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 Holiday Gift Guide

When purchasing gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, consider supporting people and businesses that enlighten us about and celebrate the mixed roots experience. Here are a few of our favorite mixed roots gift ideas for you to consider. We’ve included their social media info so you can follow and support them year round too!

In no particular order:

Mixed Up Clothing

“Founded in 2010, Mixed Up ClothingScreen Shot 2014-11-28 at 6.48.12 PM is a multiethnic children’s clothing line inspired by the textiles, cultures and people of the world, to develop friendships through fabrics. Mixed Up Clothing is an ethnic-inspired baby/children’s fashion line that celebrates diversity. The textiles, fabrics, and embellishments from all over the world inspire your mini global citizen to embrace and appreciate the beauty of the 21st Century’s Americana family.”

 Gift Ideas: Unique and fashionable clothes for all the littles (N to size 7) in your life.

www.mixedupclothing.com

Twitter @mixedupclothing

www.facebook.com/mixedupclothing

instagram.com/mixedupclothing

Belle

shopping If you haven’t heard of the movie Belle, it is time you did! Now you can own it and share with everyone you know!! The Mixed Roots Stories team saw the movie in the theaters. You can find our reviews here.

 

Gift Ideas: Belle is available on DVD to share with friends, family, and more!

www.belle-themovie.com

https://www.facebook.com/bellethemovie

Eighth Generation

“Louie [Gong] is the founder of Eighth Generation, through which he merges traditional Coast Salish art with icons from popular culture and influences from his mixed heritage to make strong statements about identity.”

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“The name “Eighth Generation” references the inter tribal value of “Seven Generations”, which suggests that we consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.  By naming my business Eighth Generation, I embed respect for the previous generations all my work and recognize that my successes are a result of our collective effort.  Eight is also a lucky number in Cantonese because, when spoken, it sounds the same as the word for prosperity.” –Louie Gong

Gift Ideas: With a wide array of goods, you can probably find something for everyone on your list from this Canadian mixed roots artist. Visit his site to see the variety of goods: jewelry, clothing, bags, pillows, blankets, skateboards, greeting cards, shoes, phone cases, notebooks/journals, and art work:

www.eighthgeneration.com

Twitter @8thgen

www.facebook.com/EighthGenerationbyLouieGong

The Singer and the Songwriter

Formerly Ampersand, The Singer and the Songwriter brilliantly fuse together pop, jazz, folk, and blues creating a unique new classic and sophisticated sound. “Their music is a stylistic hybrid, reflecting their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds.” Listen to our interview with them HERE.

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Gift Ideas: A great stocking stuffer or maybe a gift for yourself: their debut album What a Difference a Melody Makes is a gift that will keep on giving.

thesingerandthesongwriter.com

Twitter @thesingthesong

https://www.facebook.com/thesingerandthesongwriter

instagram.com/thesingerandthesongwriter

6 Degrees of Hapa

“6 Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 6.50.18 PMDegrees of Hapa is a family-owned business that’s all about celebrating mixed cultures and spreading a little Hapa pride. What we think of when we hear the term “haps”: To us, hapa means that you’re a mix of cultures, you might be Asian, Pacific-Islander, or Hawaiian (or maybe even a combination!). But… We like to think that everyone’s got a little Hapa influence in their lives, which is why we decided to name ourselves 6 Degrees of Hapa.The idea for 6 Degrees of Hapa came about when our family and our friends, who are also a Hapa family, started discussing how there weren’t many brands that were created for and by Hapas. Think about it–we’re a very large and diverse community with our own cultures and subcultures, so why not celebrate it?”

Gift Ideas: For unique handmade jewelry, screen printed t-shirts for all ages and more check out 6 degrees of hapa!

6degreesofhapa.blogspot.com

Twitter @6degreesofhapa

www.facebook.com/6DegreesofHapa

Meditating Bunny/One Big Hapa Family/Mixed Match

“MeditatiJeff_Yellowstickynotes_Photong Bunny Studio Inc. was founded in 2001 by filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns. Based in Vancouver, BC, this Webby award-winning and Emmy® nominated boutique animation studio specializes in the creation of animated, documentary, and experimental films aimed at both children and adults that combine different philosophical and social elements together to create humorous inspiring stories.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 1.43.21 PMWe are big fans of Jeff’s ink drawings…Chandra has a set of his owl drawings framed in her living room! Many of #inktober drawings were mixed animals, like this rhino/unicorn. Though these drawings are only being sold at select events, follow Meditating Bunny throughout the year to see when you can get your pictures to hang throughout your home!

