MOsley WOtta Frontman Jason Graham to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Posted in Arts, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2012-02-24 02:05Z by Steven

MOsley WOtta Frontman Jason Graham to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Mixed Chicks Chat (The only live weekly show about being racially and culturally mixed. Also, founders of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival) Hosted by Fanshen Cox, Heidi W. Durrow and Jennifer Frappier
Website: TalkShoe™ (Keywords: Mixed Chicks)
Episode: #245 – Jason Graham
When: Wednesday, 2012-02-22, 22:00Z (17:00 EST, 14:00 PST)

Jason Graham,

Steven F. Riley, Guest Host

Don’t miss this chat with Jason Graham aka MOsley WOtta—spoken word artist extraordinaire!

For more on Jason Graham, see:

[Note from Steven F. Riley: I’ll will be the first Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival donor to receive the gift of guest hosting Mixed Chicks Chat]

Listen to the episode here.  Download the episode here.

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The Multiracial Identity Movement: Countless Ways to Misunderstand Race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-11-04 04:15Z by Steven

The Multiracial Identity Movement: Countless Ways to Misunderstand Race

Steven F. Riley

In Jen Chau’s essay, “Multiracial Families: Counted But Still Misunderstood,” in the October 31, 2011 issue of Racialiscious, reveals just how much race is misunderstood by some activists within the multiracial identity movement and exemplifies why the movement—in its current form—is incapable of leading us into a post-racial future.

Part of the “quiet” that Ms. Chau is experiencing is due to the realization that President Barack Obama is not the multiracial messiah some had thought he would be. He is neither a messiah, nor is he—as he has stated on multiple occasions—multiracial.  Unfortunately, in many ways, the policies of our first black President differ little from our previous white President (George W. Bush). Is this the “black-white mix” we were hoping for? Perhaps the quiet is the palatable disappointment in President Obama’s first three years office. What part of “race is a social construction” does she not understand?  As succinctly stated by Professor Richard Thompson Ford,

“Because race is a social category and not a biological or genetic one, Obama’s mixed parentage does not determine his race. Mixed parentage may influence one’s appearance, and a person whose appearance is racially ambiguous can influence how she is perceived. In such instances, race may be a question of personal affiliation to some extent. And mixed parentage may influence how one chooses to identify. But for the most part, society assigns us our races. At any rate, Obama’s appearance is not ambiguous, and he unquestionably identifies as black.” (Emphasis is mine.)

A good first step would be to for activists respect Obama’s identity as they would like us to respect theirs.

My theory—which differs considerably from Ms. Chau’s—is that the “quiet” is due to fact that multiracial-identity movement is simply not the progressive force she and others think it is; and we—including activists themselves—are beginning to recognize that.  In many ways, the multiracial-identity movement mimics the tactics, ideologies and demagogueries of the right-wing conservative adherents that it claims to fight.

The problems with the movement are numerous, but they can be narrowed to three major issues: 1) Race as biology, 2) Ahistoricity, and 3) the refusal to discuss the role of white supremacy within the discourses of multiraciality.

After nearly a century of scientific acknowledgment that there is no such thing as “race” as a biological concept, why do some in the movement still pursue issues dealing with so-called “multiracial medicine?”  A truly progressive movement would preface all of its statements with the fact that “race” in short, was a concept used to justify the extermination and enslavement of non-Europeans.

Another deficiency in the multiracial movement is its unwillingness to acknowledge that so-called “racial mixing” in the Americas is a five-century—not four decade—aspect of our history.  Thus even if “race” were a biological concept, we are all most certainly “mixed” by now.  Rather than making hypocritical (demanding the freedom to self-identify for some but not for others) pronouncements on President Obama’s heterogeneous background, multiracial activists should also consider the heterogeneity of the First Lady Michelle Obama, the overwhelming vast majority of black and Latino Americans, and yes, a significant segment of white Americans. In 1927, 40 years before the mythological baby-boom that was allegedly brought about by Loving v. Virginia and just seven years after the last 20th-century census that would enumerate “mixed-race” people (Ms. Chau seems to have forgotten the seven past censuses starting in 1850 that counted mixed-race individuals), anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits, revealed that,

“The word “Negro” is, biologically, a misnomer, for the African Negroes, brought to the United States as slaves, have crossed in breeding with the dominant White population, as well as with the aboriginal American Indian types with whom they came into contact, so that there is today only a small percentage of the American Negroes who may be considered Negro in the ordinary sense of the term.” (The emphasis is mine.)

