Recently I was watching an interview with Jordin Sparks, and it dawned on me what an amazing woman she has become. Jordin is a resident of Glendale, Arizona. Her mother is Caucasian, and her father is African-American. Jordin was only 13 years old when she released her first album! Since her American Idol victory at age 17, she has taken the world by storm. Many of Jordan’s songs have made an appearance on the Billboard Top 100. Aside from singing, Jordan has also ventured into acting and modeling. Aside from all of those career moves, she also has her own fragrance.
Jordin’s career isn’t the only thing that makes her a great role model for the multiracial community. She is also always sure to emphasize the important of independence. She teaches young people that they can do their own thing and not follow the crowd. Jordin has once said, “My heroes are just everyday people who work hard, are honest, and have integrity.” This quote means a lot to me because it shows that every day people can do extraordinary things. I think that my favorite thing that Jordin emphasizes is self-love. She openly says that her whole journey has been about self-acceptance. I think this is a very important message for the young multiracial community. When you grow up a little bit different than everyone else, it is sometimes hard to accept your differences. But as Jordin says we should all accept them and embrace them. This is a phenomenal message from a phenomenal Multiracial woman.
Biases influence how multiracial individuals are categorized
Throughout U.S. history, individuals who were part-white and part-black were typically treated as black, a tendency that has been called the “one-drop rule.”
New University of Michigan research, published inPsychological Science, demonstrates that this bias, also known as hypodescent, persists in the U.S., and is driven in part by anti-black attitudes and beliefs about the genetic basis ofrace.
“Our research offers a window into the psychological mechanisms that govern how we categorize others when we are confronted with individuals who blend identities differing in social status,” said Arnold Ho, U-M assistant professor of psychology and organizational studies.
In the first of two studies, Ho and U-M colleagues Steven Roberts and Susan Gelman surveyed nearly 150whiteAmericans about race, asking respondents about their feelings toward both African-Americans and whites, and about their beliefs concerning whetherracial categoriesare biologically determined.
The researchers also asked survey respondents to categorize multiracials (as relatively black or white, or equally black and white), and found that respondents who believed that racial categories are biologically determined and had negative feelings about African-Americans, were most likely to believe that black-white multiracials are primarily black.
The second study, involving 121 white American participants, was designed to manipulate whether individuals think about race as biologically determined. This study also measured feelings toward African-Americans and whites, and asked participants to categorize 20 racially ambiguous faces as black, black-white multiracial, or white. Participants who were exposed to the idea that race can be biologically determined, and who harbored anti-black biases, were more likely to categorize faces as black, Ho said.
“Multiracialindividualsmake up a rapidly growing population, and they often identify in ways that do not reflect traditional ‘black‘ or ‘white’ categories,” said Roberts, a U-M doctoral candidate in psychology. “However, our data show that biological concepts of race and intergroup biases prevent people from thinking about race more flexibly.”
Wisconsin officer who killed biracial man back on duty but not on patrol
Matt Kenny shot Tony Robinson in an apartment house in March. Kenny said Robinson started punching him after he entered the building to investigate sounds of a disturbance. Witnesses said Robinson, who was high on mushrooms, had assaulted two people moments before the encounter.
Prosecutors cleared Kenny of any criminal wrongdoing in May. An internal investigation that concluded in early June found he violated no police policies.
A police spokesman says Kenny, who had been on paid leave, returned to work with the training and mounted patrol units on June 11. He says none of Kenny’s duties involve patrols.
Robinson’s family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Kenny and the city.
CHICAGO–Normally America’s diversity is a strength, but it’s a bit of a hindrance for those needing bone marrow transplants. One little girl is up against the clock in the race to find a suitable donor, and maybe you can be the one to help her.
Her smile suggests she’s the picture of health, but the translucence in Sophia Trujillo’s skin and eyes indicate severe aplastic anemia.
“I am sick and sometimes I don’t feel good,” Trujillo said.
The 6-year-old needs a bone marrow transplant – stat. The problem is her mixed heritage, made up of half Filipino, half a combo of Spanish, Irish and Italian
“We just have to find that one person that could actually be there to save her life,” said Michelle Trujillo, her mother.
For those of Northern European descent, finding that one person is likely in 75 percent of cases. An acceptable match is likely 90 percent of the time. But for those of mixed race, like Sophia, finding the perfect marrow is possible just 4 percent of the time.
“Sometimes I feel dizzy and I throw up,” Sophia said.
In the meantime, Sophia’s life depends on blood transfusions.
“People who are transfused over and over again develop iron overload with red cell transfusions; if they have low white blood cell counts, we can’t transfuse those and sooner or later someone gets a life-threatening infection,” said Dr. William Goodell, pediatric oncologist/hematologist.
Dr. Goodell says registries at BeTheMatch.org have grown, but those with more complicated family trees have to get swabbed – a free painless procedure you can do even by mail to see if you can be a match.
