FAMOUS FRIDAY: Mariah Carey

mariah-carey-rockafeller-center-christmas-tree-lightingAs we enter the holiday season, it is only fitting to feature one of the queens of holiday music, Mariah Carey. She moved to Manhattan the day after her high school graduation to pursue her career. Carey is an extremely talented singer, producer, songwriter, and actress. She even currently holds the record for most number one debuts on the Billboard Hot 100. She has sold over 80 million records and won several Grammies! Over the course of her career she has accumulated a net worth of over 500 million dollars.

Mariah is 46 years old now and primarily focused on parenting her two children. However, she is still expanding her career. Mariah Carey’s collaboration with MAC Cosmetics recently released, and has already proved to be a fan favorite. Some may argue that there aren’t many things that this woman can’t do! I personally find these words from her particularly inspiring, “You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, ‘I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.’” May we always remember to believe in our true, authentic selves and who we are becoming! Happy Holidays!
Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President
Photo courtesy of popbuzz

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Lynda Carter

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Happy Thanksgiving

The leadership team and board of Project RACE are so thankful for all our members, supporters, donors and allies worldwide, inside and outside of the multiracial community.  We are grateful for those who advocate for the ever-growing international population of multiracial people to be able to identify as they wish, to be accurately represented and accounted for in critical areas such as medical and educational data, and to REFUSE TO BE INVISIBLE!

Happy Thanksgiving from Project RACEImage result for happy thanksgiving

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FAMOUS FRIDAY: Kamala Harris

Most of the world was expecting November 8, 2016 to mark the election of the first female president of the United States.  It did not. Many believe, however, that it was the day when America met the woman who could “shatter that glass ceiling”… perhaps as early as 2020.

Kamala Hakamala_harris_official_attorney_general_photorris is California’s new Junior United States Senator-Elect. Harris is both the second black woman and the first Indian-American ever elected to the Senate. Yes, she is multiracial, the daughter of an Indian-American Hindu mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer specialist, who immigrated from India, and a Jamaican-American father, Donald Harris, a Stanford University professor. Before this accomplishment, Harris was the first woman, the first African-American, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American to become California’s Attorney General.

“My mother had a saying ― ‘you may be the first to do many things, make sure you aren’t the last,’” Harris told CQ Roll Call in June. “We need to work to ensure the leaders reflect the people they are supposed to represent, and until we achieve that full representation, I think we should understand we are falling short of the ideals of this country.”

People have compared Harris to President Obama, who himself is a Kamala Harris fan and endorsed her senate campaign, and many leading Democrats believe she could one day occupy the Oval Office. As Attorney General she has had the opportunity to advocate for the issues that are important to her. She has led on Black Lives Matter, rehabilitating first-time drug dealers, internet privacy issues. Following her election as senator, she vowed to protect immigrants from the policies of Trump.

 “It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant,” Harris said. “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”

 – Karson Baldwin, President Project RACE Kids

The stem-cell struggle: Multiracial patients’ hunt for a match

The Globe and Mail

Hundreds of Canadians are waiting for stem-cell transplants, but only half of them will find a donor, according to Canadian Blood Services. For multiracial patients, the chances of finding a match are infinitely smaller. As Vancouver filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns discovers in his new documentary Mixed Match, it is akin to finding a needle in a haystack or winning the lottery.

Stem cells, which are typically collected from blood or bone marrow, are cells that can develop into other types of blood cells, including the white blood cells that make up one’s immune system. For those with blood disorders and cancers, such as leukemia, a stem-cell transplant can be life-saving.

For Mixed Match, which is showing at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on Nov. 15, Chiba Stearns spent six years filming multiracial recipients, donors and families who’ve searched the world over for a match. The Globe spoke with Chiba Stearns about why patients’ chances of survival are linked to their lineage.

Why is it so hard for people of mixed race to find suitable donors?

A lot of people think of it as blood. You know, like, I have type O-negative blood. But this has to do with your genetic background, what you would call a “genetic twin.” Basically, when you’re trying to find your genetic twin, a lot of times, it’s someone who has similar ancestry, so someone who comes from the same place you came from because that would mean your immune systems would be very similar.

