FAMOUS FRIDAY: Jesse Williams

Today’s Famous Friday features man of the hour – Jesse Williams. He is of African-American and Swedish descent. Jesse was born on August 5, 1981 in Chicago.
He is best known for his role as Dr. Avery in Grey’s Anatomy. However, that could possibly change after his speech at the BET awards. Not only is Jesse William a phenomenal actor and model, but he is also a passionate activist.
If you have not yet heard Jesse’s acceptance speech, I highly recommend that you go check it out. It took social media by storm, and captured the hearts of many. He is known for advocating for both Multiracial and African-American people.
He once said, “We often grow up being told that we can do this or that, but if you don’t see anybody that looks like you doing it, you don’t believe you can do it.” This is often the case for lots of people who don’t really look like anyone else. That is why I think it’s so important that people like Jesse stand up and speak out. I also think that it’s awesome that the ProjectRACE team does Famous Friday’s to show everyone that despite your ethnic backgroud, you can accomplish absolutely anything. Don’t forget to be a positive role model to others as well.
(photo taken from twitter)

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Book Review: Breeding Between the Lines

Breeding Between the Lines: Why Interracial People are Healthier and more Attractive

By Alon Ziv
Barricade Books 2006
Reprint Edition 2016
Reviewer: Susan Graham

I missed the original printing of this book in 2006, but I thought I would like it when it was released in a second edition ten years later. I never did expect to like the title. It left me disliking the term “breeding,” as if it were about farm animals. It made me wonder if Interracial (sic) people are healthier and more attractive than Who? Just what was the comparison? It didn’t make me want to buy the book for the answer. Still, I went in fully expecting to give this crazy little book with the horrid title a chance.

The author says in the acknowledgments that “Breeding Between the Lines is based on the research of countless scientists.” Without having the advantage of actually seeing the research, we are not only asked to accept their work and encouraged to not question the results. The author calls this process “scientific literacy.”

Ziv starts right out with The Origin of the Species, trying to lay the foundation for his own book, which flops because the author is trying to get to the disconnect between scientists and non-scientists. What he really intends is to launch the debate between the advocates for the multiracial population and the academics for mixed-race studies. Or does he? It’s hard to say just what this book intends to do.

A large portion of the book is devoted to genetic and physical advantages multiracial people are expected to have because of “symmetrical features,” as if this is an eleventh commandment. Selective breeding is presented in its history and the author’s hope for its future. It wouldn’t be a book about race if “But race is just a social construct!” didn’t appear. The author intends to show that race is not just a social construct—it’s a biological construct, but other books have done a much better job at discussions about how different races suffer from different diseases.

Ziv throws in the Rachel Dolezal fiasco when she was president of the Spokane NAACP and jumps to President Obama’s chosen racial identity, all in an effort to present something new so this book could claim to be a second edition with additional information. It digresses from its intended premise over and over again. Don’t waste your time with Breeding Between the Lines. On the other hand, if you liked the title, you just might love the book.

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USCBAnnounced by the Census Bureau 6/23/2016:

  • The second fastest-growing racial group was those who claim two or more races, government officials said.
  • The number of people who claimed two or more races grew 3.1% to 6.6 million.
  • This group was also the youngest group of all racial or ethnic groups with a median age of 20 years old.

Finding My Choice

2016-05-18-1463609140-1974673-12919738_10156682336945398_6347453400125733083_n-thumbvia Huffington Post

By Alexander Jasienowski

As a young girl, I remember my grandfather saying to me, “You’re black, you’re black, you’re black. It doesn’t matter how much white blood you have, you’ll always be, and always be seen as black.” My black grandfather said the words but my white relatives reinforced the message with their actions.

Growing up with a black mom and a white dad has been central to my life experience. I struggled to fully fit into one identity as each side of my family imposed its views on my identity. The black side of my family said it directly: I could never completely fit into the white community. My white grandfather, aunts and cousins were never comfortable enough to directly confront the strain that race placed on our relationships. Yet the tension of race always slipped into our encounters.

When we were young, my father would regularly take my sister and me to visit his family in upstate New York. Looking back, these memories are tinged by recollections of strange behaviors. One day, after my sister and I took one of our many swims down to the lighthouse, my aunt looked at our hair and said, “your hair is too wild, it’s so difficult!” I cringed — her words filled me with disgust and frustration. The behaviors of my father’s family continually pointed to this singular difference of race — when they gave us skin colored band-aids (which were actually too dark for our skin tone), volumes and volumes of Temptations CDs, and the strangest gift of all, eleven black dolls dressed in different animal costumes. With each visit upstate, my feelings of discomfort became stronger. My sister and I were always included in the family, but there was a growing sense of awkwardness that seemed to justify the words of my black grandfather. No matter how hard my white relatives tried to make it appear that they were comfortable with our racial differences, their behavior ultimately helped push me to choose an identity, black.

