Firsthand multlicultural experience

Firsthand multlicultural experience

The Daily Independent (Ashland, Kentucky)

Mike James

Ashland — When he brings up the fact that he is biracial, Elliott Lewis most often hears platitudes.

Some of them are flattering, others not so much. The one that drives him nuts is the question, “What are you?”

It’s one of the things he has to cope with in a generation that is redefining what it is to be biracial.

Lewis, a former television reporter now in law school at the University of Akron, spoke Thursday at Ashland Community and Technical College during the annual Teaching-Learning Conference.

Diversity is the focus of the conference, and Lewis embodies the theme. As a young biracial American, Lewis sees a divide between two generations that have two ways of viewing racial identity.

Had he been of his parents’ generation, grown to maturity before and during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, he would have been biracial by birth and black by experience. “There were no biracial water fountains in the south,” he said….

…Multiracial Americans are a growing segment of the population and thus a group educators need to be informed about, said conference chairman Dan Mahan. “He (Lewis) is on the cutting edge of the subject.”

Even in northeast Kentucky, student populations at the community college level are diverse and becoming more so, he said…

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