Dr. Meredith Grey vs Actress Ellen Pompeo?

 

I admit my favorite TV Show is “Grey’s Anatomy” and one of my favorite actresses is Ellen Pompeo, who stars as Dr. Meredith Grey. Yes, I know Ellen is not a real doctor, she’s an accomplished actress and for that she needs a certain degree of intelligence.

I recently found out that Pompeo, who is white, is married to a black man. So far, so good, but then she said that she is a “white lady with a black husband and black children.” She has also been outspoken about race and diversity. I would think in this day and age of so-called race and diversity, she would acknowledge that her children are biracial or multiracial. Instead, she apparently embraces the one-drop rule.

In a recent article in ENews, called “How Ellen Pompeo Deals with Being Called a ‘White Bitch,’” Pompeo “credits her compassion with being able to withstand racially charged criticism.” What exactly does that mean? Is she compassionate because she married a black man? Does she take racially charged criticism for having black children? Ironically, on her television show, she adopted a black, not biracial child. Is she confusing real life with her acting life?

Ellen then explained it this way: “So I suffered trauma at an early age. My mother died when I was 4,” Pompeo responded. “And I think that when you suffer any kind of trauma, especially as a child, I think you learn compassion, and I think that that makes you a more compassionate person. At the root of it, compassion is a great practice.”

I am astounded by the number of people I see who talk about race “just” being a “We-All-Are-One” syndrome. Maybe we aren’t. Maybe there are important differences in those crazy genes that everyone is talking about like they know them personally. Maybe there really is something to Sickle Cell Anemia and blacks. Perhaps we need to know more about Tay Sachs and the Jewish Population. Maybe Cystic Fibrous really is more prevalent in whites. This is not a medical television show; it’s real life and could be a matter of life and death.

Marrying interracially and having multiracial children is not like winning an award for acting. It doesn’t take people with great people skills, intelligence, pain, suffering, or even compassion. It takes falling in love.

 

Susan Graham

President

Project RACE

 

 

Photo Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Refinery29

Real American: A Memoir BOOK REVIEW

Book Review by Susan Graham

Real American: A Memoir

Real American

I read a review of Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims in The New York Times yesterday. It said Julie Lythcott-Haims’ new memoir is about growing up biracial. It’s not. It’s about growing up black.

If you want to get really angry, read this book. In fact, it should be required reading for anyone even thinking about being in an interracial relationship and especially parents of multiracial children. In so many ways, it’s a primer on what not to do. To me, as the mother of multiracial children—now adults—it is reassuring that I raised them to embrace their entire heritage.

Lythcott-Haims claims early in the book that her parents had entered into some type of “interracial child experiment that was failing.” Experiment? Would people actually do that? Throughout the book, the author lashes out at her parents—mostly her mother—for any number of ways they let her down and made her identify as black, but in other places, she is proud of her black identity. It’s confusing.

What is very clear is that this biracial woman felt she had to make a choice. She is crazy angry at everyone and everything, yet she doesn’t get that she could have embraced all of her incredibly stunning heritage and, perhaps, celebrated that. No, being biracial is not just a way to acknowledge her white mother, as she says; it is a way of acknowledging herself. She just couldn’t get there.

It angers me that this author didn’t do her homework. She glosses over the entire multiracial movement with an offhand comment about the Census Bureau making “new terms” in the 1990s, as if it was their idea and not that of the many parents who led the action to get the government to even consider counting people as more than one race. We were everywhere and I find it amazing that an interracial family would have been hiding under a rock big enough to miss it entirely.

The author is completely preoccupied with the color of her children, who she refers to as “quadroon children,” “Black,” and “mulatto.” To her, they are more colors than people, which I just don’t understand. That she is angry at the plight of black people in America and all over the world, is obvious—I’m just as angry about it! She would say that wasn’t possible because I’m not black. Not true. Black lives matter to me, too. Multiracial lives matter to me, as well.

Much of what Lythcott-Haims is trying to say is that what matters is how other people see you. If they see you as black, you are black. As my son told congress, it is how he sees himself that matters. Does he know other people see him as black? Absolutely. Interracial families are not blind and stupid. We teach our children about all of their cultures and how people might look at them and classify them on their personal color scale. We get it; we live it, too.

The one thing the author and I agree on is that racism will never go away and that is why everyone needs to read about those of us who have been through it. You’ll have to read about both sides, search your heart, make your own decisions, and neither the author nor I can make it for you. I respect that you may choose for your children to identify as only one race. I just wish more people would respect that they may choose to be multiracial.

 

 

Travel Warning

NAACP warns black passengers about traveling with American Airlines

The NAACP is warning African-American travelers to be careful when they fly with American Airlines.

In an advisory late Tuesday, the organization said it has noticed “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.”

The NAACP cited four examples of black passengers who it said were forced to give up their seats or were removed from flights.

It said the incidents “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” and advised travelers to exercise caution.

“Booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions,” the advisory said.

American Airlines (AAL) CEO Doug Parker said in a memo to staff that the company was “disappointed” to hear about the NAACP warning.

