@thebananafrappe and her bitty Casanova because her writing, both the Banana Parlor on here and her writing on Ao3, had a huge part in inspiring me to start writing again after 6 years of being disheartened. Keep being you, you beautiful soul.
Sakura drew up the bottom of her face scarf and narrowed her eyes over the edge. “That’s because they don’t. This one’s been damaged and parts have been replaced with subpar metal works.”
Kain didn’t draw up her face scarf but let it flap under her chin, unbothered by the grains of granting sand that occasionally would fly her way. It was windy in the Country of Wind, but not that windy. “He must have been terrible if someone chose to patch him up like that instead of take him to an Industry facility.”
Sakura looked over at her friends with tired eyes. “Don’t joke.”
Karin scratched at the corner of her skin. “They have to have something here they could use.”
“Not since their open rebellion against the Country of Fire. Here’s a bite of history for you if integrating is truly something you want, when our enemies tried to bring us down we made sure they couldn’t stand up again. In retaliation my father’s units raised the lands and destroyed all advanced technologies. It’s taken them years to scrape together this much.”
“I thought your teammate and the new Wind Leader are friends. Isn’t Naruto gonna do something about this then?”
Sakura didn’t answer right away. They were standing across the street in the market while the rest of the world flowed around them like fish in a current. She was still staring at the red haired synthetic unit with the one bad arm made out of metal and rust that likely wasn’t even connected to any rural circuitry. From the elbow down it was an ugly sight that reminded her a little too well of her own war scars.
The androids face found her and didn’t look away. Parts of him were ugly and rusted, but he had the face of an angel.
She was crossing the street before she knew what she was doing. The seller wrapped up in ugly tan rags smiled through the folds to see her approach and jumped in front of his unit to snag her attention. “Only the finest for exotic beauties such as yourself, pretty lady. Behold the sweet spices of a desert land.” He then went off of a rave about the different spices that would cure her love life, bring her fertility, stimulate her acuity, heal a sore throat, and keep her young. Suna was nothing if not sexist at its core.
The redhead watched her without blinking the entire time Either he lacked the emotional intelligence that synthetics were famous for, or he knew he was being unsettling and didn’t care. It was hard to place his year or model, since he seemed so customized.
Karin’s voice broke into Sakura’s senses and she turned to see her friend working the seller with her usual routine. When bartering, Karin didn’t bother to try and hide the fact that she had money, but complimented it with a disdain that managed to middle prices down to suit her needs.
“Is there truly something here you might need?” Sakura sighed, walking over to stand behind Karin’s shoulder and look out to the market road.
“I’m looking, such,” Karin playfully hissed, smacking her friend lightly. Sakura let her. It was all part of the act. After a few minutes of haggling Karin managed to get a price she liked for the tea spices that was a deal to both parties.
The man was scooping the dried spices into a silk bag for her when he looked to Sakura and asked, “And what does your heart desire?”
Sakura was about to tell him goodbye or maybe just walk away, but the glint of light on gold metal made her stop. “I want that AMD chip around your neck.”
She had said it so casually he didn’t miss a beat tying up the silk bag, but once the words registered his hands stopped. Slowly, greedy little eyes looked up to her and she knew he was willing to sell.
“Oh, that will cost you.”
“I’m sure it will, but you’re over pricing the hunk of junk if he’s already missing visible parts. Do you even know his make and model?”
“He’s pre war, but not by much. He was part of the last line we ever put out, the most advanced!”
Sakura studied the synthetic carefully, tilting her head to one side and playing up her inspection. She let her eyes run over his form and then trail away as if she had seen all of him and found herself wanting. “That may be the case, but that was an entire generation ago. We’ve made leaps and bounds in technology since then. What was his designation?”
“He was a custom model.”
Karin snickered behind Sakura. “With a face like that he was probably a love model.”
Sakura wanted to roll her eyes. He had a pretty face, but he was way too stern and unnerving for such sensitive work.
“You don’t have a certificate of imprint?” Sakura asked, glancing to the chip on a chain around the man’s neck.
“Don’t need one. He needs this and it’s just as good if you’ve got it on you.” The old man grinned wide. “So, what’s he worth to you.”
“Probably not what you want or him considering the models we can get back in our country.”
Karin huffed, “You mean the models you can get. Some of us still don’t pass the bar exam yet.”
Owning synthetics in the Land of Fire was rare due to the fact that only specific, qualified individuals could keep them. Sakura was highly qualified in her position so close to the Hokage, but she had never taken one for herself. Last she checked, she qualified for a total of four units, but that was many months ago. It might have gone up again.
“He’s not built with the silly safeguards you’re so insistent on. He’s from the golden age in the golden country,” the man went on. “He’s worth 1,000,000 ryō to me.”
“I’m sure he is, but that’s what we get paid for S Class missions and you must think too highly of me for that. I’ll do…sixty for him.”
“You insult me.”
It begun and between the two of them the back and forth banter last a total of fifteen minutes with plenty of pro and cons being thrown out all while the unit sat, without speaking or moving. Finally Sakura got him down to 85 and that was only after she pulled out that much money and showed it to him. That was a lot of money to be carrying around in Suna and it might have made him think her foolish for it, if not for the fact that she equated his price with an S Class Mission. That factoid had flavored the tone of negotiations favorably for her.
