Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

MY BOOK: Update! – ENTIRE PROOF going through!

Mama, Dad, myself, above and below bombs.

My BOOK is, for the FIRST TIME in six years of being in the works with the publisher, is ON TRACK!  

For the first time, the ENTIRE manuscript has been proofed and is being reviewed for final edits and placement of photos.  This has never happened!  So it is going to be ready by next fall!

The many photos need to be placed throughout the book in the right places, the captions need to be cleaned up, and then the Index needs to be done.

While this is going on, those doing extra chapters such as the Introduction, will be able to read the manuscript and write their pieces for the Front Matter.

So it feels GOOD to finally be in the “BOOK IS HAPPENING” stage, and no longer in the start-and-stop phase.

 

“Babysan” by Bill Hume; and Japan Society Review by Kim Brandt

babysan-cover

 

One of the most interesting and revealing pieces of art and history, as well as what I think to be among the most “valuable” from the U.S.-Allied Occupation of Japan, is Bill Hume’s cartoon book: Babysan: A Private Look at the Japanese Occupation.

A great review of this book can be found at the Japan Society, written by Kim Brandt:

http://aboutjapan.japansociety.org/learning-from-babysan

This book gives a great glimpse into how American soldiers viewed their stay in Japan, as Occupiers, as boys who have left home, as military personnel, who were largely becoming intimate with a “Japan” through their relationships with their own ideas about “Oriental” women and Japanese women themselves. In my own work, I focus much on the more intense violent interactions in order to make points related to uneven relations, nation-building, and the tactics and thinking that create the will, desire, and the unspoken aspects of military occupation and empire-building in our world, whether past or present, and most likely the same building blocks that will be re-created in structural procedures and people’s minds in the future. Babysan looks at these these things in the intimate everyday, through their loneliness, need for affection and sex, and their position as conquerors, as male.

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Human Zoos: Subconscious Global Color Lines

African mother and child in the African exhibit in Paris.
African mother and child in the African exhibit in Paris.

 

One of the strongest global collective memories, still operating in our world today as “the global color line between white and other,” is the Human Zoo.

These “zoos” were planned and constructed to exhibit “aborigines,” native “tribal” peoples, and “indigenous” darker-skinned peoples from around the world, for white and white wanna-be people to be amused and entertained and “discovered” by. Often, they were just added exhibits to existing animal zoos.

From the Asia-Pacific and Pacific Islands, African, European and American continents, the white formation of a “world” was being formed via the consolidating of global mapping and human social ordering through race science (white at the top) and the self-structures of modernity (future-oriented and primitivity connected to the past, ecology and less rational), through which the assumptions of superiority and inferiority are silently or overtly proven.  From Burun and Atayal people of Formosa (Taiwan), Igorot and Aeta from the Philippines, Native American tribes including Inuit and Sioux from North America,The Sami of Finland, Egyptian and Congo tribal peoples, and many others, were exhibited.

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Black, Yellow, White in Japan and Asia

JPN - Black Sambo - Ufu and Mufu - Robert Moorehead
Black Sambo characters: Ufu and Mufu, popular in Japan – photo by Robert Moorehead

 

My need to think about Blackness in Asia goes far beyond the fact of my father being an African-American soldier stationed in Japan during the Korean War. It goes beyond anti-Black attitudes among Asians that I have experienced, and the anti-Asian attitude I have experienced among African-Americans today. I knew that a superficial and very American notion of anti-black racism in the United States would not do to understand my own place in history and the languages I would use to uncover and do my part to undo its power in the world.

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Controlling Amerasian Body-Minds: The American and French-Fathered Mixed-Race Children in Japan, Korea and Vietnam

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Photo of Vietnamese Amerasians by Linda Davidson/Washington Post

 

 

For infants and children born to local mothers in Japan and Korea, fathered by U.S. military and civilian personnel during the U.S. occupation of these countries, their lives were not in their own or their mothers’ control. During U.S. occupations in Asia and the Pacific which began earlier—Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and the Solomon Islands—the same issues became prevalent, real, a struggle, continuing today.  It continues today because these places are still “occupied.” And then in the latest full-out colonial Cold War played out in Southeast Asia, the same for the children and their mothers. But let us not forget that before the U.S. arrived in Southeast Asia, the French colonized Indochina. They had state policies on how to control the issue of the Metís, as they were called by the French, which differed from the United Statians.

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Marshall Islands Nuclear Displacements – Al Jazeera Article: Invisible and Ignored Oppressions by the U.S.

FOR USE WITH FEATURE PACKAGE FOR MONDAY, JULY 15--FILE--An advance team of Bikini men board a landing craft to assist U.S. Navy Seabees in building new homes for the islanders on Rongerik. The Bikinians had to evacuate their island before "Operation Crossroads," the U.S. military's nuclear test blasts at Bikini atoll in July, 1946. (AP Photo/file)
An advance team of Bikini men board a landing craft to assist U.S. Navy Seabees in building new homes for the islanders on Rongerik. The Bikinians had to evacuate their island before “Operation Crossroads,” the U.S. military’s nuclear test blasts at Bikini atoll in July, 1946. (AP Photo/file)

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the recipients of United Statian democracy with the Atomic Bombs dropped. Japan, like Korea would later, had almost all major cities destroyed in daily bombings on them in the great second world war. Now it was Hydrogen bombs. How large would the “democratic” United States build their destructive powers?

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In Response to the Americans Protesting the Spanish-American War

Buffalo Soldiers, the 9th & 10th calvaries made of African-American soldiers, pose in the Presidio of San Francisco, ready to go to battle in the Philippines. circa 1900
Buffalo Soldiers, the 9th & 10th calvaries made of African-American soldiers, pose in the Presidio of San Francisco, ready to go to battle in the Philippines. circa 1900

There was large public outrage at the U.S. government and military, by the American public, against the American military presence in the Philippines islands, the Archipelago. By 1900, the Senate had to meet and the pro/con sides had to decide. Senator Albert Beveridge, Republican of Indiana, stood in front of the U.S. Senate to justify the continuance of Manifest Destiny in the Pacific.

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Blackbirding

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‘Black-birding’ is a British term which was used to speak of the 19th century Pacific labor/slave trade for the colonialists.  Australia, France, Britain, Germany and the United States were the main traders. Blackbirding mostly involved kidnapping and trickery (to sign contracts) for laboring in mines and plantations in South America, the U.S., Canadian West Coast, and Australia and their colonies.

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VIDEO: “B-Style” – Blackness in Japan 2009 to the Present – Reflections

black-lifestyle-in-japan 1

When dominant nations unconsciously or consciously speak of, imagine, and create words and images and feel something in regards to an “other”, terms such as: exotic, erotic, jealousy, mystery, fear, violent disgust, attraction, desire, mimicry come up. These are all evoked in Japan and the dominant white nations (US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg).

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