It’s Famous Friday!

 

Happy Friday!  Today’s Famous Friday article is highlighting Jessica Karen Szohr.  Szohr is of Hungarian, White and African-America descent and was born on March 31st 1985 in Menomonee, Wisconsin.  She has four younger siblings Danielle, Sadie, Nick and Megan.  Jessica is an American actress who has been featured in films including Complications (2015) and Kingdom (2015).  She has also starred in the teen drama series Gossip Girl as Vanessa Abrams and joined the cast of Orville during the second season.  Szohr also began modeling at age 6.

From a young age, Jessica Szohr has expressed her creative abilities in different ways.  Besides modeling, Szohr played soccer for her school, served on her student council and even started a home-cleaning business with her friends, often cleaning her teachers’ homes.  At the age of 17, Jessica graduated high school a semester early and set off for LA to pursue her acting, with her mom.  While although she originally wanted to become an interior designer, her acting career took off in 2003 and the rest was history!

Not only is Szohr a successful actress but she is a relatable person too!  Along with the fact that she’s “…a huge fan of Cheetos”, she loves to see live music, enjoys yoga and uses a lot of dry shampoo!

I hope you all are safe and healthy during these difficult times.

 

Madelyn Rempel, President Project RACE Kids

 

Photo Source: https://famousheights.net/tv-actress/jessica-szohr

 

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It’s Famous Friday!

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez was born on August 22, 1978, to a Mexican father and white mother.

She has had a successful career as an actress and singer and is best known for her roles on

Broadway. These roles include the fabulous Angelica Schuyler from the musical Hamilton,

Elphaba from the musical of Wicked, and Nina Rosario in the original cast of In the Heights.

From an early age, Mandy Gonzalez’s grandmother saw her passion for music and signed

her up for singing lessons. She attended Saugus High School in Saugus, California. It was in

high school that Gonzalez got involved with theater. For one year, Mandy went to California

Institute of the Arts. However, when she was offered a job as a backup singer for Bette

Midler, she dropped out of college and went on tour from 1999 to 2000. After touring with

Midler, Mandy Gonzalez decided to settle in New York City. In 2001, Gonzalez was a

standby actress for the character of Amneris in the musical Aida, but after landing a role in

Dance of the Vampires, in 2002, she has been on stage ever since!

Mandy Gonzalez had to learn how to be an actress and stay true to her heritage along the

way. Gonzalez recalls as a child feeling different. In an article, Mandy says, “I was the only

Gonzalez in a Hebrew School, I didn’t want to be different.” Although she felt different,

Mandy Gonzalez learned to embrace who she was early on in her career. A video series

called “#HowIGotHere” tells the story of people and their path to success. One video, in this

series, highlights Mandy Gonzalez, where she talks about how she had to learn to embrace

her multiracial identity. Furthermore, she explains how she was so eager to be a part of the

show biz world, and that she was also considering changing her last name on the contract.

Then, she remembered her family and all their hard work.

I love what she told the agent, “I am Mandy Gonzalez with two Zs.” Mandy says that

this was the first time she truly learned about integrity and staying true to her heritage

roots. I am inspired by Gonzalez’s acceptance of her identity at an early age by being proud

of her heritage. After her first job on Broadway, Mandy received some harsh reviews;

however, despite this, she continued to pursue her dreams.

Further, Gonzalez also inspires me by her positive attitude and focus on the good in life

after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2019. For example, in one Instagram

post, Mandy writes, “…I have a range of emotions – worry and anger, for sure, but also

gratitude. Gratitude because along with millions of other brave people around the world, I

will fight it.”

Through this trial, Mandy Gonzalez wants to bring awareness about something that many

people must face. “It’s important to know that early detection is key. As a community, as a

society, we need to figure out a way so that everyone has access to a mammogram,” says

Gonzalez.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mandy Gonzalez is also the founder of the social media group

on Twitter and Instagram called the Fearless Squad. The Fearless Squad is an online

movement that is open to anyone who takes up the morals that define the group: Help each

other when we fall, Embrace differences, Look for the good, and Dream Big. Gonzalez even

named the title track of her first album, Fearless, in honor of the group.

