Scholarly perspectives on the mixed race experience.
The mixture of the races began to take place almost as soon as the first Negroes and white men came into contact in America. This was the experience of the Spanish and the French as well as the English colonists. When colonization brings two dissimilar races into contact, the fusion of the races is as a rule more often the result of the union of the men of the stronger race with the women of the weaker. This was true in America where the scarcity of white women possibly operated to cause interracial alliances. No doubt, Shufeldt is correct when he claims: “The crossing of the two races commenced at the very out-start of the vile slave trade that brought them thither; indeed, in those days many a negress was landed upon our shores already impregnated by someone of the demoniac crew that brought her over.” Captain Daniel Elfrye, said by some to be responsible for the introduction of the first Negroes into Virginia, received a letter from the London Company, May 10, 1632, “condemning him for too freely entertaining a mulatto.”
Seattle International Airport—Just spent 20 minutes being physically searched at Seattle airport, body searched, and at one point being spoken to and surrounded by seven — yes seven — TSA agents while being informed my backpack had bomb making materials in it. A few thoughts:
My bag was flagged at the X-ray machine because I had too many books in my bag.
Then the chemical testing machine told them that there were bomb making materials in my bag. Remember, they were only looking because I had “too many” books
Then a second machine told them that my 2014 model MacBook Pro had extra bomb making materials on it.
They checked my hair, my breasts, and between my legs.
Jaya Duckworth (second from right) and friends hold signs showing pride in multiracial identities at a school district-wide walkout in protest of the election of Donald Trump. (Photo courtesy Jaya Duckworth.)
Race: Please select one”
It’s an instruction mixed-race people are all too familiar with. These days, surveys have become more nuanced, and usually read “select all that apply.” But growing up, I faced dozens of surveys, questionnaires, and tests that all made me choose one race.
As a half-white, half-Nepali child, I never knew what to select. Do I select white because I act like white kids and talk like white kids, go to school with white kids and have been raised like a white kid? Or do I select Asian because I look brown, because I eat curry, because on Christmas morning I always had to wait until puja was over at my Nepali grandparents’ house before I could open presents? White kids don’t do that, do they?
I usually ended up choosing “Other,” as if instead of being human, I was a stray dog; some lost object or animal that no one could categorize. Sometimes surveys also listed “multiracial,” which didn’t sit well with me either. The label feels like a message: here, these are the important races, and anyone who doesn’t fit these categories can be lumped together under the “mutt” category…
To celebrate the publication of the play Black Like Us, BrownBox Theatre joins forces with Sound Theatre Company to present an “encore” staged reading of the Gregory Award Winning Play at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Black Like Us is a funny, poignant, and deeply relevant story about the bonds of family, the struggles of identity, and the far-reaching effects of one woman’s decision. The play is set in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood, not far from the location of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and spans decades of change that have impacted that community.
Black Like Us at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Performances are Saturday, November 19 at 2:00pm and at 7:00 pm and free and open to the public. There is a reception between the performances to celebrate the publication of this script and the work of playwright Rachel Atkins and the companies of artists who helped to develop this multi-award-winning play.
In 1958, a young African-American woman makes the life-changing decision to start passing for white, creating a ripple effect through multiple generations. In 2013, her granddaughters accidentally discover her secret and seek out the family she left behind. Moving back and forth through time, what happens in between is a frank and funny look at the shifting boundaries of tolerance, as they are all faced with the many questions of what identity really means…
Actresses Kia Pierce and Marquicia Dominguez in Rachel Atkins’ play, “Black Like Us.”
Credit Courtesy of Annex Theatre/Shane Regan
When Rachel Atkins was 7, she and her sisters got a new stepfather. Atkins loved this man, but when she and her family went out in public, they raised a lot of eyebrows.
“My stepdad, who raised me, was black,” says Atkins. “We were three little white Jewish girls in New Jersey, when multi-racial families were not that common. We would get asked all the time, ‘Who’s that guy with your family?’ And we’d say, ‘That’s our dad.'”
Decades later, Atkins’ experience was part of the impetus behind her new play “Black Like Us,” currently having its world premiere production at Seattle’s Annex Theater.
“Black Like Us” is about two black sisters in 1950s Seattle. Feisty Maxine is attracted to the nascent Civil Rights movement; lighter-skinned Florence is in love with a white man. Following her heart, Florence passes herself off as white and estranges herself from her entire family…
Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview here.
