carpet to hide and avoid, festering as a growing pain in society, in all of us?

But as we question, I appreciate the Hapa Project for what it is doing in Japan. I hope that different-bodied–particularly Black, are talked about in relation to the political realities of mixed and non-mixed identity and how subordination and invisibility is not part of any mixed-race project.


Judith Hill, blackanese singer SINGS

Judith Hill, excellent Japanese/African-American singer from Pasadena, California, sings her romance ballad  “One Love Forever” and also a tribute song to Michael Jackson “I Will Always Be Missing You,” whom she had the privilege of recording with as one of his back-up singers.

Her website: http://www.judithhillmusic.com/bio.asp


What might James Baldwin say? | TheLoop21.com

James Baldwin: On that Race Conversation (from “Too Late, Too Late” published 1949 in Commentary)
:

“The full story of white and black in the country is more vast and shattering than we would like to believe, and like an unhindered infection in the body, it has the power to make our whole organism sick.”

He doesn’t say that our organism is sick.  He says that racism–especially in the black/white form, through an ignoring of it, has the power to make the whole organism sick.   What is he saying?  We are not ‘originally’ with racism.  Race theory is constructed.  It was constructed in times of colonial expansion and white dominance world-wide.  It has gone unchecked, largely, and has included most of the world’s dominant along the ethnicity/gender/sexuality/religion/class formulations of nation-state and colonial patterns–making a form of ‘whiteness’ as a global phenomenon.  It is not just a ‘white/black’ issue but that issue informs the various divisions that we make in different communities and cultures, always needing to be overcome.  It has been established.  The organism is ‘becoming’ sick–as James Baldwin says, as we ignore it more and more, wanting it to be locked away in prisons and mental institutions –which is an internalized racism, if you think of it.  Difference cannot continue to live this way.  As we see our world now, and reflect, we should understand the growing sickness.  As we become more diverse, we need more weapons of peace, weapons of justice, not weapons DISGUISED as weapons of peace–which we have in the dominant imagination now.  What will it take?  James Baldwin has given us words to reflect on.

Activist/Writer James Baldwin speaking to us today.

For the full article where the above quote is from, visit TheLoop21 at:

What might James Baldwin say? | TheLoop21.com.

He eloquently points to the path of deconstruction, thought, and re-imaginations that are necessary for us to re-think ourselves and create possibilities for healing, mourning, and creativity.


TASHA – The Best Female Blasian Rapper II: Yoon MiRae “T” (티) 윤미래 : Biracial expressions II

Photo courtesy of SookYeong at wordpress

More  “T” music – as she is also known in the global R&B world, and her former name “TASHA.”

Her name is YOON MI RAE.

She’s not just a rapper.  She encompasses R&B and balladry.  She’s one of the best anywhere. She is the undisputed queen of Korean Black music.

There have been others like her in the past, in East Asia and Southeast Asia, who have been shunned and their lights never shone to the world.  Now that the world seems readier, in many ways, while in some nations, including in Japan and other countries it is still slow and the repressed expressions of life and creativity live side-by-side.  The empowering of “T” into the limelight is a path of empowerment.  At the same time, it continues the sequestering of difference into entertainment and sports, which seems to now be the globally accepted places/spaces where multi-racial and bi-racial persons of Asian and/or black descent, can shine more.  Even as there is a ‘shining,’ I have found in my own life and in talking to other blasians, the road is still steep.  Endurance and commitment have to be nurtured, as many of the sub-cultures of identity and color and difference, do not completely accept, if at all.  The glittering lights should not be seen a totally happy place, a place where we can say “oh now they’re fine, those poor people who have endured so much–now they can be somebody…”  We can think that people have ‘found their paths’ but how much of that ‘path’ is a cornering, an act of survival?  It is most certainly a freedom.  But is freedom only freedom?  What I point to is that freedom is small in relation to the spaces that are closed and which that ‘path’ is really a space that the oppressions don’t cover.  It is a small escape hatch, if you will, while most of the dominant spaces still remain closed.  It LETS DOMINANT SOCIETY off, disguising itself as:  ‘see….we’re a ‘free and democratic society–we let EVERYONE find their path.”   Is it THAT INDIVIDUAL’s path?  In some ways, it was chosen by the structure of society FOR THEM/ for US.  Freedom is most often, and increasingly and globally, an un-freedom created by dominant society.

How?  What restrictions do the open spaces cover?  How does this, then, assuage those who feel powerless or ignorant, to do much to intervene into the racist structures of our society.  Music is an outlet and a place for survival, for many.  But other spaces may close.  And perhaps others may open.

At the same time…….as I have hinted at in my earlier post on ‘MULTI-RACIAL….Transnational Elitisms??” — it can also become a cover for assimilation into the middle class and the globalization of sameness and comfort and safety.  It is a razor’s edge.  Difference will then be subsumed under ‘YOU need to make it into the middle class–LOOK! I’ve done it.  You have NOT arrived until you do it like I do….”