The choice proved to be complicated. I began to identify as black internally, and at the same time, externally, I was still seeking acceptance from the white community. Early on, I used my hair as a way to conform to white expectations. I tamed my wild curly locks by straightening them, changing an aspect of myself so that I would blend in with my friends at school. Gradually, I realized that more of my friends were people of color, and I experienced a level of comfort I had never felt before. By the end of 9th grade, after years of conforming to the expectations of others, I let my hair go natural, freeing both my hair and myself. Feeling liberated, I felt a new sense of confidence and pride in my multiracial identity as I embraced my black heritage more than my white roots. I made this choice under pressure from both my black and white sides. They made it seem that one culture had to dominate.

Looking back, having to make a choice at all is unsettling. In making one side dominant, I abandoned a piece of myself. People shouldn’t feel that it is necessary to abandon a part of their identity in order to be accepted.

Now, identifying as multiracial, I am learning to get beyond the pressures that were placed upon me as a young girl. While my connection and sense of affinity with the African-American community grows increasingly stronger, I continue to lean into my multiracial identity, although I sometimes feel a lingering sense of unease. I work through these vulnerabilities by reaching out and supporting others who seem to be experiencing similar struggles. Every now and then, I feel the urge to safely lock away my curls, but I do not give in to this temptation.

Alexander Jasinowski, a graduate from The Spence School, graduated from Pitzer College last Saturday


image1Vanessa Amy Hudgens

Vanessa is a twenty- seven year old American actress and singer. She was born in Salinas, California and raised by her multiracial parents. Vanessa’s multiracial family is made up of her Irish and Native American father, her Filipino and Chinese mother, and her younger sister Stella, who is also an actress.Vanessa was home schooled since the seventh grade, she has stated she always dreamed of being prom queen because she missed out on the high school experience. Interestingly, even though she did not go to high school she became famous for her role as Gabriella Montez in the 2006 Disney television movie High School Musical series. Since her debut she has been in several other movie and television shows. She is for sure beautiful and multitalented.
Project RACE Co-PresidentMakensie Shay McDaniel

THX! Another Incredible Multiracial Heritage Wk



Multiracial Heritage Week 2016 has been fantastic! Thanks so much to the following:


  • All of the volunteers across the country who helped make MHW16 such a success by contacting their governors.
  • The state lawmakers and their staffs for all the help with proclamations and resolutions.
  • The media for giving us local and national coverage.
  • Kelly Baldwin for all she does for multiracial children and interracial families.
  • Karson Baldwin, President of Project RACE Kids, who can always be counted on to do whatever is needed.
  • Our wonderful Project RACE Teens, especially Lexi Brock and Makensie McDaniel co-presidents and Dionna Roberson, VP.
  • Patti Barry, our Project RACE Grandparents President.
  • Filmmaker Tay Erikson for the best video ever!
  • The Project RACE Advisory Board for all your help and great advice.
  • The K&F Baxter Family Foundation for funding us for so many Multiracial Heritage Week efforts.
  • The anonymous donor, you know who you are, what you gave and how grateful we are.
  • All of our wonderful families who make it possible for us to do our work.
  • My son, Ryan, for always giving me good advice.
  • My husband, Sam; my pup, Sonny; and Kim Carlucci, all of whom took excellent care of me so I could thank all of you.


The Envelope Please…

2016 Multiracial Heritage Week Video Contest

Congratulations to Tay Erickson of Cleveland, OH for submitting the winning video. The Judging Committee at Project RACE felt that Taylor’s video sent the perfect message to our audience that Multiracial Heritage Week is an important celebration for the multiracial community. We thank every person who submitted a video. We enjoyed each one!
Please join us in wishing Tay up the best in what will undoubtedly be a very successful film making career.
On behalf of the multiracial community, congrats!

NBC News Reports on Multiracial Heritage Week

Click on the link below to watch the report:



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Celebrate YOU on Famous Friday!

Since this week is Multiracial Heritage Week, I wanted to switch Famous Friday up just a bit. Instead of celebrating just one awesome multiracial individual, for the rest of this week I encourage you to celebrate all multiracial people. Celebrate who you are. Celebrate the diverse cultures that you embody. Celebrate how far we as a group of people have came. Celebrate everything that makes you awesome. The great part is the celebration doesn’t have to end this week! Go to projectrace.com to get involved.

MHW16 Kicks Off With Celebrations Across US

Cleveland, Ohio celebration