On June 19, 2014, I wrote a long and strong letter to John H. Thompson, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. I brought up our concern about many issues the multiracial community has with the Bureau. The letter ended with the following paragraph:
“Director Thompson, with all due respect, we realize we have neither any rights nor any influence with our federal government, yet we risk being undercounted, re-tabulated, referred to as MOOMs (Mark One Or More) and worse by our government. Yes, we want to have input and know we could make many contributions to the committee. However, we understand that under the current regime we will not be given the chances that we were given to testify numerous times before Congressional Subcommittees in the 1990s. Times change and leaders change. On behalf of America’s multiracial children, I ask that you be the leader who once again invites us to the table with all of the other included populations. I look forward to hearing from you.”
I did receive a reply dated February 19, 2015, exactly eight months later! I know Mr. Thompson is a fairly busy man, but eight months to reply to a group of stakeholders in the census? Wow. What a joke. They would never accept that from the public if they wanted information.
He gave me useless information, did not address my main concerns, and ended with a line that very clearly meant “have your people call my people.” He also gave me some URL’s to go to for more information, except the information at those sites is over six months old.
Yes, the Director did write back—so what? It’s useless information and another example of just one more time the Washington bureaucracy has rendered the multiracial community invisible.
Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.
“Funny—You Don’t Look Jewish!”: Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Identities of Children of Asian American and Jewish American Spouses
Who is a Jew? What does it mean to be Jewish? Often connected to these questions is the subject of intermarriage among Jewish Americans, a demographic reality that has long been understood as problematic and threatening to the Jewish people because of the supposed dilution, and possible extinction, of Jewish identity and community that will necessarily follow when a Jew marries a non-Jew. Often, the most pressing concern regarding intermarriage is its impact on the Jewish identity of the children and grandchildren of these relationships. Will the offspring of intermarriage identify as Jewish? If so, what does Jewish identity mean for these individuals? Furthermore, what impact does Jewish identification or non-identification mean for the continuity of the Jewish people?
Currently, the debate regarding the continuity of Jewish identity and peoplehood as it pertains to intermarried couples and their children is unresolved, especially within the realm of academic scholarship pertaining to this subject. Most notably, the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans acknowledges that, according to its findings, support exists for both sides of the debate. In their discussion of the Pew survey, Gregory A. Smith and Alan Cooperman note that adult children of intermarriage are more likely to identify as religiously agnostic, atheist, or nothing in particular than those born to two Jewish parents. This difference may suggest the eventual erosion of Jewish religious identification as a result of intermarriage. Smith and Cooperman also note, however, an increase in Jewish identification in adulthood among offspring of intermarriage. Thus while intermarriage may be leading to a significant decrease in religious identification, it may be contributing to an increase in a different type of Jewish identification that is no less important.
Some scholars have argued that the debate and scholarship regarding intermarriage as assimilation and an erosion of Jewish authenticity stifles innovative ways to think about and encourage more nuanced conceptions of Jewish identity and, subsequently, Jewish belonging and community. These critiques often point to the importance of broadening our understanding of Jewish identity through frameworks and methods that complicate common notions of Jewish authenticity based in religiosity and descent.
Our exploratory qualitative study of adult children born to Asian American and Jewish American spouses adds to the debate regarding intermarriage and Jewish authenticity by investigating how Jewish identity is negotiated through the lenses of religion and race. We argue that multiraciality and Jewish identity are intrinsically connected for respondents in our sample. Our work derives from a larger project on intermarriage between Jewish Americans of any racial or ethnic background and Asian Americans of any ethnic or religious background. More specifically, we seek to understand how children of mixed backgrounds experience and think about their Jewish identity in light of their position as children of intermarried spouses who are ethnically, religiously, and racially different. While our findings are not generalizable to a larger population, they do call into serious question the conceptualization and, for some, the strongly held belief that intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews necessarily results in an erosion of Jewish identity and community through children and subsequent generations. Rather, our interviews with children of multiracial intermarriages point to the maintenance of many traditional markers of Judaism and Jewish identity commonly associated with certain institutional affiliations at the same time that they challenge and offer newer understandings of Jewish authenticity through the lens of external and internal racial identification. Thus, our findings emphasize the importance of understanding these kinds of identity negotiations within a larger national landscape that is increasingly multiracial and multicultural. Put differently, the U.S. population, including its Jewish and Asian American populations, is becoming increasingly multiracial and multiethnic and is doing so, in large part, through intermarriage broadly construed. In this sense, our work highlights the importance of understanding how our respondents think about their identity, whether racial, ethnic, or religious, within a demographic landscape that is changing at a pace much faster than the debate regarding intermarriage fully acknowledges.