Drawn from extensive research and interviews with sixty-eight parents of multiracial children, “Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” examines the complex task of supporting our youngest around being “two or more races” and Asian while living amongst post-racial ideologies. “Racist America” author Joe R. Feagin hailed Chang’s work as “one of the best field interview studies of multiracial issues yet to be done,” one which captures “the gritty realities of being mixed-race in this country.”
Following an interview with Sharon H. Chang about their experiences as multiracial musicians, Seattle indie band Tangerine will perform a live set with songs from their latest EP, Sugar Teeth…
Now that Americans can select more than one racial category, we rank high nationally in terms of multiracial population and percentage.
TODAY — WHEN NEARLY 10 million Americans identify as multiracial — it’s strange to think that just a few decades ago, this community was practically invisible.
That’s because it wasn’t until 2000 that the Census Bureau allowed Americans to choose more than one racial category to describe themselves. Before that, you could pick only one, and people with mixed backgrounds often struggled over the decision about which box to check.
When the Census Bureau made that change, it had an especially profound impact in Seattle. That’s because even though Seattle ranks only 15th in size among U.S. metropolitan areas, our population of multiracial people — about 233,000 — is the fourth-largest. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the top three, in order…
Seattle author writes about the challenges of raising multiracial Asian children in America and helping then overcome racial biases.
If you have mixed-race kids, teach mixed-race kids or know any mixed-race kids, you should read Sharon Chang’s book. Chang is a local writer and mom who saw a vacuum and tried to fill it with information she wishes her own parents had.
Chang grew up in Southern California, the daughter of a Taiwanese father and white American mother. She’s lived in Seattle for 16 years and is married to a man who grew up on Vashon Island. His father is white and his mother is from Japan, so they’ve had lots of conversations about growing up mixed and not having anyone explain how people might react to them, or why.
How does a kid feel when relatives, or strangers, openly comment on their features — “That’s a good nose” or “Too bad about the eyes”? What does a parent say when a child says, “Mommy, I want blond hair”?…
The experience of being a mixed-race person in America can be described in one word – mixed.
Depending on how a mixed-race person looks and is perceived, the experience of being an ethnic or racially mixed person can vary the scope of a sociopolitical spectrum as broadly as one who identifies and is perceived as being mono-racial.
Race is a biological fantasy, but a social reality that affects the life experiences of millions of people every day in varying ways. There are some voices that dominate the conversation, some others that are beginning to gain traction, and others that are barely being heard at all or are being denied the opportunity to speak on their experiences…
…”For a long time I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t just one race,” said WSU junior Victoria-Pearl Young. “(I am) Native American (Choctaw and Comanche Nations), Chinese, French and black. This is incredibly difficult because my cultural experience as an Afro-Latina, specifically Afro-Boricua, living in America gets discredited simply because I don’t look like what people expect. I constantly have to prove myself racially and culturally. Here at WSU, most of my peers just assumed I was completely Black simply because of my appearance, and that really used to bother me until I learned more about my history as a black individual.”…
DEMING, Whatcom County — In his big gray truck, Gabriel Galanda makes a notable entrance into a Nooksack tribal-housing development of a couple dozen modest homes, set on a winding road about a half-hour east of Bellingham. Many of the residents, members of a sprawling clan who move easily in and out of each other’s homes, appear with platters of fry bread, chicken adobo, baked halibut, salads, cupcakes and pies.
It’s a feast befitting their biggest defender, one who has made their small tribe of a couple thousand members well-known throughout Indian country, and not in a good way. The Nooksack tribal government for the past three years has been trying to disenroll the clan in this housing development and its extended family — which would strip all 306 of tribal membership.
And for the past three years, Galanda, a Seattle-based Native American lawyer, has been fighting it. The cause has taken the 39-year-old Galanda on a journey, personal and professional, that taps into the heart of what it means to be Native American…
…Galanda’s own ancestors were Native American, Scandinavian, Portuguese and Austrian — a mixed heritage that caused him to question his identity during his formative years.
“Before I undertook this work,” Galanda says, “I was really caught up in blood quantum.” Now, he says, “I don’t really care.” He has settled instead on an expansive, evolving notion of “belonging” that takes into account lineage without precise blood calculations or federal documents…