He took the money greedily and handed over the card. “Have fun.”
Sakura held onto the chip and looked up at the unit. He still didn’t blink. “What’s your name?” she asked.
It was a heartbeat later before he answered. “Sasori of the Red Sand.”
“Sasori, it’s nice to meet you. Will you come with me now?”
We’ve become a country where race is no longer so black or white.
By Lise Funderburg
Photograph by Martin Schoeller
What is it about the faces on these pages that we find so intriguing? Is it simply that their features disrupt our expectations, that we’re not used to seeing those eyes with that hair, that nose above those lips? Our responses can range from the armchair anthropologist’s benign desire to unravel ancestries and find common ground to active revulsion at group boundaries being violated or, in the language of racist days past, “watered down.”
Out in the world, the more curious (or less polite) among us might approach, asking, “Where are you from?” or “What are you?” We look and wonder because what we see—and our curiosity—speaks volumes about our country’s past, its present, and the promise and peril of its future.
The U.S. Census Bureau has collected detailed data on multiracial people only since 2000, when it first allowed respondents to check off more than one race, and 6.8 million people chose to do so. Ten years later that number jumped by 32 percent, making it one of the fastest growing categories. The multiple-race option has been lauded as progress by individuals frustrated by the limitations of the racial categories established in the late 18th century by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who divided humans into five “natural varieties” of red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Although the multiple-race option is still rooted in that taxonomy, it introduces the factor of self-determination. It’s a step toward fixing a categorization system that, paradoxically, is both erroneous (since geneticists have demonstrated that race is biologically not a reality) and essential (since living with race and racism is). The tracking of race is used both to enforce antidiscrimination laws and to identify health issues specific to certain populations.
The Census Bureau is aware that its racial categories are flawed instruments, disavowing any intention “to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.” And indeed, for most multiple-race Americans, including the people pictured here, identity is a highly nuanced concept, influenced by politics, religion, history, and geography, as well as by how the person believes the answer will be used. “I just say I’m brown,” McKenzi McPherson, 9, says. “And I think, Why do you want to know?” Maximillian Sugiura, 29, says he responds with whatever ethnicity provides a situational advantage. Loyalties figure in too, especially when one’s heritage doesn’t show up in phenotypical facial features, hair, or skin. Yudah Holman, 29, self-identifies as half Thai and half black, but marks Asian on forms and always puts Thai first, “because my mother raised me, so I’m really proud of being Thai.”
Sandra Williams, 46, grew up at a time when the nation still turned on a black-white axis. The 1960 census depicted a country that was still 99 percent black or white, and when Williams was born six years later to parents of mixed black and white ancestry, 17 states still had laws against interracial marriage. In Williams’s western Virginia hometown, there was only one Asian child in her school. To link her own fair skin and hair to her white ancestry, Williams says, would have been seen by blacks as a rejection. And so, though she views race as a social construction, she checks black on the census. “It’s what my parents checked,” she says.
In today’s presumably more accepting world, people with complex cultural and racial origins become more fluid and playful with what they call themselves. On playgrounds and college campuses, you’ll find such homespun terms as Blackanese, Filatino, Chicanese, and Korgentinian. When Joshua Ahsoak, 34, attended college, his heritage of Inupiat (Eskimo) and midwestern Jewish earned him the moniker Juskimo, a term he still uses to describe himself (a practicing Jew who breaks kosher dietary laws not for bacon but for walrus and seal meat).
Tracey Williams Bautista says her seven-year-old son, Yoel Chac Bautista, identifies himself as black when he’s with her, his African-American parent. When he’s with his father, he’ll say Mexican. “We call him a Blaxican,” she jokes, and says she and her husband are raising him in a home where Martin Luther King, Jr., is displayed next to Frida Kahlo. Black relatives warn Williams about the persistence of the one-drop rule, the long-standing practice of seeing anyone with a trace of black “blood” as black. “They say, ‘He may be half, but he’s still the N word.’”
Certainly, race still matters in this country, despite claims that the election of Barack Obama heralded a post-racial world. We may be a pluralist nation by 2060, when the Census Bureau predicts that non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority. But head counts don’t guarantee opportunity or wipe out the legacy of Japanese-American internment camps or Jim Crow laws. Whites, on average, have twice the income and six times the wealth of blacks and Hispanics, and young black men are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. Racial bias still figures into incarceration rates, health outcomes, and national news: A recent Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family prompted a barrage of negative responses, including claims of white genocide and calls for “DIEversity.”
Both champions and detractors of that ad based their views on what’s known as the eyeball test: A study of brain activity at the University of Colorado at Boulder showed that subjects register race in about one-tenth of a second, even before they discern gender. In May researchers reported that political conservatives are more likely than liberals to categorize ambiguous black-white faces as black. We assign meaning in the blink of an eye.
