Barry Barfield Rhymes to Challenge Racial Purity

Royal of Asian Rap Worldwide posted a video by spoken word artist Barry Barfield today. My curiosity led me to hit 'play', only to discover that this is one of the few pieces that I've encountered so far that address the issue of biraciality. In this video performance, Barfield talks about his existence of being between the racial categories of "white" and "Asian", the ethnic categories of "American" and "Korean". He struggles to locate a sense of belonging in one community or another but finds that neither group accepts him. Barfield rhymes, "I dream to be not in-between... I mean, can't I just be a person? Man, a student? Someone who lives the moment and tends to like prunes? A baseball lover? A fan of hip hop?" A bit taken aback by the sincerity of Barfield's words, I decided to post this video. Maybe the haunting and lyrical ambivalence created by the sample of "Vaka" by Sigur Ros got to pay serious attention to the words.

The issue of biraciality deserves almost urgent attention within the Asian American AND mainstream U.S. society. I learned from Tomie Hahn's stimulating text Sensational Knowledge that biracialty symoblizes miscegenation. Biraciality embodies the social fear and threat stemmed from the ideology of racial purity. I give Barfield props for speaking up against this unjust social condition.

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