National Geographic’s race cover story misconstrues multiraciality

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2018-04-02 22:42Z by Steven

National Geographic’s race cover story misconstrues multiraciality

The McGill Tribune
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2018-04-02

Emma Avery, Managing Editor

When I first read Patricia Edmonds’ cover story on Millie and Marcia Biggs—half-black, half-white fraternal twins—for National Geographic’s April 2018 Race Issue, I felt conflicted. As a person of mixed race, with a father from Hong Kong and a mother of largely Scottish descent, I was happy for this family’s opportunity to share their experiences. Although national media are increasingly latching onto stories about race, people of mixed race don’t often get the spotlight.

National Geographic’s cover is undoubtedly an attempt to normalize multiraciality and destabilize false notions of ‘race’ as a natural category. Yet, by focusing on the visual differences between the twins, the article misses more meaningful and nuanced questions of culture and identity that people such as myself often grapple with. Instead, it places mixed race children on a pedestal that risks exoticizing them…

Read the entire article here.

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These Twins, One Black and One White, Will Make You Rethink Race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-03-13 14:32Z by Steven

These Twins, One Black and One White, Will Make You Rethink Race

National Geographic
The Race Issue
April 2018

Patricia Edmonds


Marcia (left) and Millie Biggs, both 11, say people are shocked to learn that they’re fraternal twins. Marcia looks more like their mother, who’s English born, and Millie looks more like their father, who’s of Jamaican descent.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBIN HAMMOND

Marcia and Millie Biggs say they’ve never been subjected to racism—just curiosity and surprise that twins could have such different skin colors.

When Amanda Wanklin and Michael Biggs fell in love, they “didn’t give a toss” about the challenges they might face as a biracial couple, Amanda says. “What was more important was what we wanted together.”

They settled down in Birmingham, England, eager to start a family. On July 3, 2006, Amanda gave birth to fraternal twin girls, and the ecstatic parents gave their daughters intertwined names: One would be Millie Marcia Madge Biggs, the other Marcia Millie Madge Biggs.

From a young age the girls had similar features but very different color schemes. Marcia had light brown hair and fair skin like her English-born mother. Millie had black hair and brown skin like her father, who’s of Jamaican descent. “We never worried about it; we just accepted it,” Michael says…

…odern science confirms “that the visible differences between peoples are accidents of history”—the result of mutations, migrations, natural selection, the isolation of some populations, and interbreeding among others, writes science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert. They are not racial differences because the very concept of race—to quote DNA-sequencing pioneer Craig Venter—“has no genetic or scientific basis.”

And yet 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., racial identity has reemerged as a fundamental dividing line in our world…

Read the entire article here.

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