Mixed Race Radio – Gotchya Day

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In keeping with an atmosphere of education and encouragement, Mixed Race Radio is hosting a discussion on the term, “Gotchya Day.” I originally saw this term in a discussion in a LinkedIn group headed by adoption professionals and saw that, based on the shared comments and dialogue, this was a topic that had many people siding on two very different extremes.

Please join us as we speak with people who share a professional or personal connection and opinion about the controversial subject of “Gotchya Day.”

We look forward to clarifying perceptions and prejudices and gaining insight on how the use of this term hinders or helps children and families connected through foster care or adoption.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mixed-race-radio/2013/05/08/gothcya-a-discussion-about-this-controversial-adoption-term-1

You Don’t Know What I Speak

bbIf I’d had the type of week that President Obama has had, I would jump out of the window right over the Rose Garden, and just lay there. It would be up to Secret Service to get me or leave me there. While I didn’t quite have that kind of week, I did encounter one clown during my weekly adventures.

Earlier in the week, I had a meeting with a business consultant to get some help on a project I’m working on. We met at Starbucks and took a seat directly across from the counter. We weren’t more than five or six feet from anyone walking up to the counter to order.

About thirty minutes into our conversation, a beautiful Native American girl and her mother walk up and are waiting in line. The person I am with is an older, white male, and of course me (in all my Mixed girl glory, afro and all) and the little girl is tentatively watching us. My associate (after this, that’s debatable) begins to start speaking Spanish to the little girl. If I could have crawled under the table, I would have been there. The little Indian Princess (not more than 5 or 6) knew whatever this guy was saying to her, it was not the language she understood. And at that age, kids’ faces never lie.

For those of you that have never been to Phoenix, it is a cornucopia of brown. Mexican, Native American, Black, Somali and Middle Eastern (pick your place)…..then do the mixes (Middle Eastern-Mexican, Somali-White). If it weren’t for the politics, it would be paradise. If you are not paying attention, I guess you could say we all look alike…if you weren’t looking at us. The beautiful thing is, we don’t look alike.

When I looked at Mom, I felt a million years worth of shame and guilt. I looked away, and looked at the clown in front of me. I waited until we were walking back to our cars to let him know that the “little girl you were speaking Spanish to was Native American”. I had transferred the shame and guilt I felt, directly to him as his face turned crimson.

When we make assumptions about people and then openly act on those assumptions…well, you know what they say about assuming…and that’s exactly what this guy was looking like.
The most enlightening thing I’ve seen in my life was a Chinese engineer give a talk in German. When I signed up for this particular webinar, I knew that German engineers would be giving the talk. It took a few minutes for my head to understand that yes, he was Chinese, and yes, he was speaking fluent German. I never would have thought that the person presenting would have been of Chinese heritage. Sometimes our brains don’t work like we want them to, but to assume to rightly know something and then be wrong, requires us to step back and understand why we made the assumption.

After having a chance to reflect on this, I wonder now if this business associate makes these types of assumptions when he’s consulting.

Not just the “pretty” side….

bbThe brief two minute interview with Common says much in the way of how we look at those in interracial relationships. The voice-over (JanetStillSpeaks) by Janet, speaks to a larger issue going on in the Black Community though. There is a sub-culture, especially among young Blacks (18-25) that says it’s okay to actively seek members of other races simply to have a “pretty baby”.  As if having a brown or chocolate-colored child would be a disgrace.

Having grown up between the Midwest and East coast, outside of my own biracial family, there were very few other “mixed” families. My parents and grandparents raised all of us as black, even though we could tell we were different. Despite that, there was never an instance where self-hate was taught or tolerated  by anyone (white or black) in our family. We learned as much about Marcus Garvey as we did President Harding.

What I find disturbing now however, is that there are quite a few young Black people that do not like who they are or how they look. Living in Arizona for the past six years, I have come across a wide-variety of races and culture. None has baffled me more than the blacks that I’ve run into since I’ve been here. No sense of cohesiveness among each other and a lack of individuality – same weaves, nails and styles; same extra-large jeans hanging around the knees. Napturals (the fro’) give way to weaves, traks and wigs. None of the Afro-Cuban style that many of the Black men in Florida have adapted or the mile-high, elegant hairstyles that many women of color sport in the Midwest and East.  Okay, so I know I’m not in Kansas anymore, but even Blacks in Texas and Colorado have their own defined style that’s hard to miss.

