All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-01 01:38Z by Steven

All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

Code Switch: Race And Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2016-08-25

Leah Donnella


In a country where the share of multiracial children has multiplied tenfold in the past 50 years, it’s a good time to take stock of our shared vocabulary when it comes to describing Americans like me.
Jeannie Phan for NPR

It’s the summer of 1998 and I’m at the mall with my mom and my sister Anna, who has just turned 5. I’m 7. Anna and I are cranky from being too hot, then too cold, then too bored. We keep touching things we are not supposed to touch, and by the time Mom drags us to the register, the cashier seems a little on edge.

“They’re mixed, aren’t they?” she says. “I can tell by the hair.”

Mom doesn’t smile, and Mom always smiles. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” she says.

Later, in the kitchen, there is a conversation…

‘Multiracial’ or ‘mixed’?

In light of Hall’s paper, “multiracial” was adopted by several advocacy groups springing up around the country, some of which felt the term neutralized the uncomfortable connotations of a competing term in use at that point: “mixed.”

In English, people have been using the word “mixed” to describe racial identity for at least 200 years, like this 1864 British study claiming that “no mixed races can subsist in humanity,” or this 1812 “Monthly Retrospect of Politics” that tallies the number of slaves — “either Africans or of a mixed race” — in a particular neighborhood.

Steven Riley, the curator of a multiracial research website, cites the year 1661 as the first “mixed-race milestone” in North America, when the Maryland colony forbade “racial admixture” between English women and Negro slaves.

But while “mixed” had an established pedigree by the mid-20th century, it wasn’t uncontroversial. To many, “mixed” invited associations like “mixed up,” “mixed company” and “mixed signals,” all of which reinforced existing stereotypes of “mixed” people as confused, untrustworthy or defective. It also had ties to animal breeding — “mixed” dogs and horses were the foil to pure-breeds and thoroughbreds.

Mixed “evokes identity crisis” to some, says Teresa Willams-León, author of The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed Heritage Asian Americans and a professor of Asian American Studies at California State University. “It becomes the antithesis to pure.”…

Read the entire article here.

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MixedRaceStudies.org Surpasses 10,000 Posts!

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities on 2016-05-02 20:48Z by Steven

MixedRaceStudies.org Surpasses 10,000 Posts!

MixedRaceStudies.org
2016-05-02

Steven F. Riley, Creator and Founder

Silver Spring, MarylandMixedRaceStudies.org, the a non-commercial website that since 2009, provides the most comprehensive and robust gateway to interdisciplinary English language media about the relevant issues surrounding multiracialism, has now surpassed 10,000 posts.  This site has been called by a preeminent scholar, “the most comprehensive and objective clearinghouse for scholarly publications related to critical mixed-race theory” and by an up and coming scholar “probably the singularly most valuable tool in my work.” The website receives over 2,000 visitors each day over 1.5 million page views each month and is now on Twitter at @mixed_race.

The posts at MixedRaceStudies.org consist of 5,900+ articles; 1,400+ books; 600+ dissertation, papers and reports; 700+ multimedia items; 500+ excerpts/quotes; 100+ course offerings and other related items.

Click here to read the praise given to the site over the years and click here to read about my public activities discussing and/or participating in issues surrounding multiracialsm.

For more information about the website, please feel free to contact Steven Riley via e-mail.

Studying multiracialism and critical mixed race studies with Steven Riley, Ep. 42

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United States on 2015-12-07 21:44Z by Steven

Studying multiracialism and critical mixed race studies with Steven Riley, Ep. 42

Multiracial Family Man
2015-12-06

Alex Barnett, Host

Steven F. Riley, Creator and Founder
MixedRaceStudies.org

I’m really excited to let you know that I was just interviewed on the Multiracial Family Man podcast to discuss issues confronting multiracial people and multiracial families. It was great fun, and I really hope you’ll download, listen to, and share the podcast. You can find the podcast 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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BLACK AND WHITE vs BLACK OR WHITE: Bioethics and Mixed Race Families

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities on 2015-03-03 18:54Z by Steven

BLACK AND WHITE vs BLACK OR WHITE: Bioethics and Mixed Race Families

September Williams’ Bioethics Screen Reflections: Film, Television, and Media Critiques Relevant to Bioethics
2015-03-01

September Williams, MD

Black and White, screened at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and later at the Mill Valley Film Festival, in October 2014. The same title was also used to discuss the film in various film trade publications. However, the film’s title changed by the time of its USA distribution date, January 30, 2015. The word ‘and’ was replaced with the word ‘or’. That is, the film title became Black or White. Use of the word ‘and’ better reflects the courage of writer-director Mike Bender [Binder] in broaching contemporary issues around race and class. The film only superficially reflects two entities fighting one another. Much more prominent in the story is a struggle for Black and White to save each other. Bender [Binder] dares to suggest, we might all be in this mess together, sinking or swimming. Ignoring antebellum period themes, it’s a new take…

…Obvious bioethical concerns in Black and White include concerns for the best surrogate for a child whose parents are no longer able to parent; the age of autonomous decision making for children and historical injustices inherent in racism and classicism. The role of grief, acute and prolonged, in the context of substance abuse stands out. In the end it is the lagging of social construction, far behind the science of the human genome, that keeps viewers watching.