When an early 20th-century anthropologist—in the midst of an overtly racist era—can show more insight that 21st century activists—in the midst of the so-called “Age of Obama” era—we have a serious problem.

Lastly, the most deafening “quiet” within the multiracial movement, is its silence on the role of white supremacy in the continuing oppression and shaping of identities here in United States and around the world.  It is the ideology of white supremacy that created the notion of race as biology, then racialized and dehumanized, enlslaved, and exterminated people around the world for centuries—and continue to do—to preserve the current Eurocentric hegemonic paradigm.  As Professor G. Reginald Daniel has warned,

“We should be especially concerned about any half-hearted attack on the Eurocentric paradigm in the manner of interracial colorism that merely weakens rather than eradicates the dichotomization of blackness and whiteness, while leaving intact the racial hierarchy that maintains white privilege.”

The type of incidents that agitate the multiracial identity movement today are not the growing wealth disparities among racialized groups, or current vigorous attempts to curtail voting rights of minorities ahead of the 2012 General Election, but rather the freely chosen racial identity by the President or the chosen racial identity of the child of a Hollywood celebrity.  As Ms. Chau has stated, there are many ways that we have to fight racism and ignorance, yet the movement—particularly on the internet—is more interested in exploiting the bodies of young people by hosting “mixed-race” fashion shows that conjure-up images of Quadroon Balls from the early 19th-century or posting photographs of the allegedly “multiracial person of-the-day” in a self-aggrandizing exercise that Professor Rainier Spencer has coined as “miscentrism.”  At this rate, the multiracial-identity movement will be no more effective in combating racism and ignorance than a lukewarm decaffeinated soy-triple-shot no-fat latte at Starbucks.

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Racial Truth?

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, My Articles/Point of View/Activities on 2011-08-06 18:37Z by Steven

Individuals and groups today in 2011 that insist and demand we all tell our whole “racial truth,” are no less misguided and insidious than the Virginians who insisted and demanded “racial integrity” in 1924.

Steven F. Riley, “Don’t Pass on Context: The Importance of Academic Discourses in Contemporary Discussions on the Multiracial Experience,” (paper presented at the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, Los Angeles, California, June 11, 2011).

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Critical Mixed Race Studies 2010 Event Report

Posted in Media Archive, Reports, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2011-02-19 20:31Z by Steven

Critical Mixed Race Studies 2010 Event Report


Wei Ming Dariotis, Associate Professor Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University, IPride Board

Camilla Fojas, Associate Professor and Chair
Latin American and Latino Studies
DePaul University

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media and Design and Director Asian American Studies
DePaul University

Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference
DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus
2250 N. Sheffield
Chicago, Illinois USA 60614
2010-11-05 through 2010-11-06

For the inaugural CMRS 2010 conference, we had over 450 people registered and 430 people actually showed up from all over the U.S. from Hawaii to Tennessee to New York as well as scholars from Canada, Korea, and the UK. The programming included 62 sessions of panels, round tables, and seminars; multiple film screenings, keynote addresses by leading scholars Mary Beltrán from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Andrew Jolivette from San Francisco State University, and community activist and artist Louie Gong from MAVIN and Eighth Generation; a Mixed Mixer social event with live jazz music; a performance by comedian Kate Rigg; an Informational Fair; a Book Table; Caucus and Business meetings.

We sold out three boutique hotels with CMRS attendees and many panels were standing room only or at capacity. We were honored to have many senior scholars present at CMRS 2010 as well as a strong contingent of undergraduate and graduate students from area colleges, community members, and a surprisingly high number of graduate students and junior colleagues from across the country. A critical mass of new media artists (podcasters, bloggers, film and video) including bloggers Steven F. Riley from and Fanshen Cox from the Mixed Chicks Chat podcast joined us as well. Representatives from community organizations came out in full force from: MAVIN, SWIRL Inc., Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, Multiracial Americans of Southern California,, and the Biracial Family Network.

