Is It Possible to Balance Two Cultures Perfectly?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-20 19:50Z by Steven

Is It Possible to Balance Two Cultures Perfectly?

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-08-06

Brittany Muddamalle, Guest Blogger

I met my husband in California during a program with our church. We were just two young kids falling in love. We were lost in our own world. The scope of our differences didn’t really come out until we were engaged. We decided to have a half Indian and half American wedding. We had this grand idea of a perfectly blended wedding, which would lead to a perfectly blended life.

We did pretty well bringing both cultures in, but the more we strived for perfection, the further away it got. I finally got to the point during all of my wedding planning where I decided to just let the pieces fall where they may. It ended up being just what we needed.

Our wedding was beautiful. I married my best friend. Afterwards, I sat there, during the reception, holding my husband’s hand. We were watching two cultures collide beautifully. Americans and Indians were dancing together to Bollywood and American music, wedding traditions from both sides were coming together smoothly, and everyone was having a great time celebrating.

Then I realized that perfection didn’t matter. All that mattered was my husband and I were bringing two cultures together into one family…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial Community Organizations Response to #Ferguson

Posted in My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Statements, United States on 2015-03-05 02:09Z by Steven

Multiracial Community Organizations Response to #Ferguson

2014-11-26

As members of the multiracial community, we want to express our concern and compassion for the family of Michael Brown Jr. We are connected to these events and stand in solidarity with the many individuals and communities that have been harmed by the legacies of white supremacy, privilege, and racism. As community organizers, scholars, activists, writers, and artists, we remain resolute in dismantling racism through our work and actions.

#BlackLivesMatter

Critical Mixed Race Studies
Loving Day
MAVIN
Mixed Roots Stories
Mixed Race Studies
Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC)
Multiracial Asian Families
National Association of Mixed Student Organizations (NAMSO)
Kaily Heitz

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Claiming Race, Identity and a Right to Education

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-03 21:02Z by Steven

Claiming Race, Identity and a Right to Education

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-02-02

Briellen Griffin, Doctoral Student of sociology in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies
School of Education
Loyola University Chicago

It is my job to think about school. Everyday, I read, write, and speak about education. I ask, and often try to answer, the big questions. Like, why do we have schools? Or, what is the purpose of education? Even more specifically, how do I make sure all kids get the education they deserve? Since I now have my own children, these questions have taken on new meaning in my life. They have become personal. More than I expected, they have become questions that challenge who we are; who I am and who my children will become.

When I think back to my earliest years of schooling, I can’t pinpoint a specific moment when I knew that I was getting a different education that my friends. I grew up in urban public schools, not unlike the one my own kids attend today. I LOVED SCHOOL. I mean, LOVED it. All parts. Carrying the milk crate for snack, practicing handwriting, chasing friends on the playground. Later, the love grew to encompass algebra and writing, student council and more writing… I was good at school and that made every moment satisfying and fulfilling.

At some point, I began to realize that I got more credit than I deserved. It wasn’t just that I was good at what I did. Maybe, I thought, it wasn’t even that I was better than anyone else at school, at all. It did have something to do with having blond hair and blue eyes. It had to do with feeling free in a place that didn’t criminalize me. It had to do with looking white.

I am, perhaps, one of the more stereotypical American multiracial blends, one that connotes the taboo of race-mixing specific to slavery in this country. My mother is white and my father is Black, though his heritage includes European & American Indian and is evidenced by a “high yellow” complexion and wavy black hair. What is less stereotypical about my multiracial identity is that I look white, especially to most white people. And the result is that I benefit from white privilege…

Read the entire article here.

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Skin

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-28 17:18Z by Steven

Skin

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-26

Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

“I wish I had white skin,” my three year-old daughter said, swinging breezily at the park.

Gulp. “Why do you say that, Sweetheart?” I asked, outwardly calm but inwardly exclaiming, Shit! What do I do with this?

“Because all of the friends at school have white skin.” Very matter-of-factly.