So, say, in Japan, which is a very homogeneous country, they have a very small pool of people in their registry, but you can still find a match most of the time. What happens when we start mixing is our genetics get a little more complex.

What happens when you receive a transplant from someone who isn’t a perfect match?

You’re taking a chance because people can develop what’s called graft-versus-host disease, which is when the body attacks it because you’re introducing a foreign substance. There are drugs that will help suppress that, but chances are that’s the next battle after, say, you’re rid of cancer. You need to hope the immune system you’ve received, just like any kind of organ, your body doesn’t reject.

Why do some people object to recruiting donors by specific ethnic groups?

When it comes to race and ethnicity, the idea of filling out the box and categories can be a little challenging to some people because maybe they don’t want to be labelled or put in boxes.

But at the same time, this is how we categorize people because we need to know, if I am part Japanese and part European, where do we need to start looking? Do we look in Japan’s registries? Do we look overseas?

And sometimes these categories may not be as accurate as people think because it’s self-identified race and identity. We don’t always know. Sometimes it opens up skeletons in the closet, like people may not have realized their great-grandma was Korean, for example, and nobody talked about that.

The idea of race in medicine is sometimes controversial because there have been drugs targeted specifically to African-Americans. Or when people say cystic fibrosis is mainly a “white people” disease, or certain types of diseases are more common in certain races, I think that’s when you get racial scholars coming up in arms because it’s dividing people by race.

It gets complicated, though. As you showed in your documentary, someone with Latino heritage might end up being a good match for someone who’s Asian.

This is why it’s tricky because we often say, if you’re Chinese, you need to find another Chinese donor. But there are rare cases, where, let’s say, an African-American person has donated to someone who’s Caucasian. It may not be a perfect match, and that’s probably what’s happening: These probably aren’t perfect matches.

That’s why I think we always encourage anybody and everyone to sign up. And because registries ask for self-identified race, sometimes you just don’t know whether there’s some kind of mixing in one’s heritage.

You spent some time with donors as well as recipients. What did you learn about what it’s like to give?

Alexandria Taylor, who’s in the film, was really keen on wanting to donate, which for us was kind of shocking because it’s a procedure, and she actually went through the whole bone-marrow harvest, rather than peripheral blood stem-cell collection, which is as easy as giving blood. I think it’s scary for a lot of people. But the whole time, she was so positive and excited to do it. She would do it again, as many times as she could. I think when you have someone who’s positive and goes through a positive experience with this, people feel more at ease and it becomes less scary.

In terms of what we learned from donors, you’ve given your life to someone but this person now carries your genetics. Part of you is in them. You’re going to feel this sense of connection to them. So when these donors are allowed to actually reach out and meet their recipients, there’s this really huge life-long bond that happens. They become family almost.

How might babies’ cord blood offer an alternative solution?

After children are born, you have this placenta and this umbilical cord that are filled with this life-rich cord blood that basically is medical waste. But you can harvest stem cells out of there and bank them.

Because it’s cord blood, there might be less chance of graft-versus-host disease because it’s basically brand new, so it has a chance to develop into your body. At the same time, some doctors are still a little bit on the fence about it right now. Some doctors really champion it, while others are like, “no, we don’t want to use it.” So I think it’s up to the patient to decide. If you don’t have any options, and cord blood is your only option, are you going to take that risk?

Like anything in medicine, it takes some time for the true tests to reveal themselves. But it gives hope where there wasn’t before.

What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?

At the end of the day, we want a film that’s inspiring and at the same time that educates. We’ve really enjoyed hearing people’s reactions after that they feel inspired, they feel like they want to help in any way that they can.

Some people have not even seen the film, but they saw the trailer years ago and signed up for the registry. And they’ve let us know they’ve since been called to donate. If one person is saved, then the six years it took to make this film will have been completely worth it.

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FAMOUS FRIDAY: Meghan Markle

meghan-markleMeghan Markle is a beautiful and talented multiracial actress. She has recently been in the headlines due to her rumoured romance with Prince Harry. While I understand that is what most major news outlets are talking about, it isn’t what I want to talk about.
I recently came across one of the best articles I have ever read when it comes to being Multiracial. The star of the article was none other than, Meghan Markle. My heart was stolen from the first paragraph where she said, “’What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day. ‘Well,’ I say, as I begin the verbal dance I know all too well. ‘I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ A mouthful, yes, but one that I feel paints a pretty solid picture of who I am. But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’” The whole article is pure gold, and I will leave the link so that you all can read it in its entirety.

http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/news/a26855/more-than-an-other/
I STRONGLY recommend that you take the few minutes to read this. To me, it is beautiful to know that so many multiracial people share similar experiences. I think that it makes our community that much more awesome!

— Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President

Photo courtesy of ELLE.

Reclaiming Heritage in Modern America

 

Virginia natives Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were sentenced to a year in state prison after being married in the spring of 1958.

The couple was arrested in their bedroom, after police received an anonymous tip that the Lovings may be an interracial couple. Their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored.”

After taking their case to the Supreme Court in 1967, Loving v. Virginia became a landmark civil rights decision invalidating all laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Nearly 50 years later, the Pew Research Center found that multiracial Americans are one of the fastest growing communities in America, growing at three times the rate as the American population as a whole.

However, with the lines between race and culture being blurred in the modern era, where does multiculturalism fit in?

The controversy comes in the age of the internet paired with rising racial tensions in America. It has become increasingly common for multiracial Americans to find a w;ay to live in the grey area between one culture and the next; constantly being criticized for not being enough of one ethnicity or the other.

For example, pop sensation Christina Aguilera, who is of Irish and Ecuadorian background, spoke to the Huffington Post about the criticism she receives for not being a “true” Latina.

“I wouldn’t be questioned [about my heritage] if I looked more stereotypically Latina, whatever that is,” said Aguilera, “All I know is no one can tell me I’m not a proud Latina woman… I dove headfirst into a Spanish-language album for that reason and I’m planning another one even though I don’t speak the language. I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with some people.”

For many, the issue does not lie in heritage, but in appearance. It would be ignorant to deny the fact that race affects the everyday lives of Americans, however there is no true definition of what a specific ethnicity is supposed to look like.

Sensitivities around race and ethnicity often come from the misunderstandingthe two are necessarily linked, when in fact they are not. In an age where multiracial Americans are set to outnumber any other specific ethnic group in America, it’s extremely difficult to align any one racial experience to its multiracial counterpart.

Perhaps the most important issue at hand when discussing racial identity is that it’sfluid. In fact, Pew researchers found through surveys on Twitter that multiracial Americans define their identities in a plethora of different ways.

About 3 in 10 adults have said they have changed the way they describe their race over the years,  saying that they once thought of themselves as a single race but now see themselves as more than one, with other multiracial Americans saying just the opposite.

The unfortunate long-term effects of criticism of multiracial Americans is the erasure of culture and the emergence of unacceptance.

Often, multiracial people are made to choose between one specific part of their heritage and only claim that one.

However, saying that any one person isn’t ethnic enough to claim a part of their heritage is preposterous on top of stunting that specific culture’s growth.

Natasha Sim of the Huffington Post sums up the issue perfectly when she writes “[Claiming only one part of one’s heritage] in itself is anxiety-provoking, especially given that most mixed race individuals now prefer to identify as biracial or multiracial, but what further aggravates the situation is that we often don’t get to choose which box we fall into.”

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MASC DID WHAT?!

MASC Did WHAT!

I have a lovely wood recognition plaque in my office given to me in 1995 from the Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC). It hangs right under a letter to Project RACE and the Association of Multi-Ethnic Americans also dated 1995 and signed by President Bill Clinton. We were known then as MASC, Project RACE, and AMEA. MASC apparently no longer advocates for the multiracial community, Project RACE does, and AMEA is defunct. A great deal has happened in the past 25 plus years. Not all of it is good.

I will forever defend the work of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), but most of you know the history of the multiracial movement, so I won’t go back over that now. Suffice it to say that different organizations went different ways, but we all—or at least it seemed—wanted some form of recognition for the term “multiracial.” We were making progress. AMEA fell apart. Hapas moved on. MAVIN couldn’t decide what it wanted to be and the founder disappeared. The academics saw a way to “get published or perish” and began publishing papers and books like crazy with or without actual facts. Podcasts popped up, Loving Day gained momentum, and even comics took their best shots at us. We somehow endured. Project RACE kept doing what we did in 1990 and advocated for a multiracial identifier on racial classifications. We won some; we lost some.