The data for this paper comes from qualitative in-depth interviews conducted in 2011 with twenty-two adult children, ages eighteen to twenty-five, of Jewish and Asian intermarriages, residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and in parts…
I receive notices from the U.S. Census Bureau (see below) about various things. This one only served to remind me of the “one-drop rule” still used by our government. They just don’t know what to call us! They have said they don’t know. We have tried to help them. We have told them it’s “M-U-L-T-I-R-A-C-I-A-L.” They think it’s too long (11 letters), so they call us “C-O-M-B-I-N-A-T-I-O-N P-E-O-P-L-E (17 letters). Huh? Aren’t government demographers and statisticians supposed to know how to count?!
Then I noticed that they are now using “Black (African-American)” and that uses 20 letters! Wow. Lucky Black (African-American) People—they have two names and all the combination people. Maybe the Census Bureau can try M-U-L-T-I-R-A-C-I-A-L (M-I-X-E-D), which only uses 16 letters!
Census Bureau: Black (African-American) History Month: February 2015
To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month.Note: The reference to the black population in this publication is to single-race blacks (“black alone”) except in the first section on “Population.” In that section the reference is to black alone or in combination with other races; a reference to respondents who said they were one race (black) or more than one race (black plus other races).
I received a copy of John Doe v. the Publisher Xemon, which did not interest me in the least until I saw the subtitle: The Supreme Court Case Establishing a Legal Multiracial Identity. Wow! I had no idea there had been such a case. There wasn’t. It was a factious case that would have made the author, Liam Martin, and any lawyer giddy to take on. It’s a legal fight that many legal advocates for a multiracial classification have been waiting for, for a very, very long time. But you can’t just make up a defamed plaintiff and waltz into the Supreme Court. If only it were that easy.
It reminds me of a public argument that took place on a Facebook page recently. Someone suggested that someone just start an organization to get a multiracial classification, go talk to the friendly folks in the Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and voila! Done! Hmmm…not so fast. It takes money, commitment, strategy, and brains to build an organization. As for the money part, you have to wrangle with the IRS for quite a while so that you can get a non-profit status so that people will be motivated to give you money so they can tax deduct it. If you are lucky, that takes less than a year. The part about getting OMB and our equally buddy-buddy folks at the Census Bureau to give you the time of day is just laughable. Anyway, what do these people think Project RACE, AMEA, MASC, MAVIN, the hapa organizations, and countless others have tried to do. By the way, we’re still doing it at Project RACE while the others have dissolved or headed for the hills.
Yes, we’re still waiting for the perfect case to come to us. I’m not an attorney, but I think I have a pretty good idea what to look for. A really good possibility came to us in the 1990s in Florida when a young girl was told by the elementary school principal at her new school that she could not put “multiracial” on her enrollment form. We have the principal saying that on video tape and adding that the child “looks white,” so that’s what she had to be on the paperwork. A Project RACE member happened to be a practicing attorney in Florida and he took the case on pro bono. This was not a class action suit; it was brought by an individual. The court threw it out because they said there was not enough harm to the child to let it continue to be heard by the legal system. The psychological damage it did to the child who had been raised from birth as a multiracial person, was just not enough. There are legal terms for all of it.
Still, I get what Martin means and found his legal arguments well thought-out and compelling, but I’m not an attorney. I disagree with him on a point or two, but I think we are in the same ballpark, lobbying that multiracial ball across the net, or hoop, base, whatever.