“We fly over borders, walls and stereotypes to connect people from different races, religions, nationalities, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations,” Parker wrote in the memo, which the company released to reporters. “We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

He said the airline has reached out to the NAACP to meet with them. NAACP President Derrick Johnson had called for a meeting with the airline’s leadership.

The NAACP warning referenced four examples, including one involving a black woman who was removed from a New York-bound flight after she complained that her seat was changed without her consent.

Though the woman was not identified by the NAACP, she spoke to CNNMoney about the incident.

That woman, Tamika Mallory, said she had gotten into a heated exchange earlier this month with a gate attendant at the Miami airport who she described as “very disrespectful” and “very dismissive.” Mallory said she told the attendant that she would file a report about the incident.

Mallory, a civil rights activist and the co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, said the pilot of the aircraft, a white man, witnessed the end of the encounter and pulled her aside.

“The first words to come out the pilot’s mouth to me are, ‘Respect is a two-way street,'” she said, adding that he asked her whether she could behave herself on the flight.

Mallory said she told him there would be no issue and boarded the plane. She said she sat quietly for 10 minutes before being asked to get up and leave.

As she left, Mallory said, she saw the pilot again.

“He looks at me and points and says, ‘Yeah, her. Off.'”

Mallory said she told an NAACP board member about the incident and tweeted details from her encounter with the pilot.

Since then, she said many people have told her their own stories about similar incidents.

“Some of them are actually friends of mine,” Mallory said. She added they “have felt that there is a level of aggression in terms of how people, particularly black women, are being handled on these flights.”

The NAACP listed the four examples but it did not provide the names of the passengers or say when the events are alleged to have taken place.

In one other case, the NAACP said a black woman and her baby were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York after she asked for their stroller to be retrieved from checked baggage before she left the plane.

Another allegation described an incident involving a black woman who had booked first-class tickets for herself and a white companion. At the ticket counter, the black woman was moved to coach, while her traveling partner was allowed to stay in first class, the NAACP said.

And on a different occasion, on a flight from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, a black man was forced to give up his seat after he “responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers,” according to the NAACP.

American Airlines did not comment on the specific allegations.

Mallory said a meeting with American “is being worked on.” She added that she hopes the company can be a potential leader in addressing these issues.

“I think that the company has continuously put out statements about their commitment to diversity, and their commitment to treating all of their passengers the same,” she said.

“And I think that a statement is good. But if your personnel is not carrying out that vision, then there’s a problem. And there has to be accountability mechanisms in place to ensure that if we see a pattern, that we’ve got to address it.”

The NAACP is asking people who have concerns about their travel with American or other airlines to report their experiences to the organization.

Johnson said the NAACP’s “growing list of incidents … involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”

In August, the organization issued a travel advisory for Missouri, citing several discriminatory incidents in the state as reasons for individual visitors to travel with “extreme caution.”

It said at the time that the Missouri advisory was the first ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level.

Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

The Board of Directors of Project RACE denounces white supremacy, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, and the “alt-right” for their blatant racism and hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past weekend. Project RACE will always stand against any persons who threaten the multiracial community and any other minority group.

The hateful speech and deplorable actions by a few resulted in deaths and injuries and must be stopped before they are allowed to thrive and spread violence. We acknowledge President Trump’s later comments about the situation, but vehemently and negatively respond to his spreading the blame to “many sides.” There are not many sides to this evil behavior. There is right and there is wrong. The evil events of the weekend included domestic terrorism, which calls for complete and swift investigation and severe repercussions.

Some of the protesters shouted “blood and soil,” (“Blut und Boden”) a Nazi rallying cry that stresses that ethnic identity is based on only pure blood descent and the territory in which an individual lives.

Project RACE stands firm with other groups and individuals that resolve to swiftly take any necessary and peaceful solutions to cease hateful speech and actions by white nationalists and other extremist groups.

Taye Diggs on Racial Identity

Taye Diggs’ brave defense of his half-white son

Actor and singer Taye Diggs might be black, but he wants folks to understand that his son, Walker, isn’t — at least not entirely. That’s the message he’s been shopping around as part of a tour to promote his new children’s book, “Mixed Me.”

The tome is both inspired by and intended for kids like 6-year-old Walker, whose mother — Diggs’ former wife, Idina Menzel — is Caucasian. As Diggs sees it, Walker isn’t black, he’s biracial. And both whites and blacks seem equally invested in denying it.

A similar situation befell President Obama — whose mother was white and who decided early in his career to opt in to blackness at the expense of his white half.

Diggs’ decision to embrace his son’s biracial identity is brave — particularly for an African-American. For while America’s “one-drop” rule may have been established by white segregationists, it’s often been embraced by blacks themselves.

Stung by racism and seeking political potency (and safety) in numbers, blacks want to keep as many folks in their fold as possible — all black, half-black or whatever. How else to explain why black leaders were some of the most vocal opponents of the introduction of a “multi-racial” category in the 2000 US Census?