Advocate Children’s Hospital is even reaching out to actress Vanessa Hudgens, who has similar ancestry and has supported kids’ health initiatives before.
“People are just not aware that this is so important, this could save a life,” Dr. Goodell said.
“I would feel much better because then I can play and go to the park and go swimming,” Sophia said.
The hashtag #Swab4Sophia is helping to get the word out on social media, and there will be a pair of donor drives for folks to get swabbed and signed up for the bone marrow registry, Sept. 8 in Addison and Sept. 12 in Barrington.
Addison #Swab4Sophia Donor Drive – Sunday, Sept. 6
7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Phillip the Apostle School Gym
1223 Holtz Avenue
Barrington #Swab4Sophia Donor Drive – Saturday, Sept. 12
St. Anne’s Catholic Church
120 Ela Street
FAMOUS FRIDAY: Svante Myrick – “This Guy’s Gonna be President One Day!”
A few months back, my Mom attended the Opportunity Nation conference in Washington, DC where leaders from many different sectors came together to work on the problem of youth unemployment. There were all kinds of important people there, including Senator Cory Booker and the mayors of Philadelphia and Birmingham. But when Mom returned home she was not talking about any of them. Instead, she was excited to tell me all about a guy I’d never heard of before. His name is Svante Myrick and if you believe my mom and a lot of other people, he’s going to be President one day.
Like me, Myrick’s mother is white and his father is black; he grew up with three siblings and he loved to read as a child. Even though he had some tough times in his childhood, he did well enough in school to go to Cornell University, an Ivy League school. He began his public-service career though volunteering when he was a student. Myrick was elected to Ithaca New York’s Common Council when he was just a 20 year old college junior. He served on the council for four years before running for mayor. When Svante defeated three other candidates to become mayor of Ithaca in 2011, he became the city’s youngest mayor. He is still one of the youngest mayors in the U.S.
Svante has done a lot of important work as a politician, like creating tobacco free zones and the Ithaca Youth Council. When he became Mayor, the city had a budget deficit of more than $3 million but in just two years he had closed the budget deficit and brought about the lowest tax increase in years. A lot of people compare him to President Obama.
Svante obviously knows that young people like us can really make a difference. “When somebody questions your age, it’s not that they’re wondering if you’ve had enough birthdays to do the job,” he said. “They’re wondering if you’re dedicated enough, they wonder if you know enough [ ]. They wonder if you have the experience it takes to get things done and if you show them those things, then the age is just a number.”
When Myrick graduated from high school, he wrote a note to his favorite teacher. “P.S. In 2040, when I’m president, I’ll keep you in mind for secretary of education,” the note read.
There are many people who would like to see him be president much sooner than that, but he won’t be old enough to be eligible to run for several more years. Myrick has said that another multiracial politician, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, is his role model. Well, Svante Myrick is definitely one of mine!
The PEW Research Center recently released a study of racial bias between Blacks, whites, Asians and biracial individuals. Results varied between striking and predictable.
First, the obvious.
Using an Implicit Association Test (which checks “hidden” attractions and repulsion), PEW surveyed 100 people from different categories of racial identification and found that few adults are completely unburdened by subconscious racial biases.
Most interestingly, fewer biracial adults proved to be race-neutral. Only 23 percent of white and Black biracial adults said they had no preference, and just 22 percent of Asian biracial adults.
Here are a couple of the other note-worthy findings:
Single-race Asians were about as likely to show a bias for whites over Asians (38%) as they were to regard Asians more favorably than whites (42%). The remaining 20% did not clearly favor one race over the other.
The experiment also found that about half of all single-race whites in the Pew Research Center test automatically preferred whites over blacks (48%), including about a third (35%) who favored whites moderately to strongly. A quarter of all whites demonstrated an implicit bias for blacks, and a similar share (27%) was race-neutral.
By contrast, fully half of all single-race whites preferred whites over Asians, or more than double the share (20%) that preferred Asians. Three-in-ten whites favored neither race over the other.
Among single-race blacks, 45% were quicker to associate positive words with blacks and negative words with whites, including 28% with a moderate or strong automatic preference for blacks.
A 19-year-old woman with cancer is having trouble finding a stem cell donor because of her mixed aboriginal and Irish roots. Rosalie Lirette Gilbert was diagnosed on June 29 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
A search of the blood and bone marrow donor bank in her home province of Quebec found no match for her genetic mix. When her 24-year-old sister Hélisa found out she wasn’t a match either, she issued a public appeal for aboriginal donors on Facebook.
Donor registrations have increased
There were 1.4 million people “who have an aboriginal identity” in 2011, according to government statistics. Of those, 451,795 identified at Metis, that is, of mixed European and indigenous heritage.
Héma Quebec, the body that banks blood and bone marrow, says that subsequent to the appeal, the number of registrations on the donor list has increased, and that is a good thing. Hélisa says she is glad her message is having an impact. She hopes it will help find a donor for her sister and for other people of mixed ancestry.