I like Liam Martin’s writing. However, his book gets sidetracked often, which made me want to grab him and bring him back around. The “Rebuttal to Eleanor Holmes-Norton” chapter is brilliant. I was in the room when she made her ridiculous arguments against a multiracial community; it made me mad then and it does now. It needed to be brought up and I thank Liam Martin for doing that and laying out his rebuttal.
Where we part ways in this 25 year old story is when he brings the multiracial organizations into the mix (no pun intended). He says that the multiracial movement of the 1990s “failed to defend ‘mixed-race’ and ‘multiracial’….” Really? NOT Project RACE, which is still fighting for appropriate language. We “got it” then and we get it now. Martin does a disservice by lumping all the different organizations together. AMEA, for example, wanted to get the love, sanction, and admiration of the NAACP. Project RACE’s stand was that the NAACP had no business demanding the one-drop rule for all multiracials. The hapas wanted everyone to be called hapa, and that was not going to happen. Throwing Project RACE into the pit with all the other groups is akin to throwing us under the bus, and yeah, it’s a huge mistake.
Martin spends a lot of time and space on “A Buddhist Repudiation of the one-drop rule.” It really only serves to add religion into the already complex trio of race, ethnicity, and culture.
Whether you’re interested in legal or racial issues, I recommend John Doe v. the Publisher Xemon, especially for the crowd that is so dearly holding on to the one-drop rule.
Racial Disparities in Outcomes of Adult Heart Transplantation
Racial disparities in center performances were evaluated among patients who received orthotopic heart transplant (OHT). Blacks had elevated risk-adjusted mortality rates at centers that performed poorly and were more likely to be treated at centers with elevated mortality rates. A positive correlation was found between the observed-to-expected mortality ratios and the percentage of blacks.
Blacks were more likely to receive OHT at centers that performed poorly, although a center effect did not explain the racial disparities in mortality. OHT outcomes in minorities are unlikely to improve with referrals to better-performing centers alone.
When Jenn Czobel downloaded JSwipe to her phone, she expected it to be like Tinder: a dating application where users choose to chat based on photos, geographical location, mutual friends and a short biography – except it’s meant just for Jews, or those who fancy them.
What she didn’t expect was to have zero matches. On Tinder, she has several hundred.
“I don’t look like I’m Jewish, and the people on JSwipe are obviously on there to find someone with whom they share similar values,” says the 28-year-old account manager from Toronto.
Czobel’s mother is from Vietnam and her father is from Hungary, so she doesn’t look like the majority of Jews in Toronto.
David Yarus, founder of JSwipe, thinks her religion should matter, not her race.
“What’s peculiar, though, is that the profile says ‘Jewish’ or not. It says: ‘Willing to convert,’ ‘Other,’ ‘Jewish,’” he says. “So if hers says ‘Jewish,’ it doesn’t fully make sense to me.”
In fact, Yarus thinks, as does popular culture (see: Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), that her Asian features should be working in her favour, a reference to the stereotype that Jewish men are attracted to Asian women.
“That seems almost like the opposite of what I would ever think feasible to have happen. Because at the end of the day, this is, actually, potentially the dream situation for Jewish dudes: she’s half-Asian and she’s Jewish,” he says. “So it should be that she’s getting double the matches.”
The truth is, most people prefer to date people of their own race, especially white people.
Research from the popular dating site OkCupid shows that white women in particular almost exclusively reply to messages from white men. White men, on the other hand, are much more open to dating women from different races, except for black women.
And although JSwipe specifies religion, not race, in its profiles, Judaism has always conflated the two.
That’s because Judaism is not just a religion in the modern sense of the term. Rather, it also has a national and tribal component, as well as ethnic, cultural and even racial aspects.
But despite the fact our Israelite heritage, with its link to land and kin, has been diminished by centuries of dispersion and greater stress on the religious side of Judaism, it still seems that for anyone who’s serious about being Jewish, a prospective mate should ideally meet all criteria – cultural, religious and racial.
