Trouble at the Census Bureau


Information has come forward that there has been a privacy lapse in the 2010 census data. The race and ethnicity of 138 million Americans may have been compromised. The biggest issue is that people will not trust the bureau to keep their private information safe, which is just another reason for people to not fill out their census forms.

Also in question is the much-debated proposed citizenship question, which the Supreme Court has now agreed to hear. The fear is that citizens will withhold completing their census or lie because of possible repercussions from the answers at a time when many people do not trust the government.

Not filling out your census form could affect distribution of federal money and allocation of seats in the House of Representatives. Also important is that the census gives us a snapshot of the race and ethnicity of our country, which could be vital to our knowing how many people self-identify as biracial or multiracial, also called “two or more races” by the Census Bureau. Project RACE will keep you up-to-date about these and other important issues.

It’s Famous Friday!

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg is a multiracial American Actress. Her mother is African American and her father is Danish. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began modeling for Disney at the age of four.  Amandla appeared in commercials as a child and landed her first feature film, Colombiana, in 2011. She is well known for her role as Rue in the 2012 film, The Hunger Games. She has been chosen for the lead role in four movies since 2017: Everything, Everything, The Darkest Mind, The Hate you Give, and Where Hands Touch. In an interview with Wonderland magazine in June of 2018 Amandla explained that she was gay and in a relationship with King Princess, a singer and song writer. Amandla won “Feminist of the Year” in 2015 by the Ms. Foundation for Women. In an interview with Variety Amandla stated “Something interesting has happened with me and Yara and Zendaya-there is a level of accessibility of being biracial that has afforded us attention in a way that I don’t think would have been afforded to us otherwise. Me and Yara and Zendaya are perceived in the same way, I guess, because we are lighter skinned black girls and we fill this interesting place of being accessible to Hollywood and accessible to white people in a way that darker-skinned girls are not afforded the same privilege.” Amandla received backlash for auditioning for the Black Panther Film. “I was in the audition process for it, then I decided to not continue with the process because I thought that it wouldn’t be right for me as a biracial, light skinned American to be playing “Shuri.”  In an interview with Variety she states “That was not a space that I should have taken up. It was so exhilarating to see it fulfilled by people who should have been a part of it and who deserved it and who were right for it. I just wasn’t.”There was then controversy over her being cast as the lead role STARR in The Hate You Give. The character had previously been portrayed as a dark skinned girl on the book cover. People accused her of going back on her word and taking a role she should have left for a black female. Stenberg responded “Do I aim to represent all Black girls? Hell nah! Do I expect all Black girls to feel represented by me? Absolutely not. We encompass a beautiful and expansive plethora of experiences, identities and shades and it would be ridiculous to assume that I should or could represent all of us. I want my sisters to know I navigate my industry with an acute awareness of how my accessibility contributes to the representation I am granted.” In my opinion, Amandla played the role of Starr extremely well. There is so much about different prejudices from all people that can be learned from the movie. I was thrilled to see that the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department was bussing Teens from their community to see the movie for free. What a wonderful tool to use between the community and police.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit:


Is Kamala Harris Black?


I like Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), but she disappointed me today. In a radio interview, Harris was asked about her “blackness.” Her parents were born in India and Jamaica, making her what we would call biracial or multiracial. She is, of course, very free to racially identify as she pleases and apparently she identifies as black. Absolutely fair enough.

The problem I have is when she tries to represent everyone—and no, she’s not the president yet, so she doesn’t get to do that. She said, “I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are.” She also said, “I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.” We do understand. We understand that Kamala Harris is defending the ridiculous old one-drop rule that if you have one-drop of black blood, you are black. We understand what it means to identify as multiracial. We understand that some people negate the race of one of their parents. We also understand that she is going after the black vote in her bid for the presidency and she’s being political. Perhaps she should consider the multiracial votes. We also understand that if she ever needs a bone marrow transplant, her Indian side will very much be a factor for a match no matter how much she says she is only black.

The Senator was also questioned about her marriage to a white man, which she defended, thank goodness. I don’t know if they have children or plan to, but I hope she gives some thought to how they will racially identify. If only Harris had said she identifies as black but is also proud of her biracial heritage, I would not be so disappointed. –Susan Graham


It’s Famous Friday!

