FAMOUS FRIDAY: Ann Curry

image1 (1)Ann Curry was born on November 19, 1956. Ann Curry is a Journalist. You may have seen her on the Today Show or Dateline NBC. She is married to Brian Ross and has two children. Curry’s father is Irish, Scottish, German, French and Cherokee. Her mother is Japanese. In a interview to People’s Magazine Curry expressed her thoughts on being Multiracial ” If you’re of mixed race in this country, it’s hard to embrace the idea of being beautiful. But what I love about how I look today is that so many from all races think I’m a part of there group”. Which I agree with Ann Curry, being multiracial does makes me feel ambiguous.

Makensie McDaniel
Project Race Teen President

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Interview with Multiracial Student Activist

Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues
This semester, sophomore Walt Martzen plans to expand the conversation on mixed-race identities through a new student discussion group, IC Mixed. As a biracial student himself, Martzen created this group over the summer to bring students of mixed race together and educate other students about what it means to be biracial or multiracial.Though the group is not an official student organization recognized by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, Martzen hopes the group will inspire an organic discussion about mixed-race identities beginning this semester.Opinion Editor Celisa Calacal spoke with Martzen about his inspiration behind creating the group, why it’s important to talk about mixed-race identities and his personal experiences as a biracial student.This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Celisa Calacal: What inspired you to start this group?

Walt Martzen: I think one of the things that really got me thinking about how mixed people define themselves is when I went to ECAASU [East Coast Asian-American Student Union] last year with Asian-American Alliance. … There was a lot of good discussion that happened around talking about what it means to be Asian in that context and also what it means to be mixed. … It’s something that I struggled with at first and I didn’t realize, but I would call myself half-Chinese or half-white and that kind of language, I didn’t realize how it kind of isolated me. And so, I think from those conversations I kind of realized how important it is that, even while as mixed people, we are allies for different people, especially when maybe you look more white and people can’t tell you’re Asian or you look more like a certain race, and it’s important that we also take care of ourselves and that we look after our own health, and I think that’s one of the things that we want to do.

CC: Why do you think talking about biracial and multiracial identities is important?

WM: Because it’s not really talked about. One of the things that really strikes me in reading in media and politics is that people don’t seem to highlight that some people are mixed. And I’m not sure why, I want to maybe figure out why that is. But you know, for example, President Obama, people don’t say he’s the first mixed president, he’s the first black president, but he’s mixed and that’s something that doesn’t seem to be highlighted. … And in my mind, I feel like oftentimes it comes back to that kind of binary — the need to think in terms of binary. People want to be able to identify people by race, and mixed people come along and we’re like, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not that easy.’ And I think that’s one of the things that we want to try and talk about and see if there’s some way to define it or some way to step away from the need to define it or something like that.

CC: What are some misconceptions about being biracial or multiracial?

WM: I guess the notion that we’re half-something or half-that, or that being mixed or being biracial or multiracial is easier. I think, a lot of times, people talk about people who are mixed as, “Oh, you’re so lucky.” And in a lot of senses, I will say, you know, I think I’m super privileged and super lucky that I’m mixed and I get to have my feet in two very different worlds, two very opposite continents. But at the same time, it’s a struggle. … To find community as a mixed person, and you try and fit yourself into different communities and be a part of that but sometimes you’re not fully seen as part of that community, and that’s something that I think personally — I can’t speak for all mixed people — but personally, it’s sometimes a struggle to be identified as much as you identify.

CC: How have your personal experiences been impacted by the fact that you are biracial?

WM: There have been times where I’ve been mistaken as somebody other than my parents’ child, like there was once where … it was mistaken that my mom was my nanny, which was really terrible. … And then there’s other times where people know you’re mixed, and then people are like, “Wow, that’s so cool, you’re mixed.” … And I don’t know, there’s just a different kind of feeling when some people … just think it’s cool. They tokenize it. They don’t really want to know any details about that, and they will just say that’s cool and then that’s it. … They’re not willing to expand their knowledge about what it means to be mixed because for the most part, if you’re not mixed, how can you know what that’s like? And I think it’s just sometimes being seen as this exotic, tokenized, super pretty bird or something, and it’s kind of a compliment. … People are always saying if you’re mixed, you’re super attractive and stuff. … But I think it becomes this big umbrella thing; it’s like saying all Asians are hot. … These ‘all’ statements, they sound like compliments, but they’re actually harmful because they set an expectation, a stereotype that, if ever it’s not met, it’s like you’re not really mixed.

