Top Hapa Stories of 2012


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It’s Year in Review time! Usually these kind of stories recap the top news of the year. There have been a lot of milestones for Asians this year, from Jeremy Lin to Psy. But there have also been a lot of headlines that you might have missed.  It’s been a very busy year for me with a lot of writing and traveling, so my version of it is going to touch on the stories that I didn’t have a chance to cover, but found interesting to Hapas or people in mixed-race families or relationships. There are some doozies in here, so pull up a chair and read on!


Top Hapa News Stories

The Talk: Nonblack Version: In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and the many articles about “the talk” that black parents must have with their teenage sons, Taki’s Magazine writer John Derbyshire shocked readers with his white version of the man-t0-man. His essay (or list of bulletpoints, really) gives many yikes, ie: advice to avoid large groups of black people and generally horrible generalizations and dissections of the intelligence What I found most interesting was that he mentions that his children are European and Asian in descent, but that they will be perceived as “white” — at least by blacks. He even closes by writing “if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk.”

Really? Black people will consider your Hapa kids to be white? Or John Derbyshire considers his Hapa kids to be white? Hmm…


Jenny An Refuses to Date an Asian Man In August, Jenny An wrote an intentionally provocative essay for xoJane called “I’m an Asian Woman and I Refuse to Ever Date an Asian Man” which quickly lit up the Asian American inter webs , prompting her to write a follow-up piece to clarify that her original piece was written in character as a way to own her internalized racism. Then Clarissa Wei wrote a follow-follow-up about why Asian boyfriends are superior, and then in the way that the Internet pokes fun at itself, Hyphen Magazine ran a humorous piece “I’m an Asian Male and I Refuse to Date Myself”.


Dear Prudence Letter Writer Wants All White Children  An anonymous letter writer asks Slate’s Dear Prudence if it’s bad that he wants a white surrogate mother for his children, even though his (infertile) wife is Asian. He writes:

Her race isn’t a problem for me and I would have had no difficulty raising mixed race children, but frankly, now that I have the choice, I’d prefer my kids to be white. We live in a fairly homogeneously white area and at the end of the day I want my kids to look like me, their cousins, and the kids they’ll go to school with. I don’t think my wife has ever experienced racism, but I think she might understand my point of view.

Good thing Prudie gives him a tongue lashing, asking if he’s trying to increase the white population to help the GOP and congratulating him for being so generous that he doesn’t have a “problem” with marrying an Asian woman. Are these letters even from real people? I hope they are only made up to give their columnists some fodder.


TV shows with interracial plot lines: TBS debuted a Sullivan &  Son set in a Irish-Korean family bar, owned by… and Irish-Korean family. I haven’t seen it, but Mike Hale says Sullivan & Son is so-so in his review for the New York Times. But the show is apparently funny enough to get picked up for a second season, so we can find out. Also, there’s a couple of network pilots in the works featuring Asian mixed-race plotlines. Diane Farr is working on a pilot  for NBC based on her memoir, Kissing Outside the Lines about her relationship with her Korean American husband. And get this– there may be a third TV show with a Hapa theme. I read this recently in Glamour magazine while getting my holiday pedicure and thought I’d remember the details — but of course, I don’t. Anyway, I seem to recall that it’s a based on a Irish-Vietnamese woman’s experiences of moving home with her parents in her twenties. Let me know if you hear anything about it. It’s been about ten years since prime-time network TV has seen an Asian (much less a Hapa!) show, so I’ll be tuning in to see how they are.




Update 12/28/12: Found a copy of Glamour magazine while taking my boys to get their hair cut. The other sitcom is called Borington and will be on ABC, and the writer is Eirene Donohue. Living at home with your Irish dad and Vietnamese mom? Can’t wait to see it!

What headlines caught your attention this year? Let’s talk!








  1. says

    I was meaning to catch that NBC Sullivan and Son show! I can’t wait to see if the other 2 pan-out (I haven’t heard anything on the latter). Did you see the clip of Ryan Lochte’s sister on a talk show describing her experience in China for the Olympics. She said the Chinese are “all chinked out”. Infuriating!

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