As a multiracial theater kid myself, Mandy Gonzalez is such an awesome role model.

She embraced her heritage and followed her dreams to become a Broadway star, and tries to

empower all types of people through all walks of life.

 

Madelyn Rempel

Project Race Kids President

 

Source: https://www.survivornet.com/articles/hamilton-star-mandy-gonzalez-reveals-shes-

battling-breast-cancer-but-the-show-must-go-on/

 

It’s Famous Friday!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter was born on June 26, 1974 in New Jersey. His mother, Dorothy, is of Caucasian and European decent, while his father, Sanderson, is African-American. Jeter’s father, who played baseball at Fisk University, assimilated Derek into the sport at a young age. Trying to instill a sense of responsibility into the young athlete, Jeter’s parents made him sign a contract every year, outlining a set of rules for his behavior. The contract made is so that Derek was to always keep a positive outlook, and could not tell his parents that he “can’t” do something. With this mentality and his love for the New York Yankees, Jeter aspired to be a professional baseball player.

In high school, Jeter ran cross country and played both basketball and baseball. Developing into a star shortstop, Jeter batted over .500 his sophomore, junior, and senior year. His success in the sport led to him being recognized as an All-State player his senior year as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year. After his high school years, Jeter had planned to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship, but instead declared for the 1992 MLB Draft.

Derek Jeter’s professional baseball career started when he was drafted 6th overall out of Kalamazoo Central High School. After a few years in the minors, Jeter made his MLB debut in 1995, where he eventually won Rookie of The Year. His career took off from there. The legendary Yankees shortstop became a 14-time all-star, a 5-time Gold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award winner. Additionally, the player nicknamed, “The Captain” led his Yankees to 13 American League Division Series, 6 American League Championship Series, and won 5 World Series Championships, establishing the Yankees organization as a dynasty during this time period. His wild success as a postseason player lead to his new nickname, “Mr. November”, the month in which the MLB playoffs take place.

In addition to being an MLB star, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. The organization’s purpose is to reward students that obtain high academic marks and maintain a proactive lifestyle. Jeter is also affiliated with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Soles4Souls, and the Stand Up to Cancer organizations.

On January 21st, Jeter was elected into the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Receiving 396 out of 397 ballots, Jeter was one vote shy of being unanimously elected, a title held only by baseball legend Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter along with Larry Walker will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26th, solidifying Jeter’s mark on the game of baseball.

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/derek-jeter
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Jeter
  3. https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/ct-derek-jeter-hall-of-fame-ballot-20200204-dq3hymzryvg4lcrnf2dcsycpq4-story.html

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It’s Famous Friday!

Shakira

Look for Shakira performing at halftime during this Sunday’s Super Bowl show. Shakira is a Columbian singer, songwriter, dancer, business woman, record producer, and philanthropist.

She was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her father is Lebanese and her mother is Colombian. Shakira is most known as a Colombian pop singer. Her first album was when she was 13 and she is now 42.  Shakira’s hit, Hip’s Don’t Lie, was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 10.  She has talked about the difficulty of overcoming obstacles while becoming an international pop star. Her first albums were in Spanish. She taught herself English and crossed over to the Anglo-American Market and became an international star.

Her appreciation of her Arabic and Latin heritage is noticed often in her music by the sound and her dance moves.  Miami will be the perfect setting for the Super Bowl LIV halftime show which will be co-headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

 

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit: last.fm

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See our new video!

See our 2020 Census Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72NslaIFNs

Q. What’s the difference between an academic, a government worker, a social group and an advocate?

A. The academic is still thinking about it, the government worker is still out of town, the social group is still having parties and the advocates got it all done.

