Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Steph Curry
<> on June 15, 2017 in Oakland, California.

 on June 15, 2017 in Oakland, California.

As a Clevelander and huge Cavs fan, it hurts to write this, but this week’s Famous Friday is Steph Curry. Wardell Stephen Curry was born on March 14, 1988 in Akron, OH, in the same hospital where the King, Lebron James, was born.  As of this week he is also a two time NBA Champion. Sadly, on Monday night the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to take the NBA championship. Steph is also a 2 two time NBA MVP, 4 time NBA all-star, and one the leagues most famed players. The Warriors may not be my team, but I can give credit where it’s due and Steph and his team played an incredible season and deserve the title.
There’s a lot of talk about Steph’s race, which my research tells me is African American and Creole, but today when they ask  the question so many of us get, “what is Steph Curry?” The answer is simply “Champion”!

Thank you!

MHW Collage 2017

Thank you to everyone who helped make Multiracial Heritage Week a success again this year!

Since its inception in 2014, we have received state proclamations from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Washington, DC. This year we also reached out to city mayors in addition to states. We held numerous celebrations and special events for the children throughout the United States because at Project RACE, it’s about the kids! We gave them “skin tones of the world” multicultural crayons with paper plates to draw their own faces, also librarians and Project RACE members read them stories. Additional thanks go out to Patti Barry, Kim Carlucci and Carolyn Brajkovich for all their help. We could not have done it without you!

Multiracial up to 14 Percent!

The rise of multiracial and multiethnic babies in the U.S.

The FINANCIAL — One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. This increase comes nearly a half century after the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage.

Multiracial or multiethnic infants include children less than 1 year old whose parents are each of a different race, those with one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic parent, and those with at least one parent who identifies as multiracial. This analysis is limited to infants living with two parents because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home. In 2015, this was the case for 62% of all infants.

The rapid rise in the share of infants who are multiracial or multiethnic has occurred hand-in-hand with the growth in marriages among spouses of different races or ethnicities. In 1980, 7% of all newlyweds were in an intermarriage, and by 2015, that share had more than doubled to 17%, according to a recently released Pew Research Center report. Both trends are likely spurred in part by the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.

The general public seems mostly accepting of the trend toward more children having parents of different races. In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 22% of U.S. adults said more children with parents of different races was a good thing for society, while half as many (11%) thought it was a bad thing. The majority (65%) thought that this trend didn’t make much of a difference.

Among all multiracial and multiethnic infants living with two parents, by far the largest portion have one parent who is Hispanic and one who is non-Hispanic white (42%). The next largest share of these infants (22%) have at least one parent who identifies as multiracial, while 14% have one parent who is non-Hispanic white and another who is Asian.

The share of infants in two-parent homes who have parents of different races or ethnicities varies dramatically across states. For example, 44% of infants in Hawaii are multiracial or multiethnic. Shares are also high in Oklahoma and Alaska (28%). At the same time, just 4% of children younger than 1 in Vermont are multiracial or multiethnic, as are 6% of those in North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Source: The Financial

HAPPY MULTIRACIAL HERITAGE WEEK!

HAPPY MULTIRACIAL HERITAGE WEEK!

Check back here all week for lots of news on Multiracial Heritage Week!

Famous Friday!

Shemar Moore

Moore

Shemar is a forty-seven year old American actor and model. He is best known for his role in the Young and the Restless, Malcolm Winters. His father is African-American. His mother is white with Irish and French-Canadian ancestry. Shemar has stated his birth name was taken from his parent’s first names which were Sherrod and Marilyn, Shemar. He explained that in his parents were very proud of their interracial relations however, it was still socially inacceptable in the sixties and seventies. His parents wanted his name to be a remembrance of the love they had for each other. Shemar’s parents allowed him to embrace both his white and black side and did not want him to have to pick a side.  Shemar has stated he does not see himself as a black actor. He stated “I am very proud to be black but I’m as much black as I am white.” “I am very aware, especially in this country, that I am perceived and viewed as a black man because of the color of my skin. I am extremely proud to embrace the white side of me. In a perfect world, my wish is for people to see past color stereotypes and simply look at the character and personality of a person.”