Stephen [Steven] Riley wrote an analysis of stresses, those identifying as Mixed Race, felt in filling out Box 9 on the 2010 United States census. He describes people agonizing about accurately portraying their racial identity. Riley states “For those who desire to portray their ‘accurate racial’ identity, I have news for you — ‘racial accuracy’ is an oxymoron. ‘Race’ as a biological, or anthropological construct is an utter fallacy”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Born Identity: Race & Identity in the Multiracial Community

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-28 02:55Z by Steven

The Born Identity: Race & Identity in the Multiracial Community

Districtly Speaking
Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library
3160 16th Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20010
Thursday, 2015-01-29, 18:30-20:00 EST (Local Time)

“Race is not a universal concept — the definitions we go by are often arbitrary, uniquely American and undergo dramatic shifts from one generation to the next….perhaps it’s time to let multiracial people steer the conversation, instead of constantly having other who lack their lived experience define what they are, what they’re not and what they can be.” —Zak Cheney-Rice, Identities.Mic

“I self-identify as African American… that’s how I’m treated and that’s how I’m viewed. I’m proud of it.” —President Barack Obama

Join us on Thursday, January 29 for our first town hall of the year examining race and identity in the multiracial community. Our panelists will discuss growing up in a multiracial family, how they choose to identify themselves and how the biracial/multiracial story is being told through pop culture, the media, academia and the Obama Presidency. Got a question for our panelists? Submit your questions when you RSVP! Follow the conversation leading up to the town hall on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! #DSMultiracial

Moderator:

Jonelle Henry, Journalist, Host & Conversation Starter; Founder & Host
Districtly Speaking

Panelists:

  • Joline Collins, Training Coordinator, Spitfire Strategies
  • Alex Laughlin, Social Media Journalist / Audience Engagement Manager, National Journal
  • Steven Riley, Founder & Creator, MixedRaceStudies.org
  • Janea West, Journalist & Cultural Critic
  • Patrick Wilborn, STEM Instructor/Tutor Instructor, College Tribe

For more information, click here.

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Two Chowan Discovery Panels in Chicago

Posted in History, Live Events, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United States on 2014-11-11 23:59Z by Steven

Two Chowan Discovery Panels in Chicago

Chowan Discovery Group
Press Release
2014-10-27

Marvin T. Jones, Executive Director

Thursday, 2014-11-13, 09:00 CST (Local Time) and Friday, 2014-11-14, 16:00 CST (Local Time)

For the second consecutive conference, Chowan Discovery Group is hosting two panels at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference at DePaul University in Chicago. Address is DePaul University Center, 2250 N. Sheffield at the Fullerton CTA station.

  • Thursday, November 13 from 2:15 to 3:45pm, Room 325: “Mobility and Definition in Mixed-Race History.” The moderator is Mayola Cotterman, retired professor, Northwestern University. The panelists are:
    • Dr. Arwin D. Smallwood (North Carolina A&T University): “Documenting and Exploring the Early History of Mixed Race Peoples: Over Five Hundred Years of the Merging of Native American, African, and European Peoples in North America from the 1500s to Present”
    • Ainsworth Tracy (New York College – CUNY): “Documenting the Intersections and History of African-Americans and Native Americans in Colonial America: American Marronage: An Examination of Eastern North Carolina.”
    • Marvin T. Jones (Chowan Discovery Group): “Measurements of a Mixed-Race Community – the Winton Triangle.” Jones’ presentation will give the audience the size and scope of the Winton Triangle by showing numbers of large houses, stores, churches, acreages, professionals and educators.
  • Friday, November 14 from 1:45 to 3:15pm, Room 314A: “Beginnings and Transitions of Mixed Race People in North Carolina.” The Moderator is Steven F. Riley of www.mixedracestudies.org. Panelists are:
    • Lars Adams (Independent Writer): “The Algonquians of North Carolina: Ethnic Transformation and Identity Retention in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”
    • Dr. Arwin D. Smallwood (North Carolina A&T University): “One of America’s First Mixed Race Peoples: A Study of the Tuscarora and the Indian Woods, Reservation Established in Bertie County, North Carolina in 1717.”
    • Marvin T. Jones (Chowan Discovery Group): “A Mixed Race Family at War – The Robbins Family.” We are still in the time of the 150th anniversary observances of the Civil War. This story is about one Mixed Race Family and its role in the War and beyond.