Many are having interracial children here and are only focusing on the “other side” of the family. Black history and ancestry is not being told. What is worse, these children are being exploited as the “Honey Boo Boos” of their immediate families and as outcasts from the “other” side of their families. Add to that toxic mix the identity of the [black] parent becoming inextricably tied to that of the child. If it sounds confusing to you, think how it sounds and feels to a 6 or 7 year old.

As Janet said in her voiceover, certainly there are many of us who date outside of our race, and it has nothing to do with whether or not we want our kids to look a certain way or that we’re exhibiting self-hate….we just generally like/love the person we are with and for all we care, they could look like The Incredible Hulk…wouldn’t matter. But this is an issue we need to continue to pay attention to and make sure that no matter what cultures are mixed, both sides should have equal footing and the children of these relationships should know their full heritage…not just the pretty side.

 

Bi-racial children – how well do they adjust?

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How well do interracial children cope with mixed identities. Here, the Brooklyn Savvy Panel (television show) discusses whether there is such a thing as post-racial and how well bi-racial children adjust today. You can like them on Facebook too.

Race box check offs – mixed race documentary

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So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been filling out applications for various things (school, work, etc..) and I always get floored with the “what are you” check boxes.  One place I worked for called me after I’d been hired and asked me what I meant by “other”.  My mother’s father is German, and her mother was French Creole, while my father’s mother was Haitian and father French.  When I explained this, the HR person paused for a good minute and then said, “You really are mixed, aren’t you?”  What do say behind that?

Enjoy the brief conversation from YouTube on Race Box Check Offs and as I am certain Pope Francis would say….”Know Peace”…bb

George Alagiah – Mixed-Race Britain

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George Alagiah, journalist and television reporter, briefly discusses the history of mixed-race in Great Britain. A specialist on Africa and the developing world, Alagiah has interviewed, among others, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. His other documentaries and features include reports on why affirmative action in America is a ‘Lost Cause’, for the Assignment programme, Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq for the BBC’s News Night program and a report on the last reunion of the veterans of Dunkirk. He shares some historical gems on mixed-race culture in G.B.  Enjoy!!

Elle T. 

Wetback, Mulatto, whatever….

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So again yesterday, at zero-dark-thirty, I’m running around. Oops, forgot it was Easter weekend and I have a bazillion things to do. CNN is on and I vaguely hear something about a “Representative” (Don Young (R) – Alaska, to be exact) calling Latinos “wetbacks”. Work, laundry, grocery store, wait a minute. Wetbacks? Really? An elected official no less? From the party that just got its butt beat, because of their insensitivity? Really? This morning, a little more clear-headed, I search for “Congressman, wetbacks” and read the whole sordid little story.

A term that was originally used to describe Mexicans that came across the border into Texas via the Rio Grande River it made me think about a term that I absolutely hate…..mulatto. The first time I was called one, I was in junior high school and someone called me a mulatto with such affection, I thought, that’s cute….tomayto, tomato, potayto, potato, mulatto. But as I grew older, and saw the disdain that people would pronounce the word….moooolattoe…..like it was an exotic, too bitter coffee from Marrakesh…I began to not like the word.
I am tired of the labels that people have to put on others to make themselves feel better. I am saddened that our elected officials continue to make choices that are divisive, especially when talking about those who are from other places, backgrounds or ideologies. Hopefully, somewhere in our future , people will realize that we are all human, and not the derogatory labels they choose to put on us. Peace, bb.

Mixed Race Radio ~ Kevin Robinson – Choosing Unity Over Diversity

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Tiffany Rae Reid

Christian faith, history is one that is inclusive; bridging the chasm between God and Humankind along with the one between all people one to another as individuals and ethnic groups. By “Building The Bridge Together” over the ethnic/cultural divide, Accord1 challenges Christians and The heterogeneous landscape of our world in a way that requires change from the rambling noise of division into the poetic melody of harmony and unity today resulting in synergy for tomorrow.