You can find links to download the conference poster and a PDF of the schedule as well as the video of the welcoming address and the three keynote addresses and audio recordings from 18 sessions via iTunes U on the CMRS 2010 website:

Outcomes and Future Goals
We can’t express how grateful we are to all the attendees, participants, volunteers, hosts and co-sponsors for making this event happen.

Following the 2010 CMRS conference, we were able to establish the following Tangible Outcomes:

  • DePaul’s Media Production & Training (Wen Der Lin and Greg Barker) video recorded, edited, and posted video from the welcoming address and the three keynote addresses on iTunes U.
  • DePaul’s Media Production & Training (Wen Der Lin and Russ Patterson) worked with the organizers and participants to audio record conference sessions. 18 conference sessions were edited and MP3 audio was posted on iTunes U.
  • DePaul’s Linda Greco created updated the conference website under the Global Asian Studies URL (
  • Laura Kina started a Google group “criticalmixedracestudies” which participants are using to continue to stay in touch. If you haven’t joined yet, please do so at:!
  • CMRS participants are also using our “Critical Mixed Race Studies” facebook page to stay in touch. Friend us!
  • Chris Paredes, a student at the University of Washington, organized a network of mixed race student organizations from across the country to stay in touch on a regular basis. If you would like to join this discussion, please contact Chris at:
  • Amanda Erekson, President of MAVIN, is coordinating monthly call ins for the community orgs. If your mixed race community organization would like to participate, contact Amanda for details at:
  • DePaul LA&S undergrad student, Erin Kushino, would like to start a mixed race student org at DePaul. If you know DePaul students who might want to help her with these efforts, please contact her at:

Goals in progress and/or that we need help with still:

  • Next CMRS conference – Camilla Fojas and the DePaul University Department of Latin American and Latino Studies will host the second CMRS conference in November 2012. Be on the look out for the call for papers shortly. Please direct all conference questions to Camilla Fojas at:
  • G. Reginald Daniel and Paul Spickard (University of California, Santa Barbara), Laura Kina (DePaul University), Wei Ming Dariotis (San Francisco State University) plan to launch an online peer reviewed CMRS journal. We are in the process of reviewing digital platforms for the online journal and drafting a list of CMRS journal advisory board members. We will be sending out invitations to senior scholars shortly. We will be looking for additional junior and senior scholars to be blind reviewers and guest editors. Please direct all questions about the journal to G. Reginald Daniel at:
  • Plans are in the works to found an association for CMRS. If you are interested in volunteering for a leadership role, please contact Laura Kina at: Our immediate needs are for a volunteer lawyer to review our by-laws and help us apply for non-profit status.

Thank you for supporting the inaugural CMRS 2010 conference!

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Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2010-11-09 20:31Z by Steven

Finally, while his name does not appear in the text or bibliography, I want to acknowledge the deep debt I owe to Steven Riley, who maintains the mixed-race scholarly website, “Mixed Race Studies: Scholarly Perspectives on the Mixed Race Experience” (, which is the most comprehensive and objective clearinghouse for scholarly publications related to critical mixed-race theory of which I am aware.  It is through this very robust resource that I came across a goodly number of scholarly references I cite in this book.

Rainier Spencer, Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix. (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers, Inc., 2011), x.

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Posted in New Media, Papers/Presentations on 2010-04-11 05:23Z by Steven

A Paper Presented at
Who Counts & Who’s Counting? 38th Annual Conference National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference
Session: The race in “mixed” race? Reiterations of power and identity
Washington, DC

Steven F. Riley


In the paper I describe the origins of a non-commercial website that provides a gateway to contemporary interdisciplinary (sociology, psychology, history, law, etc.) English language scholarship about the relevant issues surrounding the topic of multiracialism.  I discuss the inspiration, conception, development and future plans for the site.

Good Morning.

I would like to take a few moments of your time to describe an online resource I created a year ago called  Before I continue, I would like to thank Dr. Rainier Spencer and Dr. Sue-Je Gage for giving me this opportunity to speak to you.

The heightened visibility of self-described ‘mixed-race’ individuals in the entertainment industry and professional sports has of recent years has captured the attention and fascination of the American public.  This heightened awareness has even led to changes in the way our decennial census collects racial data.  Even more recently, the election of ‘mixed-race’ individuals across the country from mayors (such as this city) to the president of our country has led some to believe we have in fact entered a ‘post-racial’ society.

