Mixed race and proud: LA’s multi-heritage kids navigate their identity

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-08 21:03Z by Steven

Mixed race and proud: LA’s multi-heritage kids navigate their identity

89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio
Pasadena, California

Deepa Fernandes

Soleil Simone Haight loves saying all three of her names, running them together with sheer glee in her voice. She also proudly declares that she is five years old, that she has curly hair like her mommy, and that she is from Africa.

But when she announces that she’s from Africa, she often encounters a momentary look of confusion from listeners that might have something to do with her blonde hair and fair skin. Dealing with that confused look is one small part of what it means to be a young mixed race child.

On the other hand, this sparkly kindergartener who has a black and Native American mom and a white dad is not confused. When asked why people have different colored skin, her response is matter-of-fact: “Because that’s the way they’re made.”

One of the biggest demographic changes over the last few decades has been in the number of children under five who are mixed race. In 1970, just 1 percent of babies had parents of different races. Today, it’s 10 percent…

…“Navigating identity, having to balance, having to favor one over the other in certain circumstances, all those things are really difficult and our children are going to go through it and so we have to equip ourselves with the ability to deal with it,” said Nayani.

Both these families had a rare moment of public celebration this past August when the Dodgers honored mixed race families by dedicating a game to people of multi-heritage. It came after years of advocacy work by a group called Multi-Racial Americans of Southern California (MRASC) [MASC].

At the game, the mayor’s office presented an award to the group for it’s work. Sonia Smith-Kang, vice president of MRASC, said it was an important moment recognizing the movement’s “collective dedication to the multiracial community.”

While families are themselves organizing to bring attention, resources and recognition to the needs of their multi-heritage children, the early education world is not really helping.  Erika Frankenberg, a professor of education and demography at Penn State University, who authored a report on preschool segregation, said too often children go to preschool with children exactly like themselves…

Read the entire story here. Download the story (00:04:22) here.

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A Family That Pushed Racial Boundaries Through Generations

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-05 19:38Z by Steven

A Family That Pushed Racial Boundaries Through Generations

The New York Times

Caitlin Dickerson, National Reporter

From left: Blake, Jared, Bryan and Deborah Treadwell, photographed in Eastham, Mass.
Credit Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

When Lizzie Connor kissed her husband goodbye and hopped on a train at Grand Central Depot, The New York Times took note. An article written about the couple in 1885 was not a wedding announcement, but a news story that noted a serious peculiarity at the time.

Ms. Connor was white; her husband, Titus Poole, was black. And we believe that the article, headlined “Married to a Negro,” was one of the newspaper’s earliest mentions of an interracial couple. Four generations later, the couple’s descendants have drawn the attention, and sometimes scorn, of outsiders because of several boundary-defying unions that followed. Today, they have roots that are black, white and Native American.

It appears the writer of the article did not interview the Pooles, but instead retraced their steps across southern New York State over several days, stringing together a dispatch that reads like a gossip column, with bits of information, like Mr. Poole’s “handsome suit of broadcloth, with white vest, white necktie, and buff kid gloves,” from those who had observed the couple. The article also misspelled Mr. Poole’s surname and misreported the couple’s ages.

Even more rare than their interracial relationship was the Pooles’ adoption of a white baby girl, named Lillian. “Simply unheard-of,” is how E. Wayne Carp, an emeritus history professor at Pacific Lutheran University, recently described the adoption, which he called a “one-in-a-million case,” because of the “raging racism against mix-race married couples” at the time…

…Bryan Treadwell, the Pooles’ great-grandson, now 68, says he identifies racially as “other.” He hadn’t known until The Times tracked him down last year that his great-grandparents were an interracial couple, but he did know that Lillian Poole, his white grandmother (and the Pooles’ adopted daughter), defied racial mores by marrying Harold Treadwell Sr., who was part black and part Native American. They gave birth to Mr. Treadwell’s father, Harold Marvin Treadwell Jr., in 1925…

Read the entire article here.

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Call for Papers: Power, Intimacy and the State: Mixed Families in Europe and Beyond

Posted in Anthropology, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2017-01-26 15:40Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Power, Intimacy and the State: Mixed Families in Europe and Beyond

Power, Intimacy and the State: Mixed Families in Europe and Beyond Conference
University of Amsterdam
June 12-13, 2017

Betty de Hart, Professor of Migration Law
Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG)
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

CALL FOR PAPERS (View PDF version here.)

Historically, mixed couples and people of mixed descent have been seen as a problem, in popular culture as well as in academic literature. ‘Ethnically’ and ‘racially’ mixed relationships were described as dominated by power imbalances and as devoid of love. This perspective was brought to bear upon relationships and marriages in colonial times and in times of slavery. Even today, within the context of global migration, mixed couples are often perceived in negative terms, e.g. in discourses on ‘mail order brides’ (marriages between white men and migrant women) or ‘beznez marriages’ (marriages between white women and migrant men).