This is so often what it looks like.  It’s painful.  It is still a way of condescending against different lives and also classism.  We must alleviate the fissures of class and domination, yet at the same time, not wish other communities and cultures to assimilate.

As one may become more visible, perhaps through openings in entertainment or sports, one then enters a whole other set of multiple oppressions to work on.  It can become a choice.  It is — SAD, enRAGING, and also a space for us to become privileged in our knowledge and resource-amassing– to struggle for empowerment and justice in the world.  Having ARRIVED into middle-class positions, who want and have some access to higher elite resources and comforts, what do we do with it?  Do we then, point to the lower again and become that which assimilates, condescends, wanting everything to be homogenized, the same, constricted, small, superior?

“T” or Tasha, invites us to enter into the boardroom of a mass society of marginalized and brutalized underclasses who are formed by those who have been born into their ‘natural’ class and use it to wield the power of assimilation and superiority –mostly through being unaware. It is not entirely only about RACE.  It is also about gender.  As a female and as bi-racial, and as dark-skinned, she has endured the lines through which dominance is activated in mainstream lives across the world.   “T” invites us, first, to be conscious of that life.

If we hear the words, we can hear YOUR voice, no matter how wealthy or privileged.  The whole world has internalized oppression.  Even as we move up in socio-economic class, we can perhaps remember that there is so much within our lives and selves we GIVE UP and destroy in ORDER TO ARRIVE at that position.   YES, we are all under the system.  Those, like myself and T, have struggled in the racially-constructed oppressions.  Perhaps even as socio-economically determined, adding another slew of intensities.   Being sensitive in listening……we hope that this music does what it wants to do—–to NOT JUST understand an individual’s pain, but that individual pain most often comes from SOCIALLY-CONSTRUCTED and AGREED UPON and often INVISIBLE forms of oppression.  And often not so invisible but invisible when we are too busy with our own individual concerns and not with policies, institutions and perceptions that hold it in place, even as individuals may become aware of how their own lives have been affected.  How about an understanding of how most of us need to fight against, and transform all the myriad oppressions that make us slaves to them while we try to gain access to privileges.

Racism and sexism, heterosexism and classism, anti-semitism, able-ism and other isms are alive everywhere.  “T” is asking for us to listen and FEEL something that we must fight together.

Blorean, Blasian, Korean, Black-American, African-American– sings of the vicissitudes of being biracial/multiracial in societies that shun and legitimate the shunning, through the silence of the majority–thus legitimizing and upholding the racist violence–including exclusion and physical and emotional abuse and brutality of the direct perpetrators.  The loneliness and the will to survive go hand-in-hand– tremendous obstacles not understood by most.  This torture applies to the various exclusions and the brutality of majorities and minorities within our own and against the ‘other’ in our world.  The effects come to song.

I absolutely love this song “Memories” with lyrics below the video.  It is mixed English and Korean.   You can get an idea of her vocal abilities and style.  T’s got it going on!

I also include more video songs and an INTERVIEW in ENGLISH below.

WONDER WOMAN –  Here ‘T’ sings/raps about female empowerment !!   She says:  “Dem wonder, Dem wonderin’ but I’m nappy-headed illegal Rasta.  YEAH!!

AS TIME GOES BY –  a love-song ballad sung in English

TO MY LOVE – R&B ballad sung in Korean

INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH from 2002

EXCERPT from ‘MONSTER’ in English:


TASHA – The Best Female Korean (Blasian) Rapper

There are many great rappers and hip-hop artists from Korea as well as of Korean ancestry who are living in other countries including the US and in the European countries.

“T” or Tasha is my personal favorite and she is also considered the best female rapper in Korea.  She is Black/Korean biracial–or, if you will: Blasian (black + asian) – or :  Blorean (black + korean).  Her Korean name is Yoon MiRae.

She, in her interviews, speaks of the prejudice of Korean society against people of mixed heritage, like moi‘s experience in Japan in the 50s and 60s.  Being Blackanese myself, I particularly love this song.  I wish I heard it when I was younger.  It would’ve been my only comfort.  Like her, my only comfort was music when I was growing up.

Tasha Reid / “T” / Tasha / Yoon Min Rae – wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasha_Reid

This song is called “Black Happiness.’   It is a very touching song, especially made so by the voice of her real-life father speaking to her, encouraging her just after the middle of the song through toward the end.   I copied the lyrics from the YouTube site, posted by doolee10.