Gift Ideas: In the mean time you can support his work, specifically his current project, Mixed Match, by purchasing any of his number of films already produced: Yellow Sticky Notes/ CanadianAnijam, Ode to a Post-It Note, Yellow Sticky Notes, One Big Hapa Family, or “What Are You Anyways?”. These movies are great teaching tools!

www.meditatingbunny.com

Twitter @meditatingbunny

www.facebook.com/meditatingbunny

instagram.com/meditatingbunny

MAVIN

“MAVIN builds healthier communities by providing educational resources about Mixed Heritage experiences.”

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One of the resources that MAVIN has created is the Multiracial Child Resource Book. With the self-identified multiracial community continuing to grow, this book remains relevant and just as important as ever.

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Gift Ideas: The Multiracial Child Resource book is a great gift for educators, community workers, youth workers, librarians, parents, etc. and only $15 (including shipping!).

http://www.mavinfoundation.org/new/multiracial-child-resource-book/

https://www.facebook.com/mixedheritage

Mixed Roots Stories

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“We are a non profit that believes that stories have the power to strengthen communities. We support mixed roots storytelling through producing events, and through online, in-person and educational outreach.” Donations assist in supporting and bringing workshop facilitators, films and filmmakers, live performances and performers, educational programming, authors, and other artists to conferences and events near you.

 

Gift Ideas: Consider giving the gift of a donation in a family’s or friend’s name for the holidays. All donations are tax deductible and makes our work possible.

www.mixedrootsstories.com/donate

Twitter @ourmixdstories

www.facebook.com/MixedRootsStories


“Just Checking” In – by Guest Blogger Eddie Nwabuoku

Late last May, I had the television on in the background while I worked. Around that time of day it would usually be tuned to HGTV (to satisfy my inner home remodeling nerd) but if I recall correctly I had it tuned to our local NBC affiliate instead. I can’t remember what show was on, but I do remember when they cut to a commercial break. That was the first time I saw the “Just Checking” ad for Cheerios. My thought process upon seeing the commercial went a little bit like this:

“Oh, would you look at that adorable little girl?…oh, is that her mom?…she said ‘Mom’, didn’t she? She did!…look at those cheeks! Awwwww…hmmm, she looks mixed, I wonder if they’re going to show her — hey, her dad’s black…did she just pour the cereal all over him? Haha!…what a nice little commercial!…hmmm, now I’m hungry…what’s for lunch?…” And I went on with my day, and thought nothing more of it.

A couple of more times during the week I saw the ad repeatedly, on different channels, and at different times of the day. I thought it was an interesting coincidence that such a wonderful commercial should start airing so close to the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, and throughout the run-up to our annual Flagship Celebration in New York; every airing was a fitting reminder of what the Lovings went through, which made me smile when I thought of it.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, came this backlash. I heard reports of horribly unkind and quite frankly racist comments being put under the video on the General Mills YouTube channel. I say “heard reports”, because before I had a chance to see them for myself, General Mills disabled the comments section. But knowing what I know about the psyche of Internet keyboard superheroes, who use the supposed veil of anonymity as a license for misbehavior, I could guess what they were saying. The comments were obviously bad enough for the company to disable further comment.

Still, it was puzzling. What could have motivated such vitriol, even virtually? It was such a relatively benign commercial, for breakfast cereal. The “family” was wholesome and attractive, and the child actress who played the daughter could not have been more adorable. Did they have an issue with children? Cheerios? Children eating Cheerios? Cold breakfast cereal, as opposed to warm breakfast cereal? Did they have a problem with children who litter in the comfort of their own homes? What on earth was that all about?

Was the backlash driven from the fact that this commercial depicted an interracial couple? An interracial couple that had the temerity to — gasp! — give birth to a child? Or was it the racial and gender composition of the couple? Would there have been any backlash at all if the couple was (say) a white man and a black woman, or a white man and an Asian woman, for instance?

