Mixed? Multi? Half?

Being an identity is a problem.  We become ‘things’ that others do or not do to us, for us, against us, and through us – just because of that identity.  We even do things or not, according to the identity we have labeled ourselves.  This is different from understanding that we are part of a group of people and perhaps a community or communities, that we have inherited certain cultural norms, values, perceptions, worldviews, etc.  That is great.  At least I think so (not counting the amount of self-hatred that may come into play).

Whether you want  or he or she wants, it doesn’t matter.  Through the filter of our learned textbook stories in schools, to our parent’s privileges, and to the repetition of certain kinds of actions and thoughts, the solid stone-like formation of IDENTITY looms large in our conscious or sub-conscious.  We see through filters.  Fears come and angers come and apprehension comes and attractions come.  We sometimes call it ‘fate’ or ‘love’ or ‘hate.’  But these have large socially-constructed energies behind them as well.  These feelings and relationships do not just happen from a deep pure interior of self, or just mandated by God or fated by the universe.  Let’s look at the social constructions…….. ?

So I’m supposed to be a be a ‘mixed-race’ person.  Or some would have it: Multiracial, multi-ethnic.  Some would say ‘mutt.’  Some would say that I’m a ‘walking United Nations.’  Some say that I’m confused and don’t know who I am.   That last one comes from the idea that being ‘mixed’ is impure.  We are all ONE THING.  This is where a look at our histories would be useful.  We are not one thing.  Ever.  A white European woman of upper class, walking into a room of upper-class white men becomes a class and gender issue.  That same woman, walking into a room of African-American women would bring different behaviors not just based on gender.  If you’re an Irish-heritage person, it would be very different from Italian or Russian or a German background.  If you are gay, bisexual, transgendered, open or not open about it, would then change the dynamics.  How do people treat us according to what they either know or see, or both??

Am I half-Japanese, half African-American?  Sometimes people say I am.  How ridiculous can that be?  I’m not half anything or anyone.  I was raised in Japan in different neighborhoods.  Even in Japan, there are differences between regions, neighborhoods, cities, towns, rural, urban.  In my case, I was born to an American soldier and a Japanese mother.  Another dynamic.  I was never ever confused about who I was.  But I was never half of anything or ‘mixed.’

But others would say different. I say these things not to say I’m speaking a universal right and truth. I say these things to begin dialogue on how we assimilate to mainstream and/or dominant notions of making people ‘things’ or shall we say that we  do things and we practice things and we make use of certain values for certain purposes?  I do.

4 responses to “Mixed? Multi? Half?

    • Thanks Hapavoice!

      I visited your site. Sounds like a great start. I was wondering if you were planning any events? forums? etc.— right now it just seems like ‘this is who I am’ and I might want to join your site after it develops a little (?) I’m not so concerned in my life about affirming myself or telling everyone who i am like a museum piece. I’m more concerned about how our multiple heritage life can make social justice happen, make new communities, to think about race differently in practical political terms with a different impact from just presenting ourselves. So it seems like you’re going to have ACTIVITIES in the future….and perhaps then, i could be involved 🙂

      • Thanks for your feedback! I would love to grow this project and have events in the future, but realistically that won’t be feasible anytime soon. (However there’s always Meetup.com and the Loving Day celebration for now.) There is a discussion forum on the Facebook fan page which we’ll being promoting very soon, and we’ll probably implement that feature directly on the website in the future.

        It’s great to hear that you want to take action and make concrete steps toward progress. But I think that we have a LOT of work to do with regard to raising awareness first, both in mainstream culture and the Hapa community.

        Two main challenges come to mind: 1) so many Hapas have never even heard the term, don’t know that the community exists, and therefore can’t partake and help it to grow, and 2) many people who do self identify as Hapa only use the term and discuss the community around other Hapas, which makes it difficult to attain mainstream recognition/awareness. At the same time, this lack of mainstream awareness often discourages Hapas from publicly declaring their Hapa identity, since most people aren’t familiar with the term yet (depending on location).

        So what I’m trying to say is: first things first. Lots of people know and love Hapa culture. But tons of people aren’t yet in the know. HapaVoice.com is an attempt to start changing that.

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