Famous Friday

Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez is a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her father was of Mexican ancestry while her mother was Mexican and Irish-American. Sara was born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa but relocated when she was young to Tierrasanta, San Diego with her mother when her parents divorced. She is fluent in English and Spanish.  Sara graduated from the San Diego School of Creative Performing Arts and then in 1997 graduated from Julliard School of Drama.  Sara Ramirez is most known for her role as Dr. Callie Torres on the drama television series Grey’s Anatomy. She was the original Lady of the Lake in the 2005 Broadway musical Spamalot in which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical. In October of 2016 Sara was a speaker at the True Colors: 40 to none Summit, which focuses on LGBT youth homelessness across our country. “So many of our youth experiencing homelessness are youth whose lives touch on many intersections- whether they be gender identify, gender expression, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status, and because of the intersections that exist in my own life- woman, multiracial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides- I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their own complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.”

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens president

 

Full Scholastic Article

 

Click on this link: http://choices.scholastic.com/story/%E2%80%9Cwhat-are-you%E2%80%9D

Category: Blog · Tags:

We’re in Scholastic Choices Magazine!

“What Are You?”

Photos by Phil Skinner for AP Images

By Lexi Brock as told to Kim Tranell 

Lexi, 18, grew up hearing that question again and again in her small Georgia town. Now she will proudly tell you she’s multiracial—and what that means to her.

 

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant with your family and the couple at the next table ask to move. You aren’t sure why, but you’re no longer hungry.

Now think about going to church on Sunday, but all of a sudden you can’t, because no church will welcome your family through its doors.

My parents tried to shield me from these prejudices growing up, but the truth is, it’s impossible to shelter someone from who they are. My dad is black and my mom is white, making me multiracial, and I’ve always felt like an outsider: not white enough for the white kids, not black enough for the black kids. At school, I’ve actually heard, “You can’t date her; she’s mixed”—as if having tan skin affects my character.

For the longest time, I tried to blend in. I spent hours straightening my super curly hair. And I silenced myself when that black girl at school said, “She’s nothing but a mixed-breed mutt”—not directly to me, but just loud enough so I could hear.

Being silly with my parents last fall

Being silly with my parents last fall

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

Turning Point 

In 10th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fricks, assigned us an essay in my honors Lit class. The prompt was to write about how a short quote applies to your life. I had no idea what to write about, so I browsed Pinterest for inspiration. I saw the lyric It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world, from the Dolly Parton song “Tennessee Homesick Blues.” Upon discovering those words, I felt them immediately resonate in my soul. The essay poured out.

My teacher eventually entered my paper in a contest, and it won. I was really excited, but winning didn’t matter nearly as much as what I learned in the process. Writing the essay was a big turning point, because when I put things down on paper, they become clear to me.

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

My favorite line is: “Let us never forget that, like human beings, not all things are simply black or white.” I think that everyone needs to think long and hard about that statement. The truth is, we’re all a mixture of cultures and traditions and experiences, and we should celebrate that—not let it divide us. The only difference is that I have to wear my mixture on the outside.

Rising Above

I still encounter people with hate in their hearts—like the woman at Subway a few weeks ago who stared at my dad and me, the disgust written all over her face—but I don’t take it personally anymore. If you let someone change your mood and your mind-set, you’re giving them power. Now I feel sorry for people like that, because their prejudices must make them miss out on some really great friendships.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

I’ve learned that the only way to change things is to talk about them, so I’ve been working with the nonprofit Project RACE to get certain companies to add a box that says “multiracial” on applications and tests. Often the only option to answer the race question is “other”—which is just a reminder that there isn’t always a place for teens like me to fit in.

Being multiracial used to be something I tried to hide, but now it’s my superpower, because it allows me to help other multiracial kids. I want them to know that they aren’t weird. They aren’t alone. We’re all shining diamonds in this rhinestone world.

You can view the essay online at

“What Are You?”

Kim
Tranell

Photos by Phil Skinner for AP Images

By Lexi Brock as told to Kim Tranell 

Lexi, 18, grew up hearing that question again and again in her small Georgia town. Now she will proudly tell you she’s multiracial—and what that means to her.

 

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant with your family and the couple at the next table ask to move. You aren’t sure why, but you’re no longer hungry.

Now think about going to church on Sunday, but all of a sudden you can’t, because no church will welcome your family through its doors.