As it turns out, there was a way to find out.

Two holidays bookmarked the “Just Checking” Cheerios ad: Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. To take advantage of the selling opportunity, Kmart released two commercials: “Mommy’s Little Helper“, and “Butler in a Box“. Both feature the same naughty Capuchin monkey causing drama, and both feature the same interracial family. The father is Indian. The mother is white. They have not one, but two, kids. And the kids are each pretty clearly mixed Indian & white.

So I stood back, and braced for the imminent backlash…a backlash that never came.

Nothing. Not a single outraged tweet or Facebook post to be found.

You know that phenomenon where soon after your friend buys a white four-door car, all of a sudden it seems like every other car on the street that you see is also a white four-door car? Although I had always noticed commercials and advertising and movies and television shows that somehow featured interracial couples, post-“Just Checking” there seemed to be more and more and more. There was the series of ads for Samsung Smart TVs that featured a multi-generational Asian and white household. There’s the multi-generational, multi-racial “Family Picnic” ad for Lincoln Financial Group.

Then there was the Swiffer commercial with the Rukavinas. This real-life family comprises Zack, his wife Afi and their two children. Afi is black, and not only is Zack white, he also is an amputee. AdWeek’s article about this ad is titled “Most Inclusive Ad Ever?”

It was an entirely unscientific poll, but the results were fairly clear. The backlash was most probably fueled by the fact that the commercial showed the result of an interracial coupling between a black man and a white woman. Almost two decades into the twenty-first century, apparently, this particular pairing still was enough to raise the ire of those whose thinking was stuck in the charged racial atmosphere of decades long gone.

But, as often happens, a silver lining emerged from the dark cloud of online bigotry. In Georgia, a couple watched the Cheerios ad and was also baffled by the racist backlash. Michael David Murphy & Alyson West looked at the ad as a reflection not only of their reality (he is white, she is black, and they have a girl), but also as a reflection of a profound demographic shift in the United States. “According to the 2008 census,” as they said, “15% of new marriages are interracial. And yet, it still feels rare to see something like the Cheerios ad represented in mainstream culture.”

In response, they created the tumblr site We Are the 15 Percent, and invited readers to submit photographs of their mixed families. People from all across the country and from many countries around the world have added their family photographs to the collection. As the couple told TIME Magazine, “The site is such a natural outgrowth of our lives together; we’re in both for the long haul. We hope the site can persist long beyond its initial inspiration, and create a consistent, ongoing resource for families like our own. We can imagine that someone who submitted a wedding photo yesterday might submit a family picture, with their children, years from now!”

When General Mills released the “Just Checking” ad, representatives from the company said that although they were “a bit surprised it turned into a story…Ultimately we were trying to portray an American family, and there are lots of multicultural families in America today…and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.” Not only did the company stand by their commercial and what it was meant to portray, they have in fact doubled down. During Super Bowl XLVIII, one of the world’s most-watched sporting events, Cheerios debuted “Gracie“, a sequel to “Just Checking” where we learn that Gracie will soon have a baby brother. Looks like this series of advertisements is going to be around for a long while yet to come. Stay tuned!

By: February 2014 Guest Blogger – Eddie Nwabuoku
When he isn’t working on his world-changing Android app, tweeting inane yet pithy things, facebooking himself into oblivion, basking in the glow of his latest Drupal site, or speaking about himself in the third person, Eddie is the Director of Technology for the Loving Day Project.


Is Race Colorblind?

Professor of Law, Osagie K. Obasogie recently (11/2013) published a book titled, “Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind”.  As stated by Professor Obasogie, “Given the assumptions behind this influential metaphor—that being blind to race will lead to racial equality—it’s curious that, until now, we have not considered if or how the blind ‘see’ race.

His research reveals that race is not colorblind. The blind do not “ see” color, but they do have a visual concept of race. Hence, they make choices on friends and relationships using the same construct as the sighted. (link to YouTube interview) 

It is an intriguing thought exercise to contrast Professor Obasogie’s findings with the ambitions of a colorblind society desired by Ward Connerly.

Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly led the charge on passage of Proposition 209 (1998) that eliminated affirmative actions in both state schools and in government in California. Again in 2003 he pushed for Proposition 54, which did not pass, to eliminate racial preference or acknowledge racial/ethnic categories at all levels of society in the State of California, believing it would put us on the path towards equality.
The jury is out on the impacts (pro or con) of Proposition 209 here in California and similar legislation in other states, nevertheless a simple truth remains, race is a social construct further evidenced by Professor Obasogie’s findings. The good news is we constructed it, so we can deconstruct it, but using a blunt political instrument like propositions is not the path. 

Eartha Kitt – Never Finds Her White Father

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The beautiful Eartha Kitt!

Did you know: She didn’t know her actual birthday until she was 71? She never knew who her father was?

Once she finally discovered her birth certificate she was allowed 15 minutes with it and her father’s name was blacked out.

Kitt died in 2008.  Her daughter said:  “She carried the scar of her rejection with her all her life. She was rejected for the colour of her skin ironically by both black and white.” Her daughter goes on to say: “To some extent, I think my arrival completed her because it gave her a family that she never had.”

Our mixed roots stories might have rejection, secrecy, and pain…telling and sharing our stories can provide healing.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/19/eartha-kitt-suffered-over-identity


Aaron Samuels: Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps

from amazon.com

from amazon.com

Aaron is another performer that we got to meet at the 2012 Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. His spoken word piece left the audience mesmerized. We are certain that this collection of poetry will have the same powerful impact on you.

From the Amazon website: Aaron Samuels, raised in Providence, Rhode Island by a Jewish mother and a Black father, is a Cave Canem Fellow and a nationally acclaimed performer. In this ground-breaking collection of poems, Samuels examines the beauty and contradictions of his own mixed identity with gut-wrenching narratives, humor, and passionate verve.

Here’s the Amazon link to purchase the book: http://www.amazon.com/Yarmulkes-Fitted-Caps-Aaron-Samuels/dp/1938912381


Sister, Sister!

Tia & Tamera, from the 90s TV show Sister, Sister have a blog that “is an online community…that focuses on family, motherhood, health, beauty and style.”

http://tiaandtameraofficial.com/

Tamera often posts and shares her life story by posting updates about her husband and son.  Tamara is in an interracial marriage and has a mixed race son

Check out her recent family photos!


MusingMomma

Blogging Momma, Ellie, has done an amazing job providing discussion and resources. Her Multiracial Family Resources Page is a great resource for parents of multiracial kids. She also provides parenting tips and stories of other multiracial families. Most recently she has written about “Supporting Health Identity in Our Mixed Kids.”  This is such an important topic for parents to be talking about.  Parents have great influence on the life stories their children are creating.

This is a blog to share with all the parents you know!  http://www.musingmomma.com/

 

 


Multiracial Mysteries

If you are a teen or know a teen.. check out Rachel and Rachael. These Canadian multiracial teenagers have created a site, Multiracial Mysteries, to help them and other multiracial teens deal with “everyday stresses of being different from ‘the norm'”. Their blog discusses myths, stereotypes, and experiences of multiracial teens.  Rachel and Rachael-Keep up the good work sharing the stories of the multiracial youth!

http://multiracialmysteries.wix.com/modernyouth


Congrats Mixed Up Clothing!

Congratulations to Sonia Kang founder of Mixed Up clothing.  Her children’s clothing line that focuses on “building friendships through fabrics” has been nominated for a Red Tricycle 2013 Totally Awesome Award. Winners will be announced Sept 1st.  Sonia and Mixed Up clothing has been featured on the Today show and has a new collaboration with Chocolate Me (written by Taye Diggs). Tia Mowry-Hardict clothes her son in Mixed Up clothing, you can find out more about where to get Mixed Up clothing at http://www.mixedupclothing.com/.  Mixed Nation http://mixednation.com/ has teamed up with Mixed Up clothing for a giveaway.  Click here to enter to win:  https://www.wf-site.com/microsite/pages/cca80757deead6e8

Sonia and Mixed Up Clothing: Keep up the good work, sharing the mixed race story through your creative design of apparel for children.