If you still don’t get it

You and CNN should get it by now, but I’ll explain again. CNN Politics is running a story titled, “Why Kamala Harris is the new Democratic frontrunner.” They describe her this way: “Harris is in her first term as a senator from the country’s largest state. When she won in 2016, she made history as the first African-American woman and the first Indian-American woman to represent California in the Senate.” Nowhere does it state that Harris is multiracial.

Project RACE contends that people of “two or more races” have multiple single racial identities AND a multiracial identity. After all, you’re reading this post as it pertains to the multiracial community, not as single-race communities, yes? Although some people who read this obviously wish to assign multiracial people into single categories, as we’ve seen evidenced by their posts, a multiracial community does exist and statistics collected as multiracial are important. –Susan Graham for Project RACE

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

It’s Famous Friday!

QB Patrick Mahomes

“Mahomes’ talent is as good as anybody who has ever played the game.” – Brett Favre

Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has captivated football fans this year and become the most exciting player in the NFL. Mahomes, in just his second NFL season, has led his team to a thrilling 8-1 start and, with eight 300 yard passing games in a row, has found himself as the current MVP favorite! The frenzy over this new superstar reminds me of the way fans react to LeBron! This guy is obviously a very special athlete.

The 23 year old was born in Tyler, Texas to Pat Mahomes Sr. and Randi Martin. His interracially married parents divorced when he was young, but the family remained close. Pat Mahomes Sr. had a long career as an MLB pitcher when young Patrick was growing up, playing with the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates. His father’s career made for a fun childhood for Patrick, allowing him to regularly hang out on the road with superstars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

“It helped out that I went to private school when I was younger so they let me skip a few weeks at a time,” Mahomes said. “I would miss school for about a week or two get my work in advance and I’d go up and just hang out with him (dad). He’d still stay on me about doing my school work, but it was good experience to be around him and travel with him. I remember riding buses from stadium to stadium.”

When he wasn’t on the road with his dad, Patrick was raised in Whitehouse, Texas with his younger brother, Jackson, and a little sister, Mia. Patrick is a great big brother, known to be very protective of his sister and a role model for his brother. He didn’t play football until middle school, and even then, played safety, not quarterback. He was a three sport standout athlete (football, baseball, and basketball) at Whitehouse High School, where he was named a 3 star prospect by Rivals, ESPN and 247 sports.

Patrick started dating soccer player Brittany Matthews in high school and they are still together today. In his junior year of high school he first established himself as a quarterback and led his team to the district championship. Even then, he was a classic dual threat QB who could throw or run the ball with the best in the country and was named Maxpreps 2013-14 Athlete of the Year. He also continued to excel in baseball, throwing a no-hitter as a senior. He was so good, that he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, but having decided on football, did not sign a contract.

It is no surprise, then, that he was heavily recruited by colleges. He decided on Texas Tech and as a freshman, continued to play both football and baseball. After setting the Big 12 freshman record for passing yards in a game, with 598 against Baylor, it became pretty clear that football was his game. During his pre-draft pro day in 2017, he threw a pass that was almost 80-yards.The man has a strong arm and the NFL took notice. He was drafted 10th overall by the Chiefs, who traded up to get him. His four-year contract is worth more than $16 million plus he got a signing bonus of more than $10 million! Not bad for a 23 year old. Mahomes played backup his first year in the league and didn’t get on the field until the final game of the season. But apparently that’s all it took. This year he has not only started every game, but set the league on fire. He is breaking all kinds of records and leading his team to weekly decisive victories that leave people in awe of his abilities.

The 6’3” phenom is incredibly talented yet obviously works really hard at his game. But he does still like to relax and have fun sometimes. His favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Westworld and, Power. But, he’d much rather use his time off, staying both active and competitive.

“My favorite hobby especially this offseason was probably golf,” Mahome said. “I really tried to get into golf. My dad played so it’s something else I compete against him in. He is definitely better, but I did beat him when he came to Kansas City one time. That was my only time I’ve ever beat him though.”

That competitive spirit is serving him well and I am one of millions who are happy to be here to see it in action.

  • Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

 

 

Photo Credit: centerfieldmaz.com

 

Comments by Susan Graham

Comments by Susan Graham for Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally)

Fall, 2018 National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations Meeting

November 2, 2018

 

The Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book warns that the 2020 census is mired in challenges that could shortchange the official census count by at least two million kids younger than age 5. This discrepancy would also put hundreds of millions of federal dollars at risk and, in doing so, underfund programs that are critical for family stability and opportunity; essential programs like housing, food, education, and healthcare.

As we all know, the Casey Foundation gets its numbers from the Census Bureau. Federal dollars seem to be the focus, but can we put the money aside for the moment? Yes, it’s important to be counted for the money, redistricting and civil rights enforcement, but it’s also critical to focus on identity. It’s crucial to see your race(s) or the races of your children on news stories, pie charts, forms, data reports, and anywhere other races are included. Also, you can’t keep accurate records if you don’t have an accurate representation of someone, including their racial identity.

Let me give you some reminders about identity. First, when a multiracial person is asked about their identity it sounds like this: What are you? In his book The Lies that Bind, Kwame Appiah makes these observations, “In sum, identities come, first with labels and ideas about why and to whom they should be applied. Second, your identity shapes your thoughts about how you should behave; and third, it affects the way other people treat you. Finally, all these dimensions of identity are contestable, always up for dispute: who’s in, what they’re like, how they should behave and be treated.”

 

One example from the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book is this:

 

In 2017, 81 percent of African-American,

79 percent of American Indian, 78 percent

of Latino and 60 percent of multiracial

fourth-graders were not proficient in reading,

compared with 54 percent of white and 44

percent of Asian and Pacific Islander students.

 

They used the appropriate, preferable, and respectful term “multiracial.” The Census Bureau calls us “Two or More Races” people. The Casey Foundation counted and published the multiracial numbers. Not all entities do. Why is this important? Just as it’s important to see the African-American, American Indian, Asian, white, and Latino students, it’s crucial that multiracial families and individuals see themselves included in data. Proper racial nomenclature is critical, this has been proven over and over again every time a group, any group, changes its label.

The multiracial community has been invisible to this committee, the Census Bureau, and the government for far too long. We know it and you know it. We can only assume that you are not eager to have people check two or more races because it would benefit your groups to have our numbers. We are not willing to choose single race over multiracial just so your groups can benefit monetarily.

Now we are looking at the 2020 Census and how we can all shore up our numbers. We must all answer this question: how does filling out the race boxes on the census impact our groups? For the multiracial population, it’s really not a matter of money. No one is going to give dollars to feed little multiracial children based on the boxes they check. However, we need to accurately report growth in our numbers and demonstrate that the multiracial population is an important one. WE ARE ASKING TO BE INCLUDED WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT, TALK ABOUT, AND WRITE ABOUT RACES IN AMERICA.   

The multiracial population is, perhaps, the largest of the hard-to-count groups by virtue of the fact that few care if we are counted as multiracial except us. In a recent webinar, census consultant Terri Ann Lowenthal was asked if people have to respond to every question, including race, when filling out their census form online. She answered that they do not. They can “hit submit and it will be accepted.” We would hate to see interracial families and multiracial individuals skip the race question. We need your help to ensure that this does not happen.

This is a time of suspicion, particularly between minorities and government. We can only get past that for the 2020 Census by showing trust. Project RACE has proven that we are a trusted entity for the multiracial population, but this committee, the bureau, and government need to show us that we can trust you. We are open to working with you to ensure that there is not an undercount of the multiracial community. We sincerely hope that you are finally ready to say the same. Thank you.

Susan Graham

President

Project RACE

Website: projectrace.com

Email: susangraham@projectrace.com

It’s Famous Friday!

Ariana Miyamoto

Recently, I have been curious about the Japanese language and when I found out that Ariana Miyamoto was Japanese, I immediately wanted to know more about her! Ariana Miyamoto was the first multiracial person to win Miss Universe Japan in 2015. Her mother is Japanese and her father is African American. She was inspired to win this pageant due to her friend committing suicide because of all the racism he had endured.  She wanted to take a stand against racism, specifically in Japan.  Miyamoto continually felt unaccepted by the Japanese society. As a child, it was particularly hard.  Her peers would mistreat her because of the color of her skin.  They would not hold hands or even swim in the same pool, because they thought “my color would rub off” according to Ariana.  At age one, her parents got divorced. When she was 13, she moved to America, to live with her dad because she was sick of all the racism she faced in Japan. While living in America, she attended high school in Arkansas, where she experienced a different way of thinking compared to back home in Japan.

