i read jeff yang’s latest asian pop (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/02/11/apop021111.DTL) and it was about mixed race asians. he brings up a japanese-american beauty pageant which currently requires 50% asian heritage, but may need to change that with more intermarriage by japanese-americans. i see both sides and i’m not sure what’s best.
Multiracial individuals note that mixed identity requires a constant negotiation of insider-outsider status; belonging to both can often mean feeling at home in neither. But for mixed-race individuals with less than half Asian ancestry, actual programmatic boundaries exist to inclusion. Some Asian American cultural and civic activities are restricted to those who have 50 percent Asian heritage or more—for example, San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Queen pageant, which has been a fixture of the Japanese American community in Northern California since 1968.
“Racial eligibility rules were originally put in place because Asian Americans faced discrimination—it was a way for these communities to say, hey, our women are beautiful too,” says Dr. King-O’Riain, whose book “Pure Beauty” explores the history of Japanese American beauty pageants. “But now you have a problem, because on the one hand, there are fewer and fewer Japanese American girls who meet that 50 percent standard, and on the other, the community’s old guard is concerned that throwing open the racial eligibility rules will lead to blond-haired hakujin women becoming Cherry Blossom Queen, and then where would you be? So even though there’s this debate about lowering the racial percentage to 25 percent or getting rid of it entirely, I personally think the people running the pageant will shut it down before they do that.