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VOA: Multiracial Asian Americans Often Invisible

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods’s mother is Thai and his father is African American.   Yet Tiger is rarely recognized in the media as Asian American.

 Voice of America talked to LeiLani Nishime, professor at the University of Washington and author of Undercover Asian about how Tiger’s racial identity represents a larger trend.

“There are times where he identifies as African American, some as Asian American – he had made up this term, “Cablinasian,” for a while, that he calls himself,” said Nishime. “I think though, for most of his career, he actually tries not to identify racially at all. His publicity can paint him as something new, something outside of our usual racial categories.”

Nishime says how Tiger’s ethnicity is seen by the media and to a lesser extent, how he treated his own racial identity, is common among many celebrities. She says many see multiracial Americans as the race of the future and don’t see a need to talk about race, that issues surrounding race will take care of itself.

” I don’t think that’s true – I think recognizing how long mixed race people have been with us, and how enduring the racial groupings have been despite of all this mixing, can give us a way to have a more robust conversation.”
You can hear how Nishime feels the scandal that surrounded Tiger Woods unraveled his whole public persona, including his racial identity, in the audio clip below.


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