CC: What do you hope to accomplish?

WM: I mean, I definitely have ideas about what I would love to do from this. I’m a theater major, and I’m an anthropology major. I love the possibility of planning performative qualities to take out of this. Through the group, we might like to do theater games. I just love to use those because I think they’re great for helping us have these conversations. But like I said earlier, although I have these ideas that I would love to happen, I really just want to see what everyone else wants to do. The main thing is, if I were to define what I want to get out of this, is that I want us to cultivate a stronger community as mixed people. I want there to be a place for mixed people to come and be able to talk about things and feel like their identity as mixed — we are not just allies, we are also people, and we have our own complex identities that need to be explored and we need to have a space to explore that. The second thing I guess is education for people who are around us who are not mixed. It’s just a great opportunity for us to be able to share that and be a part of the larger discussion that happens on campus about race and just talking about, “How can you define race?” I think mixed people have a lot to bring to that conversation.

Our sons

Our sons are biracial and their lives matter, too

My son will be 32 years old this week. When he was three, I took him to nursery school one day and he said, “Mom, I’m black.” I looked at him in his car seat and took a deep breath. I had been practicing the story since the day he was born about the fact that his father was black, and his mother was white, and that made him biracial/multiracial. I began my story and he was silent. I didn’t hear a sound. I began to wonder if I had said too much too soon or if he simply couldn’t process the information. Finally he said, “Mommy? I’m purple now!” He had been learning his colors and was simply trying them all out.

Parents teach their children about colors of the ball, the sky, a rainbow, their shoes, hair bows, food and cars more than we teach about skin colors. But yet, they do learn at very young ages that we all have colors called races. Whether they learn it from teachers, grandparents, neighbors, extended family, babysitters or television, they are taught the racial colors and attitudes. They eventually attach words to colors like love, hate, pretty, ugly, good and bad.

Now comes “Black Lives Matter,” and the senseless killings of black males. I know many mothers of grown black males. I know they don’t want their sons on the streets of America; alone or with friends, day or night, in their own backyard or someone else’s. Their mothers are afraid for them.

 I admit it was cute when my son was young. I remember the saleswoman who looked at me, then at my son is his stroller, put her hands together in a little clap and said, “It’s so wonderful when people adopt children from other countries!”

We raised him to befriend people of many races—colors. We lived in neighborhoods that were mixed and he was loved by both sides of his interracial family. His world was multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and he was safe. Then he grew up.

He looked like Tiger Woods. A spitin’ image. Even though Tiger made it very clear that he considered himself a combination of his races (the word he made up was Cablinasian), people would call him black. People like Fuzzy Zoeller would make jokes about the world’s most famous golfer and fried chicken. People would classify Tiger as black because he “looked black.”

My son, my Tiger, could look black. We weren’t stupid. When he got his driver’s license we explained “driving while black” and taught him how to act if he was ever stopped by the police. His father made certain he never left the house without his identification. But we were not scared.

Now I fear every day. My son could look black to people. He could be stopped by a white (or black) police officer. He could be killed all because of the color(s) of his skin. Your fear for your black son is no bigger than my fear for my biracial one. I’m so sorry for all of us.

Susan Graham is the president of Project RACE, the national civil rights organization advocating for multiracial children.

 

Multiracial identity evolves with census

Seattle Times

Now that Americans can select more than one racial category, Seattle ranks high nationally in terms of multiracial population and percentage.

multiracialidentityjpg-706114dd0fbeed1dWHEN 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.

And among the 50 largest metros, we have the second-highest percentage of people who identify as two or more races. At 6.4 percent, it’s more than twice the U.S. average, according to census data.

