Call for Submissions: “Black and White: Parenting on the Colorline,” an anthology edited by Caroline Berz, Jessie Scanlon and Kim Dacosta

Posted in Family/Parenting, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2014-10-28 17:51Z by Steven

Call for Submissions: “Black and White: Parenting on the Colorline,” an anthology edited by Caroline Berz, Jessie Scanlon and Kim DaCosta

When General Mills aired a Cheerios commercial featuring a family with a white mother, a black father and a biracial child, many viewers reacted positively, but the ad’s YouTube page was filled with so much vitriol that the company disabled comments. A white woman calling in to the black comedian D.L. Hughley’s radio show summed up the disgust: “Cereal is white. That has no place at the breakfast table. It’s offensive.” The Cheerios marketing team doubled down, spending $4 million to run a second ad with the family during the Super Bowl, yet many people are still uncomfortable with the very idea of a black/white family. As Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen put it, “people with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York—a white man married to a black woman with two biracial children.” These are the stories of mixed race families that gain national attention. The anger, suspicion, and ignorance they reflect can also be felt in our most mundane daily interactions. Last year, a white man shopping at Walmart with his biracial children was suspected of kidnapping. Black fathers of lighter-skinned children often draw questioning stares, while darker-skinned mothers are often mistaken for “the nanny.”

As a nation we are increasingly multiracial, but mixed race individuals and families are still perceived as an anomaly. For those of us living—and parenting—on the colorline, events like the Cheerios controversy are urgent reminders that the society we are raising our children in is far from “post-racial,” regardless of the election of the first African American/white president. Indeed, since Barack Obama moved into the White House, we’ve seen an increase in violence targeting those of African descent.

How do these issues affect the day-to-day lives of our families? How do they inform the many ways we parent our children, our hopes and dreams—and fears—for them? How do we go about the daily tasks of building and supporting our families, loving our partners, and growing into our own identities as parents when racism continues to be a defining issue in our schools, on our streets, in our government’s policies and sometimes in our own homes?

The essays anthologized in Black and White: Parenting on the Colorline will explore the multiple and complex experiences of parenting children of African and European heritage, and of families formed by transracial adoption. The collection will pay close attention to the ways in which the mixed race identities of children and parents alike are informed by gender, class, sexuality, language and citizenship. The writing will be humorous and lyrical, insightful and critical, and most of all personal, reflecting the joys and challenges of mixed-race parenting.

Topics can include (but are not limited to): pregnancy and birth; adoption; LGBTQ families; interfaith and interracial families; divorce; single-parenting; grandparenting mixed children; racial implications of different parenting philosophies; specifics of parenting mixed girls and boys; gender-nonconforming children and families; special rights children and families; experiences at playgrounds and in mothers’/parents’ groups; schools and education; notions of beauty; bullying; policing; questions of multiculturalism and diversity; individual and family identities that push the boundaries of the black/white binary.

Please send the editors a brief description of your proposed essay (250-300 words), a bio (200-250 words), and a list of previous publications. The essays can range in length and tone, though all should be accessible to a broad audience. Pieces are due on January 15 [2015], and acceptance will depend upon the strength and fit of the completed essay.

Editor Bios:

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Caroline Berz has been engaged in active dialogue around issues of “race” and identity for as long as she can remember. She has worked closely with Facing History and Ourselves for over fifteen years first as an intern, then as a full-time staff member and most recently as a member of the National Teacher Advisory Board and adjunct online facilitator. She has piloted new material on the American eugenics movement, South Africa and Rwanda. She spent a decade as a high school history teacher in Boston area public schools teaching a variety of courses ranging from Modern European History to Modern World History to her personal favorite, a junior/senior elective on Race and Membership. In 2008, she transitioned from being in the classroom full-time to curriculum writing, film education and outreach. Helping schools and communities to become “fluent” in multiculturalism is one of her passions so she enjoys leading diversity workshops in schools for teachers, students and parents. She has a BA in US History from Tufts University and a Masters in Education from Harvard University and is mom to two young children, ages 2 and 6.