When people ask Celeste Seda, 26, what she is, she likes to let them guess before she explains her Dominican-Korean background. She points out that even then she has revealed only a fraction of her identity, which includes a Long Island childhood, a Puerto Rican adoptive family, an African-American sister, and a nascent acting career. The attention she gets for her unusual looks can be both flattering and exhausting. “It’s a gift and a curse,” Seda says.
It’s also, for the rest of us, an opportunity. If we can’t slot people into familiar categories, perhaps we’ll be forced to reconsider existing definitions of race and identity, presumptions about who is us and who is them. Perhaps we’ll all end up less parsimonious about who we feel connected to as we increasingly come across people like Seda, whose faces seem to speak that resounding line from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”:
[TRANS] Tiffany’s “Beauty Talk” in InStyle, March 2016
Beauty Talk: Tiffany
Tiffany, who is well known as SNSD’s official fashionista.
But to friends, she is known as the beauty expert. “Fashion is beauty, and I
like to beauty is fashion. Hair, makeup and nail is one of many tools that
express fashion.” Beauty interview with Tiffany, who says she shares opinions
with staff and studies to always show off the newest and best styles.
When I see you in
real life, your skin is really good. Do you have any skincare tips?
Once a week, I remove dead skin cells with a powder type
peeling product. At least once every 10 days, I receive basic care from a skin
clinic. Before, I used to only go when I had skin troubles, but realized that’s
What type of makeup
do you think makes you look most beautiful?
I’m still used to SNSD’s flashy and bling bling makeup, but
I’m practicing wearing less makeup. The words ‘Less is More’ apply of course to
fashion, hair and makeup.
Short and long hair
both suit you well, but personally, what style do you like?
When I see members who have recently cut their hair short,
it’s so pretty and refreshing. But all of the beauty icons I like have long
hair. I feel like long hair is the most ‘Tiffany-like’.
Do you have any
personal hair care tips?
Morning and night, I interchangeably use products that
protect hair from heat and bring volume to life. I especially like ‘Bumble and
If you say Tiffany,
you can’t leave out flashy nails. Do you personally create nail designs?
I do a lot of research, and I personally design using patterns
and colours that suit a look or the season. When I was younger, I was pretty
good at self nail art. But these days, I tend to leave it up to Shin Tamina,
owner of ‘NailTam2Na’, who has been responsible for my nails for a long time.
There was a time when
‘SNSD diet menu’ was a hot topic. Do you still maintain a diet menu?
SNSD diet menu did exist, but I’ve never done it. My style
is to ear delicious foods and receive energy from it. But recently, there is
something that has changed. Before, I ate mostly meat, but after spending time
with my sister and cousins who are vegetarians, I tend to eat more fish and
vegetables these days.
Who is your role
Natalie Portman, who is becoming more beautiful as time
passes, and lovely Han Yeseul unnie.
Is there a new area
of interest that you’d like to attempt?
I think it’s my first time unveiling this, but for about 2
years, I’ve consistently been auditioning for projects overseas. I have gotten
cast too. Sadly, I wasn’t able to participate due to my schedule, but I have
been wanting to seriously start acting. My
dream is that I will be able to meet a good project in a fateful moment.
IPKN Luxury Diamond In Eyes #21 – 35,000 W
“The softly shining pearliness is really pretty. It makes
your eyes look beautiful.”
“I think that skin that suits your age and mood is the most
ideal. White and wrinkle-free skin is not the absolute condition of beauty.” –
Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel – 60,000 W
“This is my secret to create bright and translucent skin. It
adds moisture to skin without irritation.”
IPKN Jewel Perfume Powder Compact – 25,000 W
“From strong coverage to the refreshing floral scent, this
item totally targets my tastes.”
IPKN Lite Perfect Sun Block – 18,000 W
“Skincare products can change according to season, but I
apply sunblock in all four seasons. This product is refreshing so it’s not
overwhelming to apply it daily.”
New One Day Acuvue Define – 49,000 W
“Even if you wear it for a long time, it doesn’t tire out
your eyes. It’s one of the necessary items in my pouch.”
Acqua Di Parma Rosa Nobile Eau de Parfum – 175,000 W
“It has the refreshing scent of a freshly picked rose. Even
if you apply frequently, it doesn’t hurt your head.”
Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain – 16,000 W
“It’s a moist, balm-type tint. It melts on top of your lips and
the color payoff is beautiful.”
LOOKS OVER THE YEARS
SNSD Tiffany who studies what style suits herself the best
and attempts new looks without hesitation. It’s a reason why we look forward to
her future style transformations, as she always shows perfect looks in front of
“It can appear to be too much if makeup is flashy when you
have red hair. Beautiful pink color united the entire mood.”
“With minimal eye makeup, orange colored lips were the
point. Doesn’t it make my skin look fresh and bright?”
“There’s no look as vivacious as a high-bun hair. The bangs
doubled the adorableness.”
“This is a ‘girl crush’ makeup look, in a black leather
jacket and red lips. I also showed off two-toned hair.’
I made a red haired fem unit named Anna when I found out Fuga was a romance option. The only reason I did so was because I grew up as The King and I trash and Fates was the first game that’s allowed me something similar.