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens President

NEWSFLASH!

NEWSFLASH! AARP becomes part of the federal government!  Thumbs Down

If you thought the American Association of Retired Persons was going to stand up for the rights of senior citizens, you were wrong. In an email dated 5/18/2018, AARP wrote to Project RACE that they must use the federal government’s racial categories. That applies to federal agencies; therefore, AARP has determined they are a federal agency. That also means they will sanction whatever the federal government decides is the best for the elderly population when it comes to healthcare, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Further, AARP has stated that “there are now more grandparents in the U.S. than ever before—some 70 million, according to the latest census.” The U.S. Census Bureau is part of the federal government and is sacrosanct to the AARP. AARP wants to follow whatever the census folks do. They have made that very clear to us.

AARP refuses to even recognize multiracial children and grandchildren, according to their letter to Project RACE. In addition, they wish to hyphenate multi-racial. Multiracial children are not hyphenated Americans. They are whole people.

AARP is a huge organization. They are a non-profit, but they have a massive lobbying arm and use your money for their lobbying activities. Because of AARP’s vast membership, it is able to generate its own income without being dependent on government grants or private donors, though it does receive both of these for specific programs.  How can they lobby against legislation and executive orders that will harm older American citizens if they are part of the federal government? Yet, they apparently consider themselves a federal agency. It does not compute. Incidentally, Project RACE does not apply for nor accept government funding, as it would be a conflict of interest. Take note, AARP Board of Directors.

AARP does not understand that multiracial children need appropriate names for their races: multiracial or biracial are the two most respectful terms that are used. Would they want us to refer to seniors as “OLD PEOPLE”? No, because words are important. They just want us to use their words.

Project RACE Grandparents has actively tried to appeal to AARP. We have not been successful. OK, so maybe AARP is not really a federal agency and they just act like one, but do you really want to back any organization or program that will not respect multiracial children? Think about it.

Thumbs Down

Famous Friday

Meghan Markle 2

Meghan Markle

Meghan is an American Actress who was born in Los Angeles, California. Her biggest role is in the television show Suits, where she plays Rachel Zane. She has also starred as an FBI agent named Amy Jessup in sci-fi thriller Fringe. She has had parts on CSI: Miami and appeared on some TV movies.

Meghan’s mother is African American and her father is Caucasian. She recently penned a letter detailing the racism she’s faced throughout her career and the “countless black jokes people have shared in front of me, not realizing I’m mixed.” She said the first time she realized she was different “I took an African American studies class where we explored colourism; it was the first time I could put a name to feeling too light in the black community, too mixed in the white community.”

Meghan became a target in late November 2016 thanks to her high profile royal romance with Prince Harry. Prince Harry released a highly unusual statement confirming his relation with Meghan and defending her from rude attacks. Markle is proud of her multiracial heritage: “To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman, I am enough exactly as I am.”

Meghan was recently interviewed by ELLE to share her story about being biracial and she stated “I am more than other.” A statement multiracial people, including myself, can absolutely understand. We are proud of our entire heritage and will continue to draw our own box until multiracial is included.

Project Race Teens President

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Meghan Markle: I’m More Than An ‘Other’

‘What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day. ‘Well,’ I say, as I begin the verbal dance I know all too well. ‘I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ A mouthful, yes, but one that I feel paints a pretty solid picture of who I am. But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’

To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating. When I was asked by ELLE to share my story, I’ll be honest, I was scared. It’s easy to talk about which make-up I prefer, my favourite scene I’ve filmed, the rigmarole of ‘a day in the life’ and how much green juice I consume before a requisite Pilates class. And while I have dipped my toes into this on thetig.com, sharing small vignettes of my experiences as a biracial woman, today I am choosing to be braver, to go a bit deeper, and to share a much larger picture of that with you.