The only major metro with a higher percentage than Seattle is Oklahoma City, at 6.7 percent. But the composition of that area’s multiracial population is very different from Seattle’s.
In Oklahoma City, people who are both white and Native American account for more than half of those who say they have at least two races in their background.

But in Seattle, there is no single combination that makes up the majority of multiracial people. The largest group here is people claiming both white and Asian ancestry — about one-third.

The relatively recent acknowledgment of a multiracial identity represents just one chapter in our constantly evolving understanding and attitudes about race. While the census has included questions about race since its inception in 1790, the nature of those questions has changed dramatically.

And through 1960, census-takers themselves determined the race of the individuals they counted,
reflecting the perception that race was a fixed physical trait. It is only since 1970 that race became a matter of self-identity on census forms.

And for multiracial people in particular, that identity can be fluid. Whether someone with a mixed-race background identifies as such is highly personal. And data from the Pew Research Center show that people with certain racial backgrounds are more likely than others to identify as multiracial.

About 70 percent of adults who are both white and Asian identify as biracial — more than any other combination. In contrast, only about a quarter of adults who are white and Native American consider themselves biracial.

So the fact that Seattle has a high percentage of Asians could partly explain why the number of multiracial people here is so high — a higher percentage chooses to identify as such.

Pew’s research shows that, overall, the number of Americans with mixed-race backgrounds could be as much as three times higher than the number who identify as multiracial.

To further complicate the issue, the Census Bureau considers Hispanic an ethnicity rather than a racial category — even though Americans tend to think of Hispanic as a race.

 

Youngest US Olympic Runner and Friend of Project RACE Advances

Last night was INCREDIBLE! My life long friend, Sydney McLaughlin, advanced to the Semifinals of the Olympic 400m Hurdles! Sydney just turned 17 last Sunday and I was lucky enough to be with her and a bunch of our friends and family on her special day to sing Happy Birthday and to pray for her adventure to Rio! Sydney is the youngest US track athlete to compete in the Olympics for almost 50 years. And the person who was a little younger in the 1972 games was a high jumper, so she may be the youngest US Olympic runner ever! And experts predict she will be an Olympic star for at least 2 more Olympics after this one.

It’s kinda crazy to see your friend all over the place. People.com? She’s there. Glamour Magazine? She’s there. USA Today? She’s there. Facebook, twitter and instagram? Oh yeah, she’s alllll over there! Including tweets from about a million boys who want to marry her. LOL

If you read my Famous Friday about her back in March, you know that Sydney and her siblings have been friends to Project RACE for years, serving as Project RACE Teen Panelists and on the Project RACE Kids Krew and helping with our minority focused bone marrow registry drives in New Jersey. In that article I wrote, “I am pretty sure we will get to cheer her on in the Olympics one day.” Well one day has come even sooner than I thought!

Be sure to watch her tonight – scheduled for 8:10 PM EST!  And if she qualifies, (which she really could because going in she had the 5th fastest time in the world this year) you can cheer her on in the finals Thursday 8/18 at 9:15 PM EST!

GO SYD!!!  We are so proud of you.

– Karson Baldwin, President Project RACE Kids

Not Funny

Trevor Noah 3

 

In an AP article that appeared on August 15 titled “Larry Wilmore-hosted ‘Nightly Show’ axed by Comedy” Central, TV writer Frazier Moore wrote that Trevor Noah is black. Project RACE responded below.

 

You wrote:

Though the end of “The Nightly Show” eliminates a rare black-hosted program from the mainstream airwaves, Alterman dismissed any suggestion that race played a role in the show’s ratings failure or that a minority host might not be considered in the future. Said Alterman conclusively, “We’re all in with Trevor Noah,” who is black.

The truth is:

Trevor Noah is not black, he’s multiracial (colored in his birthplace of South Africa). He was born to a black mother and white father. He self-identifies as multiracial. We will share this with the multiracial community.