For last minute information call 202.236.2030.

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What is the Black German Experience? A Review of the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey 2nd Annual Convention

Posted in Articles, Europe, Live Events, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United States on 2014-08-18 00:35Z by Steven

What is the Black German Experience? A Review of the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey 2nd Annual Convention

MixedRaceStudies.org
2012-08-17

Steven F. Riley

All photographs ©2012, Steven F. Riley

I received more than a few raised eyebrows after describing the recent trip my wife and I took to attend the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey’s Second Annual Convention at Barnard College in New York. If you are tempted to believe that being both Black and German is an oxymoron; think again. African and German interactions go back as far as at least 1600. A fact that is unknown to most, Germany played a significant role during the American Civil Rights Movement as described in Maria Höhn and Martin Klimke’s book Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany. Although Black Germans, or rather Afro-Germans, consist of less than 1% of the German population (exact numbers are difficult to determine because German demographics do not track race), they are a growing and vocal segment within Germany and beyond.

Panel Session I: Teaching the Black German Experience – Roundtable Discussion, (Professor Priscilla Layne, Professor Peggy Piesche, Noah Sow and Professor Sara Lennox.) (2012-08-10)

I had the opportunity to experience a bit of this Afro-German experience at the screening of Mo Asumang’s autobiographical film Roots Germania at the BGCSNJ inaugural convention last year here in Washington, D.C. What I saw made me want to learn more.

BGCSNJ President, Rosemarie Peña (2012-08-10) Professor and BGCSNJ Trustee Leroy T. Hopkins (2012-08-11)

This year’s convention ran from August 10 to August 11, 2012 in Barnard’s Diana Center with the exception of the spoken word performances held at the Geothe-Institut’s Wyoming Building in lower Manhattan. I attended most of the sessions which consisted of five panels; a keynote address by Yara Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria; live readings by authors Olumide Popoola and Philipp Kabo Köpsell; a movie screening of the films “Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story” and “Audre Lorde—The Berlin Years 1984-1992;” a dinner banquet; and finally a live performance by author, artist, media personality, musician, playwright, actress, scholar and human rights activist Noah Sow’s band, Noiseaux at the Blue Note.

Olumide Popoola and Professor Peggy Piesche pay close attention during Panel Session II: Historical and Popular Cultures of Blacks in Germany. (2012-08-11)

It is very important to note that the term “Afro-German” is a socio-political term that includes all Germans (or German identified) individuals of African descent. Although most Afro-Germans are what we in the United States might refer to as, “of mixed-parentage” (usually a “white” mother and “black” father), no distinction is made within the Afro-German diaspora between individuals of so-called “mixed” and “non-mixed” parentage. I heard the term “biracial/multiracial” no more than five times during the entire conference. I theorize that this social taxonomy is derived from the desire not to fragment an already tiny group within German society and also create internalized marginalization within an already marginalized group. A further defining of this group identity was made by Noah Sow, near the end of the first panel, “Teaching the Black German Experience,” when she emphasized that the most appropriate terminology, should be the German term, Afrodeutsche, rather than Afro- or Black- German. During her introduction of the keynote speaker, BGCSNJ president Rosemarie Peña obliged, by referring to herself as Afrodeutsche. Time will tell if this label will stick.

Witnessing Our Histories–Reclaiming the Black German Experience. From presentation by Professor Tina Campt. (2012-08-11)

The highlight of the conference was Yara Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria’s keynote address, “In their Best Interest… Afro-German Children in Postwar German Children’s Homes” which explored the plight of so-called “War/Brown/Occupation Babies”—the children born of the union between white German women and Black American GIs after World War II. She described the systematic removal of Afro-German children from their birth families into substandard orphanages or foster homes, where many faced emotional and physical abuse. Her keynote touched on the story of Ika Hügel-Marshall, who describes her saga in her autobiography, Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany.

Also of note were the two touching presentations by Vera Ingrid Grant, “Ruby Road: An Excerpt from Paper Girl,” and Debra Abell, “Sauerkraut and Black-Eyed Peas” within the panel “Telling Our Stories – Black German Life Writing” which both explored the life experiences of growing up in the United States as children of a white German mother and black American soldier. Lastly, Jamele Watkins’s, “Performing Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park in Germany” within the panel “ Historical and Popular Cultures of Blacks in Germany” explored the representation of blacks within theatrical presentations in Germany and discussed the controversial continued use of blackface by white German actors to represent black people.