There is no denying that mixed couples and relations are fraught with power inequalities as they developed in the context of historical and modern-day global inequalities, colonialism, post-colonialism, slavery and racialised hierarchies. However, issues concerning the entanglement of power and privilege with intimate relationships are much more complex than they are often envisioned to be. Since the 1980s, scholars of ‘mixture’ and ‘mixedness’, including critical race and critical mixed race studies, have been questioning this pathologisation of mixed couples and mixed descent. They have called for more nuanced approaches to the lived experiences of mixed couples and persons of mixed descent, that should help us strike a proper balance between an overly negative view on the one hand and an unwarranted romanticised view on the other, which regards mixed relationships and mixed heritage as a means for creating a boundary-less and race-less world.

Hence, this conference addresses questions such as: how we may gain a fuller understanding of the lived experiences of mixed couples, power, and intimacy, without pathologizing and dehumanizing them? This conference aims to approach these questions from international comparative perspectives. How can a balanced view be achieved in the European context, where mixed couples are mostly studied with respect to the contradictory imperative of cultural assimilation on the one hand and respect for cultural difference on the other? And what about other continents such as Africa or Asia?

The conference

The conference seeks to bring together people from different disciplines (ethnic and racial studies, critical (mixed) race studies, history, (post)colonial studies, film and media studies, literature, sociology, anthropology, geography, law, gender studies, sexuality and queer studies, migration studies, et cetera), and from different national backgrounds. We believe that an interdisciplinary and comparative approach is key to gaining the ‘thick’ understanding of mixed relationships that this conference aims at. We especially hope to give a boost to the study of mixture and mixed intimacies in the European context.

The conference is a joint initiative of the Amsterdam Centre of European Law and Governance (University of Amsterdam), and the Maastricht Centre for Gender and Diversity, in cooperation with LovingDay.NL. It will take place on 12 and 13 June 2017, when Loving Day is commemorated as the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Loving v. Virginia American Supreme Court decision, that held that interracial marriage prohibitions were unconstitutional.

Papers may relate to, but are not limited to, the following topics:

1. Mixed couples and persons of mixed heritage navigating power and inequality

In order to study power differentiations within mixed families adequately, obviously, not only race or ethnicity but also gender and class are relevant identity markers. How can an intersectional approach of race, gender and class illuminate power dynamics within mixed families? How do members of mixed families respond to them? Another issue is how youngsters and persons of mixed descent negotiate the different social dynamics and power relations that shape their experiences? How and by what means do they claim the power to define themselves?

2. Activism and NGOs of mixed families and people of mixed descent

Across the globe, mixed couples and people of mixed descent have become activists and established NGOs to facilitate the telling of their stories and to challenge the disempowerment caused by dominant negative, pathologizing understandings of mixed couples and mixture. Who are the persons and parties that speak in the name of mixed families, and what are the interests at stake? What alternative discourses do they put forward? How do stories and experiences of mixed families and persons of mixed heritage matter in public and political debates on multicultural/multiracial societies, and anti-racism? And how does discovering ‘hidden’ historical stories of mixed heritage function in these debates?

3. State and institutional policies shaping power and inequalities

Power dynamics within mixed couples and families are closely intertwined with the power hierarchies of race/ethnicity, gender, and class within society at large. State laws and policies shape identities of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ and determine the definition of who or what is ‘mixed’. State and institutional policies have both struggled to discourage or prevent, and to encourage or even celebrate mixed relationships. If state and institutional policies decide the meaning of difference, how should we understand various meanings of ‘mixed couples’ and ‘mixed descent across Europe and beyond? What are the transnational linkages between continents, colony and metropole, global north and global south? How does the state shape and regulate mixed families and identities and which effects do they have on the internal power dynamics of mixed couples?

4. Performing mixed relationships in the arts, popular culture and news media

In the present and in the past, the arts, popular culture and news media have been enacting specific scripts for mixed relationships, which have confirmed and critiqued perspectives implied in social policies, and state politics. We will study in what ways the arts, popular culture and news media have constructed, mediated and challenged the dominant, problematizing approach to mixed couples and people of mixed descent, as well as unwarranted romantic idealizations of mixed couples as the key to a fair society. What concepts of mixed identity have been produced by these media and how were these perceived by the general public? What were the agencies of mixed individuals and families in dealing with the written texts and visual images about them? And how have these changed through time and across space?