Project RACE

Wrong Again

The article below is a perfect example of how reallocation of “two or more” data are mistakenly re-tabulated by the U.S. Census Bureau and others. The ten individuals in the example should be “two or more” races, or preferably, “multiracial,” not five African American and five white. –Susan Graham

Methodology: How We Analyzed the Data on Race in N.H.’s Criminal Justice System

Source: New Hampshire Public Radio

Little research has been done in New Hampshire on race and the state’s 10 county jails, which are run by county government.  No comprehensive data is available regarding these jails’ populations. But in our recent story, Racial Disparities Increase At Each Step Of N.H.’s Justice System, data provided to NHPR by the Valley Street Jail in Hillsborough County allows a glimpse into the details of who is incarcerated here, and why.

Here are the numbers behind our analysis.

CENSUS DATA

This analysis primarily uses the 2014 Census Population Estimates for Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, and the United States.

Two or more races

The 19,074 people who identify as “two or more races” in New Hampshire present a wrinkle, however, as the jail and arrest data does not have a corresponding category. To accommodate this discrepancy, a distribution is created from the more detailed 2010 decennial Census, and then applied to the 2014 estimated total for individuals identifying with “two or more” races.  The counts are distributed evenly among mixed races. For example, if 10 individuals identify as both African American and white in 2010, the “white” category receives 5, and the “African American” category receives 5. If, hypothetically, there were 100 people counted in the “two or more” category in 2010, and 110 in 2014, these would be counted as 5.5 additional whites and 5.5 additional African Americans for the final totals.

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Jessica Ennis-Hill

jessica ennisAs the world tunes into The 2016 Olympic Games, Project RACE wants to highlight all of the multiracial athletes who are competing. For this week’s Famous Friday we will be taking a closer look at the fabulous Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Jessica was born on January 28th, 1986, and she is of Jamaican and Caucasian ancestry. She is a British Track and Field athlete. At 29 year’s old she is a World and Olympic heptathlon champion!! In case you were wondering, a heptathlon is a track and field competition that consists of 7 different events. She also holds the British national record for this competitive event.

Jessica isn’t just an athlete, she is also a mother and wife. She is married to Andy Hill, and they have one son together. His name is Reggie, and Jessica says that he is ‘worth more than any gold medal.’ She acknowledges that having a child changed her body and made it hard to come back to the sports world. It is rumored that the track and field star could possibly retire in 2017.

As great as Jessica’s life is, she notes that it hasn’t always been easy. From injuries to bullies, not everyday was a walk in the park for her. Jessica has said, “I believe we all have a journey. I was once a small girl from Sheffield, dealing with bullies and normal teenage insecurities, but I always believed. And when you do that life can get unbelievable.” I think this advice is totally beautiful, and I encourage you all to never give up on your dreams.

 

– Lexi Brock

ProjectRACE Teen Co-President

Hapa?

Who Gets To Be ‘Hapa’?

Who gets to be 'hapa'?

Jennifer Qian for NPR

Sunset in Waikiki: Tourists sipping mai tais crowded the beachside hotel bar. When the server spotted my friend and me, he seemed to relax. “Ah,” he said, smiling. “Two hapa girls.”

He asked if we were from Hawaii. We weren’t. We both have lived in Honolulu — my friend lives there now — but hail from California. It didn’t matter. In that moment, he recognized our mixed racial backgrounds and used “hapa” like a secret handshake, suggesting we were aligned with him: insiders and not tourists.

Like many multiracial Asian-Americans, I identify as hapa, a Hawaiian word for “part” that has spread beyond the islands to describe anyone who’s part Asian or Pacific Islander. When I first learned the term in college, wearing it felt thrilling in a tempered way, like trying on a beautiful gown I couldn’t afford. Hapa seemed like the identity of lucky mixed-race people far away, people who’d grown up in Hawaii as the norm, without “Chink” taunts, mangled name pronunciations, or questions about what they were.

Over time, as more and more people called me hapa, I let myself embrace the word. It’s a term that explains who I am and connects me to others in an instant. It’s a term that creates a sense of community around similar life experiences and questions of identity. It’s what my fiancé and I call ourselves, and how we think of the children we might have: second-generation hapas.