Vera Ingrid Grant, “Ruby Road: An Excerpt from Paper Girl” (2012-08-11) Debra Abell, “Sauerkraut and Black-Eyed Peas” (2012-08-11)

One slight disappointment was the poor sound, poor ventilation, poor visibility and poor lighting of the Goethe Institut’s Wyoming Building that was used as a venue for the artist performances (who traveled all the way from Europe). Were they trying to recreate a German U-boat aesthetic? Barnard’s Diana Center Event Oval on Lower Level 1—which was used for all of the panels—would have sufficed nicely. If a smaller venue was needed, the Glicker-Milstein Black Box Theatre on Lower Level 2 would have fit the bill also. I looked forward to what appeared to be an excellent documentary, “Audre Lorde—The Berlin Years 1984-1992,” on the life of American feminist scholar and poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992), who allegedly was the inspiration encouraging Black-German women to “call themselves ‘Afro-German’ and to record ‘their-story’.” Like Lorde, who’s life was sadly cut short due to cancer, the film screening was also sadly cut short about a third of the way in due to a defective DVD.

Philipp Kabo Köpsell ponders his forthcoming anthology while waiting for a turkey burger. (2012-08-11)

Like any excellent conference, the personal interactions can be as fulfilling as the sessions. The BGCSNJ Second Annual Convention was no exception. My Friday and Saturday morning chats at our hotel with Millersville University Professor of German Literature, Leroy T. Hopkins provided me with an insight into the joys and challenges of teaching German literature as a person of color and to students of color. With a declining interest in the German language by students nationwide (largely due to an increased interest in Chinese and Arabic languages), Hopkins is hopeful that Afro-German authors like Köpsell, Popoola and others will publish their works in German to provide more contemporary reading materials for university classrooms.

On an ironic note, I had the pleasure of having a one-on-one conversation over lunch on Saturday with author and spoken word author Philipp Kabo Köpsell about the necessity to write about the Afro-German experience in English. He and others are working on a book project tentatively titled, “Witnessed.”

This conference would not have been possible without the dedicated work of BGCSNJ president Rosemarie Peña and her fellow staff. Rosemarie is a woman who found out—through documentation in 1994 that she “wasn’t who she thought she was” and discovered that her biological father was black, possibly an African American soldier, and her mother was white and a German national. On Wednesday, she reported to me by phone that they are planning for the third annual convention next August.

If you are the least bit interested in the Afrodeutsche experience, I would highly encourage anyone to make plans to attend next year.

©2012, Steven F. Riley

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Acknowledgment (Part 2)

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, My Articles/Point of View/Activities on 2014-07-26 02:43Z by Steven

The journalistic survey, and monographic studies of Obama have been joined by some important anthologies. One of the first notable anthologies written about race and Obama was edited by historian and political scientist Manning Marable and civil rights attorney Kristen Clarke. This volume, entitled Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black Americas New Leadership (2009), traces the evolution of black leadership and black politics since the civil rights movement, including essays that specifically interrogate the intersection of race and gender. The Speech: Race and Barack Obama’s A More Perfect Union Speech (2009), edited by Denean Sharpley-Whiting, includes key chapters on the Obama speech by Bakari Kitwana and William Julius Wilson. Social scientists Matthew Hughey and Gregory S. Parks compiled an edited volume entitled The Obama’s and a (Post) Racial America? (2011), which examines the unconscious anti-black bias harbored by whites in US society, including commentaries by some noted race scholars. These are but a few of the torrent of scholarly publications on race and the Obama phenomenon. For an extensive list of over 400 publications on Obama see Steven F. Riley’s Mixed Race Studies website: http://www.mixedracestudies.org?cat=63.

Hettie V. Williams and G. Reginald Daniel, “Preface,” in Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union, eds. G. Reginald Daniel and Hettie V. Williams (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014). xvii.

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MixedRaceStudies.org Celebrates Its Fifth Year!

Posted in Articles, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, New Media on 2014-05-29 13:12Z by Steven

MixedRaceStudies.org Celebrates Its Fifth Year!

2014-05-29

Steven F. Riley

This month, MixedRaceStudies.org celebrates its fifth year. The purpose of the site, to provide a non-commercial gateway to interdisciplinary English language scholarship about multiraciality, has held steady for the last five years. Since then, the amount of content has mushroomed to over 7,000 posts and I continue to maintain the site today.

At this five-year mark, a collection of nearly 4,000 articles, over 1,100 books, and thousands of other items from various media sources are available to peruse. The site design provides links for users to follow, with excerpted remarks and passages to educate, illuminate, and pique a reader’s curiosity. Since early 2014, the site now has an active bibliography of books!

Part of the enjoyment of maintaining the site is that I have to continually update categories to keep pace with the ever-evolving field of mixed race studies.

Users from all over the world have corresponded with me, often commending the richness and usefulness of the material. One Ph.D. student wrote to say, “It’s probably the single most valuable tool in my work.”

Five years into its existence, the site now welcomes over 2,500 visitors per day; logging over 750,000 page views per month.

Thank you for your support!