 

Please share our video. We must spread the word on this ourselves. No one else is going to do it.

Informational Friday

When “Mixed” Isn’t Enough

GETTY

Why We Need Better Terms For People Who Identify As Two Or More Races

by Nicole Holliday  When I was a kid, I always just assumed that everyone in the world called people like me “mixed,” because in the 1990s in central Ohio, where I grew up, mixed almost always referred to folks like me, who had one black parent and one white parent. The community I grew up in had very few people who identified as anything other than black or white, so I just thought that mixed meant “black and white” unless otherwise specified. This was comfortable for me, and it allowed me to have a way to describe my racial identity quickly and concisely.

As I got older, however, the nation’s demographics began to shift, and I started to hear all kinds of people who had parents of different races refer to themselves as mixed. Suddenly, it seemed like when I told people I was mixed, their follow-up question was “with what?” At this point, I began to wish that I had a specific term to describe people like me.

I knew that, for example, in South Africa, I’d be classified as coloured, which, despite its history as a term of oppression during the apartheid era, is still utilized as a demographic category. In the UK, people who are mixed-race typically come from black and white backgrounds, though as their population has diversified, they have some of the same struggles for meaning around the term mixed as people in the US have.

A population changing more rapidly than its language

So, how mixed is the US population? The 2010 Census Brief The Two or More Races Population: 2010 shows that the population reporting multiple races (about 9 million) increased by 32 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared with those who reported a single race (about 300 million), which increased by only 9.2 percent.

While this increase in people identifying as two or more races is often considered to be positive evidence of greater social integration, it also creates challenges around the language we use to talk about both individual and group-level racial categories. This is due, in no small part, to changes in the format of many demographic surveys, but especially in the decennial US Census.

The demographer’s version of “mixed with what?”

In the year 2000, the Census allowed for first time individuals to check more than one box in response to the question “What is your race?”

While this greater recognition of people who fall outside of unary racial categories has been hailed as positive by multiracial advocates, it seems that the Census has, for many intents and purposes, fallen into the same underspecified pattern that I personally experienced.

“Two or more races” is like the demographer’s version of “mixed with what?”: it doesn’t actually provide useful information about exactly how people identify, which becomes even more challenging with a massive dataset like the Census’s.

On a large scale, this is a serious issue, because Census data on race is used for everything from enforcing the Voting Rights Act to allocating funding for community-based nonprofits, and thus inaccurate racial data can have tangible negative effects for majority-minority communities. However, breaking down the “Two or More Races” responses into every possible combination may also have the effect of making racial categories so small as to preclude generalization, causing a sort of demographic double bind.

Indeed, this issue of what to call and how to count people who don’t fit into neat racial categories has always been an issue for demographers. Multiracial individuals and communities, while they have recently increased in numbers in the US, are hardly a modern phenomenon. Though it is the case that the 2000 Census was the first time that individuals could select more than one racial category, it was not the first time that multiracial people were counted as their own Census category. The Census’s changing terms for multiracial people reflect some broader social trends over time.

Mulatto and other historical terms for mixed racial descent

The US once had specific terms in wide use to describe people of different types of mixed racial descent, though they mostly fell out of favor as the demographics and racial structure of the nation shifted.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Trends, from 1850–1880, the Census contained options for whiteblack, and mulatto (meaning black and white), which were important during the time of chattel slavery. In 1890, the Census kept those terms and added the now-offensive quadroon (one-quarter black) and octoroon (one-eighth black). Though they disappear from the Census by 1900, these two categories were presumably due to the fact that, in the post-Civil War era, percentage of black ancestry became important in the establishment and enforcement of Jim Crow segregation. By 1930, we have whitenegroother, and Indian, but mulatto was no longer an option.

