The World Would Be a Better Place If Only Racist People Stopped Being Racist: Agree or Disagree?

What gets me about Hapa is it has no urgency. Whether it may appear optimistic or not, the crucial thing is Hapa doesn't care.

Hapa's central mission is to end racism, which is a noble idea but that doesn't mean that the thinker of a noble idea is noble itself. You can tell me that you masturbate because it is the safest sex, but that doesn't mean you aren't a wanker. Robin Hood was noble and all in his vigilante efforts to implement a folksy "trickle down" economics in medieval times, but he was still a thief. 

Rather than being optimistic, I posit that Hapa is actually indifferent.

Read More

NPR Piece and "Hapa"

Saw this NPR piece.

Hapa seems to be simultaneosly gaining and losing relevance. Some people like its all-embracing gloss, others get tripped up with its smell of cultural appropriation.

I don't think "Hapa" has legs. 

The fatal flaw with "Hapa" is something that stands for something too broad risks standing for nothing at all. "Hapa" has nothing it stands for.

But who would've guessed that the question of "how do we offend the fewest people possible?" would be the stumbling block?

That the most threatening undoing will come from those who see it as an imposition and theft of a Hawai'an concept and I.D. tells you all you need to know. This article reminds us "Hapa" was the stuff of faddish picturebooks- it was never worth struggling for.


Commentary on NYT Article: "Choose Your Own Identity"

Nice piece in the NYT today by Bonnie Tsui.

Using the latest Pew research on being multiracial in America (more to come on that) as a springboard, Bonnie Tsui talks about her Chinese-Western "Hapa"  5-year-old son in the SF Bay Area.

3 key takeaways:

  1. "Hapa" seems to be gaining popularity with mixed people with no Asian descent
  2. Mixed White/Asian people in America are almost twice as likely to identify as "White" than as "Asian" (60% to 33%)
  3. The ability for kids in the Bay Area to choose: 1) one or the other race 2) simply "other" 3) neither 4) both, is increasingly markedly. Seems the social space is actually keeping pace with the rapid demographic changes (i.e. 1% births in the U.S. in 1970 were mixed race, whilst 10% [and rising] of births today are mixed race), which is actually quite remarkable and a testament to what an open society America is.
Read More

Ethnicity as Laundry List

Sure, most people don’t think that by naming 5 ethnicities they have claims to 5 different club memberships. But then again some people are that vain. The warming notion that there is something hip about being a child of the world, by being born into this world love of multi-ethnicities, well, I guess people decide, shucks “it’s kinda cool; I’ll just play along.”

Read More

A Festival Way More Interesting Than Amsterdam's Best

Formerly known as Pasar Malam Besar, the Tong Tong Festival is the annual celebration of European-Indonesian heritage. At the time I went I was a graduate student at Tufts at the time, in Medford, Massachusetts. It was the Summer between my first and second year. I remembered learning about this event while in college. I always wanted to go. And that Summer I had a chance to visit.

Maybe there’d be some good food too.

Read More

The Decline of "Hapa"

Most importantly, "Hapa" is in decline because Gen Z is rising, fast. And they have a different take.

"Hapa" is the ultimate "Millenial" term. It is cheerful. It is "multicultural." It is "here and now."

Generation Z is entrepreneurial, and they want to be experts. They have lived the Great recession; they understand that to get a job they have to think about the future- they need to anticipate where the jobs are going to be, what the challenges and opportunities of the global economy mean to them. They are the types that know that conversational ability in five languages is less valuable than dual fluency. They know that to survive they have to be resourceful- they have to have solid skills and knowledge, that is going to facilitate critical cross-functional work. In all of this, they want to be impactful. And any way you slice that- it means global.

Read More