My parents tried to shield me from these prejudices growing up, but the truth is, it’s impossible to shelter someone from who they are. My dad is black and my mom is white, making me multiracial, and I’ve always felt like an outsider: not white enough for the white kids, not black enough for the black kids. At school, I’ve actually heard, “You can’t date her; she’s mixed”—as if having tan skin affects my character.

For the longest time, I tried to blend in. I spent hours straightening my super curly hair. And I silenced myself when that black girl at school said, “She’s nothing but a mixed-breed mutt”—not directly to me, but just loud enough so I could hear.

Being silly with my parents last fall

Being silly with my parents last fall

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

Turning Point 

In 10th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fricks, assigned us an essay in my honors Lit class. The prompt was to write about how a short quote applies to your life. I had no idea what to write about, so I browsed Pinterest for inspiration. I saw the lyric It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world, from the Dolly Parton song “Tennessee Homesick Blues.” Upon discovering those words, I felt them immediately resonate in my soul. The essay poured out.

My teacher eventually entered my paper in a contest, and it won. I was really excited, but winning didn’t matter nearly as much as what I learned in the process. Writing the essay was a big turning point, because when I put things down on paper, they become clear to me.

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

My favorite line is: “Let us never forget that, like human beings, not all things are simply black or white.” I think that everyone needs to think long and hard about that statement. The truth is, we’re all a mixture of cultures and traditions and experiences, and we should celebrate that—not let it divide us. The only difference is that I have to wear my mixture on the outside.

Rising Above

I still encounter people with hate in their hearts—like the woman at Subway a few weeks ago who stared at my dad and me, the disgust written all over her face—but I don’t take it personally anymore. If you let someone change your mood and your mind-set, you’re giving them power. Now I feel sorry for people like that, because their prejudices must make them miss out on some really great friendships.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

I’ve learned that the only way to change things is to talk about them, so I’ve been working with the nonprofit Project RACE to get certain companies to add a box that says “multiracial” on applications and tests. Often the only option to answer the race question is “other”—which is just a reminder that there isn’t always a place for teens like me to fit in.

Being multiracial used to be something I tried to hide, but now it’s my superpower, because it allows me to help other multiracial kids. I want them to know that they aren’t weird. They aren’t alone. We’re all shining diamonds in this rhinestone world.

Movie Review – “Get Out”

Get Out NYT

Those arms and smiles all but engulf Chris (the British actor Daniel Kaluuya, going deep in a breakthrough performance), a photographer with a sweet pad, adorable dog and equally frisky, adoring girlfriend, Rose (a perfectly cast Allison Williams, from the HBO show “Girls”). The story opens with them preparing for a long weekend with her parents. “Do they know I’m black?” Chris gently asks. They don’t, but Rose assures him not to worry, and off they go into the countryside and narrative complications. Mr. Peele, making his feature debut, sets a cozy, innocuous scene complete with coos and loving glances, a tranquillity that shatters with an eerily inopportune deer crossing.

By the time Chris and Rose pull up to her parents’ house — a stately brick building with imposing white columns and rocking chairs on the front porch — ripples of unease have disturbed the calm. The nicer Rose’s parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener), behave, the greater the ripples. They don’t blink at him or his race (Ms. Keener is a virtuoso of the deadeye stare), but instead adopt the forced geniality of people who seem anxious to hide their discomfort. Missy’s the watchful one, while the voluble Dean cozies up to Chris, dropping embarrassing slang and relating an odd story about Jesse Owens, the black Olympian who shocked Hitler.

Mr. Peele is best known for his work with Keegan-Michael Key on their titular comedy sketch show, where politics mixed freely with the laughs. Together they starred in the 2016 comedy “Keanu,” a lampoon of action cinema that was a (slack) piece with the movie love that was a mainstay of their show. In one memorable bit from the show, heckling cinephiles voice their complaints (“this movie has an inconsistent visual language!”); in another, two friends realize that the reason the zombie hordes aren’t attacking them is they’re flesh-eating racists. “Get Out” expands on, and considerably deepens, a similar idea by turning white racism into disquieting genre shivers.

