The Tiger Hunter

Recently, the Huz and I caught the short run of The Tiger Hunter, a film directed by Lena Khan. (For an article about Khan and making The Tiger Hunter, go here. For those of you who don’t already know, I watch a lot of film – especially smaller, independent films. I believe that if you want to see more diversity in Hollywood and popular media, then you have to do your best to support media that reflects those sensibilities. I was struck by her take on an immigrant story set in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The story was inspired by her father’s story, and Khan set out to create a film where the main character is Muslim. That she is one of a small handful of Muslim women filmmakers, makes this film a definite accomplishment. It seems the film’s theater distribution is limited, so please check out their Facebook page for screening information.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that the cast that includes Dani Purdi, Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder, and Karen David, is amazing. The story is very heartening, and serves as a reminder of the optimism one carries and humanizes the hardships that many experience upon immigrating to the U.S. Though we disagree on the film’s ending, the Huz and I were glad to have made our way to San Francisco to watch this. I do wish that it had a broader distribution. If there is a screening near you, please be sure to buy your tickets and check this out!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

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oh, Dove….

Dove racist ad

NB: The image was found here.

The internet went crazy this weekend when Dove (you know, that company behind the real beauty campaign) released a gif that features a Black woman transforming into a white woman (who transforms into a presumably Asian? woman). If course, the social media brigade wasn’t having it, and rightfully so. Since the uproar, the ad has since been removed and Dove has issued an apology. You can read the details here.

Confession: I’m never surprised when something like this happens. When you study and consume media as much as I do, it’s a given that people behind advertising and media making are by and large, white (I mean this in a holistic sense). That, coupled with general ignorance about race in this country leads us to moments like this time and time again. Ads like this are not shocking. They’re old news, used to perpetuate and give permission to everyday racist practices.

Before you start probing me, let me be clear: (1) We do not live in a post-racial society. Race and racism still matter. (2) Until we fully understand and acknowledge the historical legacies of white supremacy which this country was founded on, we cannot even begin to entertain the idea of a post-racial society. (Yeah. You read that right. These legacies include the genocide of indigenous peoples, enslavement of people from Africa, colonial subjugation of basically every person who comes from places the west has colonized… I could go on, but let’s just start there.) (3) Companies can apologize all they want for the faux pas. For anyone who has worked in media, you know that these images are vetted heavily. That the ad would still make it to distribution illustrates my first two points. (4) We live in a world were capitalism reigns. Bad publicity is still publicity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the release of the ad was intentional, just for the hullaballoo of it all. (5) There is no moral code in a capitalist world.

Yeah. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, folks!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

gook

Last night, my husband and I had the pleasure of watching Justin Chon’s latest film, Gook. An independent film that is currently screening in smaller theaters across the country, Gook takes place during the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots. Since 2017 marks the twenty five year anniversary of the riots, Gook is an important, timely film that centers on a young girl, Kamilla, and her friendship with two Korean American brothers, Eli and Daniel.

As an Ethnic Studies scholar, inter-ethnic and inter-racial conversations are very important to me. When the riots happened, I was in high school. The images of the burning buildings, the Korean shop owners protecting their stores with guns, the violence, and looting still burn in my memory. Other than shock and odd fascination, I cannot recall any substantive reactions from my sixteen year-old self. I sort of knew about Korean/Black racial tensions at the time. It would be years until I would be in grad school and re-visit the riots and what they continue to mean to the country’s history of race relations.

This post is not meant to be a film review. Rather, I’d like to simply urge you to watch it at your local theater. Justin Chon does a great job at capturing the relationship between these characters, and how their interactions are reflected in the larger backdrop of the riots and race relations in Los Angeles. (Confession: After seeing Chon’s directorial debut in Man Up, I had serious doubts about Gook. Luckily, reading various reviews helped me overcome those ill feelings.) Simone Baker, the film’s lead, is fantastic as Kamilla. David So, who is most notable for his comedy, also treats us to a commanding and touching performance. For your reference, feel free to peruse the videos below for more on Gook.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

Gook Trailer

Justin Chon Interview on BUILD Series

Justin Chon Interview on Kore Asian Media

Gook Cast Interview

PSA: Shades of Prejudice – Call for Essays

Khanna

Note: This photo was island-style borrowed from Dr. Nikki Khanna’s professional website.

Hello All!
I want to share some exciting news. For those of you who have been looking for materials on colorism and Asian Americans, you have likely run into Is Lighter Better? Skin-Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans. While Paul, the incredible contributors, and I remain proud of the book, it still stands as one of very few books on the topic.

This is why I am so excited to share Dr. Nikki Khanna’s call for essays for her upcoming anthology, Shades of Prejudice. Please see below for the short announcement and appropriate links! (Yes, kindly share with your networks.)

CALL FOR ESSAYS FOR UPCOMING BOOK
Hi, I am looking for Asian American women (including multiracial women with Asian ancestry!) to contribute essays for an upcoming book with NYU Press on “colorism.” Colorism is found in many Asian American communities and is phenomenon whereby light skin is privileged over dark (see link below for more info on submissions).

I am specifically looking for women to share their personal experiences with colorism – how has your skin shade (whether light, dark, or somewhere in-between!) influenced your life? Essays will be reviewed on a rolling basis until October 31st.

PLEASE help me spread the word by sharing this on your site!!!! I would be very grateful for your help! And if you are Asian American and a woman, please consider submitting an essay!

For more information, go here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at nkhanna@uvm.edu

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Millbrae, CA

#losehatenotweight

 

A few weeks ago, the Huz and I had the honor of visiting Virgie Tovar as she did an informal run through of this TedTalk. I’m SO EXCITED to share this talk with you!

There is a lot here that resonates with me. Coming from a family that places a high value on beauty, being fat always meant that I would not fully participate in certain family celebrations (e.g. wedding parties) or that any teasing directed my way was somehow seen as okay because I deserved the scrutiny. A lifetime of paralyzing comments can often lead you to believe (as Virgie points out) that life begins later. If I could do life over again, I would wish that someone gave me the following advice a lot sooner:

You shouldn’t wait one more day, one more pound. The next time that you look in the mirror and you have the impulse to judge the body you see, or you look at another person and you have the impulse to judge their body, remember that childlike sense of wonder. After all, you have nothing to lose but your shame.

– Virgie Tovar

It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I learned that waiting for later is absolutely useless. Kudos, Virgie! Many thanks for your words.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Fremont, CA

Same Family, Different Colors

Tharps

I still have to pick up my copy of Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families by Lori L. Tharps. Years ago, she interviewed me for this project and I was so ecstatic when it came out late last year. Confession: That interview is what inspired me to start this blog. So thank you, Lori!

Yes, I’m slow to get my copy. But I did want you all to know about this fabulous and important book. For those of you who have read it, I’d love to know what you think!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Tempe, AZ

Red & Yellow, Black & Brown

RYBB

Hello Everyone!

I greatly apologize for my negligence with respect to this website. A LOT has happened in 2017 and when I finally have the chance to catch my breath, I’ll update you and let you know all about the craziness of my life, and how that will impact the future of this blog. (It’s good news, I promise!) For now, I want to let you know that my newest book project has just been released! I am very fortunate to have worked with Rudy P. Guevarra and Paul Spickard on Red & Yellow, Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. You can purchase it directly from Rutgers University Press here.  (Pssst. For 30% off, please use discount code: 02AAAA16. Shhh. You didn’t hear that from me.)

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Tempe, AZ