BOOK REVIEW – Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post Racial World

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Sharon H. Chang’s inaugural book, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post Racial World, lays out a blue print that outlines the history of white supremacy and how it has corrupted the way people treat each other, specifically Mixed Race/ Multiracial and Multiracial Asian individuals. She develops an important foundation that provides a glimmer of hope for moving forward toward improving our future world, despite the powerful suppressive system before us.

The title might make you think it is a parenting book, and it is (or could be), but it so much more! The language/verbiage used in the book makes this potentially academic/research strong book accessible for those who might have the most questions…parents. Though this book has a focus on multiracial Asian children, it is not just a book for parents of multiracial Asian children. It is a book for all children of color…and even for parents of white children! This book is for anyone who comes in contact with children in any way. This means if you are a teacher/educator, a child care worker, do research with children or on race and intersectionaility…or if you are a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or once was a child. This book is for everyone!

The book is based on Chang’s interviews with 68 parents of 75 young children living in Washington State. She does not go into detail about her recruitment and method, however she does discuss this in my recent interview with her (see Part 1 of 2 below). She intertwines her findings with current and historical events, existing scholarly research and reports, her expertise in tracking dialogue across social media, her own multiracial Asian experience and more.

The focus is on children from 0 to 5 years old. This is an age that has been neglected in most parenting books and research with a multiracial focus. This is also an age during which many parents think that their children do not recognize/see race; however Chang shows us that they absolutely do. Young children are learning from the subtle and often unspoken systematic racism that is infused throughout every aspect of our society.

Chang makes it clear that the understanding of race begins in the home. In a world that is fearful to discuss how white supremacy has been engrained into society and families generation after generation…it is time families start having these difficult conversations. Chang warns that race is not easy to discuss, but essential and does not have to be done alone. It can be done through community. Her last chapter provides specific examples of how to address race in the community, school, and home.

This is the first book that I have seen, that looks at racial identity development, and puts systematic racism and white supremacy where it belongs…. at the beginning and linked over and over again to the end. To understand and address race issues with our children, we must begin with its origin story. When attempting to comprehend the lens in which race issues are created, we must understand the frame in which that lens is held together – white supremacy. Chang tells it like it is. She lifts the curtain on age-old white ideas of race, breaks down history, language and concepts that have created divisions between people who look different or do not follow the prescribed norms. For example, she breaks down how the trending term microagression was created from a white lens and points out there is nothing small or mirco about them! She deconstructs terms used in medical spaces, such as “Mongolian Spots” that have racist origins; and many individuals have just come to believe that is what they are called (See Part 2 of 2 below for more on this). Additionally, she provides a fantastic response to the common question/idea “But aren’t we all mixed?” in one of the most eloquently written explanations I have seen. Watch Part 2 of 2 below to hear about how she responds to the question and her new elevator response to this question!

The book is coming out just in time for the holidays, and will make a great gift. It should be on everyone’s 2016 reading list! You can order the book on the publisher site  or on Amazon.

Be sure to join Sharon on December 11th for her Facebook launch party. She will be partying all day and giving away some great prizes. Don’t miss it!

You can find the Multiracial Asian Families community and blog page on Facebook, the book page on Facebook. You can fin her on Twitter @mutliasianfams, Pinterest, or on her blog MultiAsian Families.

 

Watch my recent interview with Sharon!

Part 1 – She shares her mixed roots story, how the book came to be and more!

Part 2 -We discuss content from the book including: “Mongolian spots”, miss-education and the need for reeducation around racist terms, how to respond to -“Everybody is Mixed”, Culture vs. Race, Anti-bias curricula, learning environments and more.



Chandra Crudup, PhD, MSW
 is a board member and co-founder of Mixed Roots Stories. She is the Vice President of MAVIN and the Production Manager for One Drop of Love. Chandra is full time Lecturer and Faculty Associate Coordinator in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. She has over six years of practice experience in K-12 schools. Her research interests are centered on multiracial identity and interracial relationships. Her research utilizes video technology as a qualitative data gathering tool. She is also interested in using the arts as a medium to build positive self-esteem in youth.


Mixed Roots Stories Highlight Vlogs from #CMRS2014

At the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference we documented a few of the Mixed Roots Stories highlights from each day by including them in a vlog every night. You can view the highlights of #CMRS2014 in all 4 vlogs below!

