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Undercover AsianMultiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture$
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Leilani Nishime

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038075

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038075.001.0001

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The Interracial Family in Battlestar Galactica

(p.63) Chapter 4 Aliens
Undercover Asian

Leilani Nishime

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the visual exclusion of multiracial Asians. It also looks at television and film's overt use of multiracial tropes to signal utopic/dystopic futures. The science-fiction television series Battlestar Galactica follows the logic of post-race, wherein racial differences are acknowledged but then ignored. The show's narrative hinges upon the survival of a child, Hera, the bi-species and multiracial child of the cyborg Athena (Korean American actress Grace Park) and the human Helo (Euro-American actor Tahmoh Penikett). Hera's representation resonates with images of the multiracial children of servicemen from the Korean War and Vietnam War, images that tie Asian adoption to concerns about the role of the United States as global citizens and global police. Yet as the story continues, attention moves from the adoptive child to the interracial relationship of her parents. This movement mimics similar shifts in the ways the United States imagines itself in relation to Asia, and how it rewrites its neocolonialism through the celebration of gender-normative heterosexual romance. Hera's role in the series requires her to be symbolically present but physically absent to give coherence to a story that evolves from one of conflict and colonialism to a tale of highly gendered immigration and assimilation.

Keywords:   racial differences, multiracial representation, visual exclusion, Asian adoption, interracial relationship, neocolonialism, multiracial Asians

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