Now it’s 2016 and decisions must be made by 2017 for the 2020 census. It must be done quickly for many reasons, which is why OMB issued a 30 day notice instead of the usual 60+. One more chance to take our best shot.

Then a few weeks ago the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the government people who decide on race and ethnicity in this country published a notice in the Federal Register, that obscure publication that half-heartedly asks for public opinion, suggesting that John Q. Public let them know what they think of the proposed plans. They laid out (as best they could) these areas under consideration:

  1. Whether to continue to have one category for Hispanic origin and one for race, or one combined answer;
  2. Have a distinct new category for respondents of Middle Eastern or North African heritage (MENA);
  3. The description of the intended use of minimum reporting categories; and
  4. Terminology used for race and ethnicity classifications.

Look back at those areas of consideration. Number 1 has been on the table for years and it is already a done deal. Number 2 has been in contention since before the multiracial question even came up, but it’s become a messier MENA category than previously. I’m not sure what number 3 even means completely.

Then…BINGO! Number 4 gives us a chance to bring up terminology again.

Project RACE jumps on the terminology question, gathers our members and supporters, and starts our answers to the open comment period! We gain momentum and wait for other “multiracial groups” to join in. MASC. The MULTIRACIAL Americans of Southern California stuns us. They openly advocated for number 1, the Hispanic race/ethnicity question.

Thomas Lopez is the president of MASC. He strongly favors Hispanics becoming a race instead of an ethnicity on forms. There are many reasons for the combined question to be considered. There are still organized groups fighting for it and the MENA question. Lopez glosses over consideration 4 with this: “In a combined question format this would simply be another version of ‘Two or more races.’” This would have been the perfect place to advocate for multiracial wording—for an acceptable, respectful term for our children. What were Lopez and the board of directors of MASC thinking?! Apparently, they should change their name to:

The Hispanic and Two or More Races Americans of Southern California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter From Ryan J. Graham

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Census Bureau comment period regarding race and ethnicity is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to send in your comments. Below is the statement provided by Ryan Graham, co-founder of Project RACE, which reflects how we all feel about the term “multiracial.”  Please continue to monitor our website, email letters, and Facebook sites for updates.

 

October 18, 2016

Katherine K. Wallman
Chief Statistician
Office of Management and Budget
http://www.regulations.gov
and
Race-ethnicity@omb.eop.gov

Re: “Race-ethnicity”

Dear Ms. Wallman:

I was eight-years-old the first time I met you. I was testifying before the Subcommittee on Census, Statistics and Postal Personnel, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, June 30, 1993. I was asking the lawmakers for a multiracial classification on the U. S. Census and government forms for me, my little sister, and children like us, who were made to choose to be the race of only one of our parents.

We met again when I was asked to testify before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology in 1997. I was 12-years-old. Once again, children like me were denied appropriate, dignified terminology. We were “granted” the ability to check two or more boxes of races, but still without an appropriate name, label, or identifier. You did not acknowledge why we needed the identifier of “multiracial” instead of “two or more races,” “Some Other Race,” “Mixed,” “Mutt,” and others. Perhaps we did not make our feelings clear.

I am now 32-years-old, Ms. Wallman. I have been fighting from the time I was born to have the right to self-identify as a multiracial citizen of the United States.

President Obama’s mother was white and father was black. He is multiracial, although he chooses to self-identify racially as black. That is his right and his option. I respect that. However, he does not respect my right to choose to be the races of both of my parents with the respectful and appropriate terminology of multiracial. Why is that? Is that his decision as President of the United States or your decision as Chief Statistician of the Office of Management and Budget? Either way, it is the wrong decision for me and my peers.

I am asking you one more time, to put that decision aside and let children like me have the right to honor our entire heritage with the sanction of the federal government.

Sincerely,

Ryan J. Graham

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LOVING MOVIE Opens in Select Theaters Friday

 

We are excited about this film and hope that those in the vicinity of the theaters that will screen the film this Friday will show their support by showing up!!

 

LOVING

From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.

To see some of the excellent reviews, photos, trailers and more, follow the link below:

http://www.focusfeatures.com/loving