Thu, 18 December 2008
In this episode the women of Hapa Happy Hour discuss the 2008 presidential election, and President-Elect Barack Obama. Please send any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening! Happy Holidays! (Recorded in November 2008.)
Mon, 1 December 2008
The second part of our interview with Hiwa's mom. Donna discusses her ongoing love affair with Hawaii and asks the ladies personal questions about growing up. Questions or comments about this episode? Feel free to email the Hapas at email@example.com. Mahalo! (Recorded in September 2008.)
Sat, 15 November 2008
We proudly present Hiwa's mom, Donna, who shares her travels of the world and her journeys of the heart. This is part one in a two-part episode. Please share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahalo! (Recorded in September 2008.)
Direct download: Hapa_Happy_Hour_episode_9_1-2-MP3_for_Audio_Podcasting.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:00am UTC
Thu, 6 November 2008
WE MADE IT!!! Welcome to the 44th President of the United States of America, President Barack Hussein Obama. Welcome to the first president from the Aloha State, the great state of Hawai'i. (Happy Hiwa.) My heart is filled with gladness. Thank you, America. We're ready. We're ready for this new chapter in the history of our presidency. This is truly a happy hour. With joy, Rena
Category:blogs -- posted at: 10:21am UTC
Sun, 2 November 2008
Hello blog readers and Hapa Happy Hour supporters! First a note: we normally publish new episodes twice each month… but this October 2008 we didn’t quite have our technical abilities at the ready… and, Lisa is celebrating her honeymoon, congratulations Lisa! So we have two blogs to offer, one from Rena and one from myself. We do have some really incredible podcasat episodes coming up so I hope you stay tuned.
Category:blogs -- posted at: 8:39am UTC
Sun, 19 October 2008
Hello All! A big thank you to Heidi W. Durrow, whose blogpost, "Obama's Biracial Background Makes Him Mysterious (Read Risky) to Southern White Voters," prompted this entry. Heidi, the co-host of the mixedchickschat podcast (along with the lovely Fanshen Cox), blogs regularly at www.lightskinnededgirl.typepad.com. Check it out! In the New York Times article,"For Some, Uncertainty Starts at Racial Identity," (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/us/politics/15biracial.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin) James Halsey of Mobile, Alabama said of Barack Obama, “He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch...I just don’t think we’ll ever have a black president.” Still another interviewee, a pipe-fitter who works north of Mobile, said, "“He’s neither-nor...He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.” Other breeds. Then, two of my students came to me this week and wanted to share with me a video they had found on youtube. The video, allegedly produced by a man registered as "independent" (He made a point of telling viewers this), claimed that Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen, and therefore, should not be allowed to run for president. So convinced were my students that everything else on the yard fell away from me as they talked. I stood on the blacktop, utterly crushed, staring at these two intelligent, impressionable boys, and my mind was racing. Was this the culture they had inherited? How was I going to pry them from these political briars? How was I going to undo this abuse? In my mind, I was thinking, "That's absurd, you know. Barack Obama was born in Hawai'i. It's a state, you guys. A STATE," but I couldn't say that. I couldn't deliver the information with the sarcastic tone with which it was playing in my head. He is that much of a threat to our national psyche? We could only be at the "bottom" to find ourselves voting for a Hapa? A Hapa, no less, and still our black and white society only sees the non-white. I know I am not speaking for Senator Obama, nor do I mean to. I will probably spend three paragraphs describing what Barack would eloquently articulate in much, much (much) less. (One sentence.) But for my part, as someone of mixed heritage, here's what I want to say: Barack Obama is white. When you are a Hapa, you get to be the ethnicity of both parents. When you're a Hapa, you are. I don't say that as if I'm trying to lay claim to some ancient parentage, some forgotten inheritance that would afford me something if I could only prove it were true. People don't understand that, and because they don't, they dismiss me. It's not important. What's important is only what they can see. Folks immediately retort, "But he's African-American, too," as if that takes care of the conversation. If I persist, they look at me like I'm speaking another language or worse, attempting to practice ancestral voo-doo. They look at me as if to say, "Your magic won't work here." Only folks who are multi-racial can understand what I mean. It shouldn't matter, and perhaps it doesn't, but alas, here's the rub. If race doesn't matter, why is Barack's heritage so hard for us to wrap our minds around? Why is it such a paradigm shift? When my liberal friends say, "But he's African-American, too," and perhaps they mean, "and people won't forget that," they're still bearing witness to the fact that race does indeed matter. I'm tired of people not acknowledging Barack's mixed heritage. It's true that he identifies with being African-American. I understand that. It's the way I relish being Filipino, the way I search for a box on the census to encompass all that I am. When I finally settle on Asian-Pacific Islander because all other choices fall short, believe me, I have not forgotten that I am Swedish and German. We have no problem saying that Barack is black. Absolutely no problem with that. We're very comfortable with that box. But, turn it around, and it's a huge mind shift. It's outside the box, and we don't know what to do with it. Yet, Barack is just as much white, just as much, as he is black. And if we're comfortable letting him be black, we should be just as comfortable letting him be white. When we do that, then race won't matter. Barack Obama is a man of mixed race. His diverse background and global perspective in an ever-changing society, in the midst of a technological revolution, is exactly what we need in the White House. This world is smaller and more delicate than ever, and he understands that. Just a few more days to the election! See you on the other side. -Rena
Category:blogs -- posted at: 12:24am UTC
Sun, 28 September 2008
Continuing the conversation about going home, from episode 6, the ladies talk about what itʻs like to be seen in various parts of the world. And where they feel the most at home. Are you Hapa, too? Let us know your opinions and questions at our email: email@example.com. (Recorded in August 2008.)