The skeptic in me has always questioned the validity of the American popular culture multiracial gaze.  To be honest, I too have occasionally succumbed to the gaze of increasing numbers of interracial relationships (like my own 24 year relationship with my loving wife Julia), and the offspring of such unions.  In the Silver Spring, Maryland area that my wife and I live in, interracial couples and mixed-race individuals seem to be everywhere.  And this, in a racialized society as ours is fascinating.  But, like many things, what is fascinating today may be irrelevant next week, despised next month, discarded next year… and rediscovered next century. 

I was drawn to the subject of mixed race because it is so complex.  I wanted to ask questions, and to share the answers and information I found along the way.  For me, current discourses about multiracialism in pop-culture today provide us with only a cursory understanding of the lives of ‘mixed-race’ people and the societal implications of their increasing presence.  The many shortcomings of pop-cultural discourses are too numerous to mention, but include.

  1. An utter lack of historical perspective.  This ‘new’ thing has been occurring in the Americas for over five centuries.
  2. An unwillingness to dismiss or even question the (scientifically proven) fallacious concept of ‘race’ despite the fact that mixed-race individuals—as Dr. Spencer says—embody its’ fallaciousness.
  3. An unwillingness to question whether our ‘fascination’ with multiracialism may in fact be due to the persistence of racism.
  4. A tendency to view the increased number of ‘mixed-race’ individuals of heralding in an era of a “post-racial” America.

To that end, I have turned my gaze away from television, away from rising and falling sports figures, towards the writings of individuals who have dedicated their life’s work to elucidating us about multiracialism.


 I began this journey, quite by accident in January 2008 when the son of a college friend of my wife Julia came to visit us for dinner at our home.  This young man—who we had not seen since he was a child—is the son of a black Haitian man and a white Jewish woman, mentioned to us that he was bringing along his girlfriend.  This caused me to spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about the girlfriend. I’m sure you have heard the phrase or question that “dare’th not speak its’ name”… “What are you?”  “What is she?”  I wondered was she “black” like his father or “white” like his mother?  Would he be in an interracial relationship like his parents?  Would his parents approve of the relationship? Was I asking myself a lot of stupid questions and what did it matter anyway?

As it turned out, our young guest’s girlfriend (now fiance) was in fact the daughter of a black father and a white mother also.  Were they an interracial couple?  Would their children be ‘mixed-race’?…. or not.

As the evening progressed, our conversation turned to politics and our preferred candidates for Democratic presidential nomination.  Julia and I supported then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, because… we thought she could win.  Our two young guests disagreed and were convinced—and convinced us—that this “black man of mixed heritage” named Barack Obama could indeed be elected to the presidency.

My journey continued after the election of President Obama and before his inauguration.  It seemed that everywhere I looked there were articles about interracial families on television programs, in newspapers, magazines and websites… again.  Were “mixed race” people in hiding since a previous victory, not in the electoral politics, but on the golf course in 1997?  Was America on the verge of a becoming post-post racial society?  What I yearned for was not another 15 second sound bite about the “changing face of America”, but an honest appraisal of what the apparent heightened visibility of mixed-race people really meant for America.

In February of 2009, I discovered the online podcast Mixed Chicks ChatStarted in May of 2007 by educator Fanshen Cox and author Heidi W. Durrow, this wonderful podcast promotes itself as “the only weekly show about being racially and culturally mixed.”  Available live or recorded via TalkShoe or recorded via Apple’s iTunes, the 150 episodes—I appeared as a featured guest on the 150thepisode this last Wednesday—provide listeners with insightful and thought provoking discussion surrounding ‘mixed-race’ issues.  After listening to several live podcasts, I found the hosts Ms. Cox and Ms. Durrow quite knowledgeable about all aspects of the ‘mixed-race’ experience.  Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the some of the listeners.  On many occasions, I would post links in the “chat room” to books and articles for fellow participants unfamiliar with terms such as “one-drop rule”, “Jim Crow”,  etc.  It was after a few weeks of this exercise, I decided to create an online resource to answer these many questions.