5. Studying mixedness in Europe

Until today, Europe does not have a strong academic tradition in studying mixed couples and mixed descent, as opposed to, for instance, the US or the UK. How can the study of mixedness in Europe be given a boost, and move beyond the exclusive association of mixed couples with the ‘assimilation versus difference’ debate? How is European research linked to dominant, politicized categorizations of what and who is ‘mixed’? How is research in Europe linked to policy perceptions of the social meaning of mixed relationships and mixed heritage? Do European research traditions challenge the binaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’? And what about the heteronormativity of much of the studies on mixed couples and families? How can the development of an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach help us understand the relation between power, intimacy and the state in the European context? How can we take inspiration from the Anglo-American research traditions? And in what ways can we employ approaches from critical race and critical mixed race studies?

Abstracts of maximum 400 words to be submitted before March 1, 2017 at: mixedintimacies-fdr@uva.nl

Check our website for regular updates of conference information and practical matters http://acelg.uva.nl/mixedintimacies

The conference will be held at University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Conference organizers:

View in PDF here.

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Mixed: Documentary to Explore Interracial Families

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Family/Parenting, United States on 2017-01-08 00:05Z by Steven

Mixed: Documentary to Explore Interracial Families

American University
Washington, D.C.

Gregg Sangillo, Online Writer

School of Communication professors Leena Jayaswal (l) and Caty Borum Chattoo (r) are making a film about interracial families in the United States.

It took a while for documentary filmmakers Leena Jayaswal and Caty Borum Chattoo to realize that they were part of their own story. They’re both in interracial marriages with biracial children, and that’s the subject of their upcoming film, Mixed.

“Everybody kept telling us this film is about the two of you. And we said, ‘No, it’s not.’ But then somebody would say, ‘Why are you making this film?’” Jayaswal recalls.

The documentary is a travelogue—talking with people in Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles, among other places—but Jayaswal and Borum Chattoo are inextricably linked to the subject matter at hand.

“It’s a journey film about the two of us finding mixed-race stories across America,” says Jayaswal, an associate professor at American University’s School of Communication.

Throughout the process, they’ve discovered so much more about their country—and themselves. “We actually had all these questions. How does mixed-race identity develop? So we talked to a psychologist about that. What’s the media representation? So we talked to a bunch of Hollywood people. So we’re finding those answers,” says Borum Chattoo, an executive in residence at SOC…

Read the entire article here.

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Partnered fathers bringing up their mixed-/multi-race children: an exploratory comparison of racial projects in Britain and New Zealand

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2016-12-29 00:50Z by Steven

Partnered fathers bringing up their mixed-/multi-race children: an exploratory comparison of racial projects in Britain and New Zealand

Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
Published online: 2015-09-23
DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2015.1091320

Rosalind Edwards, Professor of Sociology; Social Sciences Director of Research and Enterprise; Co-director, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

This article explores how fathers in couple relationships where their partner is from a different racial background understand bringing up their children. Drawing on a small-scale, in-depth comparison of fathers’ accounts in Britain and New Zealand, and using the analytic concept of racial projects, fathers’ activities towards and hopes for their children’s identity and affiliation are revealed as keyed into historically situated social and political forces. Particular national racial projects and histories of coloniser and colonised are (re)created and reflected in the various typifications (ideal orientations) informing the fathers’ racial projects. These might be concerned with mixed, single or transcendent senses of belonging, in individual or collective ways, each of which was in various forms of dialogue with race.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Children’s and Adults’ Predictions of Black, White, and Multiracial Friendship Patterns

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-22 02:11Z by Steven

Children’s and Adults’ Predictions of Black, White, and Multiracial Friendship Patterns

Journal of Cognition and Development
Published online: 2016-11-22
20 pages
DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2016.1262374

Steven O. Roberts, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Amber D. Williams, National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Texas, Austin

Susan A. Gelman, Heinz Werner Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
University of Michigan

Cross-race friendships can promote the development of positive racial attitudes, yet they are relatively uncommon and decline with age. In an effort to further our understanding of the extent to which children expect cross-race friendships to occur, we examined 4- to 6-year-olds’ (and adults’) use of race when predicting other children’s friendship patterns. In contrast to previous research, we included White (Studies 1 and 2), Black (Study 3), and Multiracial (Study 4) participants and examined how they predicted the friendship patterns of White, Black, and Multiracial targets. Distinct response patterns were found as a function of target race, participant age group, and participant race. Participants in all groups predicted that White children would have mostly White friends and Black children would have mostly Black friends. Moreover, most participant groups predicted that Multiracial children would have Black and White friends. However, White adults predicted that Multiracial children would have mostly Black friends, whereas Multiracial children predicted that Multiracial children would have mostly White friends. These data are important for understanding beliefs about cross-race friendships, social group variation in race-based reasoning, and the experiences of Multiracial individuals more broadly.

Read or purchase the article here.

