The Smithsonian is following the Chicago Way with its hire of Konrad Ng, Barack Obama's brother-in-law. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports:
A University of Hawaii cinema professor, who is also President Barack Obama's brother-in-law, is serving as acting director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program this summer.
The UH Manoa Academy for Creative Media said Konrad Ng, an assistant professor and scholar of Asian-American cinema and digital media, is managing the Asian Pacific American Program while the Smithsonian searches for a permanent director.
Assistant Professor Ng is at the junior end of the professorial hierarchy for such a post. But in the race industry such considerations may count for less.
Update: More about Dr. NG here.
Dr. Ng teaches courses in the Critical Studies track of the ACM curriculum. His current research and teaching interests include: the aesthetics, history, philosophy and politics of cinema and digital media; Asian and Asian American/Canadian film and digital media cultures; film festival and film industry culture.
Dr. Ng received his PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in Political Science where his research explored diasporic formations of Chinese cultural identity in narrative and experimental film and video. Dr. Ng has taught several courses on film and digital media at UHM and run workshops on undergraduate Asian Studies film curriculum at the East-West Center (EWC). Prior to joining the ACM, Dr. Ng was the Curator of Film and Video at the Honolulu Academy of Arts where he managed the museum's acclaimed art house film program.
he praises his brother-in-law's speech without mentioning he is Obama's relation and obviously biased.
are Dr. Ng's deep thoughts on Michael Jackson.
Jackson's behavior and appearance was complicated and at times, perplexing and painful, yet there was certainty that his music would endure. The entirety of Michael Jackson's life was a lot to digest for a young mind, so we just danced to his music. My wife and I relished the nostalgia brought on by Jackson's music and experienced feelings of bliss as we watched our daughter bust a move.
When I was a teenager, Jackson was important to me. I appreciated his music, of course, but there was something about the sense of ache and misunderstanding in Jackson's widely discussed and much observed transformation in appearance that provided insights for my own journey with race. The ambiguity that emerged from speculation about Jackson's racial appearance felt familiar: Was Jackson, a Black man, trying to become White? Did he hate his Blackness? Did Jackson really have a skin condition as he had stated on numerous occasions? I found that Jackson's racial liminality resonated with my experience with Asian-ness. For some, Asian-ness in North America has involved a balancing act between cultural fidelity and national belonging. The questions that are often asked can be indelible: What are you? Where do you come from? These questions prompt self-reflection on the meaning of Asian-ness in one's sense of self as well as a consideration of what parts may be considered "non-Asian." When I saw Jackson, particularly during the release of the album Dangerous (1991), he was someone becoming paler, his hair was becoming straighter, and he increasingly wore heavy make-up and eyeliner that gave an almond-like shape to his eyes. As a teenager pressed to answer questions about my racial identity, I felt a sense of Afro-Asian kinship with Jackson. Jackson's untimely death prompts me to consider what he meant to me. I want to treat Jackson as a point of departure for a brief discussion about contemporary work in the aesthetics of racial identity in America.