But Mr. Peele is after more than giggles and shocks; he’s taking on 21st-century white racism and its rationales. The opener — a black man talking on a cellphone on an empty suburban street — briskly sets the tone, unsettles the mood and announces Mr. Peele’s way with metaphor. He’s working within a recognizable horror-film framework here (the darkness, the stillness), so it’s not surprising when a car abruptly pulls up and begins tailing the man. You may even snicker because you think you’ve seen this flick before. Except that when this man anxiously looks for a way out, the scene grows discordantly disturbing because you may, as I did, flash on Trayvon Martin.

It’s a jarring moment that might have been catastrophic for the movie if Mr. Peele didn’t quickly yank you back into its fiction. (He’s got great timing, no surprise.) There’s relief when the offscreen world recedes just then. Yet part of what makes “Get Out” both exciting and genuinely unsettling is how real life keeps asserting itself, scene after scene. Our monsters, Mr. Peele reminds us, are at times as familiar as the neighborhood watch; one person’s fiction, after all, is another’s true-life horror story. ” For his part, Chris, separated existentially, chromatically and every other way, spends so much time putting the white world at ease that he can’t recognize the threat coming for him.

Mr. Peele knows that threat, plays with it and eviscerates it with jokes and scares, only to top it off messily with full-on Grand Guignol splatter. But some of his finest, most genuinely shocking work is his quietest. One of the best scenes I’ve seen in a long while finds Chris talking with one of the parents’ black servants, a maid, Georgina (a fantastic Betty Gabriel). Chris confesses that he gets nervous when around a lot of white people, an admission that Georgina answers by advancing toward him with a volley of “no, no, no,” cascades of tears and a smile so wide it looks as if it could split her face in two. Something has gotten under her skin and it’s frightening.

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,

MHW2016 Cover Image

It’s time for Multiracial Heritage Week!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAILING YOUR GOVERNOR OR MAYOR
FOR MULTIRACIAL HERITAGE WEEK
IT’S SO EASY!

 

THINGS TO KNOW

  1. You must be a resident of the state.
  2. Proclamations are only good for ONE year. Even if you received one last year, we need a new one this year.
  3. Proclamations must be received by Project RACE by JUNE 1.
  4. Most states require one month lead time to issue a proclamation.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill out the Proclamation Submission Form
  2. You will receive your customized letter and sample proclamation within a few weeks.
  3. Sign the letter and mail to your governor or mayor with “Proclamation Request” on the envelope.

FOLLOW UP

If you have been contacted about the proclamation, please let us know. When you receive a proclamation, send the original or a good color copy or scan to:

Project RACE
P.O. Box 2366
Los Banos, CA 93635

You can contact us anytime at projectrace@projectrace.com with questions and/or comments.

Thank you for being an advocate for Multiracial Americans!

MHW2016 Cover Image

Category: Blog, Featured · Tags:

Famous Friday

all races

This week I struggled to find an influential multiracial person that I thought worthy for Famous Friday. I spent over an hour searching and writing and erasing, because nothing seemed relevant. So for this week’s Famous Friday I am going to change the status quo just a bit. Afterall, isn’t that what all multiracial people do in one way or the other?

    As I searched through the seemingly endless abyss that is the internet, I came across several studies geared towards understanding people of multiple races. I encountered several titles like: ‘All Mixed Up’ and ‘Things Multiracial People are Tired of Hearing.’ Most of them seemed to focus on what may consider the negative parts of being multiracial. I will be the first to admit it is easy to let the ‘what are you’ question get under your skin. I will also be the first person to confess to having issues with identifying myself. Despite all of this, I think it is time that we chose to see being multiracial as our very own super power. I encourage all of you to take pride in every last bit of your ethnicity. You do not have to conform to one race or the other so you can blend in. There is a great deal of bravery and beauty in being your own person.

My wish is that you awesome multiracial people continue to be brave and beautiful. I hope that you all celebrate your differences. Also do not forget that there is no better time to celebrate your cultures than during Multiracial Heritage Week, It is coming up soon, and we need your help to get in touch with state officials. Remember to check ProjectRace.com for upcoming details.

Lexi Brock

Category: Blog · Tags:

Help wanted–WordPress Guru!