And observant as a half-Asian Jew may be, would it ever be enough for most people in our community?
Geoff Grossman, a 29-year-old who is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian, explains that he was the only visible minority at his Toronto Hebrew school, “until my little sister started attending.”
He uses both Tinder and JSwipe, but doesn’t take either very seriously.
“I can’t imagine just swiping. I used to live with a guy that used to swipe right [say yes to profiles, enabling the exchange of contact information] all the time, and it was a complete gutter system. I’m not like that.”
He says the typical reaction he receives from Jewish girls on JSwipe is essentially, “‘Why the hell are you on JSwipe? Your eyes are different,’” he says.
Grossman says his online experience mirrors real life.
“I’ve done it a couple times, just to shoot myself in the foot – going to [the midtown Toronto pickup joint] Alleycatz or one of those Jew-balls, matzah-balls stuff,” he says. “It’s just an exercise in futility and painfulness.”
Although many Jews – white, black or green – view such events as futile, painful and often requiring several over-priced tequila shots to endure, non-Caucasian Jews in our community face different challenges
“I have obviously met people at Jewish events, Jew-dos. But I think initially, they probably just think I’m tagging along with my Jewish friends,” Czobel says.
“I think that once they find out that I’m Jewish, it puts me into a different category in their mind – a wife-able category.”
– See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/node/135985#sthash.AsfF4eLw.dpuf
Association of Mixed Students hosts celebratory ‘Loving Week’
Noa Yadidi | Staff Reporter
Featuring speed dating, free cupcakes and a co-programmed dance, this year’s Loving Week, hosted by the Association of Mixed Students, kicked off Monday in commemoration of the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.
The group organized a week’s worth of activities to celebrate the case, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Mixed decided to hold the event in proximity to Valentine’s Day because it fit in well with the themes of love and acceptance.
Two students hold a button promoting interracial relationships as part of this year’s Loving Week. Several events including a speed dating event in Ursa’s aim to promote interracial relationship on campus.
In continuing the weeklong celebration, students can participate in a speed-dating event at Ursa’s Stageside Thursday night and a dance on Friday night.
Students in Mixed feel that it is especially important to celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of mixed-race students at Washington University.
“One of things that I think is really unique about Mixed is that everyone coming to the table has a unique experience, and our shared experience is the fact that we all have unique experiences,” junior and Mixed President Kellie Wilson said.
On Monday, the club gave out free cupcakes and buttons in the Danforth University Center with “mixed” puns and statements, such as the slogan “friendship is mixed” and pictures of sporks.
On Tuesday, the group held a discussion titled, “The Black and White Divide: Where Does ‘Mixed’ Fit?” At the event, the group discussed how mixed identities fit into racial justice questions and considered whether racial issues are often discussed from a mono-racial standpoint. Attendees also discussed the Black Anthology performance from last week, which included a character of mixed racial identity, but overall, the event was not well attended.
On Wednesday, the group played a “Jeopardy”-style game that dealt with mixed-race representation in television, film and media.
Friday’s event will finish the week off with a dance co-hosted by Ashoka and the Association of Latin American Students in the Mallinckrodt Multipurpose Room.
“It gives us a chance to reach out to the other cultural groups,” junior and Mixed Vice President Natalie Kirchhoff said of the dance. “I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to co-program with them because when people think of the cultural groups on campus I don’t think Mixed is something that necessarily is one of the first groups that they would think of.”
After it was a success last year, Kirchhoff said that the group decided to host the dance again. Thursday’s “mixer” will also include dinner and dessert.
“It also is a really good opportunity for us to let the rest of campus know we are available as a group and we’re here to have these conversations,” Kirchhoff said. “Our events in general [include] people with very different backgrounds coming together, but there is something to being mixed that people like having other people to talk to about it. Because a lot of time people feel like their situations are unique, which [they are], or they don’t have someone to relate to, so even being a group of people with very different backgrounds but shar[ing] that mixed factor really helps people work through their own identit[ies].”