Ariana Miyamoto, 24, was born on May 12, 1994 in Japan in a city called Nagasaki.  Miyamoto is just like any other Japanese person.   In fact, she has a 5th degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy!  Ariana said: “I sit on the floor, I take my shoes off when I go into the house, I use chopsticks — I know nothing but a Japanese lifestyle.” Despite all the racial criticism Miyamoto faced, she also had much support from her fans. They would encourage her via social media.  She currently has over 34k followers on Instagram. They would support her by saying:

“Don’t lose to discrimination and with a strong heart do your best to go win the Miss Universe prize,” and “Having a different ethnicity in you doesn’t make you ANY LESS JAPANESE!”

Ariana made it her mission to help change racial discrimination in Japan. “Japan is trying to change itself,” she said. “I’d like to help it change even more.”  She believes that her success in the pageant is progress for a change against racial discrimination.  I chose Ariana Miyamoto because she stood up for what is right even through all the discrimination and racism she faced.  Ariana never gave up!  She wanted to make a positive difference in Japan because Japan had a negative effect in her friend’s life. I found inspiration when writing this article because Ariana is making a difference through what she is good at and enjoys. I would love to do the same!

Madelyn Rempel

Project RACE Kids President

Photo: https://www.eonline.com/news/638837/miss-universe-japan-ariana-miyamoto-faces-controversy-for-not-being-japanese-enough-get-the-details

It’s Famous Friday!

Yara Shahidi

“My dream of dreams is to create some form of alternate curriculum that is inclusive of all people,” says Yara Shahidi.

Yara Shahidi is an Iranian-African-American actress, model and activist. She is known for her starring role as Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish, and its spin-off series Grown-ish.

Shahidi was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to mother, Keri Salter Shahidi, who is African American and Choctaw heritage and to Iranian American father, Afshin Shahidi, a photographer. The family moved to California for Afshin’s work when Yara was four. She is the older sister of child actor and model Sayeed Shahidi and they have a younger brother, Ehsan.  Keri Shahidi said the name Yara translates to “capability, ability; strength; courage,” and as a given name, “someone who is capable to do something, or someone capable of doing something hard/difficult.”

Yara started acting at the age of six, but despite having major success in that department she continued to pursue her education. Shahidi would continually put her education before her acting career. She ran through 5 on-set tutors before finding one who could keep up with her and her rigorous courses. “I’m that annoying person in class where if we were reading a book, I’d not only read that book, I’d read one similar, written in the same era, to find the commonalities,” she says.  Shahidi graduated from Dwight High School at the end of the 2018 school year in New York and began attending Harvard this semester.

As if keeping an outstanding academic record wasn’t enough for this young actor, Shahidi even started her own activist group called Eighteen x 18 with social newspaper NowThis, to encourage her peers to vote in upcoming elections.  Her other organizations include Yara’s Club which is a partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) of New York, which provides online mentorship in hopes to end poverty through education. “My passion really stemmed from having gone through the 2016 election, where myself and many of my peers were unable to vote,” she says. “A lot of them went with their parents to the polls, but there was that feeling of being lost. Like, ‘What can we do to contribute to our sociopolitical landscape?'” Shahidi even had a registration booth at her own voter-themed 18th birthday party, held in February at Los Angeles’ Underground Museum.

Shahidi also loves podcasts and will be soon starting her own podcast called 18 x 18 with Yara Shahidi, where she will be interviewing other young female role models and game changers who come from the entertainment, activism, or political world.

Shahidi’s activism, advocating for female and racial equality and political awareness, has led her to many accomplishments. She had been noticed by former first lady Michelle Obama, who wrote her a letter of recommendation to Harvard University. Yara plans to become a Historian, specializing in world history, while continuing to pursue her love of acting.

 

Nadia Wooten,

Project RACE Teens Vice President

Photograph by Nagi Sakai

Race-based medicine and the multiracial population

Failure of race-based medicine? We aren’t accounting for the unique genetics of biracial and multiracial populations

For several decades in modern medicine history, human race has been used as a constant variable to predict and/or determine our disease risks, biometric profiles, health behaviors and outcomes. It drives many of our medical standards, including clinical guidelines, medical school curricula, and clinical decision support tools and algorithms. This reductionist approach to medicine, however, has proven questionable and risky for biracial and multiracial individuals with high levels of phenotypical (physically-apparent) and genotypical (physically non-apparent) variation.