Deb Haaland

One of the most notable newcomers to emerge in the groundbreaking November 2018 midterm elections is U.S. House of Representatives freshman Democrat, Debra Haaland. Deb, who represents New Mexico’s 1st district, is (along with Sharice Davids) one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress.

She is also multiracial! Congresswoman Haaland’s father, J.D. “Dutch” Haaland was Norwegian-American and her mother, Mary Toya, Laguna of Pueblo. Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe and identifies as a 35th-generation New Mexican.

Both of Haaland’s parents served in the US military, her dad in the Marines and her mom in the Navy.  Like many military kids, Deb and her four siblings grew up living all around the United States. Her father served in the Marines during Vietnam and was awarded a Silver Star Medal as a hero who saved the lives of some of his fellow Marines. He is buried with full military honors in the famed Arlington National Cemetery. The diverse experiences she had growing up in various locations across the country and sometimes on a Native American reservation, and other times in a boxcar in Arizona, gave her insight and perspectives on the country’s strengths and challenges that have prepared her to serve her Native American community, her state and the country as a whole.

Her election victory is even more meaningful in light of where she comes from. New Mexico was the last state to enfranchise Native Americans, not granting the right to vote to Native Americans until 1962.

“Seventy years ago, Native Americans right here in New Mexico couldn’t vote,” Haaland told supporters at a recent rally. “Growing up in my mother’s pueblo household and as a 35th generation New Mexican, I never imagined a world where I would be represented by someone who looks like me.”

Haaland has a progressive platform and is setting out to focus on issues that effect Native Americans. Violence against women, environmental issues, education and healthcare are a few of her top priorities. She has already been vocal about immigration issues and her opposition to the racially charged remarks made by President Trump about presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

When Trump referenced the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890 as a stab at Warren, Haaland responded, “That was such a dark part of American history. Over 300 men, women and children were killed, and it’s nothing to joke about. He just has the worst, worst, worst taste. Doesn’t know our history. It was appalling.”

Before running for Congress, Deb worked on dozens of local and state campaigns. She also worked on Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and served as chair of New Mexico’s Democratic Party. She has done great work to mobilize underrepresented people to vote.

Haaland majored in English at the University of New Mexico and later went to UNM law school. Deb is a single mom to a 24 year old daughter, Somah. Rather than pursuing a traditional 9-5 job, she started her own business producing salsa in 1995 so that she could support herself and Somah, and not need to put Somah in day care. Somah has become a young political activist herself. When she has time for hobbies, Deb enjoys gourmet cooking and running marathons.

Karson Baldwin – Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Credit: Albuquerque Journal

It’s Famous Friday!

Thandie Newton

Melanie Thandiwe “Thandie” Newton, daughter of Zimbabwean Princess, Nyasha and English laboratory technician and artist, Nick Newton, was born November 6, 1972.  Thandie grew up in the town of Penzance in Cornwall, England. She grew up in a basically all white community, so as a child she felt out of place because of her skin color.  Thandie states that as a child “I used to feel – as neither white nor black, but as a bridge between both.”  I think this is a great message for everyone. We don’t have to think of ourselves as just one race, but rather we can represent multiple races, and be proud of it!

Newton is an actress, she has starred in some of your favorite movies including “Mission Impossible II” as Nyan Hall and “SOLO: Star Wars Story” as Val.  Newton is the first dark skinned woman in a Star Wars movie, what an accomplishment! Newton has been an actor for 20 years and has wondered, “Is there enough diversity in Hollywood?”  Newton has seen a crazy evolution in her career of how people’s view on people of color has changed in her industry. She says “But we’ve seen this evolution now where the industry is changing, people’s perceptions are changing and there’s an allowance now for people of different ethnicities and darker skinned to be accepted.” Newton also wants to see a diverse industry of not just people of color in general but also women.  Too often men have a dominant presence in movie industry where women are a crucial part. Newton wants more women of color’s perspective to be represented on the big screen.

Thandie Newton is a racial advocate, but more specifically for women of color.  In 2016, at Essence’s annual Black Women in Hollywood awards luncheon, she wore a shirt with names of black women who were killed by police officers. Newton wanted to make a point by wearing this.  She believes that there are many important stories about women of color that must be told, but instead are often dismissed and erased, such as the women who were on her shirt.  Many times, men of color have had their stories told, but Newton wants to hear women of color’s stories too.

