YI NING WONG WRITES– The city of Hong Kong is demonstrating a new and unique show of racial solidarity. October 9 – November 20, 流浪之聲 (The Wandering Voice), an online media platform, and the Sociology department of Hong Kong University are hosting a ‘Blackness Series’ to shed light on what it means to be black, and to debunk some of the negative myths associated with this race.
The ‘Blackness Series’ is an event that features a diverse range of speakers and topics: wars in Africa, gender stereotypes of black women and beauty standards, and relations between China and African nations. The month-long series is part of a larger effort to tell the stories of migrant domestic workers, ethnic minorities, and refugees in the city of Hong Kong who are rarely acknowledged by the dominant Chinese population.
The Wandering Voice’s mission aims to uplift marginalized groups by helping “provide an active voice for those in search of identities and hope.” In addition to hosting race-based discussions and events, it has also produced multimedia content, such as a video about a Filipino domestic worker and fashion designer, Elpie Abel Malicsi. “It [shooting the video] was the moment she trusted me that I knew we were on the right track,” describes Jessie Yang, co-founder of the media group.
Malicsi’s unique design style and creative outfits, using recycled plastic, have garnered considerable media attention, but in light of negative perceptions about non-white or Chinese groups as being society’s outsiders, she was wary to speak up.” The Wandering Voice also includes campaigns to spread awareness of several individuals, celebrated ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.
Malicsi is not alone. There are at least 300,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, yet they are among the most underrepresented of groups—others being refugees and ethnic minorities from Southeast Asian countries such as Nepal, India, and Pakistan, which are often negatively portrayed by the media, often depicting them as criminals.
By encouraging community empowerment and solidarity, Wandering Voice hopes to increase student engagement and to foster trust between majority and minority groups. Surely this series of talks is a step in the right direction. By expanding its reach to universities like the Chinese University of Hong Kong, it will broaden society’s grasp of the need to recognize and honor ethnic minorities.