Before moving to the United States, racial identity was simple for Salwa Hoque. She knew who she was: a woman, a Muslim, a Bengali. But that’s not who she is anymore. Moving to Seattle  has forced her to adapt in many ways, change some of her old beliefs. While some of her old friends from home can’t believe how different she is, she refuses to give up some of her old self.

DSC_0721You get a sense of her clashing identities the minute you walk into her apartment. You see one pair of her traditional sandals, flanked by a pair of TOMS on one side, and a pair of boots on the other.

DSC_0693She cooks stuffed chicken, but insists on using traditional spices she brought from Bangladesh, because “the food here is just too bland.”

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South Seattle, 98118: Everyday Diversity

Fou Lee Market and Deli; my parents and grandparents have been buying groceries for foreign dishes here for years!

Fou Lee Market and Deli; my parents and grandparents have been buying groceries for foreign dishes here for years!

Seattle's Filipino Influence Top: The Filipino Community Center aka the Filipino after party spot (I'm probably going to have my wedding reception here). Bottom: A Bridge named after Filipino Nationalist Jose Rizal.

Seattle’s Filipino Influence
Top: The Filipino Community Center aka the Filipino after party spot (I’m probably going to have my wedding reception here).
Bottom: A Bridge named after Filipino Nationalist Jose Rizal.

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Interview with Gina Osterloh

After visiting the “War Baby Love Child” exhibit of mixed race Asian American art at the Wing Luke Museum, we interviewed several of the artists.

This first podcast is an interview with Gina Osterloh. Keep checking back for more interviews.


Rapture (Somewhere Tropical)
light jet (digital c-print)
36″ x 40″ inches
courtesy of the artist, François Ghebaly, & Silverlens Galleries

Edited by Shu-Ning Liu

White Privilege and Racism are Alive in Asia

    “I find it weird to be discriminated against for being Asian, while I’m in Asia,” Lee said. Recently, Mike Lee got rejected when he applied to be an English instructor in China while Will Evans, a Canadian, got this job. The only reason for Lee’s job rejection turned out to be Lee looks too Asian.

english teaching

©All rights reserved by InterExchange USA

   It is not a secret that recruiters in China evaluate candidates for English instructors only based on their skin color. They don’t care about your English fluency or academic credentials as long as you are white enough because Asian parents believe white people can speak better English. Still can’t find a job in America? Being white can definitely get you a job in China. This news reveals a fact that white privilege and racism are alive outside the U.S., even in Asia.

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Filipino Community of Seattle Reacts to Typhoon Haiyan with Prayers and Donations

By Christopher Duclos

In early November of 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated a large portion of the Philippines. Haiyan was the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall, killing at least 5,598 people and displacing thousands more. The Filipino youth and community of Seattle was nothing short of proactive in providing the relief supplies and funds necessary. With all hope, prayer and donations received, the Philippines and it’s people that were affected by the storm hope to bounce back from this disaster.

The storm was formed on November 3rd, 2013 and moved it’s way across central-southern Philippines until November 11th, 2013.


A Seattle-based Filipino youth organization “Anak-Bayan” (translation: Child Nation or Nation of Children) focused all its efforts on relief for those affected by the typhoon. Throughout the many events that Anak-Bayan staged, this banner that read “Give Love Send Relief” was used. The banner became a staple prop in recognizing the organization’s relief efforts.


Father Mark Galang of the Beacon United Methodist Church presided over a congregation of Filipinos at a night service held for the victims of the storm. The night time mass was held on Tuesday, November 19th, a week after the storm dissipated. The service was held on a Tuesday so that the whole service’s prayers can be directed towards the disaster itself.

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Throwing Shade: A Battle for More Colors At Macy’s

Foundation ShadesFoundation at the Shiseido department of Macy’s sheds light on the color battle. Fair shades like “Ivory 12” and “Creamy Beige 06” are put on front display, with deeper tones towards the back.

Lisa looking for Makeup

Lisa Brown, 47, is shown searching for her correct foundation match. She explains, “I always have problems finding a tone that matches my skin. I don’t understand why they don’t make colors for us!” Continue reading

This isn’t an Afro!: On being brown, German, and American

My mom is white and my dad is black. My father was in the Army and my mother is native German.

When I was six I went to a kindergarten nestled in the foothills of a German village. I don’t have many memories of being a six years old. I remember my parent’s apartment, a little old lady who didn’t like me because I destroyed her bushes, and that I only spoke German, but I fully understood my Dad’s English.

Every winter in Germany, little kids dress up and reenact that story about the Three Kings who follow the North Star. One of those kings is African, so usually a little white German kid is painted brown in the face. I was chosen to be one of the three kings.  Guess which one I was? They saved on face paint that year.

My kindergarten mates always teased me for being brown. When I complained to my mother, she told me to tell them that they were “Weiss wie Kase” (white as cheese). They continued to tease me and my curly hair. I told my parents that I wished that I looked more like my mom and not like my Dad.


me and my white baby doll

I grew up in Germany for the majority of my life. I was always surrounded by white women and men. My cousins were white and blond. You could easily get a brush though their hair without it getting caught. There were very few people that were not white, and if they weren’t white they were Turkish, Greek or Italian. But they were never as brown as me. When I would play “Spice Girls” with my friends they would always force me to be Scary Spice. I’m sure that in Germany there was a lack of brown dolls even available. I mean there weren’t even any brown people in my cartoons, but I’m also certain that I would have picked the white doll regardless because that’s what I taught was pretty and normal.  Even in pretend, I couldn’t escape my “otherness.” Continue reading

Growing Pains: Pocahontas and Racial Ambiguity

In looking through the abyss of my old Facebook albums recently, I stumbled upon a picture that made me cringe: myself on Halloween during my first year at the University of Washington.


Now, it wasn’t the awkward facial expression I made that had me wincing (why would a person think sticking out their tongue would make them look cute?), but instead was the costume I wore: In the grainy, dimly lit photo, I stood in a tan, fringed dress; a brown leather belt around my waist; painted below my left eye was a single red stripe; my hair in two braids with a woven headband along my forehead and a single feather tucked behind my head.

I was dressed up as my interpretation of Pocahontas.

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