But as the term grows in popularity, so does debate over how it should be used. Some people argue that hapa is a slur and should be retired. “[It] is an ugly term born of racist closed-mindedness much like ‘half-breed’ or ‘mulatto,'” design consultant Warren Wake wrote to Code Switch after reading my piece on a “hapa Bachelorette.”

Akemi Johnson hails from California, but when she learned the Hawaiian word “hapa,” she immediately felt connected to the community it represents.

Several scholars told me it’s a misconception that hapa has derogatory roots. The word entered the Hawaiian language in the early 1800s, with the arrival of Christian missionaries who instituted a Hawaiian alphabet and developed curriculum for schools. Hapa is a transliteration of the English word “half,” but quickly came to mean “part,” combining with numbers to make fractions. (For example, hapalua is half. Hapaha is one-fourth.) Hapa haole — part foreigner — came to mean a mix of Hawaiian and other, whether describing a mixed-race person, a fusion song, a bilingual Bible, or pidgin language itself.

This original use was not negative, said Kealalokahi Losch, a professor of Hawaiian studies and Pacific Island studies at Kapi’olani Community College. “The reason [hapa] feels good is because it’s always felt good,” he told me. Losch has been one of the few to study the earliest recorded uses of the term, buried in Hawaiian-language newspapers, and found no evidence that it began as derogatory. Because the Hawaiian kingdom was more concerned with genealogy than race, he explained, if you could trace your lineage to a Hawaiian ancestor, you were Hawaiian. Mixed Hawaiian did not mean less Hawaiian.

Any use of hapa as a slur originated with outsiders, Losch said. That includes New England missionaries, Asian plantation workers and the U.S. government, which instituted blood quantum laws to limit eligibility for Hawaiian homestead lands. On the continental U.S., some members of Japanese-American communities employed hapa to make those who were mixed “feel like they were not really, truly Japanese or Japanese-American,” said Duncan Williams, a professor of religion and East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California. He said this history may have led some to believe the word is offensive.

For Losch, “hapa haole” — meaning part Hawaiian, part other — always has been positive. “This is absolutely who I am,” he said. The license plate on his car reads, “HAPA H.” His family members have been proud hapa haole for generations. An issue for him is when non-Hawaiians call themselves hapa. “There are times when it feels like identity theft,” he said.

This is arguably the trickier and more significant conflict around the term. Hapa, middle school teacher Piikea Kalakau told me, means part Native Hawaiian — not part Asian. “I … am personally frustrated with the world misusing this word …,” she wrote in an email.

I followed up with Kalakau by phone. The widespread use of hapa, she said, is a form of cultural appropriation, just as offensive as hula dancer dolls shaking their hips on car dashboards. She said correcting the definition of hapa is part of a larger Native Hawaiian “movement to take back our culture.” She said her people were fighting to thrive again after surviving colonization and its damage to their language, culture and population. Kalakau encouraged me and other mixed Asian-Americans to find labels from our own heritages. “I wouldn’t use a Japanese word or a Filipino word to describe myself because it doesn’t fit,” she said.

Mixed-race Chinese-American scholar Wei Ming Dariotis works through this dilemma in her 2007 essay, “Hapa: The Word of Power.” In it, she details her difficult decision to stop using hapa, though the term had formed the foundation of her identity and community. “To have this symbolic word used by Asians, particularly by Japanese Americans, as though it is their own,” she writes, “seems to symbolically mirror the way Native Hawaiian land was first taken by European Americans, and is now owned by European Americans, Japanese and Japanese Americans and other Asian American ethnic groups that numerically and economically dominate Native Hawaiians in their own land.”

The desire of many Native Hawaiians to reclaim this word is often linked to a larger call for change. In Hawaii, a growing sovereignty movement maintains that the late 19th-century overthrow and annexation of the kingdom were illegal and the islands should again exercise some form of self-governance. But even within that movement opinions on hapa vary. I spoke with attorney Poka Laenui, who said he has been involved in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement for more than 40 years. He told me, in the “idea of aloha” — the complex blend that includes love, compassion and generosity — he doesn’t mind if the term is shared. “If our word can be used to assist people in identifying and understanding one another, who am I to object?” he said.