To obtain the knowledge to begin the process of building this resource, I purchased and read Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe’s ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: A Reader.  Considered by some the definitive anthology on the subject, ‘Mixed Race’ Studies takes the reader on a 150 year interdisciplinary trek encompassing the origins of “miscegenation theory” and false notions of moral and hybrid degeneracy, to contemporary discourses on identity politics and celebration, and finally to the critiques of these political movements.  Great anthologies like ‘Mixed Race’ Studies encourage the reader to further their scholarship by reading additional discourses by the various authors.  That was and remains the goal for my site, which I named in April of 2009.  is a non-commercial website that provides a gateway to contemporary interdisciplinary (sociology, psychology, history, law, etc.) English language scholarship about the relevant issues surrounding the topic of multiracialism.

The site contains over 1,000 posts that include over 400 articles, 300 books, and over 100 papers, reports and dissertations.

The site is by no means an exhaustive listing of discourses on ‘mixed race’ scholarship.  Some examples of the scholarship that is not available on the site are as follows:

  • Non-English language resources.
  • Out-of-print resources.  This includes important texts such as Everett V. Stonequist’s The Marginal Man: A Study in Personality and Culture Conflict (1937) and other works.
  • Non-web-based resources.

I created this site:

  • For all of those who think that race is a biological construction.
  • For Daphne who thought interracial marriage was not legal in the US until 1967.
  • For those who have always wondered why people who have complexions that range from white to dark-brown are classified as ‘black’.
  • For the young student of my 40-something pal Bradley in Manchester, England who was asked if there were any ‘mixed-race’ people older than him in Britain.
  • For Mike who told me there “weren’t many scholarly resource available on mixed-race identity.”

The goals of the site are to:

  • Provide visitors with links to books, articles, dissertations, multimedia and any other resources to enable them to further their (and my) knowledge on the topic.
  • Remind visitors that so-called “racial mixing” has been occurring in the Americas for over five centuries and in fact, all of the founding nations of the Americas were mixed-race societies at their inception.
  • Ultimately support a vision of the irrelevance of race.

In supporting the vision of the irrelevance of race, I’ve been forced to ask myself the following questions.

  • Is the ideal of no racial distinction a possibility?
  • Does mixed race identity continue the racial hierarchy/paradigm or does it change it?
  • Will the acknowledgement and study of multiraciality help or hinder a goal of a post-racial future?
  • Will the sheer volume of mixed race people provoke change?
  • …But if everybody has been mixed already and our racial paradigm hasn’t changed in the last 400 years, what do we make of the changes in these last 40 years?
  • And what changes can we expect in the next 40?

Future plans for the site

After creating the site, I firmly believed that the audience would be individuals like myself—non-scholars—with a casual to moderate interest in multiracial identity issues.  At best, I hoped that parents or caregivers of mixed race children would find some interest in the site.  To my surprise, I have discovered that the overwhelming audience—at least by those who have contacted me—have been individuals in academia!  Many scholars in fact, are regular subscribers to the site.  A professor at the University of California has told me that his institution has been trying to set up a website similar to mine, but for now there are no funds to proceed.

As for now, remains a labor of love, requiring minimal financial resources to host ($10.00 per/month).  Future plans involve utilizing my programming and database skills to produce a scholar bibliographic search engine and other features.

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Mixed Chicks Chat Interview with Steve Riley, Creator of Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Audio, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-04-08 01:01Z by Steven

Mixed Chicks Chat Interview with Steve Riley, Creator of Mixed Race Studies

Mixed Chicks Chat (The only live weekly show about being racially and culturally mixed. Also, founders of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival) Hosted by Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow
Website: TalkShoe™ (Keywords: Mixed Chicks)
Episode: #147 – Steven F. Riley
When: Wednesday, 2010-04-07 21:00Z (17:00 EDT, 14:00 PDT)

Steven F. Riley

Mike Peden (aka The Sports Brain, or ‘TSB’) is a journalist whose film “What Are You? A Dialogue on Mixed Race” screened at the 2nd Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. He will be interviewing Steven F. Riley (aka SilverSpringSteve) whose blog has over 1,000 posts on the study of multiracialism.

Listen to the episode here or download it to your computer here.

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