Links for September 2, 2016

Who Gets To Be ‘Hapa’?

Like many multiracial Asian-Americans, I identify as hapa, a Hawaiian word for “part” that has spread beyond the islands to describe anyone who’s part Asian or Pacific Islander. When I first learned the term in college, wearing it felt thrilling in a tempered way, like trying on a beautiful gown I couldn’t afford. Hapa seemed like the identity of lucky mixed-race people far away, people who’d grown up in Hawaii as the norm, without “Chink” taunts, mangled name pronunciations, or questions about what they were.

All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

In early Rome, we were di colore, “of color.” In Japan, we are mostly called hāfu (half) but sometimes we get to be daburu (double). We were half-castes in the U.K. until 2001 (2001!), when the census officially deemed us “mixed.” In South Africa, we are coloured, officially, and unofficial “bushies,” a slang term that comes from the idea that multiracial children are conceived in the bush. In Brazil, where multiraciality is assumed, the options are colorful: cor de canela, cor de rosa, cor de crema, cor de burro quando foge (the color of a donkey as it runs away). In the United States, when it comes to describing — or even acknowledging — people who identify with more than one race or ethnicity, the official track record is spotty.

You Haven’t Seen Everything John Cho Can Do

I was in San Francisco with a buddy of mine, just traveling with me for something, for an event, he was my plus one, and uh, I don’t really smoke weed but he does, and he was like, “Ugh, I didn’t make weed arrangements.” And we were walking in Union Square and I said, “Let’s see if I can get us some weed,” and I just said, “Yo, where my weed at?” like loud, and a joint appeared. I was like weed Merlin. No, weed David Copperfield. I was pretty impressed, I did it twice at different points in the day.

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