Sun, 28 September 2008
Hiwa interviews her father, Terry, in the Honolulu airport. He is hapa himself, of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry. Thanks for joining us and as always we welcome your comments and any questions... firstname.lastname@example.org. Aloha!
Wed, 17 September 2008
6 - Reflecting on our travels this past year and sharing the cuisines that make Alaska, Hawaii, and Guatemala so unique. Please email comments to email@example.com. Thanks! (Recorded in June 2008.)
Wed, 17 September 2008
5 - We're interviewing our parents! Meet our first guest, Rena's dad, Jim, from Chamberlain, South Dakota. Find out how this Midwestern farmer fell in love with a teacher from the Philippines. This week we also touch on the similarities between being transracially adopted and being multiracial. Please email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Recorded in May 2008.)
Sat, 2 August 2008
After weeks of traveling and visiting family, I am finally home in
Dare I say it?
I had forgotten I was Filipino.
Of course, I knew it. I love it. But what does it mean to be Filipino-American? It was emotional reconnecting with my "Asian" heritage, learning things new, and seeing research historians come together and create a community of Mabuhay in the frozen north. Here are some my highlights:
In a writing workshop led by author Patricia Justiniani McReynolds, I was reacquainted with the word, "Mestizo," the Filipino equivalent of Hapa, but specifically for those half-Caucasian and half-Filipino. Patricia's memoir entitled Almost Americans, A Quest For Dignity chronicles her experiences as a Mestiza, growing up in L.A. in the 1930s-40s! Needless to say, I was in awe of her, mesmerized. Her parents, a Norwegian mother and Filipino father, had been married in 1922.
In the workshop she gave us 10 minutes to write about a turning point in our lives. Since it was my personal theme of the day, I wrote about attending a high school dance sponsored by the Filipino Community (of
As an actor and a director, I just have to share a session entitled, "Transforming Our Communities through Art: Theatre and Photography on the Edge." Filipino artists on the edge? You know I was there. Noted playwright, musician, and poet, Timoteo Cordova, and documentary photographer, Abraham Menor, were not to be believed. First of all, what these two guys could do with a kubing (Filipino jaw harp) would knock your socks off. No lie. Revolutionaries in their own right, they both expressed a desire for (Filipino) artists to produce work that is compelling and evocative. "...Understand there are no limits," Timoteo said. "Tradition has its place," but we "show proper respect to these art forms by being innovative." He spoke of fusing different traditions and sounds and through self-expression, creating something new. Say no more. He was speaking my language. My brain was on fire.
On our panel was Dr. James Sobredo, a professor from
The study above prompted me to ask my cousins at home how they identify themselves. Three of my Hapa cousins in
Also on the panel was Evelyn Abello who presented her research on different ways Filipinos cope with stress other than therapy. One of the cultural characteristics she identified surprised me because I recognized it as a trait I possess. While I'm not opposed to a good rant in a therapist's office, I will rely on my own inner strength (if you're curious, "lakas ng loob") to get through a rough patch. I always thought that I just came hard-wired this way. I never considered that it was cultural, that it was Filipino.
Finally, my mother, Maria, and I spoke about the need to provide context for children being raised in two cultures, Hapa or not. We worked together, taking turns between theory (mom) and practical application (me). I talked about my parents' ethnic backgrounds, their hometowns, and agreed with Mr. Dolchok that being Hapa is sometimes problematic for others. I told how my mother raised my brother and me to be proud of our heritage, but also to her family's dismay, to be "mouthy" Americans. In Filipino culture, children do NOT talk back. We did. We were allowed because my mom wanted to know what was going on with us. Information revealed itself in the discord.
Maria quoted Edward T. Hall, saying that "every individual is made up of many cultures and subcultures within himself. The goal of education is to integrate all of these into one whole identity." It's a dynamic process, one that never stops. The Filipino culture, like all "Asian" cultures, needs context. People discipline their children differently all over the world, and it's been said that the Filipino child is the "best" child that there is. (Submissive, obedient, respectful. Basically, seen and not heard, y'all.) But if your children are growing up here in the
It's been said that culture is the sum total of all the answers to questions about daily life. Language is the mechanism we use to pass on these ways of living. Culture, then, is like the pair of glasses through which you see the world. That means that I, and all of my Hapa brethen, have acquired coping skills, answers to everyday problems, from two different voices, born in two different places; these ideas embedded in my upbringing. It's no wonder then, as cousin Alex pointed out, that we hapas have a unique perspective. We seek to make sense of two (or more) different value systems and to live by these multiple sets of rules. It's a dynamic process, one that never stops.