 

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 1 – The Night Before

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 2 – Day 1

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 3- Day 2

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 4 – Day 3

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more highlight vlogs from the festival and other Mixed Roots Stories events coming soon! And sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming events http://mixedrootsstories.com/get-involved/.

We look forward to seeing everyone at #CMRS2016 in Southern California!


Seeking Holiday Guest Bloggers

How do you mix your holiday traditions?

We’re looking for guest bloggers for the last couple months of 2014 who will share their holiday traditions. Holiday traditions often represent our cultural and familial roots that have been passed down through the years.

We want to hear from you! How have you and your family mixed those traditions to celebrate the holidays?

Email us at info@mixedrootsstories.org if you’re interested in sharing your mixed holiday story!

 


Skin. My Story Starter

Ten years ago this week, I was in the hospital with a rare acute allergic reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I had been taking a mild antibiotic that had Sulfa in it…I am allergic to Sulfa based drugs, but did not know it. It started with flu like symptoms and a sensitive rash that turned into blisters. Once my rash and blistered covered body worsened, and my ulcerated mouth made eating a challenge, I was admitted to the hospital.  I spent eight days and seven nights in the hospital as the Sulfa burned through my skin.

Skin.

My skin has always been a perfect blend of my dad (who is Black) and my mom (who is White). I have always LOVED and embraced being mixed. As long as I can remember, I made it clear to everyone that I was both Black AND White. In the 4th grade I even spoke to a university class, with my parents, about being mixed.

As I got older, I recognized that my skin changed with the seasons. In the winter, I was lighter. In the summer, I was darker. My ever changing color always makes picking out the “perfect shade” of make up a challenge! In the summers, I would try and get enough sun to last as long into the winter as possible.  This was mostly because I felt I looked healthier with darker skin.  I know that sounds silly, but it’s just how I felt, and still feel sometimes. My skin has always ignited discussion from others. I have usually taken advantage of their curiosity by answering their questions, sharing my mixed story, and educating them about what it means for me to be mixed.

Changing Shades.

As I sat in the hospital, a few weeks before graduating with my Bachelors of Social Work from Azusa Pacific University, watching my skin literally flake off my body, I had a lot of questions for the doctors about what the final results would be. At this point, the skin that had fallen off was leaving very raw, fresh, pale pink, and sensitive skin. There were spots of this new skin surrounded by darker, unblistered, and unaffected skin. One day the infectious disease doctor came in for his daily visit.

 

Me: “What am I going to end up looking like?”

Doctor: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Am I going to look like Michael Jackson?”

(I know this might make me sound vain…and maybe it was a little…but I had stopped looking at my reflection. I no longer recognized myself in the mirror, and was having a difficult time remembering what “normal skin” felt like. I was beginning to realize that I might never look like my old self again.)

Doctor: “Well its hard to tell. We don’t really know.” (Looks at my mom) “You will probably end up being about her complexion.”

(My heart sank. Not because my mom isn’t beautiful, but because I LOVED my mixed skin. That is who I am, mixed.  If it is washed away…than who would I be? I was speechless.)

My mom pulled out my senior picture to show the doctor.

Mom: “This is what she normally looks like.”

It was written all over the doctor’s face. He did not realize that I was mixed. I had been in the hospital for at least three or four days, and the doctor didn’t know I was mixed!

Doctor: “Oh, well, uh, we will just have to wait and see. Time will tell.”

 

WHAT!?!  You are the doctor! You can’t tell me what is going to happen! As I was quickly learning, no one really knew the exact outcome of Stevens-Johnson. They didn’t even know what was the best way to treat it or prevent it from getting worse. Nurses from all over the hospital came to visit me. They had worked there for 10 years and had never seen a case. The only thing the doctors could tell me is that it has to run its course as it works through my system and out through my skin.

The doctor left and I was left in epidermis limbo. I was forced to start the process of coming to terms with my current changing color of skin.

5_1_2004

Picture taken May 1, 2004. This was Day 7 in the hospital.

As my skin continued to flake off, my face was light, and like new baby skin. My arms and chest and back were spotted. Slowly the light spots gained pigment.  I was hopeful that my skin would even out. However, the light spots continued to darken, eventually hyper-pigmentating. Now I had my color back, but I was spotted. After about nine months, lots of prayer, and a series of microdermabrasion treatments with my Dermatologist, my skin evened out. I still have a few lingering scars, but only I see them.