Some clinical study reports  describe how race-based approaches to health diagnosis and management have led to inaccurate assessments in medical practice, especially in cases of bone marrow transplants for multiracial populations. Susan Graham is the president of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), an organization advocating for multiracial classification in health care settings for people of two or more races. In an interview with the Genetic Literacy Project, she explained that “a multiracial person’s best chance of bone marrow donor acceptance must take [multi]race into account to get as perfect a match as possible.” That’s why we need to do more, as a society, to expand the number and diversity of bone marrow donors to help solve this issue for multiracial populations, she said.

Race versus genetics: Social constructs or health determinants?

The idea of race as a social construct has been well researched, with some classically defined racial groups experiencing greater hardships – including poor access to health care services – than other racial groups in the US.

Questions also have arisen regarding the use of race as a health determinant, due to recent advancements and novel findings in genomics, ancestry, and medicine.

For instance, single- and multi-gene tests for harmful genetic variations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are used by doctors to identify people with increased risk of developing breast cancer. As a result, those people undergo closer medical surveillance, take more aggressive prevention measures, and are more likely to receive appropriate treatments when needed.

mutations 9 21 18From an epidemiological standpoint, the concept of race as a determinant of breast cancer diagnosis follows: According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American women of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity or descent, followed by women of northern European ethnicity or descent, hold the highest prevalence of breast cancer-associated BRCA1 and BRCA2 variations.

This finding may be influenced by personal, social, economic and environmental factors that influence health care service utilization among racially-defined groups.

However, if women of Ashkenazi Jewish and northern European descent in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are overrepresented in genetic databases, then the NCI’s findings are incomplete and warrant investigation to see if larger genetic representations of single race, biracial and multiracial individuals are required for greater epidemiological accuracy. The All of Us research program, sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and supported by the Precision Medicine Initiative, are examples of steps forward in this direction to increase diversity in genetic health databases.

Stakeholder discussions about race, genetics and clinical guidelines

The graph below displays the number of articles searchable within www.PubMed.gov between 1998-2017 using search phrases “race AND clinical guidelines” and “genetic AND clinical guidelines”. The graph shows that clinical guidelines discussions about genetics have drastically outpaced those about race within the past 20 years.

Related article:  Precision medicine inches along

Similar discussions about multiracial populations, however, have been scant, leaving this area ripe for scientific exploration. “The multiracial population is very new to the concept of precision medicine, as we are still fighting for recognition in medicine and race-based data,” Graham said.

The medical community is lagging in its inclusion of biracial and multiracial Americans, she said.  Multiracial populations seemingly add layers of complexity to standard race-based clinical guidelines.

So, is the medical community really lagging here? Or, are biracial and multiracial patients lumped into single racial categories by clinicians who must adhere to race-based clinical guidelines?

Also, how can members of the medical community effectively engage with growing multiracial populations to improve racially-driven clinical guidelines that may not adequately serve the unique needs of multiracial populations?

Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne is a multiracial emergency medicine physician and educator at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who has worked with the National Human Genome Research Institute to address race, ethnicity and genetics in medicine. She offered her take on the issue: “If a patient is labeled as ‘multiracial,’ they are included in a group that has extreme genetic diversity and no specificity to any particular genetic roots.”

She argued that the use of a simple “multiracial” category is a reductionist and low-value approach to understanding a patient’s disease risk at the genetic level. “This kind of lump-labeling does a disservice to population and personalized health frameworks that rely on geographic ancestry, versus race, to determine disease risk,” she said.

The medical community continues to debate race as an indicator of social and economic factors, which in turn effect health outcomes. “Health disparities that are present within African American/Black patient populations, may be actually be tied to low socioeconomic status, poor diet, lifestyle habits and other non-genetic determinants of health,” she said.

Looking ahead

Although few and far between, discussions about the benefits of precision medicine for multiracial populations continue to emerge among experts in health law, genomics and medical-legal partnerships. Graham expressed hope that “precision medicine may very well help our population become aware of health disparities, which could be critical to our wellness and healthcare in providing useful information.”

Diversity and inclusion in precision medicine and genetic discovery followed by an overhaul of racially driven clinical guidelines and racial labeling in clinical settings appear to be key actions needed to address these health care challenges for multiracial populations.