I am this fusion.
I have made two cultures, two sets of answers, co-exist in one identity.
It was an incredible, eye-opening, invigorating conference. I was thrilled and honored to be a part of it.
For any of you Mestizos out there, the next one is in
Category:blogs -- posted at: 11:58pm UTC
Thu, 3 July 2008
Hello from the Land of the Midnight Sun!
It's Rena in the wilds of Alaska. A big thank you to everyone who has shown us tremendous support during our debut month. We continue to be humbled and honored by the positivity that keeps coming our way!
I have some terrific news to share. I am a panelist at the upcoming Filipino-American National Historical Society Biennial National Conference taking place on July 3-5 here in Anchorage. Three things make this event even more sublime: I will be sharing the panel with my very own mom, Maria; I've returned to the land that raised me; and our presentation is scheduled on my birthday, July 3rd. In the presentation entitled, "Building a Culture of Harmony and Peace Within a Filipino-American Family," we will be discussing the joys and the challenges of reconciling two cultures in one household.
When my mom and I were kicking around proposal ideas to submit for the conference, I told her, "We need to talk about raising Hapa/Filipino-American children in this country. That's what we should be talking about."
"Really?" she said. "Why?"
"Why?!" I sputtered. I was taken aback.
Now, you must understand, my mom has two masters, the first being a Masters of Arts in Teaching Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She developed the scope and sequence for bilingual education grades K-3 for the Anchorage School District. This is the same woman who pulled me out of Catholic school, so that I could don the Filipino "butterfly" sleeves and dance to "Paru-Parong Bukid" at every multicultural fair ever held in town between 1978-1985. I've been living and breathing cultural diversity since I was born.
And I'm Hapa.
"Because it's extremely difficult to be raised in two cultures," I said, "especially if you have parents who are not aware of the tightrope you must walk every day, the balance you constantly strive to attain."
It got me thinking of my own journey as a Hapa, a term I've come to love and embrace as the one I choose to describe my ethnic heritage.
The only thing universal about being Hapa is that each experience is unique. It remains the quintessential essence of being multiracial. While you can identify with those who are of mixed heritage, you can't truly commiserate because rarely is one your exact "blend" of ethnic backgrounds. You can lay claim to all and yet lay claim to no one in the same breath. It seems contradictory, a paradox, like being a citizen of the world...with no country.
"Hmmmm..." my mom had said. I think she was playing devil's advocate. I'm still not sure.
If you're interested in learning more about the conference, please go to: www.fanhs-national.org. Stay tuned. Lots more to come!
Also, we hope you enjoy the new episodes! Post your comments or share your thoughts with us at email@example.com.
Category:blogs -- posted at: 5:44am UTC
Tue, 24 June 2008
I went to the first annual Mixed Roots Literary & Film Festival's opening ceremony on June 12 at the Japanese American National Museum in L.A. It was great! Not a huge turnout but a respectable one. The founders, Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow, were clearly moved and excited by how many people came--it was pretty amazing to be in a large roomful of multi-ethnic people of all backgrounds. Fanshen and Heidi are the podcasters of MixedChicksChat, the only "live," weekly podcast about being racially & culturally mixed. They were thrilled that Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker's daughter who wrote the awesome memoir Black, White & Jewish, agreed to be the opening speaker.
Category:blogs -- posted at: 10:41pm UTC
Thu, 12 June 2008
4 - Celebrate Loving Day, the day the US Supreme court decided that mixed race marriage was (finally) legal in the United States! We talk about Loving vs Virginia and are grateful that our parents weren't arrested. Please email us at HapaHappyHour@gmail.com, thank you.
Tue, 10 June 2008
3 - Exploring the connection between how we were raised culturally and how we view ourselves. Someone can look Chinese but not know how to use chopsticks; breaking down stereotypical ideas. Please email us at HapaHappyHour@gmail.com, thank you. (Recorded in May 2008.)
Thu, 5 June 2008
2 - Further exploration into the backgrounds of Lisa, Hiwa and Rena. From Alaska to Hawaiʻi to Guatemala and beyond the women have experienced many places. Please send comments to HapaHappyHour@gmail.com, thanks. (Recorded in May 2008.)
Direct download: 02_Hapa_Happy_Hour_episode_2_Where_We_Came_From_.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57am UTC
Sun, 1 June 2008
1 - Welcome to Hapa Happy Hour where Lisa, Hiwa and Rena, who met doing "Three Sisters", explore their multi racial experiences from three different backgrounds. Please email comments to HapaHappyHour@gmail.com, thank you. (Episode recorded in April 2008.)