***

I think about race a lot, both professionally and personally, and perhaps more than the average person. I work as a professor teaching race-related literature classes and grew up as a “brown-skinned white girl,” as France Winddance Twine has called mixed race girls raised in white households and predominantly white communities. I remember as a preschooler myself in the 1970s telling my teacher that I wished I had long, blonde hair (and presumably pale skin) and, though I’m embarrassed to admit this deep-seated desire I held at the time, pastel underwear. So I wasn’t entirely surprised that my daughter, the beautifully brown-skinned child of her mixed race father and I, would develop feelings similar to those I’d had as a child, given the predominantly white school she attended.

But so soon? And how did she internalize the idea that dark skin is undesirable when she hasn’t been a TV watcher and has been celebrated with Doc McStuffins and brown baby dolls?…

Read the entire article here.

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From an Intimate Distance: A Mixed Perspective on Embracing Gratitude

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2015-01-23 02:24Z by Steven

From an Intimate Distance: A Mixed Perspective on Embracing Gratitude

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-08

Kaily Heitz, Guest Blog Coordinator

“The problem is not that we all have these different view of things, it is that we each consider our views the only reality. We forget that life is truly a matter of perspective.” –angel Williams, Being Black [: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace]

I was on the phone with my friend, Lily, the other night, delving into one of our many uniquely personal and academic discussions, when she says, “Forget hallucinogens. If you want to go on a real trip, try becoming a woman.” As a biracial cis-woman, I am unable to comprehend what this transition must be like, but I laugh, recognizing that at the root of her comment is a shared an experience of mixed marginality—of being able to see the ugly truth about race and sex in this country from both sides of the binary.

When I met Lily, she was still coming to terms with her gender identity and has only recently come out as a trans-woman. In our discussions about her transition and some of the challenges she now faces, we found in one another a new commonality of perspective unique to those who find themselves an outlier, a categorical anomaly, within the strictures of our black/white, male/female binary system. “Sometimes I’m read as male, sometimes female, “ or, often, she describes simply being stared at as people try to figure out what she is. While I understand that there are quite a few significant differences between trans and mixed people’s experiences, there are also a striking number of similarities that exist as a result of being cast into a liminal identity. Being stared at, fetishized or ostracized for being something outside the realm of puritanical gender categories is something that I, as a mixed black/white woman, can certainly relate to. Often, we mixed folk bemoan the weight of expectation people unfamiliar with our unusual, unidentifiable looks place upon us. Certainly we have every right to complain about being asked again and again what we are instead of being recognized for the people we know ourselves to be. This is part of our experience. But with our liminal perspectives, also comes a grace and maturity of wisdom that deserves equal attention and celebration. What Lily expressed to me that night as she discussed her experiences of living once as a man and now sometimes read as a woman, was her unique ability to really see and understand how being a man or woman in this society affects your quality of life. And isn’t this similar to many interracial families and mixed people’s understanding of how deeply one’s perceived race truly affects one’s life?

As incredibly difficult a journey Lily is on, I deeply respect her ability to find cause to celebrate, or at least appreciate, her unique perspective on gender. This, I think, is something that we in the mixed community can also draw from. The “Tragic Mulatto” trope has been used to dissuade people from entering interracial relationships by conveying mixed children as perpetually lonely and confused outsiders. To be mixed, then, is seen as a weakness. But after having attended the Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) Conference in Chicago, I, along with the 600+ other attendees, would probably have to disagree. We are clearly not alone and if we are outsiders, we are only outsiders to a structure that has historically been used to perpetrate structural inequity and oppression….

Read the entire article here.

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Christmas without Ramadan

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-01-14 17:31Z by Steven

Christmas without Ramadan

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-09

Zena F. Itani

I’ve never really liked Christmas. It was the most forced family event of the year, defined by spectacular displays of anxiety from my mother and bad temper served up by my father, always in time for guests. While that doesn’t sound much different from others’ fun family holidays, there was another layer of dysfunction in it for me. My Dad is Muslim, a fact that we ignored for the entire year, not just on big Christian holidays. December 25th highlighted particularly well the lack of Muslim traditions in my immediate family, despite the fact that Lebanese Muslims outnumbered my English mother’s kin and me and my American siblings.