As I reflect back on the experience, I am thankful, and feel blessed, that my mixed skin was restored, but if it hadn’t been…I still would have been mixed, for mixed blood runs through my veins. My worry was never that I might be different, or having to come to terms with an altered appearance. I think my worry was that if my skin was lighter, spotted, or looked like Michael Jackson, that it would no longer be a catalyst for conversations where I could educate others about my mixedness. For someone who has always felt comfortable with my mixed identity, the thought of that being stripped away was scary. I realize now, more than ever, that being mixed, for me, is more than skin deep. My skin would have still been a discussion starter…but for a new purpose…surviving Steven Johnson. Now my skin tells an even more complex story, not only one of my mixed heritage, but of surviving Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Who I am is obviously more than skin deep, but skin, for me… is a story starter.


MXRS Visual Podcast Episode 1: Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis and the Mixed Race Initiative

We are excited to launch the visual version of Episode 1 of the MXRS Podcast — bringing you the story behind the stories. Our first several episodes are in partnership with the Asian American Literary Review and its Mixed Race Initiative. Editor-in-Chief Lawrence-Minh Búi Davis is our first guest. Join us as our conversation winds its way through language, how we identify ourselves, the origins of the Mixed Race Initiative and its components, making our work more accessible, and much more.


Grant Writing Specialist Needed – Intern/Volunteer Opportunity

Mixed Roots Stories is looking for a motivated person who is experienced, or wants to gain experience writing grant proposals. The Grant Specialist will work with the Mixed Roots Stories team to grow a database of grant opportunities as well as gather information, collect and organize data, and draft grant submissions. This could be either an intern or volunteer position. The intern/grant writer must be self motivated, organized, detail oriented, a team player and timely with due dates. This is an ideal position for someone looking for an internship or volunteer opportunity working with an up and coming, very active nonprofit.

 

Please send resumes/CVs (include references) and cover letters expressing your interest in Mixed Roots Stories and the Grant Specialist position to info@mixedrootsstories.org. Please put “Grant Writer” in the subject line.



Social Media Intern Position

We are looking for a motivated person who is experienced with multiple social networking sites and promotion within those sites. The individual must be self motivated, creative, organized, team player, and timely with due dates.  This is a perfect position for someone looking for an internship working with an up and coming and very active nonprofit. Some tasks may include: keeping a constant presence on facebook, twitter, etc.; creation of promotional material; research to support the MXRS podcast, and more.

Please send resumes and cover letters expressing your interest in Mixed Roots Stories and the Media Intern position to info@mixedrootsstories.org. Please put Media Intern in the subject line.


Online Directory of Race Research

The Center on Race and Social Problems at the University of Pittsburgh has developed a new Race Research Online Directory that provides more than 10 years of research at your fingertips.

http://www.crsp.pitt.edu/

“The center has always served as a leading resource for race-related research, but now it offers unprecedented access for students, educators, foundations, and government agencies whose work depends on good scholarship.

  • More than 100 videos of lectures from the speaker series, summer institutes, and the Race in America conference.
  • Pilot studies and other research projects at the center.
  • Hundreds of publications, including the journal Race and Social Problems.
  • Educational resources, such as a graduate course listings and award-winning student papers.
  • A listing of all center activities.”

The site includes the topic of “Interracial Group Relations.”

This resource is a great place for those who do academic work to gather information and possibly submit their work to expand the discussion on the Mixed experience.

This is also a great resource for those who need some background information and/or research to consider/include/inform the development of their Mixed Roots Stories!


‘Becoming Mexipino’ – A Story Worth Telling

Becoming Mexipino

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., discusses the mixed history and identity of two minority groups (Mexicans and Filipinos) in his book Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego.

He weaves together the stories of Mexipinos in San Diego by exploring their families immigration to the United States, their fight for civil rights, participation and creation of labor unions, and socialization through cultural functions that brought couples of the two groups together.

“Thus, by examining the intimate, complex relationship between Mexicans and Filipinos in San Diego and exploring how they and their multiethnic children carved a place for themselves in the United States, we can begin to appreciate how identities and communities are formed, nurtured, and sustained over generations. Indeed, the multiple generations of Mexipinos are testimony to this unique history of multiethnic communities in the United States. It is a story worth telling.” (p. 12)

We agree! It is a STORY worth telling.

Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and … – Amazon.com