It was the late Seventies when my parents met, my dad was a lighting director for a soap opera and my mom was a temp at the studio. I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques. Whatever it was, they married and had me. They moved into a house in The Valley in LA, to a neighbourhood that was leafy and affordable. What it was not, however, was diverse. And there was my mom, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was since they assumed she was the nanny.

I was too young at the time to know what it was like for my parents, but I can tell you what it was like for me – how they crafted the world around me to make me feel like I wasn’t different but special. When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called The Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll, and two children. This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. I don’t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one. On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family.

 Fast-forward to the seventh grade and my parents couldn’t protect me as much as they could when I was younger. There was a mandatory census I had to complete in my English class – you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian. There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do. You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other – and one half of myself over the other. My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank – a question mark, an absolute incomplete – much like how I felt.

When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: ‘If that happens again, you draw your own box.’

I never saw my father angry, but in that moment I could see the blotchiness of his skin crawling from pink to red. It made the green of his eyes pop and his brow was weighted at the thought of his daughter being prey to ignorance. Growing up in a homogeneous community in Pennsylvania, the concept of marrying an African-American woman was not on the cards for my dad. But he saw beyond what was put in front of him in that small-sized (and, perhaps, small-minded) town, and he wanted me to see beyond that census placed in front of me. He wanted me to find my own truth.

And I tried. Navigating closed-mindedness to the tune of a dorm mate I met my first week at university who asked if my parents were still together. ‘You said your mom is black and your dad is white, right?’ she said. I smiled meekly, waiting for what could possibly come out of her pursed lips next. ‘And they’re divorced?’ I nodded. ‘Oh, well that makes sense.’ To this day, I still don’t fully understand what she meant by that, but I understood the implication. And I drew back: I was scared to open this Pandora’s box of discrimination, so I sat stifled, swallowing my voice.

I was home in LA on a college break when my mom was called the ‘N’ word. We were leaving a concert and she wasn’t pulling out of a parking space quickly enough for another driver. My skin rushed with heat as I looked to my mom. Her eyes welling with hateful tears, I could only breathe out a whisper of words, so hushed they were barely audible: ‘It’s OK, Mommy.’ I was trying to temper the rage-filled air permeating our small silver Volvo. Los Angeles had been plagued with the racially charged Rodney King and Reginald Denny cases just years before, when riots had flooded our streets, filling the sky with ash that flaked down like apocalyptic snow; I shared my mom’s heartache, but I wanted us to be safe. We drove home in deafening silence, her chocolate knuckles pale from gripping the wheel so tightly.

It’s either ironic or apropos that in this world of not fitting in, and of harbouring my emotions so tightly under my ethnically nondescript (and not so thick) skin, that I would decide to become an actress. There couldn’t possibly be a more label-driven industry than acting, seeing as every audition comes with a character breakdown: ‘Beautiful, sassy, Latina, 20s’; ‘African American, urban, pretty, early 30s’; ‘Caucasian, blonde, modern girl next door’. Every role has a label; every casting is for something specific. But perhaps it is through this craft that I found my voice.

Being ‘ethnically ambiguous’, as I was pegged in the industry, meant I could audition for virtually any role. Morphing from Latina when I was dressed in red, to African American when in mustard yellow; my closet filled with fashionable frocks to make me look as racially varied as an Eighties Benetton poster. Sadly, it didn’t matter: I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.

This is precisely why Suits stole my heart. It’s the Goldilocks of my acting career – where finally I was just right. The series was initially conceived as a dramedy about a NY law firm flanked by two partners, one of whom navigates this glitzy world with his fraudulent degree. Enter Rachel Zane, one of the female leads and the dream girl – beautiful and confident with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law. ‘Dream girl’ in Hollywood terms had always been that quintessential blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty – that was the face that launched a thousand ships, not the mixed one. But the show’s producers weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel. In making a choice like that, the Suits producers helped shift the way pop culture defines beauty. The choices made in these rooms trickle into how viewers see the world, whether they’re aware of it or not. Some households may never have had a black person in their house as a guest, or someone biracial. Well, now there are a lot of us on your TV and in your home with you. And with Suits, specifically, you have Rachel Zane. I couldn’t be prouder of that.