Let me walk you through a typical Itani Christmas (you Arabic speakers know how ridiculous the pairing of a large Lebanese Muslim family name and the word “Christmas” is). In the morning, my siblings and I woke up way too early and tore into our presents like obnoxious kids the world over. The gifts broke along gender and culture lines. As the one with the Arabic name and the insatiable curiosity for all things Middle Eastern, I would get the “cultural” gift (a subscription to Foreign Affairs was popular). “You’re so…Oriental,” my mother would often say, perplexed, in her British accent. Um, yeah Mom, did you see the Lebanese guy you married? Just saying…

Read the entire article here.

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CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2015-01-12 20:56Z by Steven

CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-11

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Joint-Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Following my keynote on mixed representations in contemporary Irish cinema and television at the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, here are some links to the films discussed…

View all of the keynote links here.

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“Global Mixed Race,” the 3rd biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, was held at DePaul University in Chicago Nov 13-15, 2014.

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-21 03:06Z by Steven

“Global Mixed Race,” the 3rd biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, was held at DePaul University in Chicago Nov 13-15, 2014.

News from the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference
2014-11-18

Camilla Fojas, Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies
DePaul University


Photograph by Ken Tanabe

A big thank you to the over 600 people who attended Global Mixed Race. Videos of our keynotes and Live Performance showcase are forthcoming. Please visit us on Facebook to see event snapshots. High-resolution press photographs are available on request. Follow the archive of the event on Twitter #CMRS2014. Read a reflection from our Social Media Caucus organizer Sharon H. Chang. Watch Mixed Roots Stories top 3 highlights from each day.

The 2016 conference will be held Nov 10-12, 2016 at University of Southern California and will be hosted by Associate Professor Duncan Ryuken Williams, founder of the Hapa Japan Project (along with project co-director Velina Hasu Houston) and Director of USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. We will continue to partner with Mixed Roots Stories to offer arts and cultural programming. We are moving forward with founding an association. Join our mailing list to stay informed. We anticipate organizing a symposium in 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and a full CMRS conference on the United States east coast in 2018. We are currently seeking institutional partners in the United Kingdom or Japan to host a CMRS symposium in 2017. Please contact us at cmrs@depaul.edu if you would like to volunteer…

For more information, click here.

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The 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race”

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-26 17:46Z by Steven

The 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race”

DePaul University
DePaul Student Center
2550 North Shefield
Chicago, Illinois 60614
2014-11-13 through 2014-11-15

Free and open to the public!

Global Mixed Race, the third biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, will be hosted at DePaul University in Chicago, November 13th-15th, 2014. It will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.

The 2014 conference is organized in partnership with DePaul’s Department for Latin American and Latino Studies and the Center for Intercultural Programs, and the non-profit organization Mixed Roots Stories. CMRS 2014 is also co-sponsored by DePaul’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, African Black Diaspora Studies, Art, Media, & Design, Center for Latino Research, Critical Ethnic Studies, Global Asian Studies, Irish Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

View the final schedule here.

Website: www.criticalmixedracestudies.org
E-Mail: cmrs@depaul.edu
Telephone: 773-325-4994
Facebook: criticalmixedracestudies
Twitter: @CMRSmixedrace #CMRS2014

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What’s Your Mix?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2014-10-15 19:21Z by Steven

What’s Your Mix?

Mixed Roots Stories
2014-10-07

Lill Salole
Oslo, Norway

”Where are you from”? That feeling. When you don´t easily fit into any clean, closed categories. When your looks don´t match people´s expectations and definitions, and the answer is messy. Confusing. Ambiguous. Sometimes even deemed as politically incorrect and provoking. Like being part black, part white. Or having an upbringing influenced by Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Atheist, as well as Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu principles.

When this question is posed, I often have to deliberate. I must quickly decide whether to give whoever is asking the long or the short version. I always have to consider my relationship to them, and evaluate how interested he or she really is in this story. I have to think about what my mood and level of patience is, as well a how much time we have.

The trouble is, even the short version quickly becomes very complicated…

Read the entire article here.

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