National U. S. based non-profit organization is in need of a WordPress website guru. Approximately five to ten hours a month. Must be reliable, flexible, and have experience with WordPress. We are willing to work with the right person who wants to grow their portfolio. We need someone with creativity who wants to help people of all ages, locations, viewpoints and racial backgrounds make a difference in the world of personal identity. In other words, we can’t pay a lot, but you’ll feel good about what you’re doing. English speaking nerd with ability to communicate with non-technical executive would be perfect. Contact: projectrace@projectrace.com

New Movie Press Release

New Movie

For Immediate Release:
Creator and lead actress Brittani Noel partners with Director Shilpi Roy (Brown Girls,
Freeform) to launch multiracial dramedy film THE OTHER, a Sundance Institute Artists
Kickstarter selection. “A woman’s struggle with her multiracial identity gets seriously twisted in this dramedy short film.”
LOS ANGELES, CA, March 1, 2017: Up-and-comer Brittani Noel joins forces with Director Shilpi
Roy (Brown Girls, Freeform), Sundance Alum Stacie Theon (Abbie Cancelled, Birds of
America), and Leah McKendrick (M.F.A., SXSW) to make The Other, a short film exploring the
distinct struggles of being in-between races. When multiracial Mischa discovers that society has
a need to put people into ethnic boxes, and that not all boxes are created equal, things get
really twisted, really fast…
“Diversity is a hot button issue right now,” says Roy. “We need to be exploring it and talking
about it as a society, and there’s no better way to continue to spark conversation and
understanding than with this film.” This story shines a light on the unique plight of the mixed
race person in a way that’s relatable to anyone who has ever felt like “the other.” Roy is no
stranger to the delicate topic of race in modern American society, having just completed her
comedy pilot Brown Girls, which centers on an Indian-American woman and a recently
emigrated Indian woman. Signing on to direct The Other was a natural and serendipitous fit, and
focuses on a topic Roy feels passionate about.
The film will star Brittani Noel alongside Brent Bailey (Criminal Minds, Rizzoli & Isles,
Californication), known for his starring role in the popular Emmy Award-winning web series
Emma Approved. The Other’s Kickstarter campaign is now live and seeking to complete funding
over the next few weeks.
Written by Brittani Noel, Directed by Shilpi Roy, and starring Brittani Noel and Brent Bailey.
The Kickstarter campaign is available for viewing at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/
theother/the-other
Teaser Video Link: https://youtu.be/T9sldBJpJcM
Teaser Video Embed Code:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/T9sldBJpJcM”
frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Join the journey!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theothershort
Twitter: @theothershort
Instagram: @theothershort
Email: othershortfilm@gmail.com
###
For media inquiries:
othershortfilm@gmail.com

A Washington Bad Cop/Bad Cop Story

A Washington Bad Cop/Bad Cop Story

by

Susan Graham for Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally)

Everyone knows about the U.S. Census Bureau (CB), but not everyone has heard of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The CB counts important things in the United States, including people—by things like race and ethnicity. The OMB decides what race and ethnicity people can be in the United States. They are both bad cops. Sometimes they try and play a game called Bad Cop/Good Cop, in which they go back and forth trying to get the public to place blame on the other. The 2020 Decennial Census is only a few years away. Planning for it takes a great deal of time and actually began as soon as the 2010 Census results were made public.

The CB recently released its recommendations for approval by the OMB. Project RACE had attempted to have input into both the CB and OMB by letting them know how we wanted the multiracial population to be listed, counted, known, treated, etc. The CB pretended to be the Good Cops and pretty much said they cared what we had to say. OMB played the Bad Cops and would not return our calls, email, letters, etc. or answer our questions.

I will cover some of the more salient requests and salacious responses to revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Most of the items had nothing to do with the multiracial population, so first I’ll cover those that did. It’s a very short list.

  • In addition to people being able to check all of their races, we gave many examples of how to include the term “multiracial,” which is very important. Correct wording in race and ethnicity is very important, particularly for children. Just ask the people who were once “Colored,” then “Negro,” then “Black,” and now “African American.” Yes, terminology is important. However, CB and OMB will not call the multiracial community “multiracial.” We were denied even though they were taking “Relevance of Terminology” into consideration. For the next ten years, we will remain the “two or more races.”
  • Some people write in “multiracial,” “biracial,” “mixed” or some other term instead of checking the little boxes. They should be put in the category of what is called “two or more races.” They are not. They will be placed in the “Some other race” category. They will not be multiracial. Denied again.
  • It appears that the way the race question is asked is important, although not important enough to use the wording that our community wants. What they have decided is this. Drumroll please. Instead of instructing people to “Mark all that apply,” we will be instructed to “Select all that apply.” That’s what we got. We’ll know when we see our 2020 Census forms.