At the end of season two, the producers went a step further and cast the role of Rachel’s father as a dark-skinned African-American man, played by the brilliant Wendell Pierce. I remember the tweets when that first episode of the Zane family aired, they ran the gamut from: ‘Why would they make her dad black? She’s not black’ to ‘Ew, she’s black? I used to think she was hot.’ The latter was blocked and reported. The reaction was unexpected, but speaks of the undercurrent of racism that is so prevalent, especially within America. On the heels of the racial unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore, the tensions that have long been percolating under the surface in the US have boiled over in the most deeply saddening way. And as a biracial woman, I watch in horror as both sides of a culture I define as my own become victims of spin in the media, perpetuating stereotypes and reminding us that the States has perhaps only placed bandages over the problems that have never healed at the root.

I, on the other hand, have healed from the base. While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.’

Just as black and white, when mixed, make grey, in many ways that’s what it did to my self-identity: it created a murky area of who I was, a haze around howpeople connected with me. I was grey. And who wants to be this indifferent colour, devoid of depth and stuck in the middle? I certainly didn’t. So you make a choice: continue living your life feeling muddled in this abyss of self-misunderstanding, or you find your identity independent of it. You push for colour-blind casting, you draw your own box. You introduce yourself as who you are, not what colour your parents happen to be. You cultivate your life with people who don’t lead with ethnic descriptions such as, ‘that black guy Tom’, but rather friends who say: ‘You know? Tom, who works at [blah blah] and dates [fill in the blank] girl.’ You create the identity you want for yourself, just as my ancestors did when they were given their freedom. Because in 1865 (which is so shatteringly recent), when slavery was abolished in the United States, former slaves had to choose a name. A surname, to be exact.

Perhaps the closest thing to connecting me to my ever-complex family tree, my longing to know where I come from, and the commonality that links me to my bloodline, is the choice that my great-great-great grandfather made to start anew. He chose the last name Wisdom. He drew his own box.

Originally published in ELLE Magazine in 2015.

New York Times Q & A

This “The Ethicist” column appeared in the Sunday New York Times.

My mother is from Central America. She came to the United States for college and met my American father. I am, therefore, 50 percent Latino genetically, but I don’t identify as Latino. There were (to my regret) no Central American influences in my upbringing — no Spanish language, no Latino relatives, no foods from “the old country.” There was also no discrimination directed at me or my mother (we look “white”). Is it ethical to identify as Latino in social situations and on the census? Name Withheld

Our ethnic and racial categories drape loosely around the realities of our complex lives. I am the son of an English woman and a Ghanaian man. I am an American citizen. Am I a black American? African-American? Anglo-American? Anglo-African? “Latino” is a word that hovers uneasily between a category defined by culture and one defined by descent. The latter conception makes you Latino. The former doesn’t quite. There’s also a notion that ethnicity should be defined by your own sense of identity — by whether you think of yourself as Latino. But whether you think of yourself as Latino is shaped by ideas about culture and descent. There isn’t a single correct view about that. Still, here’s a solution: In cases in which you don’t have the time or space to explain your situation, probably the least confusing thing to say to people in the United States is that your mother is Latina. (As far as forms go, if they permit you to check two boxes, I’d do that. If they don’t, I don’t believe it matters much what you do.)

Famous Friday: YOU!

Famous Friday: YOU !

This week’s Famous Friday is featuring you! You will be worthy of fame in our minds if you become a partner in our advocacy and help us make this the best Multiracial Heritage Week yet.

We need volunteers from every state.

Please click the link below to become famous!

http://www.projectrace.com/MHW

YOU