Black Happiness

My skin was dark from my past
People used to point at me
Even at my mom Even at my dad who was black, and in the army
People whisper behind my back
Said this and said that
I always had tears in my eyes
Although I was young
I saw my mother’s sadness

Everything
seemed like it was my fault
Because of my guilt
I washed my face everytime during the day
With my tears I melt the white soap
I always hated my dark skin
why O why
Does the world judge me
When I hate the world
I close my eyes

I put my soul into the music my father gave me
I feel the volume
And fly higher and higher
Far away
la musique

(When I hate the world)
(Music soothes me)
(you gotta hold on)
(and love yourself)
(When I hate the world)
(Music raises me up)
(so you gotta be strong)
(you gotta hold on)
(and love yourself)

Time passed and I was thirteen
My skin was dark brown
Music doesn’t judge color
They give me light
I lead my music
We lean on eachother
I don’t feel lonely
Then one day
I was given a chance
I held on to my microphone

And suddenly I was on stage
I say goodbye to music and ask it to come back
Then I became nineteen
I have to lie
I put white makeup over my face
They told me to wear a mask
They said my mom’s race was okay
But not my dad’s
Every year my age was nineteen
During times when time stopped

I felt like I was in jail
And I leaned on myself
I spent endless, painful days
I ignored their warnings
And because I missed music
I tried to escape
But no, I got caught
I prayed all night
And now I’m free


Pushim – female ‘Japanese’ reggae/r&b star

Pushim, is of Korean ancestry and Japanese national.  She is the top female Japanese reggae/R&B/rap & hip-hop star.  Her birth name is Pak Pushin.  As one may know, people of Korean ancestry have had a history of severe repression and invisibility in Japanese society.  Many Koreans changed their names two to four generations ago in order to try and make it easier to navigate through jobs, finding housing, civil rights, etc. in Japan.  There are many Koreans in Japan, like many oppressed peoples in many nations today around the world, who do not know they have Korean ancestry.  Their parents had to have their children survive.  Pak was lucky.  Her family did not make her forget, although this came with hardships.  It is much better nowadays, for Japanese of Korean ancestry, although prejudices still exist.

Pushim is my favorite and is considered the best of the ‘black’ singers in Japan.

The First video is a cover of Carol King’s big hit ‘It’s Too Late.’  She does it in smooth R&B style with a few word changes.

The second is a joyful song about being an empowered woman: “My Name is…”  Lyrics below.

All Copyright & Credit goes to Ki/oon Records / NeOSITE DISCS and Space Shower TV (2007)


恋なんてもうしない」,ウソの誓い  [I make a fake promise like: I'm not gonna love anymore]
夢を求め果てしない戦い  [It's a battle where there's no end to chasing dreams]
雨をよけて守りたいハイヒールとプライド  [To bypass the rain and protect my high-heels and pride]
My name is… “My name is”
My name is woman

たったひとつの出会いから予期せぬ運命に  [To a life that can't escape from the first meeting]
胸を痛めたり優しくなれたり  [we can hurt, we can become passionate]
傷つく度にがむしゃらに走った道  [Each time there's a scar from running wild on the path]
ずっと 一緒さ強気なmy heart   [My heart is keeping a straight-line strength]

uh ah それぞれのdestiny   [uh ah all different kinds of destiny]
uh ah かたく今決意し   [Do things like keeping them closely abreast]
Yes, i am gonna be strong
Yes, i am gonna be strong
広い海のように    [Like the wide ocean]
uh ah いたずらなdestiny   [uh ah rascal-like destiny]
uh ah 試されるテストに  [uh ah to the tests that try to betray us]
No, i don’t cry anymore
No, i don’t cry anymore
青い空のように  [like the wide blue sky]

誰だって言えない悩みがあって  [Everyone has some words they can't express]
いつだって愛されたいだけがんばって  [And always we try our best at wanting to be loved]
この体を支配する感情はcolorful   [This body that is carried in feelings are colorful]
My name is… “My name is”
My name is woman

去ったばかりの恋にまださよなら言えない日々  [loves that just ran away that I can't say 'bye' to yet]
過去を旅したり好都合なmake a story    [The past continues 'make a story']
そんな私を私が信じてあげる   [That kind of 'me' I'll trust in]
ずっと 心配だらけのmy heart  [and all this time a worrying 'my heart']

uh ah それぞれのdestiny
uh ah かたく今決意し
Yes, i am gonna be strong
Yes, i am gonna be strong
広い海のように

uh ah いたずらなdestiny
uh ah 試されるテストに
No, i don’t cry anymore
No, i don’t cry anymore
青い空のように

それぞれに違う人のdestiny   [All kinds of people I meet with their destiny]
例えばママのあの子はtwenty-three  [thinking about it, I was a Mom to your 23]
激しい恋が好きなshe’s a drama queen  [she's a drama queen that likes passionate love]
仕事に生きるよく似た友達   [To my friends who live for only working]
They are beautiful
They are beautiful
We are beautiful and even we are just women

Here we go
もっとずっと向こうに行こう   [Let's go way further]
きっとちょっと流浪の時も  [Even if it's not the right time]
もっとずっと向こうに行こう

uh ah それぞれのdestiny
uh ah かたく今決意し
Yes, i am gonna be strong
Yes, i am gonna be strong
広い海のように
uh ah いたずらなdestiny
uh ah 試されるテストに
No, i don’t cry anymore
No, i don’t cry anymore
青い空のように

uh ah それぞれのdestiny
uh ah かたく今決意し
Yes, i am gonna be strong
Yes, i am gonna be strong
広い海のように
uh ah いたずらなdestiny
uh ah 試されるテストに
No, i don’t cry anymore
No, i don’t cry anymore
青い空のように


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