Jessie Scanlon has worked as a writer, editor, and journalist for 20 years. After graduating with honors from Brown University, she earned an internship at Wired magazine and worked her way up the masthead to become a senior editor. Along the way she co-authored Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age. After ten years on staff, she became a contributing writer for the magazine. In addition to her pieces for Wired, she has written for national magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Slate, Popular Science, ID, Dwell, Men’s Journal, and After four years on staff at BusinessWeek, where she spearheaded its online coverage of innovation and design, she shifted to working primarily in books. Most recently, she helped write Leading the Life You Want, a Wall Street Journal best seller. Jessie lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband and two children.

Kim DaCosta, a sociologist, is especially interested in the contemporary production of racial boundaries. Born in Boston and raised in two of its suburbs—both largely white and blue collar—she is the fourth of her Irish mother and Black father’s six children. The experience of growing up in metropolitan Boston of the 1970s and 80s, a time and place uncomfortable with when not outright hostile to interracial families, first sparked her academic interests. Kim’s book, Making Multiracials: State, Family, and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line (Stanford 2007), explores the cultural and social underpinnings of the movement to create multiracial collective identity in the United States. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and holds a PhD in sociology from Berkeley. Kim is currently a professor and dean at New York University and is the mother of three children.

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Are Biracial Children Damaged?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-27 15:15Z by Steven

Are Biracial Children Damaged?

HERS Magazine
November/December 2014
page 36

Cherrye S. Vasquez

Approximately seven years ago, I was engaged in what I thought was a friendly conversation with a group of ladies at my work. As mothers, we often talked about our daily activities our children were engaged in. Our conversations were personal, easy stress relievers, and generally ended with much laughter among the group.

When I ended my “story of the day” on the subject of my daughter’s latest activity, one of the ladies turned and said, “Well she’s going to have psychological problems anyway.”

I looked at her, startled, and asked what she meant by that. “Well, she’s biracial,” she continued, “and all biracial children end up with psychological problems.”

This woman was the first person who’d ever made such an asinine statement to me, but unfortunately not the last. What she claimed never crossed my mind. Why would it?

Read the entire article here.

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Snap! Space presents Zun Lee

Posted in Arts, Family/Parenting, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-22 19:10Z by Steven

Snap! Space presents Zun Lee

Snap! Orlando
1013 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32803
Saturday, October 25, 2014 14:00-16:00 EDT (Local Time)

Join us for an afternoon artist talk and book signing with photographer Zun Lee.

Zun will be joining us from Toronto and discuss his series ‘Father Figure’ and sign copies of his newly released book Father Figure – Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood (September 19, 2014.) Zun’s book release party at the Bronx Documentary Center was so highly anticipated that crowds lined the street surrounding the building around the block to get in. This afternoon at Snap! Space is not to be missed.

Over the course of three years photographer Zun Lee has masterfully attempted to change the perception of the African American father through the lens of his camera. This collection of photographs in the new book is an immersive approach to his remarkable photo documentary project. “Scenes that can stand on their own and humanize the black experience without demanding perfection or respectability,” says Lee were filmed with so much care—vivid images of loving parental relationships that are able to engross any spectator into a family story that is tough to believe. An added revelation: the photographer himself grew up feeling a sense of loss due to his own father’s choice to abandon his family.

Lee, a Toronto-based physician and now self-described street photographer, was born in Germany to what he thought was both a Korean mother and father. As a boy he learned the truth: his black father left his mother upon learning she was pregnant. Lee’s search for compassion led him to families in urban areas of Chicago, New York City, and home to Toronto. Says Lee: “There’s been considerable backlash and confusion regarding why black fatherhood stereotypes are a problem at all, why the special focus on only black fathers, and people who simply refuse to believe that black men can be capable, affectionate loving fathers, period. I appreciate both sides of the collective commentary, because it exemplifies why these images and a broader conversation are needed.

For more information, click here.

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I raised my sons to be racially neutral

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-19 22:47Z by Steven

I raised my sons to be racially neutral


Terry Baker Mulligan

Two mixed-race boys, one lighter skinned than the other. Did I make a mistake telling them they were the same?

One Saturday night in St. Louis about decade ago my younger son, then a teen, was driving around town with two white friends. I’m black and my husband is white, so our two sons are biracial. This particular son has his father’s straight hair and aquiline nose. His skin is brown like mine.

