Welcome back to Watermelon Sushi World, your planet for discussion of all things pertaining to biracials, blendies, FGM’s, hapas, MGM’s, mixies, mulattos, multiracials and transracial adoptees. Did we leave anyone out? Or, are we all obsolete anyway?
This week’s featured Hip Hapa Homee, Michael James Brown, thinks so. He's about to dissect everything we’ve been about since our inception. Or, so it seems. Let’s give the brother some page time so he can explain. Here’s the intro to his show:
“More involved than just your personal association with whatever arbitrary and undefined ‘racial’ name you call yourself, the Other Awareness Project is a thought-provoking, humorous mixture of film documentary, stand-up comedy, and audience discussion that looks into what I think is the continued incorrect categorization of people into ‘racial’ groups by skin color and other arbitrary things, in light of everything we know scientifically, legally, religiously, just about any way you want to look at it.”
Fair enough. Or, is it? btw, that’s Your Hip Hapa in the poster that Michael created for his upcoming Seattle show on December 11, and that’s him in the photo below. Michael also has shows planned for Long Beach on November 7 and for San Diego on November 14. Check out these links for more info:
Q: What is a nice allegedly African American guy like you doing telling folks there is no such thing as race?
A: Separate and apart from whatever arbitrary and undefined name I might call myself, the Other Awareness starts with this sentence: Homo sapiens is the only non-extinct species of its genus, Homo. There were other Homo species, all of which are now extinct. From a scientific viewpoint, there is no such thing as separate races for people. I think you have to throw out a lot of information from people much smarter than I am to even continue to have a racial discussion. I’m just a small cog in the wheel.
Q: How old were you when you thought about race for the first time?
A: I would say, like most people, I have always thought about race and my relative skin color since birth. The reason is simple. I was born in America. America is the country that puts the most emphasis on it. Everything in America was distributed based on color, and it still is today.
Q: Reportedly, the Census collects information to help government distribute money where it’s most needed based on race groups. In 2000, for the first time, mixed-race people were allowed to choose more than one group identity, which upset some black organizations that interrupted it as money walking out the door. Any comments?
A: Well, I can see their point in that it is kind of like changing the rules in the middle of the game. But I think that focuses on the smaller objective of who controls the money. I think the greater focus should be on the money getting to the right areas. What does it really matter what arbitrary name the people who are being helped call themselves? The important thing is to address the need, and stay focused on the goal.
Q: How does having a comedy background help you get such a serious message across?
A: I’m not certain that it does. For the most part, the people being interviewed didn’t know I was a stand-up comic. Volume I of the project has a lot of funny moments, but is meant to focus on the current information available and logical parts of the discussion. Volume 2, when it is completed, will be the funnier, more closer related to the regular stand-up part of the project. I had to create the foundation first!
Q: Why is your Other Awareness Project guaranteed to be only 95% guilt and anger free? What about the other 5%?
A: The project isn’t guaranteed to be 95% guilt and anger free. What I mean with the 95% guilt and anger free statement is when viewed the correct way using information, some sort of logic, and maybe throwing in some history, most people who attend the project will see that they don’t have a lot to be guilty or angry about. The project is about going forward, not back at the things you can’t change.
Q: What type of audiences do you attract?
A: I get all types of responses from all types of people. I made the film portion of the project to show everyone that they are essentially saying the same thing. I have received only one email that I would consider to be hateful, and I think it was sent in jest. I have never had an “upset” person. Since the project is about self-identification, I don’t really argue with anyone. This project attracts the people I want to attract; intelligent, funny, community-minded solutions-oriented people. Many people tell me that I have put into words what they were thinking or feeling.
Q: Where do you see “race issues” going another decade from now?
A: Since I think the whole discussion is media and agenda driven, and some people will continue to belabor dead points, I think the people who want to keep talking about race will. The people who don’t, won’t. It’s up to you. With the Other Awareness Project, I’m looking for the people who are done with the whole conversation concerning race and what it means, etc.
So, Hip Hapa Homeez, does that mean we are done with our job educating the general public about our particular racial and/or cultural identities? You tell me. Hollah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the usual message from our sponsors: Join our Hip Hapa Homeez Group page on Facebook. Join our Watermelon Sushi Fan page on Facebook. Purchase a Hapa*Teez t-shirt to support our Watermelon Sushi film.
And, keep on keepin’ on because, Hip Hapa Homeez, I HAPA'n to think we’re still relevant.
Your Hip Hapa,