Presidents’ Day – Sally Hemings

Presidents’ Day – Sally HemingsSally HemmingsThomas Jefferson

Presidents’ Day is held in February to primarily commemorate the birthday of George Washington, among other presidents with February birthdates. We are celebrating Sally Hemings for Presidents’ Day. The following information regarding Sally Hemings and President Thomas Jefferson is from Wikipedia.

Sarah “Sally” Hemings (c. 1773 – 1835) was an enslaved woman of mixed race owned by President Thomas Jefferson. Most historians believe she was the mother of six children fathered by him,[1 of whom four survived to adulthood; and were given freedom by Jefferson. Hemings was the youngest of six siblings by the widowed planter John Wayles and his mixed-race slave Betty Hemings; Sally and her siblings were three-quarters European and half-siblings of Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton.

In 1787, Hemings, aged 14, accompanied Jefferson’s youngest daughter Mary (“Polly”) to London and then to Paris, where the widowed Jefferson, aged 44 at the time, was serving as the United States Minister to France. Hemings spent two years there. It is believed by most historians that Jefferson began a sexual relationship with Hemings in France or soon after their return to Monticello. Hemings was a slave in Jefferson’s house until his death.

The historical question of whether Jefferson was the father of Hemings’ children is known as the Jefferson–Hemings controversy. Following renewed historic analysis in the late 20th century and a 1998 DNA study that found a match between the Jefferson male line and a descendant of Hemings’ last son, Eston Hemings, there is a near-consensus among historians that the widower Jefferson fathered her son Eston Hemings and probably all her children. A small number of historians disagree.

Hemings’ children lived in Jefferson’s house as slaves and were trained as artisans. Jefferson freed all of Hemings’ surviving children: Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston, as they came of age (they were the only slave family freed by Jefferson). They were seven-eighths European in ancestry, and three of the four entered white society as adults. Descendants of those three identified as white. Hemings was “given her time,” lived her last nine years freely with her two younger sons in Charlottesville, Virginia, and saw a grandchild born in the house her sons owned.

 

Rashida Jones

Rashida-Jones-(23)

On February 25, 1976 Rashida Jones was born to  Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. Her mother is of Jewish descent, and her parents were shocked when Peggy chose to date out of her race and religion. At the time her father, Quincy, was a poor, struggling young man with a dream. Now he is a very successful media mogul, musician, and producer.

Ms. Jones has pretty much done it all. Rashida is a Harvard graduate, a phenomenal actress, comic book author, producer, singer, and screenwriter. She was recently nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie by the NAACP. Rashida is also open about how being multiracial plays a part in what roles she gets, “When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.”

    She has also gotten real about other experiences linked to her ethnicity, “Finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that’s where I encountered something I’d never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is inherited], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests-on issues I didn’t agree with- wondered: Am I doing this because I’m afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don’t? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard’s black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, “Hey!”-real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man-and being light-skinned, I wasn’t “allowed” to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, “Tell her what you feel!” So I called the girl and…I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn’t have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn’t been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, “Do you want to come home?” I said, “No.” Toughing it out when you don’t fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.”

    Rashida inspires so many people to rise in spite of adversity,to overcome any challenges that come our way, and to succeed in whatever you set out to accomplish.

 

New Head of OMB Confirmed

New Head of OMB Confirmed

 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the part of the federal government that decides on racial and ethnic categories, not the U.S. Census Bureau. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina was tapped to be the new head of OMB by President Trump, who held a news conference today (February 16. 2017) and said, “And also as you probably heard just a little while ago, Mick Mulvaney, former congressman, has just been approved weeks late, I have to say that, weeks, weeks late, Office of Management and Budget. And he will be I think a fantastic addition.” We will just have to wait and see.

See This!

Eye Fresno

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Guest Column

Below is a guest column by Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D. in response to my “A New Concern” blog entry and email. I think this response is particularly thoughtful and thorough. We had a great response to “A New Concern” with people stressing that yes, they do care about the bullet points regarding some of the recent concerns and they are very wary of the negative media portrayal that being multiracial is a hindrance. Project RACE continues to get out positive messages about the multiracial community. Thanks to all who participated. –Susan Graham

 

Guest Column – Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.

I watched the video and I’ll share my thoughts:

It appears to me ideologies of biracial identity fluctuates depending on variables associated with an individual’s: environmental experiences, background experiences, family life experiences, support systems or lack thereof.

For example, our former POTUS clearly identifies as AA. From the outside looking in he was more than likely told from his grandparents (who raised him) he was black because his skin tone is brown, his dad was African, and who knows what else. I remember hearing him tell a story once of observing his grandmother (years ago) clutching her purse when passing an AA man, and how that made him feel.

My daughter who is 1/2 Black and 1/2 Hispanic (living in this era) does not identify solely as either black or Hispanic. With lots of purposeful persuasion, I raised and supported her to feel good about not owning to one category over the other. I wanted her to reach the age of accountability deciding to identify as biracial (I hope she continues). If she chooses to identify as either one race over the other, it will be her choice, but I do not believe she will. She feels strongly about her identity.

I believe strongly (just like political choices) racial identity is highly influenced by parental input. I also listened and cautioned grandparents, teachers and anyone else labeling my daughter as one race. I do not believe in the 1% rule. That is most ridiculous to me. Some might go further claiming the child should identify with the race of their dad. Why should the child disclaim their other half?

Regardless how my daughter “looks” to anyone, and it does vary, she is a combination thus – biracial, and she announces it with such pride, if asked, and many people ask often.

What I’ve noticed about my daughter is this: She has friends from all races – not only black and Hispanic – because she loves people. Due to the racial make-up at the school my daughter attends she does have a healthy balance of both black and Hispanic friends.