Executive Director, Kevin Robinson has been a pioneer in the area of diversity having lived it being raised in Perry Township Ohio as a young child of the first African American Family at the area and school. With all of the negative realities of pre nineteen seventies suburbia serving as a focal point in his life, Kevin chose unity over division.

Many years in the making through a long career as a professional Fire Fighter, 1985-present), bachelor degreed senior co-pastor (1993-2001), staff pastor (2004-2006), evangelist, consultant and mentor/mediator to many in the area of multicultural ministry. Kevin along with wife, Beverly have established track record of building up multi ethnic congregations.

There is an old adage that says “Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air, but feet on the ground going God’s way.” Kevin and Beverly Robinson personify this old saying in their Christian work and attitude. Their voices are not crying out feudally in the wilderness or resonating from empty walls; instead, they touch lives in the real world. They don’t work from notions or opinions-they just do what needs to be done for those who can’t do it themselves or need a little help along the way.

Listen on Mixed Race Radio

Mixed Race Radio – Tiffany R. Reid with Dr. Marcia Dawkins

Tiffany Jones, Mixed Race Radio
Tiffany Jones, Mixed Race Radio

Marcia Dawkins is an award-winning writer, speaker, educator and visiting scholar at Brown University. She is the author of Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity (Baylor UP, 2012) and Eminem: The Real Slim Shady (Praeger, 2013).

Dawkins writes about racial passing, mixed race identities, media, religion, pop culture and politics for a variety of high-profile publications. Her expert opinion has been sought out by NPR, WABC-TV Boston, The New York Times and TIME Magazine. She earned her PhD in communication from USC Annenberg, her master’s degrees in humanities from USC and NYU and her bachelor’s degrees in communication arts and honors from Villanova.

Clearly Invisible (Baylor University Press, 2012), is the first to connect racial passing and classical rhetoric to issues of disability, gender-neutral parenting, human trafficking, hacktivism, identity theft, racial privacy, media typecasting and violent extremism.

By applying fresh eyes to landmark historical cases and benchmark popular culture moments in the history of passing Dawkins also rethinks the representational character and civic purpose of multiracial identities. In the process she provides powerful insights called “passwords” that help readers tackle the tough questions of who we are and how we can relate to one another and the world.

Listen on Mixed Race Radio

Is I is or is I ain’t your baby?

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Much of our attention this past week has been focused on Boston. The Boston Marathon bombings which occurred this past Monday shut Boston down in their effort to find the bombing suspects. While I am thankful for a speedy conclusion to that disaster, I have also spent much of my week trying to research my heritage. Harvard University professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is one of many bright spots in the Greater Boston area and I remembered a show he aired a few years ago.

Growing up in a mixed race environment that centered primarily on African-American traditions, there were also the stories, told by my great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother, of the Creek, Blackfoot and Cherokee in our family. The Germans (great-great-grandmother) that immigrated to Illinois told the story of a Creek Indian that married an aunt; while the black side (my great-grandfather) told stories of Blackfoot and Cherokee. As children, we all listened raptly about horses being ridden into bars, crazy Indians that would cut you before talking to you and a people that always stayed close to nature. The stories were endless.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., aired African American Lives in 2006 on PBS, where he traced the backgrounds of several well-known celebrities, to include Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock and Tina Turner, and where there true lineage leads. In the segment below, you will hear that much of what African-Americans heard about their Native American Indian lineage just is not what it seems. When I went back to watch the segment, I begin re-digging into my own family’s background and heritage. I wonder now, if those were tall tales that we heard as children, or if there is substance to any of it.

I am very happy that the citizens of Boston are now safe. Boston is a city of great diversity and can teach us a lot. And so we do this remembering Boston University grad student Lu Lingzi of China (呂令子); Martin Richard, a sweet Irish-American 8-year old that advised us not to hurt each other; Krystle Campbell, restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts and; MIT police officer Sean Collier who died protecting the students of MIT. Peace.