Outside of the Census, the terms quadroon and octoroon were not only considered offensive, but also politically unnecessary by the 1930s. For much of the nation’s history and in most parts of the country, the “one-drop rule” classified any individual with a black or even partially black parent, as entirely black for legal purposes, eliminating the need for such specific terms. It is a uniquely American example of what’s called hypodescent—”assigning racially mixed individuals to the identity of the subordinate group”—and it has helped shape and reinforce the binary understanding of racial identity that persists in the US today.

The rise of broad terms

From the mid-20th century on, we have seen a dramatic increase in broader, more open-ended terms that reflect a society that sees more racial categories. There are still limitations, however, related to the many nuanced identities that compose these categories.

Google Books Ngram comparison of terms shows a steady increase of multiracial and biracial from the 1950s until about 2000. There is also a corresponding virtual disappearance of the antiquated terms quadroon and octoroon, indicating a trend toward more general terms. In the 1980s, we start to see a sharp rise in the occurrence of the term biracial children, reflecting the increase in children born in the 1980s to parents of different races.

Both multiracial and biracial have expanded in meaning since they first gained traction in American English. In the 1950–60s, both of these terms were primarily used to discuss groups where more than one race is represented, as in multiracial society and biracial committees. Over time, as the US became more integrated and rates of interracial marriage and children who could and did identify as two or more races went up, these words became useful for talking about individuals of mixed racial descent. Despite that shift, the broadness of these terms make them less useful for people simply trying to discuss their identity without explaining their family tree.

I believe that speakers are increasingly experiencing these terms as underspecified, and that some individuals and groups that identify as two or more races are sensing a lexical gap for terms they would like for their own their specific racial combination.

What’s next? Halfricanhafu, and blackanese

One piece of evidence for this lexical gap is the rise of the term hapa, “a person of mixed-race heritage who identifies racially and culturally as both white and of Asian descent,” especially in Hawaii and California. Originally a Hawaiian Pidgin term meaning “half,” hapa is now seeing broader use on the mainland, such as the Harvard HAPA, or the Harvard Half-Asian Person’s Association, one of the first such organizations for hapa students established in 1995.

Perhaps the best way to guess what terms might further fill these lexical gaps in English is to see what people are using in online spaces. On Twitter and Urban Dictionary, words that have been suggested to describe specific groups of multiracial people include halfrican (half African) and hafu (a person who is Japanese and something else, based on the the English half). Joining hafu are blasian and blackanese, and indeed, there are probably a dizzying array of other portmanteau words for every possible ethnic combination.”Some may remember the nationalist uproar when African American and Japanese Ariana Miyamoto won the 2015 Miss Universe Japan title… As hafu, it seems we are at once objects of fetish and scrutiny.”

As the proportion of people with ancestry from multiple racial and ethnic groups increases alongside greater societal recognition of self-identifications, I think that some of these highly specific terms may begin to increase in use. Personally, I haven’t stopped longing for a quick, intelligible way to describe my own racial background. Maybe I’ll just start saying “halfrican” and see if it catches on!


Nicole Holliday is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She received her Ph.D. in linguistics from New York University, where her dissertation focused on how individuals with one black parent and one white parent use linguistic variation to construct and perform their racial identities. Her scholarly writing has appeared in journals such as American Speech and Language in Society. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Dwayne “The Rock” Dogson.

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

Census Bureau Reduces Multiracial Population

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 21, 2020

Susan Graham

Project RACE

Email: susangraham@projectrace.com

 

CENSUS BUREAU REDUCES MULTIRACIAL POPULATION

San Joaquin Valley, CA -The United States Census Bureau has chosen to exclude the multiracial group from the 2020 Census by giving false instructions to biracial people who call or email the bureau for direction on how to fill out their census forms. They also have excluded the group from all marketing and advertising material, unlike they have done for every other racial and ethnic group. If a multiracial person does not fill in their census forms correctly, we lose the biracial/multiracial number, which could result in loss of benefits and funding.

Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), is the national organization representing the multiracial population for the last 30 years. Susan Graham, president of Project RACE and author of Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America said, “We have attempted to resolve this issue for the past six months with Census Bureau personnel, including Director Steven Dillingham. The issue remains unresolved and will produce an inaccurate 2020 Census.”

According to Pew Research, there are almost seven million multiracial people in the United States. The multiracial population won the right to be counted on government forms by the OMB in 1997, although proper instructions—which include checking two or more race boxes—are key to counting everyone accurately.

 

See our 2020 Census Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72NslaIFNs

 

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It’s Famous Friday!

 

Happy Friday Everyone. This week we are taking a look inside the life of teen actress and musical artist, Isabela Moner. Isabela was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Katherine Moner (Peruvian) and Patrick Moner (Caucasian). Isabela’s main language is Spanish, but she also speaks English. Additionally, she claims to have learned some Peruvian for her role in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

 

Isabela says that performing has been a passion of hers from a young age, starting community theatre at only six. Her first major Broadway role came when she was ten, in the musical production Evita, where she performed alongside Latin-pop legend Ricky Martin. Her other Broadway appearance came in 2013 when she performed in a production of Dallas.

 

Since then Isabela has moved on to bigger roles in television and movies. From roughly 2014-2017 she starred in television shows such as, Dora and Friends: Into the City as well as 100 things to do before High School. Her performance in 100 things to do before High School led to 2 nominations for “best Actor/Actress” by Imagen Foundation Award, one of which she won in 2016.

 

After moving to movies, one of her early appearances was in Michaels Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, where she had the opportunity to work with actor Mark Wahlberg. Her part led to a nomination for “Choice Summer Movie Actress” in the 2017 Teen’s Choice Awards. One other major movie she worked on was Instant Family, where she plays “Lizzy”, a teenage orphan who eventually finds a family along with her two other siblings. Her convincing performance led to titles such as “Best Leading Young Actress” as well as “Best Actress-Feature Film”. Her work in movies also includes, Sicario: Days of the Soldado, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Herself, and Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life. Her widespread success has landed her screen-time with major actors and actresses such as Rose Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, and more.

 

Matheson Bossick, Project Race Teens Vice President

 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabela_Moner
  2. https://www.tvovermind.com/isabela-moner/
  3. https://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Isabela-Moner/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rosycordero/2019/03/07/isabela-moner-learned-indigenous-peruvian-language-to-play-dora-the-explorer/#bae84885ff6c

Picture From:

  1. https://www.newsweek.com/who-dora-and-lost-city-gold-star-isabela-moner-17-year-old-actress-bringing-1373475

It’s Famous Friday!

 

Jillian Graham – “Tiny Jag”

Tiny Jag is a biracial American rapper. Her legal name is Jillian Graham. She reported in grade school she felt like an outsider because of her ethnicity. She was raised in a bi-racial family in the Detroit area and stated her black peers expected her to embody the characteristics of an “inner-city” kid.  “I was just confused and I thought, well maybe not fitting in is an identity in and of itself.” She now holds a master’s in criminal justice and sociology, and choices to make music for people from her lifelong search for community.

This past summer Tiny Jag pulled out of an AfroFuture Fest after learning white people would be charged a higher price to attend. She stated “I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial. I have family members that would have, under those circumstances, been subjected to something that I would not ever want them to be in..especially not because of anything that I have going on.”  The early bird “people of color” tickets cost $10, while “non-POC” tickets were publicized to cost $20. The rapper reported learning of this when a friend sent her a picture of an instagram advertisement for the show. Tiny Jag called the move “non-progressive and not solution-focused.” She stated on many media outlets “It seems almost like it has spite, and with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change.”  The event explained that the organizers wanted people of color an equitable chance at enjoying their own community “black Detroit.” Jag was expected to perform music named after her white grandmother “Polly.” She stated she couldn’t perform songs named after her grandmother that would have been charged double to attend.

 

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit: Metrotimes.com

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Gift Idea!

Gift Idea!

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America makes the ideal gift book.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

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