Thandie can be a great role model for all people, she has experienced trials because of her race and stands up for what she believes is right, she has never given up her career despite her trials, and has said that she has seen change and more open mindedness in her industry. Thandie’s persistence inspires me because she stuck to her career even though there were challenges. Because Newton has seen change in her industry, that gives me hope for my future, and even if people right now are not accepting diversity in their normal lives, I can at least now that there is hope for the future and that people’s minds DO change!

-Madelyn Rempel, Project Race Kids President

Picture Source:


Where are all the multiracial people? Part 2

The United States Census Bureau put out a 165-page report today called “2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Study (CBAMS) Focus Group Final Report.” Basically, it’s about people who don’t want to fill out their census forms. The main reasons found were privacy concerns, apathy, fear of repercussions, and lack of time. The report is full of the focus groups they studied, including African American, Native American, Hispanic, Chinese, middle-eastern, rural, and on and on. However, it appears that the one group not included is the “two or more races” group—the biracial and multiracial people. It would appear that either the multiracial community is just fine with filling out their census forms or they just don’t exist to the federal government. You decide.

Read the full report here:



Where are all the multiracial people? Part 1

AP put out a huge story called “2020 Democratic primary field puts diversity in spotlight” by reporters Juana Summers and Elana Schor. They gave examples of every conceivable person with any diversity, including women, African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, and even gay people as “diverse.” I’m not sure some of those are “diverse,” but I do know that biracial and multiracial people were not mentioned at all. The photo that accompanied the story was of Kamala Harris, who is biracial. Shame on Ms. Summers and Ms. Schor.

Full story:

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Japanese sponsor accused of ‘whitewashing’ tennis star Naomi Osaka

That saga also prompted an allegedly racist cartoon, when an Australian cartoonist depicted Williams with large, exaggerated lips and a nose reminiscent of racist depictions of black people in the US during the Jim Crow era. In that image, Osaka was portrayed as a blonde woman with pale skin.
The US-based National Association of Black Journalists said the cartoon was “repugnant on many levels.”
Osaka’s grand slam win captured the attention of Japan, which has not produced a female player in the world top 10 since 2004.

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Here We Go Again


Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced her run for president today. Major news outlets such as The New York Times, AP and CNN all referred to her immediately as the first African American woman to run. She is the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother. Harris is biracial. That she announced her intent on MLK Day is significant and shows that she has fought for human rights and equality. It does not indicate that she is black.

I don’t know how Kamala Harris self-identifies racially and she may well define herself as black, as did Barack Obama when he was president. She absolutely has that right, but it would mean a lot to the multiracial community if she acknowledged her biracial heritage and identity, however it’s not likely. Here we go again.

by Susan Graham for Project RACE


Photo Credit: AP


It’s Famous Friday!

Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith is an interesting yet soulful singer who I have been watching gain popularity over the years. Her feature in Drake’s “Get it Together” and Kali Uchis’ “Tyrant” called my attention to her stunning voice. I absolutely loved her new album “Lost and Found” and will be attending her concert in two weeks.

Jorja was born in Walsall, West Midlands, in the United Kingdom, on June 11,1997, to Peter and Jolene Smith. Peter is her Jamaican, neo-soul singer father who is in a group called Second Nature, and her mother Jolene is a jewelry designer.

Since the age of 8, she has been encouraged to be musical and take piano lessons. The first song she wrote at the age of 11 was called “Life is a Path Worth Taking”. In her early years she earned a music scholarship at Aldridge School, where she studied classical singing and also how to play the oboe. A manager scouted her at the age of 15 after viewing her singing videos on YouTube.  After graduating from school, she moved to London and supported herself as a barista and continued to pursue her dreams and write songs.

Her second single “Where Did I Go?” was lauded by Drake as his favorite track during the summer of 2016. Soon after Smith was picked as number four on the list of BBC Music’s sound of 2017. She performed as an opening act on Bruno Mars’ tour 24K Magic World Tour and was a special guest on Drake’s Boy Meets World Tour. In December of 2017, it was announced that she was the recipient of the 2018 Brit Critics’ Choice Award. She is the first independent artist to have been nominated for the award, let alone win.

Smith has said her songs serve as a platform to address social issues.  She stated regarding her music, “When things are going on in the world, I think it’s important to touch on them, because as a musician, you can make people listen. As soon as people press play, you’ve got their attention.”

Nadia Wooten,

Project RACE Teens Vice President


Photo by: Ebru Yildiz