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Organizers of panel discussion on that MFA kimono thing originally planned to exclude whites

Artblog.net covers the latest controversy around that kimono thing at the MFA: The people who organized the original "yellowface" protests organized a panel discussion for this Saturday at MassArt - from which they initially planned to exclude whites, and prevent blacks and Latinos from making any comments - although they would be given note cards on which to jot down questions.

Seems for some reason MassArt frowns on events that exclude people based on their race or ethnic background - maybe it has to do with those pesky federal civil-rights laws state colleges such as MassArt have to comply with - so the organizer was sternly told " to delete the language from her event invitation."

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... would my Afro Asian friend land in this scheme?

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I think they spent as much time parsing all the nuances of these issues as the folks behind this forum.

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They'll call him an Uncle Tom if he disagrees with them.

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How much of Tiger Woods would be able to attend?

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but then would be forcibly silenced if she tried to complete her thought.

Honestly--where does this idiotic line of thinking end? It's embarrassing that young people even get started down this pointless track of "four legs good, two legs bad" thinking.

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So they are Nipponese supremacists along the lines of 1930s-40s imperial Japan. They should be treated no differently than NeoNazis and ignored.

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Given that the original protest organizers were mostly NOT Japanese and given that the exhibit was an idea by somebody in Japan (NHK, the national broadcasting company, I think) and had the support of the Japanese consulate here.

It's a shame, because the protest did raise issues of cultural appropriation and could have been one of those good learning moments, but instead it's turned into a mess.

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I'm pretty sure that none of the original protesters were Japanese. The counter-protesters were mainly Japanese citizens and Japanese-Americans. FWIW.

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... who apparently is Japanese/African-American -- and who seems equally hostile overall to both Japan and the United States. I got no sense that she was an admirer of Japanese culture.

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None of the 5 people who signed their names to their manifesto or gave press interviews is either Japanese or African American.

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... Mona ("Anom") Marmar (just an assumed name -- so no real significance to it at all, actually) is definitely Japanese-American. Not sure if she was a signer of the manifesto or a person giving press interviews, but she was very involved with the protests -- both at the museum itself and online.

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I know her real name (someone doxed her) and I saw her at the MFA. She did not sign the manifesto or do press interviews under her real or assumed names as far as I saw. I read all the protest materials and almost all the press. Where did you get that she was African? She looked Japanese to me. She identified alternately as “Japanese-American” online and “Japanese” on her signs. Didn’t see anything about African heritage.

Really frustrated with all the racial/ethnic policing and assumptions/misinformation around the people who were involved with this controversy (on both sides). I even had a Japanese American woman on Disqus call my JA identity/cred into question because she said I was being “typical Japanese”. I don’t know any Japanese who think I am “typical Japanese.” Sometimes they don’t even think I’m Japanese because I can’t speak well anymore. Okay, technically I’m Japanese-Okinawan-American but that’s a mouthful so I just go with JA since the only thing people know about Okinawa is The Karate Kid and US military bases.

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.... online talked about her horrible life experiences, how her mother had married a black person and had been disowned by all her Japanese relatives, how her father was abusive and how they were not welcomed in America by his family, etc.... I think it was on one of those many anti-kimono threads (or whatever) that existed only briefly and were then scuttled. I didn't take a screen shot, alas. Nothing currently online makes any mention of this.

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Apparently I must have missed all that before it was removed. Never saw it. If her mother married a black man then that man must be her step-father. I saw photos (and LinkedIn page) of the man she says is her actual father and he's a Japanese man from Japan, not black in any way.

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... may have been an ephemeral bit of performance art. It was very distressing reading -- clearly meant to make anyone who thought about questioning her bona fides feel bad. It was only up for a day or so before the place it was posted disappeared. (How many times did they wipe things and start over?)

It is very hard for me to connect that deleted mini-autobiography with the information online regarding her immediately-pre-Boston self.

I feel like I am walking on eggshells when discussing this person (or any other kimono protester) publicly, as I don't really want to say anything that might make it easier for malicious persons to harass her real persona (as opposed to the FB/Twitter one that is unavoidably "public".

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Not surprised to hear that. There were other things she posted that I read that were quite intense.

"(How many times did they wipe things and start over?)"

A lot. It wouldn't surprise me if in some cases individuals chose to self-censor but the moderators of their pages were deleting some (though strangely not all) trolling comments and then they deleted the first FB event page altogether when they set up the DOM pages. I noticed later they also deleted all the content on the DOM organization page (which is still up) at some point though I think most of the content on the event page still remains. I have been surprised they haven't deleted it yet. They also didn't include a pointer from their original SAYF Tumblr to the new DOM Tumblr so a lot of people thought that it had been deleted. But as far as I could tell most of the posts seem to be have been preserved on the new Tumblr.