Project RACE is not recommending that our members bother to write further comments to the Census Bureau or the Office of Management and Budget at this time.

_________________________________________________

So there we have it. If you’re interested, a few other interesting things having less or nothing to do with the multiracial population were put forth for further input. Well, not really. CB and OMB have actually already decided on the following points, but they very quietly put out a Federal Register notice for comment.

  • A new category will be added for Middle Eastern or North African people. The acronym is MENA. You can be a MENA person or you can still report more than one. By the way, Israelis are now Middle Eastern. If I had been checking say “White” for my entire life, but was now given the choice to be MENA, I would probably check white and MENA, but that’s just me. They still don’t seem to know if a MENA will be a racial or ethnic category.
  • The Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific guidelines for the collection of detailed data for American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White groups for self-reported race and ethnicity collections. However, the Subgroup plans to continue its deliberations as to whether OMB should require or, alternatively, strongly support but not require Federal agencies to collect detailed data. If you know what this means, please let me know.
  •  Should it use the NCT format, which includes separately Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshallese? If neither of these, how should OMB select the detailed Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race and ethnicity categories? Apparently, these small populations are more important than the multiracial population.
  • Relevance of Terminology: The Subgroup proposes that the term “Negro” be removed from the standards. Further, the Subgroup recommends that the term “Far East” be removed from the current standards.
  • The Subgroup proposes further clarifying the standards to indicate the classification is not intended to be genetically based, nor based on skin color. Rather, the goal of standards is to provide guidelines for the Federal measurement of race/ethnicity as a social construct and therefore inform public policy decisions.
  • The Subgroup also considered whether referring to Black or African American as the “principal minority race” is still relevant, meaningful, accurate, and acceptable. Given that many of the groups classified as racial and ethnic minorities have experienced institutionalized or State-sanctioned discrimination as well as social disadvantage and oppression, many consider it to be important to continue identifying the principal minority group in Federal data collections and reporting systems. However, it is not clear if the referent groups should change given changing demographics. Whew!
  • Should Hispanic or Latino be among the groups considered among “principal minorities”? Would alternative terms be more salient (g., “principal minority race/ethnicity”)? Hispanic or Latino usually is considered an ethnicity while “minority” is usually used when referencing race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famous Friday

Ginger McKnight-Chavers

Giinger 2

 

Ginger McKnight-Chavers is a multiracial woman who writes about multiracial topics and characters. Her debut novel, In the Heart of Texas, was  released in October of 2015 and is the winner of the 2016 USA Best Book Award for African American Fiction.

In the Heart of Texas is reviewed as “a wry, humorous commentary on the complexities of race, class, relationships, politics, popular culture, and celebrity in our current society.”  Ginger also currently blogs for the Huffington Post and The TexPatch.

Ginger 1

Ginger is a graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Law School.  She grew up in Dallas, Texas but currently lives in New York, with her husband, daughter, and dog, which she describes as “an overweight West Highland White Terrier”. Before living her dream of becoming a full-time writer, she spent 20 years as a corporate and arts/entertainment lawyer.

Here is a plot summary of her award-winning novel:

“Pitched as “a poor man’s Halle Berry,” forty-one-year-old soap star Jo Randolph, has successfully avoided waiting tables since she left Midland, Texas at eighteen. But then, in the span of twenty-four hours, Jo manages to lose her job, burn her bridges in Hollywood, and accidentally burn down her lover/director’s beach house—after which she is shipped home to Texas by her agent to stay out of sight while she sorts out her situation.

The more Jo reluctantly reconnects with her Texas “roots” and the family and friends she left behind, the more she regains touch with herself as an artist and with what is meaningful in life beyond the limelight. The summer of 2007 is cathartic for Jo, whose career and lifestyle have allowed her to live like a child for forty years, but who now must transition to making grown-up decisions and taking on adult responsibilities.”

Ginger said that the book’s success  “has helped me create a platform and gain the confidence to finally call myself an “author” instead of a “recovering lawyer.”

She is currently working on her second novel, titled Oak Cliff, which will focus on female friendship set in the rapidly gentrifying Dallas neighborhood where she was raised.  She recently published an article about Beyonce on Essence.com and is hoping   to meet “Queen Bey” someday.

She is also helping her elderly mother, Dr. Mamie McKnight, write a memoir and family history. Her mother is a longtime educator and historian who is in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame.

– Karson Baldwin, Project RACE kids president