The friend in the back seat behind my son stuck a paint pellet gun out the back window and shot a stop sign. He didn’t see two police cars parked just ahead. The cops hustled out of their squad cars and did the “Whoa, what the ‘F’ are you doing?” routine. The kids were taken to the police station, the gun was confiscated, and eventually all the parents were called to come to the station.

Back up about eight years. As a young family, we usually didn’t talk about race or even acknowledge it, because at the time we didn’t see the need. Then one night at the dinner table I got my first reality check when our younger boy, who was 7 at the time, said, “Dad, I want white skin and braces. And a new first name, like Michael.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial family embraces twins’ uniqueness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2014-10-02 15:33Z by Steven

Multiracial family embraces twins’ uniqueness

News 10, KXTV
Sacramento, California

Daria Givens, News 10 Staff

A Lincoln family embodies California’s melting pot and embraces their uniqueness.

LINCOLNFraternal twins Viviana and Dennis look very different from each other. They are part of the Ng Family, a multiracial family from all parts of the world.

The twins’ parents Kenika and Ashley Ng also come from multiracial families. Kenika Ng’s is African-American and Hispanic; his father is Hawaiian and Chinese. Ashley Ng is Irish and Hispanic.

Combine their racial make-up, and their children have more of a unique blend. Ten-month-old Viviana, who is four minutes older than her brother, has bright blue eyes and light brown hair like her mother and looks white. Dennis on the other hand, with the big brown eyes and black hair looks like his dad.

Read the entire article and watch the story here.

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Black Fathers, Present and Accountable

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-24 16:38Z by Steven

Black Fathers, Present and Accountable

Lens Blog: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism
The New York Times

Maurice Berger, Research Professor and Chief Curator
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

An anxious little girl hugs her father as a shark swims overhead in an aquarium. A man feeds his baby as he keeps a mindful eye on his three other rambunctious children. A single father reveals the tattoo on his forearm that depicts him as his son’s guardian angel. A young man poses proudly with the teacher he sees as a father figure.

While these photographs depict everyday situations, they are in one sense unusual: Their subjects are black and counter mainstream media that typically depict African-American fatherhood as a wasteland of dysfunction and irresponsibility. These images appear in a groundbreaking new book, “Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood” (Ceiba), by Zun Lee, a photographer and physician based in Toronto. A reception and book signing to mark its release will take place Friday night at the Bronx Documentary Center.

In 2011, Mr. Lee began photographing black men and their children from New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Toronto, Newark and other cities. He relied on friends and social media to find his subjects. Intent on creating a nuanced and affirmative view of these families, Mr. Lee spent weeks at a time getting to know them.

“Out of the hundreds of fathers I came across, the ones I ended up photographing were right for this project for very simple reasons,” Mr. Lee, 45, wrote in his book. “Not only did we develop a trust that allowed me into the inner sanctum of their private lives, but something about these fathers’ interaction with their kids resonated in ways that redeemed my own story.”

Mr. Lee’s personal history informs the project in complex and surprising ways. When he was in his 30s, his Korean mother confessed to him that his biological father was a black man with whom she had a brief affair. This knowledge, combined with the physical and verbal abuse he endured from the Korean father who raised him, stoked anger and confusion. Mr. Lee wondered why his biological father abandoned his mother, why he had made no effort to reconnect with his son, and whether his childhood would have been better had he been raised by both of his biological parents…

Read the entire article here.

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Making mixed babies

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-09-12 15:08Z by Steven

Making mixed babies

Bump 2 Baby: Pregnancy & Mothering Blog

Jody-Lan Castle, Linked Data Specialist
BBC News

As the world becomes increasingly more heterogeneous, having a mixed identity is increasingly common.

It’s really important to make children aware of their family background.

The memories of my own parents’ family histories had already begun to become diluted as they were passed down to me.

My Mother had voyaged to the shores of England by boat from the far lands of Malaysia. And my Father, born just round the corner in Essex, was the son of descendants of Irish and Roma travellers.

But specific details were never handed down to me, as they had started fading even from my Mother and Father’s recollections before I was born…

Read the entire article here.