As far as I know some of the DOM organizers have had nothing to do with the organizing this panel. The person I've been dealing with was a protester, not an organizer though I think 2 of the original 5 organizers has been involved. I've tried to avoid talking too much about the individual organizers/protesters in my coverage because I think most of the time it's not that relevant. People have insulted their looks and mental health and questioned their ethnicity, their integrity, and so much more. Most of these ad hominem attacks had no place in the conservation.

For me the primarily relevant biographical facts about the protesters is that I believe less than 1/8th of them had Japanese heritage and none of those folks were in the leadership of the protest. I know some people believe that AAPI are a single group but I really think if you're going to protest a Japanese cultural event (which was their right to do) you should try to center the voices of the Japanese Americans because they should in theory have a better idea of what they're talking about than other AAPI. I remember reading something from someone claiming Camille's kimono is worn by prostitutes which showed that whoever wrote that had no idea what they were talking about it (it's the wrong type of uchikake - scholars know that this one was theatrical). (I'm pretty sure I read that from one of the protesters but I read a lot so it's possible I saw it on another site.) Of course a lot of JAs don't know anything about kimono (I'm one of them) so that wouldn't have guaranteed a more knowledgeable protest but it would have given a much different impression. Just as Kimono Wednesdays would have given a much different impression if they had brought Japanese community people in to assist with the event.

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Terry Satsuki Millhaupt's "Kimono: A Modern History".

Interestingly, the author has a (sad) connection to the MFA. After her (too early) death, a fund was set up at the MFA for the study of kimonos. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/arts/design/at-the-met-honoring-kimono...

The MFA should have mounted a similar exhibition here, in her honor...

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Japanese culture isn't generally very nice to people of mixed ancestries - I believe the word for people who are a mix of Japanese and other things is 'hafu'.

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The term in Japan is hāfu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C4%81fu

Japanese Americans are more likely to use hapa.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapa

I've heard that things in Japan are getting better on this front. I have friends with hapa kids who live in the States but have family in Japan and their kids are accepted.

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The main people behind this are apparently ethnic Asian, but not Japanese.

If there's one thing that unifies Asians, it's the deep love of Japan and its culture, right?

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episode.

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Japanese-Americans are far more numerous and a much stronger cultural force in the Northwest than on the east coast, and have been for nearly a century. Their protest would never have flourished/festered.

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Portlandia.

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Nailed it

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There's nothing as ugly as racism.

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No gaijin need apply

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... not even Japanese-born Japanese are included in the group these culture warriors were willing to allow speak, only "Asian-Americans".

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Wow, that's interesting. Michael, could you point me to anything that says that, or was it verbal? I'm researching this topic/these events. Thanks.

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If you follow the link in the article to artblog.net you'll find the language that was originally in the event description and there's a screenshot. They initially said that "only self-identified AAPI will be privileged to speak" which some people took to mean that Japanese nationals would be barred from speaking (seeing as they're not Asian American), but it was an oversight as I suspected. I spoke with one of the organizers and they were trying to privilege people with Asian heritage, not exclude Japanese. They just hadn't stopped to consider that Japanese nationals living in the US are not Asian American. The updated language just says, "Accordingly, this panel discussion invites Asian-identified folks and people of color to listen to and reflect with one another. Because exclusively Asian spaces rarely exist in mainstream institutions and otherwise, those voices will be prioritized in this discussion."

Below that there's another post saying, "However, we hope to prioritize the voices of people of Asian descent during the discussion."

If you're looking for more info on the controversy, I covered it extensively, beginning here. All of my coverage is linked at the bottom of the post.

http://japaneseamericaninboston.blogspot.com/2015/07/monets-la-japonaise...

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Something that has been true about much of this group's activities this summer...

Keiko's coverage of this issue has been absolutely wonderful. Definitely check it out (if you have not yet already read it).

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They should totally protest that. In a safe space, where nobody can intimidate them with their gaze.

And then they should protest their marginalization.

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I hope that everyone shows up in a kimono.

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Basically, it's the idea that the far-right and far-left aren't all that far apart.

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In a history course about WW II the instructor offered the theory that the Nazis and Soviets were pretty much the same.

Imposing one group's will upon another is as old as humanity. This just happens to be one of the more silly versions. God knows there are plenty of versions which are far more serious.

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Folks, it's OK to laugh.

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