unfair and lovely

Unfair-and-Lovely

Photo series, “Unfair and Lovely” was created by Pax Jones.

When your work is on colorism and skin color hierarchy, it’s always a treat when you find gems like this – especially when it comes from the people in your world. Recently, several people sent and/or tagged me in this (and other related stories) story on Facebook. What started as a photo series evolved into a hashtag campaign, #unfairandlovely. I highly recommend that you check out your social media outlets and contribute (respectfully) to the conversation.

While most of the current photos under #unfairandlovely feature South Asian women, I do hope to see people from other racial and ethnic backgrounds represent what it is to be #unfairandlovely. In particular, I am curious to see how #unfairandlovely is represented in the LGBTQ community. Though social media has its limits, I also see its potential to inspire conversation (which will hopefully lead to action) about these issues.

Kudos to you, Pax Jones, for creating art that makes a difference!

Maramang Salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Tempe, AZ

a hapa bachelorette

caila

Note: Photo found here.

Many thanks to Akemi Johnson for chatting with me for her NPR story, What Would It Mean to Have a Hapa Bachelorette. It’s always a pleasure to speak to writers about current events, especially as it relates to my own research. As an academic, feeling like you’re an imposter, or that your research is irrelevant, is a daily insecurity. However, talking to other people who inspire and push you to connect your research to the ideas they’re working on really helps solidify your own work. For that, I am grateful. Hope you enjoy the story!

Maraming salamat!

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

Light and Shadows

uganda

Many thanks to my dear friend Margaret for sharing this article with me. (The image is from the article.) Sadly, skin bleaching/skin lightening/skin whitening is something that is common all over the world (yes, even Asia). Photographer Anne Ackermann has a series that looks at women and skin bleaching in Uganda. The article points out that there is an idealized type of dark skin – one that is caramel colored. It is this idealized shade that these women aspire to have when they get bleaching treatments. This logic is a new twist on an old idea: that lighter is better. The words are just different now. Instead of expressing desired whiteness, many people (mostly women) express a desired lightness. In my research, I illustrate that many point to this distinction to avoid accusations of racism and self-hatred.  Though the words are different, at the heart of it all, it means the same thing. Wanting to be a lighter shade of you is the new (yet still old) colorism.

Maraming salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

MLK

To listen to the entire speech and read about the recovery of this speech, go here. It’s important to listen in its entirety because I don’t like the idea of fragmenting someone’s ideas for the sake of a soundbite. Frankly, I find it disrespectful to do so. Otherwise, you run into this mistake (I agree with the Michael Eric Dyson here. When we reduce Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to a single set of lines, we lose the entire message completely.)

I have bittersweet feelings about today. Right now, I am in the state the was one of the last to recognize this holiday. 2016 barely started and I cannot help but reflect on the injustices that continue to haunt and affect people of color. I don’t have the words to express the anger, frustration, and disappointment. For now, I’m listening to this recovered speech.  If MLK could remain optimistic, then I’m hoping some of that will speak to me. Today.

Maraming Salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

shut it

Over the weekend, a mistake was made. A woman was mistakenly crowned Miss Universe. Profuse apologies followed. Eventually, Miss Philippines won the Miss Universe title. Social media continues to buzz. End story.

Dear People of the World: Feel free to talk about these series of events all you like. Before you do, I kindly as you to do the following things:

1) Note the correct spelling of the current title holder’s country: Philippines.

2) Note the correct way to address people from said country: Filipino or Pilipino (not Philippino, Philippians or any other variation of that).

3) Confused or bothered about the title holder’s last name and/or mixed race identity? Please read up on the colonial history of the Philippines. It may take a while, but at least you’ll be informed.

4) Keep your racist comments to yourself. No one likes reading uninformed bullshit.

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Fremont, CA