Dr. Clayborne believes that, as the precision and personalized medicine movement grows – due to advances in genomic sequencing –  the medical community could eventually steer away from racial categories to focus more on individual family history and known genetic markers for disease.

Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup holds a doctor of health science degree and is a freelance health science writer. Follow her at her website or on Twitter @AcesoIngenuity

It’s Famous Friday!

Dwayne Johnson

 

“I’m always asked what’s the secret to success? But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”

-Dwayne Johnson

 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a well-known football player, wrestler, and actor. He fought through a tough childhood, experiencing homelessness at times and overcame multiple obstacles to get to where he is today. He continues to make a huge influence on the wrestling and acting communities in the United States and around the world.

 

Dwayne Johnson was born in California on May 2nd of 1972. He is a melting pot of cultures as his father is Black Canadian (Nova Scotian) and his mother is Samoan. He spent a great deal of his childhood in New Zealand with his mother’s family until he moved to Connecticut for part of elementary school and middle school. He went to college at the University of Miami on a full ride scholarship for football. When a career ending injury stopped Dwayne Johnson from continuing football, he decided to become a pro wrestler like many of his family members including his father (Rocky Johnson) and grandfather (Peter “High Chief” Fanene Maivia). His ring name was Rocky Maivia which was a mix of the two family names. He later changed it to “The Rock” in 1998.

 

His acting career started because of his wrestling popularity. He began acting in the early 2000’s in T.V. shows like That ‘70s Show and then moved on to larger stories like The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns and as Luke Hobbs in the Fast and Furious franchise. One of his most well-known roles was the voice of Maui in Disney’s recent movie Moana. Off the screen, buzz started generating about Johnson wanting to become president in the 2020 election. These rumors were confirmed in December of 2017 when the wrestler/actor told Ellen DeGeneres he was seriously considering it. Dwayne Johnson continues to pay attention to the political scene while enjoying the acting business.  He is a great advocate and voice for multiracial people all over the world.

 

Alexis Cook

Co-President, Project RACE Teens

 

Image Source: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

About Project RACE

Project RACE is a non-profit NATIONAL organization advocating for multiracial individuals. We advocate for “multiracial” or “check two or more” classifications on forms. We hold schools, business, the media and other institutions responsible for treating multiracial people fairly, especially children. We do this by speaking directly with them, providing materials, writing opinion pieces, sharing experiences, etc. We are proactive. We also provide information on medical issues and hold bone marrow donor drives. We have very active divisions: Teens, Kids, and Grandparents, which hold Multiracial Heritage Week every year from June 7 to 14. I have testified three times before congressional subcommittees at their invitation, as have other Project RACE members. We have ongoing discussions and meetings with Census Bureau personnel, OMB representatives, and state political representatives. Project RACE advocates for the right for multiracial individuals to have appropriate and respectful terminology used for our racial and ethnic identity. Please visit our website at projectrace.com for more information and read our blog, which provides updates on important issues for the multiracial community. You can also sign up for our email blasts, visit our Facebook page, or email me at susangraham@projectrace.com –Susan Graham for Project RACE

First Royal Biracial Baby Due!

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019 came from Kensington Palace today. The baby will be the first biracial baby in line for the British throne.

 

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,

Racism Against Multiracial Students

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Schools, Minnesota School District School Board has urged students not to identify as multiracial. This is because they want to see American Indian students counted as only one race in order to get more funding. It is racist and inaccurate. Project RACE has responded by sending the letter below to the local newspaper. We will follow-up with the district and call for removing member Coulson from the School Board.

To The Editors: In “District 196 Oct 1 Enrollment numbers up again,” (October 11) it is reported that the numbers of American Indian students can be increased by taking numbers away from the multiracial student numbers. This is reprehensible and racist. Shame on School Board Treasurer Art Coulson for urging parents to take away multiracial identity of students for federal dollars.

It is just as important for multiracial students to have their own identity reflected in enrollment numbers as it is for any other minority or racial group.

To artificially inflate the American Indian numbers by reducing multiracial enrollment for federal or state dollars is a terrible idea and reflects poorly on a school district that should be teaching honesty to its students, not data manipulation. The national multiracial community is very disappointed in this Minnesota school district and its school board.

Susan Graham for Project RACE