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UPDATE 12/22/09:

CNN has posted a new article and video on Lou Jing, “TV Talent Show Exposes China’s Race Issue”:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/12/21/china.race/index.html

UPDATE 11/17/09 to original post on 10/1/09:

A newer article appeared in an Australian newspaper with an updated interview with Lou Jing. She says,ย  that she “was shocked by the thousands of web postings that followed, most of them negative and many of them expressing racist views.

“I couldn’t help crying. I felt hurt. I never meant to offend anyone,” she said.”

Read the full article here:

“Oriental Angel” triggers China race row

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Sharon found this fascinating article about a mixed race contestant in an American Idol-esque TV show in Shanghai. Besides being mixed race, the catch is that the contestant, Lou Jing, was not mixed with white, but mixed with brown. Here’s some excerpts from the TIME article. -JCD

Lou Jing

Lou Jing

Can a Mixed-Race Contestant Become a Chinese Idol?

…But there is one thing that distinguishes this 20-year-old from her peers, something that has made her the unwitting focus of an intense public debate about what exactly it means to be Chinese: the color of her skin. Born to a Chinese mother and an African-American father whom she has never met, the theater student rocketed into the public consciousness last month when she took part in an American Idol-esque TV show, Go! Oriental Angel.

The marketing gurus for the series could hardly have dreamed of a better promotional gimmick when they started to investigate the backgrounds of the dozens of pop-star wannabes to root out the competitors’ mushy stories of triumph over adversity that are a well-worn staple of the genre. Here was a tale guaranteed to attract eyeballs: a girl of mixed race, brought up by a single Chinese mother, struggling to gain acceptance in a deeply conservative, some would say racist, society.

The strategy worked โ€” perhaps too well. In August, Lou’s appearance on the show not only boosted viewer numbers but also sparked an intense nationwide debate about the essential meaning of being Chinese. Over the past month on Internet chat rooms, where modern China’s sensitive issues are thrashed out by netizens long before they reach the heavily censored mainstream media, Lou’s ethnicity has been the subject of a relentless barrage of criticism, some of it crudely racist. Many think she should not have been allowed to compete on a Chinese show, or at least not selected to represent Shanghai in the national competition. She doesn’t have fair skin, which is one of the most important factors for Chinese beauty. What’s more, her mother and her biological father were never married; morally, the argument goes, this kind of behavior shouldn’t be publicized, so she shouldn’t have been put on TV as a young “idol.”

…As for Lou, she found the whole experience more than a little disturbing. She did well in the show, ranking in the top 30 contestants before she was eliminated. Now she’s back to her normal life as a college junior โ€” with a little new insight into her home. “Through this competition, it’s really scary to find out how the color of my skin can cause such a big controversy.”

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Loving Day Flagship Celebration in NYC

Loving Day Flagship Celebration in NYC

Loving Day celebrates the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the historic Supreme Court decision that struck down laws against interracial marriages. Loving Day fights racial prejudice through education and builds multicultural community. With events throughout the U.S. and internationally, including a flagship celebration in New York City, find an event near you or host your own!

Mildred and Richard Loving (Associated Press)

Mildred and Richard Loving (Associated Press)

Richard and Mildred Loving of Central Point, Virginia, married in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s and according to Virginia state laws at the time, were living “illegally” as an interracial couple. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court and on June 12, 1967, interracial marriages were no longer illegal in states ranging from Delaware to Texas. While the fight for equality continues along many different social lines, what a long way we have come in 42 years! It’s compelling to see how constructions of the American family continue to evolve.

To learn more about the Lovings and Loving v. Virginia, visit:

US Supreme Court media on the decision

http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1966/1966_395

Loving Day educational resources

http://www.lovingday.org/learn

Marian Wright Edelman: Remembering Mildred Loving

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/remembering-mildred-lovin_b_107292.html

090528-multiracial-hmed2p.300wWell itโ€™s official! ๐Ÿ™‚ Multiracial Americans are percentage-wise, the fastest growing group in the U.S. See the MSNBC article.

There are a couple of points that stuck out to me:

The article cites that the number of multiracial Americans rose last year to about 5.2 million. The 2000 Census stated that there were 6.8 million multiracial Americans. What is this discrepancy?

Aside from numbers, though, are the political implications. This statement was a red flag for more debate:

“The significance of race as we know it in today’s legal and government categories will be obsolete in less than 20 years,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution. “The rise of mixed-race voters will dilute the racial identity politics that have become prevalent in past elections,” he said.

Talking about mixed race people diluting something hearkens back to old-fashioned notions of mixed race diluting โ€œpureโ€ races. But more importantly, does Frey think that mixed-race voters are apolitical? Or that mixed-race voters donโ€™t have involvement in racial identity politics? And can race as a construction become obsolete in 20 years? -JCD

President-elect Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama

Going to the inauguration? If so, want to blog for us? Send your stories and/or photos to info@anomalythefilm.com. Reflect on the first (fill-in-the-blank) American president, Barack Obama. We look forward to hearing about your experiences in D.C.!

*TAKE OUR NEW INTERACTIVE SURVEY*

Regardless of where you’ll be on Tuesday, you can take our interactive poll on race relations in 2010! Will it be better? Worse? About the same?

You can vote as often as you like! Results will appear in real-time. Invite your friends to participate, too!ย -JCD

Yes, our President Elect has a sense of humor when it comes to race!

I had to start laughing out loud when I heard Obama’s first press conference post-election and his response to a reporter’s question about some of the details of the soon-to-be “First Family” — where were his daughters going to go to school, what kind of dog were they going to get, etc.

a puppy of unidentified heritage

a puppy of unidentified heritage

Because Malia, 10, has allergies, the family wants a low-allergy dog. But Obama said they also want to adopt a puppy from an animal shelter.

”Obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me,” he said with a smile. ”So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”

Some times when I hear people throwing around the terms “mutts” and “mongrels” for people of mixed race, I have to cringe. But in the context of a presidential press conference, and Obama’s offhandedness, his use of “mutt” was truly hilarious! Plus the fact that he was talking about a shelter dog and not some overpriced “purebred” dog from a puppy mill. ๐Ÿ™‚

girl and pony

girl and pony

P.S. If allergies are a concern, how about a “First Pony” for Malia and Sasha? Every little girl wants a pony! ๐Ÿ˜‰ -JCD

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