James Roday, born James Rodriguez, is best known for his leading role as Shawn Spencer in the hit TV show “Psych.” He is of Mexican descent from his fathers side, and English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry from his mothers. James was born and raised in San Antonio Texas and went Taft High School, from there he attended New York University where he earned a degree in Theatre.
The actor is the co-artistic director of a Los Angeles theater company called the Red Dog Squadron. Roday has been nominated and has won several different awards so far throughout his acting career. His role in Psych has earned him the award for best actor in a television series at the Imagen awards in 2012. James Roday has become one of my favorite actors to watch on TV today because of his humor and charm. It’s inspiring to see a fellow multiracial individual achieving great things.
I distinctively recall a very casual conversation I had with a co-worker one day. As she stood before me expressing her disgust and frustration due to her daughter’s latest inauspicious actions, without thinking, I announced, “How trifling!” No sooner I said those words; I wished I could stuff them back down my throat. Later, I asked myself, How could I?
I apologized immensely assuring her I meant no harm, and I should not have judged her daughter. My co-worker stood calmly looking me straightly in the eyes and said, “That’s okay. What’s inside you will come out.” I began a strained attempt to quantify my statement by explaining what I meant. By now, I’m sure my words became deafening, and she could care less for furtherance of my babbling.
I can’t tell you how badly I felt. Just imagine. How could I judge another’s daughter, for I have a daughter of my own? Furthermore, I’ve always pledged not to utter ill words of another mother’s child.
I can tell you this; however, that scene has never left my mind. I learned something vital that day. I carry it with me often, and I reflect on those words more that you’ll ever imagine. That one experience has allowed me not only to mirror that moment countless times, but has taught me to become more cautious before opening my mouth.
Just recently, I read Dr. Dana Leeman’s July 30, 2015 article, titled: “Everyday Stings: The Power and Pain of Microaggressions” and suddenly that ill-timed scenario with my co-worker trickled back to mind.
Dr. Leeman’s definition of microagressions is as follows: subtle, often nuanced, verbal or behavioral slights, snubs, or insults that can be intentional, but are often unintentional. They communicate negative, pejorative, and sometimes hostile messages to others solely based on their membership in a marginalized group.
Dr. Leeman (2015) goes on to say, “We are products of our context and socialization, and we are not above saying or doing insensitive things…”
With this in mind, I’d like to reflect a minute on what my co-worker said to me that day. “What’s inside you will come out.” Just think on these words for just a moment, asking how is it we learn the “stings” which causes pain and hurt to others? How did we usurp and develop traces, tinges and shades of miffs which offend others that are embodied within our hearts, and thought processes? As you reflect on these questions for just a bit, I’ll declare I must concur with Dr. Leeman. We are indeed products of our context and socialization. We are what we’ve observed, learned and absorbed from our first role-models (our parents and/or caretakers) who influenced us from infancy. What a loaded statement, right?
What I believe, nonetheless, is this: If we truly desire to make positive changes for the better where microagressive actions (whether verbal or in deed), we must begin working with our children from the cradle, early and often. Just imagine the many years one has had learning and embedding what has been learned by our role-models/first teachers. We are like sponges cramming what our home lives imparted, shown and trained.
Parents and caregivers must teach children social skills, social etiquette, care and respect for others. What about this statement? — Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. When we teach our children to carefully nurture and give attention to their actions, we also teach lessons in remorseful conducts, manners and attitudes. Are we perfect? No way! But practices of compassion, sensitivity and consideration for others produce consistency, and breeds socially appropriate preferences while allowing for steady uniformity of goodness towards others (words and deeds).
Home is where the inception (the burning torch) begins. Parents must teach cultural sensitivity at home, and then pass the social skills torch to school officials. Educators must command and take ownership of the burning torch while entertaining passion for culturally-responsive pedagogy. Legislators and policy makers must allow educators to include and incorporate culturally-responsive curriculum within lesson planning. When this occurs, we will become kinder, more loving toward one another, and I’ll be willing to strongly anticipate microagressive behaviors will lessen.
About Cherrye S. Vasquez
Dr. Vasquez is a public school administrator and an adjunct professor who has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology.
Dr. Vasquez’ areas of specializations are in Multi-cultural education, Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician. She is on the Advisory Board of Project R.A.C.E.
The focus of Dr. Vasquez’ work is diversity is healthy and bullying is not. The psychology that drives her writings is for children to realize that being different is healthy, important, and not to be afraid of being different. The central philosophy of her writings is that children should learn about each other’s similarities as well as differences. What Dr. Vasquez wants children to learn from one another is that being unique is healthy, beautiful, and important. Diversity is what makes this country great, our schools vibrant, and the future of our country strong.
As an educator, mother, and author Dr. Vasquez believes that adults and educators must, as role models, develop an atmosphere of respect for children to thrive in. Her books and works provide examples of how to reduce bullying by encouraging diversity.