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New Book Confronts Colorism in 21st Century America

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-21 19:27Z by Steven

New Book Confronts Colorism in 21st Century America

NBC News

Lesley-Ann Brown

The Masque of Blackness” (1605) is an early Jacobean era “masque” — a popular form of 16th & 17th century amateur dramatic theatre — and is quite possibly the first instance in English literature where the topic of skin color is not only discussed, but where Blackness is cast in an unfavorable light.

Project Muse writes, “In The Masque of Blackness (1605) and its plot sequel “The Masque of Beauty” (1608), Ben Jonson represents the transformation of African people to Europeans when they travel to England from Africa.” The period in which it was commissioned and produced coincides with England’s expansion of her Atlantic journey into slavery, sugar and empire and so it ought not be underscored the role literature is enlisted to play in terms of the color hierarchy it was meant to entrain. The masque, commissioned by Anne of Denmark, queen consort of King James I, was also one of the first documented cases of “blackface” a practice so novel at the time that many of the English court found it disturbing…

…In “Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families,” Lori Tharps, an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University and author of “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” and “Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain,” Tharps gives voice to a dynamic that as she notes, “…doesn’t even exist. Not officially. It autocorrects on my computer screen. It does not appear in the dictionary. So, how does one begin to unpack a societal ill that doesn’t have a name?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Seeing Santa in Black and White

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-21 18:22Z by Steven

Seeing Santa in Black and White

The New York Times

Sa’iyda Shabazz

Sa’iyda Shabazz and her son visited the black Santa at Macy’s Herald Square store last week.

When my friend posted an adorable picture of her son with a black Santa in New York City, I was drawn to the idea of visiting a Santa who reflected my family’s skin tones. I’m black, and my 3-year-old son’s father is white. I am raising him as a single mom with the help of my parents. Why should white Santa be the default?

Of course, you can find children’s books that feature a black Santa Claus, and he appears in some ornaments and other products. The website blacksanta.com, founded by the former N.B.A. player Baron Davis, sells products like T-shirts, hats and ornaments featuring images of black Santa. In a classic episode of “The Cosby Show,” Dr. Huxtable explains to one of the children that as Santa drops down each chimney, his race morphs to match that of the family he’s visiting – Asian, African-American, Caucasian and so on.

It’s a nice sentiment, but the reality is that black Santas are pretty hard to find. When the Mall of America in Minnesota enlisted a black Santa this year, he was popular with children but his presence prompted an unpleasant racial backlash online

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed race couples still face racism in Australia

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2016-12-17 19:59Z by Steven

Mixed race couples still face racism in Australia

Sydney, Australia

Ginger Gorman

Ginger, her husband Don, and their daughter Elsa when she was younger.Source: Supplied

BETWEEN us, my husband and I have got Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, Slovakian, English, Scottish and Irish heritage. In appearance, he’s Asian and I’m caucasian.

This is 2016 and so you wouldn’t even think that was even worth mentioning. But the fact is, reasonably often this affects the way other people treat us.

When we first got together, I just didn’t notice. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I refused to notice. (Backstory: I spent years at an international school where every second person had mixed-race parents. For me, this was just an everyday occurrence.)

Then one day when our eldest daughter, Elsa, was about 18 months old we took her to the doctor. My husband, Don, was holding Elsa in his arms at the reception counter. In the familiar way of a couple, I was standing to his left and our arms were casually touching.

A lady standing to the right of Don commented on how cute Elsa was and then asked him: “Where’s your wife?”

Don pointed to me and the lady went bright red in the face and started stammering: “Oh, oh.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Look: Co-Parenting Mixed-Race Kids Requires More Than Racial Tolerance

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-15 19:17Z by Steven

Look: Co-Parenting Mixed-Race Kids Requires More Than Racial Tolerance

Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Ashley Simpo

What happens when fetishizing Black bodies results in having to raise one? An interview with Nick Harris.

It’s far from unique to see an interracial couple these days. The millennial generation is the most racially mixed to date and the U.S. Census predicts that, by the year 2044, there won’t even be a white majority. But within the larger construct of interracial love are several smaller, equally vital conversations — one of which is interracial co-parenting. What happens when an interracial couple has a child and then splits up? What issues arise?

These are questions single father Nick Harris had to come to terms with recently in a text exchange between himself and his daughter’s white mother. Nick posted a text conversation with his ex concerning his daughter’s hairstyle, which was the pretty common style of cornrows done by the child’s aunt, and the screen shots went viral. When his daughter’s mother saw a picture of the braids, she berated Harris, saying the style looked “too Black.” Harris defended his choice by reminding her that their daughter is, in fact, half Black. The exchanged escalated and went on for three pages. Once the internet caught wind of the epic text battle, the outrage sparked a heated reaction…

Read the entire interview here.

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