Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Haru Ga Kita!

Yes, my Japanese-speaking tomodachi, believe dat. Spring is coming! Along with bringing us longer, stronger, brighter days, Haru will also, I hope, envelope us in lightness. It's been a heavy Winter, and I'm ready for something luminous.

My friend Terra called today to say that she really enjoyed reading the blog about my father that I posted a few weeks ago. In it, I mentioned that he had been enslaved along with other black children in his Texas town, and forced to pick cotton for local whites. Terra's words today really encouraged me. And, because she is of Asian and Jewish descent, I know she gets the whole mixed-race bag and why it's an important topic.

After Terra's call, I went about my day and as Fate would have it, ended up in a conversation with a mono-racial Caucasian woman about my ethnicity and family. When I told her about my father suffering from fighting overseas in a segregated military for a country that denied him civil rights, she broke out in a wide grin and said, "Well, that's over. Now we have a black president!"

Somehow, she seemed so proud of this fact that she was inadvertently dismissive of what my father had endured. But I just smiled back weakly. How could I ever educate her about the atrocities committed against black folks since our forced migration from the Motherland 500 years ago? How could I tell her about a 14-year old Chicago boy named Emmitt Till who visited Mississippi and was beaten to death by white men for talking to a white woman? How could I convey to her the many revolutionaries whose lives were arrogantly ended by those who fought against change during the Civil Rights movement? How could I tell her of all that occurred to others in order to bring us to this intersection of having a "black" president? I knew I couldn't, so I simply left the conversation.

What would you have done? I know those of you who are mixed or of color have encountered many such moments. What did you do? What would Buddha do? Drop me a line and let me know.

Well, the subtitled version of NHK's Atsuhime is on its last episode this weekend, and at the same time a new taiga has begun. Tenchijin had been shown at least twice before but, without subtitles, I couldn't really figure out what was going on. Last week, though, the first episode aired with subtitles, and I'm addicted even though it's about two males--a local lord currently 13 years-old and his five year-old vassal. I'll miss the girls of the Ooku, but this has promise. I never thought I'd see anyone who could cry more than Atsuhime, but the kid playing the kid in Tenchijin cried buckets--on cue!

Nodojiman was also interesting last week because another brother won. I can't remember his name, but he was from Brazil and cried both when he was selected as a finalist and later when he won the Champion. The poor guy was so nervous that he forgot how to speak Japanese when the announcer asked him personal questions. My mother laughed and said, "Jero better watch out. Somebody going to beat him. He better hurry up and practice more."

As for all those Oscars going to Slumdog Millionaire, no comment. People of every racial persuasion keep asking me if I have seen it or will see it, and I tell them I don't think so. For one, I've been reading a lot of articles, especially on the BBC, that indicate the child actors, who really live in those slums, were exploited. I don't have any facts. I'm just repeating what I've read. But, right now, I don't feel comfortable contributing to anyone's exploitation--especially children's. Further, there are two perfectly talented Indian women filmmakers--Mira Nair and Gurinder Chadha--who could've made such a film. Although they've had successes in the past, I haven't seen them doing anything lately. It just makes me wonder; is it a gender or a race thing? But, hey, if you've seen the flick, and you think I'm wrong, drop me a line.

Right now, I'm working on a proposal for the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival to be held in June, so if you'd like to be on a panel or part of a workshop, drop me a line so I can factor you into my submission. One of the topics I'll offer will be about blogging and new media, but I'm also considering presenting one on relationships.

We're still in open casting call for Watermelon Sushi, too, so email me for a copy of the breakdown. And, I promised to post that link to the AAPEX blog--thanks, Jaz!--so here it is:

And, here's a vid clip to entertain you this Spring:

Finally, that's my baby sis, b.r., doing her Sakura thing in that pix above many moons ago. The story is that she was slated to appear in a dance recital with three other girls with Japanese moms. On the day of, b.r. was riding her bike, fell down, and scratched one of her cheeks pretty badly. My clever, creative mother cleaned the wound, then added lots of rouge to both cheeks to make it look as if b.r. was just naturally rosy.

Ja matta ne.

Your Hip Hapa,


meeshtastic said...

That is so infuriating! The response the that woman is indicative of all the white people who don't want to acknowledge or recognize white privilege or our country's racial past (and present).

It's so frustrating-how do you even respond when you're caught so off guard?

meeshtastic said...

Hi Yayoi,
I linked to you piece on my site.

Believe me I share your frustration and I don't know what I would have said to this woman.

What can you say? It's clear whatever you could have said she wouldn't have heard you.

Yayoi Lena Winfrey said...

Hey, girl!

Will I get to meet you at the Mixed Roots Film and Lit Fest in June? I hope so. I love communicating with so many bright and conscious women. I hope to meet as many as possible in person. Some of the men are out there, too, but I find that mostly women respond to my posts. Thanks for linking me. Meeshtastic, you're fantastic!

And, thanks for your comments!

Your Hip Hapa,