Linguist and consultant Keao NeSmith told me he was shocked the first time he heard hapa outside of a Native Hawaiian context. NeSmith, who grew up on Kauai, learned more about the wider use of hapa when interviewed for a PRI podcast last year. Hearing the episode, his family and friends were shocked, too. “It’s a new concept to many of us locals here in Hawaii to call Asian-Caucasian mixes ‘hapa’ like that,” NeSmith said. “Not that it’s a bad thing.”

NeSmith cited the mixed nature of language and culture in Hawaii as one reason the use doesn’t bother him. “We borrow Portuguese terms all the time, Japanese terms all the time, English terms all the time,” he said. He called it hypocritical for a local person to protest someone using a Hawaiian word when “it’s perfectly fine for us to do that and steal from other cultures and ethnicities.”

I asked Williams, editor of the forthcoming essay collection Hapa Japan (to which I contributed a chapter), about his decision to use the word in his work. Why not the Japanese term “haafu“? “Haafu” seemed too narrow, he said; it implies a person has one parent who’s a Japanese national. “It seemed like at least in the U.S., the term ‘hapa’ had a big umbrella feel to it,” Williams said.

That broad interpretation of the word may have its roots in Hawaii, where I have friends descended from Japanese and Chinese immigrants who grew up thinking hapa meant part Asian. Elsewhere in the islands, “hapa haole” continued to mean part Hawaiian. This makes literal sense in that “part foreigner” describes only what is different, with the dominant race or culture assumed. It’s like how I might answer, “half Japanese” to “What are you?”-type questions; where whiteness is normalized, it doesn’t have to be named.

The idea that hapa means multiracial people of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent spread to the U.S. mainland with the help of academic and artistic work like Kip Fulbeck’s The Hapa Project. College hapa clubs also introduced the term to many mixed-race Asian-Americans at a formative stage in their lives. One of the first student groups was the Hapa Issues Forum, founded in 1992 at the University of California at Berkeley. My friend, the mixed-race Taiwanese-American novelist Shawna Yang Ryan, told me she first heard of hapa as a student at Berkeley via the Hapa Issues Forum. “They had shirts that read ‘100% Hapa,’ and I wore mine all the time and spread the word (literally),” she wrote in an email. I had a similar experience at Brown University, when, in 2004, I joined the newly formed Hapa Club.

Since then, hapa has become a meaningful part of who I am. But now I understand this frustrates and offends others. Now, when I think of hapa, I think about the history of Hawaii and identity theft. I think about helping obscure a group of people by swapping my story for theirs.

Hapa is a word I don’t think I should use anymore. But I also don’t know how I will let it go.

Akemi Johnson is a writer and contributor to Hapa Japan, forthcoming from USC Ito Center/Kaya Press in January 2017.

Source: Code Switch, NPR

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Medical Monday

Medical Monday – August 8, 2016

Medical 7-18-16Medical Monday is a service of Project RACE for the multiracial community. We seek, gather, and list health articles of interest to interracial families and people of all races. We welcome health information from outside sources as long as the original source is cited.

1.   Minorities less likely to have knee replacement surgery, more likely to have complications

 

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/aaoo-mll080316.php

 

 

  1. Morphology and Prevalence Study of Lumbar Scoliosis in 7,075 Multiracial Asian Adults

 

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery

 

http://jbjs.org/content/98/15/1307

3.     Diversity in the Ophthalmologist Workforce

Source:  JAMA ophthalmology

 

http://www.practiceupdate.com/c/41844/2/5/?elsca1=emc_enews_daily-digest&elsca2=email&elsca3=practiceupdate_eye&elsca4=eye-care&elsca5=newsletter&rid=NTk3MzgyODQ0ODIS1&lid=10332481

 

If you have current medical news to contribute, please email it with the source and your contact information with MEDICAL NEWS SUBMISSION in the subject line to:

projectrace@projectrace.com