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Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2014-09-10 16:23Z by Steven

Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World

Paradigm Publishers
June 2015
192 pages
Trim size: 6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61205-848-1

Sharon H. Chang

Research continues to uncover early childhood as a crucial time when we set the stage for who we will become. In the last decade, we have also seen a sudden massive shift in America’s racial makeup with the majority of the current under-5 age population being children of color. Asian and multiracial are the fastest growing self-identified groups in the United States. More than 2 million people indicated being mixed race Asian on the 2010 Census. Yet, young multiracial Asian children are vastly underrepresented in the literature on racial identity. Why? And what are these children learning about themselves in an era that tries to be ahistorical, believes the race problem has been “solved,” and that mixed race people are proof of it? This book is drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children. It is the first to examine the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst “post-racial” ideologies.

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“No Rainbow Families” and the Problem with Race-Based Reproduction Policies

Posted in Articles, Canada, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2014-09-08 21:14Z by Steven

“No Rainbow Families” and the Problem with Race-Based Reproduction Policies

Impact Ethics: Making a Difference in Bioethics

Catherine Clune-Taylor, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Philosophy
University of Alberta, Canada

Catherine Clune-Taylor suggests that we should target institutional and interpersonal racism rather than restrict individual reproductive choice

A July 2014 Calgary Herald article revealed that Calgary’s lone fertility clinic, Regional Fertility Program, restricts patients’ use of sperm donors to those of the same race. This “no rainbow families” policy received both national and international coverage. The media attention prompted the clinic to release a statement on its website, claiming that the policy was discarded a year ago (though the clinic had failed to update its website to that effect). Furthermore, the clinic maintained that the views represented in the article were solely those of the physician interviewed, Dr. Cal Greene, who apparently was unaware of the clinic’s change in practice. This is a dubious claim, given Dr. Greene’s position as the clinic’s administrative director and the full transcripts of his interviews with the article’s author, Jessica Barrett.

This news highlights the need for improved oversight of, and regulation for, fertility clinics. In addition, news of this clinic’s policy has given rise to complex, sometimes heated discussions among many about race, racism and good parenting.

As someone who is mixed-race, I was surprised to hear support for Dr. Greene’s arguments in social media from non-white and mixed-race persons. They sympathized with Dr. Greene’s arguments that parents and children should have an ethnic or cultural connection (presumably secured via shared race). They specifically cited the many experiences of interpersonal and institutional racism they had experienced growing up as non-white or mixed-race. They reasoned that a same-race parent would be better able to prepare their children for, and support them through, such experiences, and that it was better to not bring a mixed-race child into a racist society if it could be avoided…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Dox: Father Figure

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2014-09-07 22:39Z by Steven

Black Dox: Father Figure

By Blacks: Canadian Black owned everything

Nicole Franklin

Zun Lee

Father Figure – Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

Photographer: Zun Lee
IG, Facebook: zunleephoto
Twitter: @zunleephoto
Project Timeframe: September 2011 – present
Publisher/Contact/Pre-order: Ceibafoto LLC
Book Release: September 19, 2014.
Awards: Named on “PDN 30 2014,” Photo District News’ annual global list of 30 new and emerging photographers to watch.
Book Trailer: Father Figure – Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

Over the course of three years, photographer Zun Lee built trusted relationships with Black fathers from different walks of life. He witnessed intimate parenting scenarios that are often missing from the public realm and that he himself did not experience as a child. Deeply autobiographical, the book of photographs titled Father Figure – Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood connotes Mr. Lee’s attempt to deal with his own resentment toward his absent Black father.

Reportage photography has been one of our most valuable resources when it comes to examining the human race from the 19th century through today. Throughout history many have been intrigued by the story behind a single photograph—a captured frame of hope, despair, conflict or exhilaration. The instinct of many professional and amateur photographers to snap that split second of humanity has been a gift to all who seek a glimpse of the past. There is a stillness and an indelible command of focus that leaves an observer transfixed when a documentary image is the epitome of the perfect shot. Self-taught photographer Zun Lee has been on a lifelong quest looking for that perfect image—that loving father.

Lee, a Toronto-based physician and now self-described street photographer, was born in Germany but knew as a boy that his personal story was incomplete. He discovered early on that his upbringing to a Korean mother and father was not his true background. The real story: Lee’s Black father left his mother upon learning she was pregnant. The disclosure of this truth left Lee with a sense of loss and abandonment that stayed with him as an adult. In a search for the compassion of which he felt robbed, Lee and his camera sought out images of strong, involved and devoted fathers—Black fathers—who society has deemed nonexistent…

Read the entire article here.

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