Now, I realize as well my daughter (being black and Hispanic) may not be termed the classic (black/white) biracial child being that she is a double minority, but believe me “bi” is “bi” so she faces the same experiences as all biracial individuals only her outlook and reactions makes the positive difference in her life. She isn’t bogged down with hectic decisions of choosing who to hang out with. She just has friends.

One other comment I want to make: Regardless of racial identity children should absolutely LOVE who they are and believe they can “set the world on fire” with their beauty, talents/skills. When we instill this sort of empowerment children possess such esteem and affirmation nothing topples their spirits.

As a parent, I want to continue fighting for my child’s identity rights and the rights of all children to identify as biracial! It’s their right!

About the Author, Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.

Cherrye is a retired public school administrator and an adjunct professor who has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology.

Cherrye’s areas specializations are in Multi-cultural education, Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.

Cherrye lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Roy and daughter, Kelly.

As an educator, mother, and author Cherrye believes that adults and educators must, as role models, develop an atmosphere of respect for children to thrive in. Her books provide examples of how to reduce bullying by encouraging diversity.

http://cherryesbooksthatsow.com

 

 

 

Cameron Diaz – Famous Friday

On August 30, 1972 Cameron Diaz was born in San Diego, California. Her father is of Cuban-American descent and her mother is of Native American, Italian, and German descent. She is now 44 years old, and she is married to music artist Benji Madden.

Diaz started her career at the young age 16 when she began modeling. Since then she has starred in several major motion pictures. She has been featured in an extensive range of movies like Shrek, Annie, The Other Woman, and The Green Hornet. She is well known for taking on comedic roles, so most of the films that Cameron stars in are sure to make you laugh.

Diaz once said, “I think that anything that you do, any accomplishment that you make, you have to work for.” This is beautiful advice that we can all implement in our daily lives. May we all continue to work hard for change amongst the multiracial community.

Cameron Diaz

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A New Concern

A New Concern

I would like to sincerely thank all of the people who took the time to contact me after this week’s email update on Project RACE. I am personally responding to each one. It may take a while! Here is a recap of some of the current concerns:

  • Does the multiracial community even care if our numbers are skewed? This is all a numbers game—it always has been—and we should care a lot. The lower our population numbers, the less we matter to the government, businesses, advertising agencies, retailers, the medical system, and on and on.
  • Do we only exist for the annual party, movie, or book signing?
  • Do we really want to go back to the days when the one-drop rule was the law?
  • Do number tabulation and voting redistricting mean anything to us?
  • Should you even have to think about whether interracial marriages are allowed?
  • Will we be deported because we’re not 100% white?
  • Do we want respect for our identity choices, political clout, appreciation for the diversity our children bring to their schools, and the end of the tragic mulatto stories once and for all?
  • Does it really matter if our history is accurate?

Perhaps I did not successfully illustrate what is at stake if people still don’t care. Take a look for yourselves at an article and video that came out today from Breitbart and Buzzfeed about how being mixed-race is a hindrance. It’s at http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/14/buzzfeed-being-mixed-race-bad/  Is this really what you want our children to read and see?

Again, let me know what you think. My email is susangraham@projectrace.com

Susan Graham for Project RACE

Project RACE UPDATE

What is the government up to now?

Last week I sat through three hours of the 2020 Census Quarterly Program Management Review just to see how things are progressing for the multiracial community. It was pretty dull, with presentations about everything from address canvassing to systems readiness to partnerships and so much more.

I picked up on some hesitation which usually doesn’t come with the usual “everything is great here at the bureau” mantra. They said they have “paused” some activities and are delaying a few things. It seems like they just don’t know what is going to come from the new administration yet and they are just a bit nervous. They should be. Who knows what will happen before Census 2020?

Anyway, there was a lot of talk about Census Day on April 1, 2017, when 80,000 housing units will be tested. They glossed over the race and ethnicity question very quickly and mentioned they will continue using the existing wording unless something changes from testing done in 2016 and comments to OMB. Of course they will.

We are one of the communities that should be included in partnership engagement so that the multiracial participation in the census can be increased and accurate. But are we? Hell no. In fact, the census bureau contracted with Young and Rubicam (Y&R) to the tune of $415 MILLON to help get a complete count of households. Y&R subcontracts with corporations that represent every racial and ethnic group except the multiracial one. They will make sure that every Alaskan Native in the country knows about filling out the census, but multiracial people? Not so much. In fact, not at all. Do they think we don’t know this?!

The big question in my mind is this: Does the multiracial community even care if our numbers are skewed? This is all a numbers game—it always has been—and we should care a lot. The lower our population numbers, the less we matter to the government, businesses, advertising agencies, retailers, the medical system, and on and on. Do we only exist for the annual party, movie, or book signing? Do we really want to go back to the days when the one-drop rule was the law? Does number tabulation and voting redistricting mean anything to us? Should you even have to think about whether interracial marriages are allowed? Will we be deported because we’re not 100% white? Or do we want respect for our identity choices, political clout, appreciation for the diversity our children bring to their schools, and the end of the tragic mulatto stories once and for all? Does it really matter if our history is accurate? Let me know what you think. My email is susangraham@projectrace.com

 

Susan Graham

President

Project RACE, Inc.

White Fear Theory

An interesting viewpoint on what is happening in America.

http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/1/26/14340542/white-fear-trump-psychology-minority-majority

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Thumbs Down

THUMBS DOWN TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

Shame on The New York Times for giving editorial and advertising space to Michael Eric Dyson. He is racist against white people and tries to prove that all white people are members of the white supremacy.  Yes, black people can be racist and Dyson proves that. This is not freedom of speech; it is racism loud and clear, but not substantiated. Please think twice before contributing to Dyson or The New York Times in any way. We are.