Then there’s the common black contention that all African-Americans are of “mixed” ancestry as a result of miscegenation during slavery. That might be true, but Diggs is speaking of his son being “biracial” — not “multi-racial”; his book focuses on kids whose parents are of two entirely different races, not mixes of many.

For whites, meanwhile, “one drop” helps them do what they’ve always done best — protect their privilege by any means necessary. To them, it’s not so much about who is Caucasian, but rather making it clear who isn’t. This is where “one-drop” comes in — to shut their biracial brethren out of the cultural, historical and economic benefits of whiteness.

Diggs is challenging both of these sentiments and should be applauded for doing so — particularly with nearly 7 percent of Americans describing themselves as mixed-race, according to a June Pew Research study.

No one is suggesting children like Walker should be described as white. But Diggs rightly demands that it’s time folks stop denying that his son is, ultimately, as much white as he is black.

Or, perhaps, even more so — I know from personal experience.

For the first four decades of my life I assumed my genes were equally derived from my white Jewish mother and African-American dad. Sure, like most black families, we knew history had “whitened” my father’s blood line. A great-great-grandfather, for instance, was an Irishman who had almost certainly married his slave (my great-great-grandmother) in antebellum Texas. But it wasn’t until I took the simple genetic test from 23andme that I found out just how whitened our family had become.

The test’s results ranged from the obvious — a predisposition for myopia and overeating — to the startling. For it turns out that genetically, at least, I’m actually 50 percent “more” white than black — 39.1 percent “Sub-Saharan African,” to be precise, compared to 59.1 percent “European.” My mom’s line, as expected, is pretty pure — virtually 100 percent Ashkenazi Jewish. But along with bits of Native American, my father was nearly 20 percent white — far more than we’d ever imagined.

Of course all of this data was just that — numbers and graphs and charts. As cases like Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin illustrate, my 23andme test isn’t going to protect me from racist vigilantes or shield me from bigoted cops. Nor might my newfound “whiteness” exempt me from the history of injustice and inequality that continues to define much of the contemporary African-American experience.

But the results did upend many of the racial preconceptions that had guided my life, causing me — like Diggs — to further question the very notion of racial categorization itself.

Critics of Diggs have dismissed the actor as attempting to “deny” his sons’ blackness, which is both simplistic and untrue. Diggs hasn’t “invented” a white identity for Walker — he hasn’t had to, the kid’s mom is white. Rather, he’s demanding his boy be allowed to claim what is merely a biological fact.

Progressives of all colors insist they respect the right to ethnic self-determination — but that respect seems to wane when it comes to being biracial. In Obama’s case, “choosing” blackness probably helped simplify what was already a complicated and combative political journey. Saying he was “black” — no matter the half-truth — made it easier for Americans of all colors to contend with his historic candidacy. And with (sadly) none of his white family at his side to muddle the message, Obama’s “all-black” narrative was easy to maintain.

Two generations later, Diggs seeks to spare his son from a similarly small-minded fate. America may not yet be truly “post-racial.” But perhaps, as Diggs discusses, the country can begin to accept that biracials are here to stay.

dkaufman@nypost.com

Biases influence how multiracial individuals are categorized

Biases influence how multiracial individuals are categorized
Sample morphed multiracial faces from the racial-categorization task. Credit: Ho et al.

Throughout U.S. history, individuals who were part-white and part-black were typically treated as black, a tendency that has been called the “one-drop rule.”

New University of Michigan research, published in Psychological Science, demonstrates that this bias, also known as hypodescent, persists in the U.S., and is driven in part by anti-black attitudes and beliefs about the genetic basis of .

“Our research offers a window into the psychological mechanisms that govern how we categorize others when we are confronted with individuals who blend identities differing in social status,” said Arnold Ho, U-M assistant professor of psychology and organizational studies.

In the first of two studies, Ho and U-M colleagues Steven Roberts and Susan Gelman surveyed nearly 150  Americans about race, asking respondents about their feelings toward both African-Americans and whites, and about their beliefs concerning whether  are biologically determined.

The researchers also asked survey respondents to categorize multiracials (as relatively black or white, or equally black and white), and found that respondents who believed that racial categories are biologically determined and had negative feelings about African-Americans, were most likely to believe that black-white multiracials are primarily black.

The second study, involving 121 white American participants, was designed to manipulate whether individuals think about race as biologically determined. This study also measured feelings toward African-Americans and whites, and asked participants to categorize 20 racially ambiguous faces as black, black-white multiracial, or white. Participants who were exposed to the idea that race can be biologically determined, and who harbored anti-black biases, were more likely to categorize faces as black, Ho said.

“Multiracial  make up a rapidly growing population, and they often identify in ways that do not reflect traditional ‘‘ or ‘white’ categories,” said Roberts, a U-M doctoral candidate in psychology. “However, our data show that biological concepts of race and intergroup biases prevent people from thinking about race more flexibly.”

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Medical Matters

Blacks More Likely to Die Suddenly From Cardiac Arrest, Study Finds

African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to die from sudden cardiac arrest, and they are younger on average when it happens, too, researchers reported Monday.

It’s more troubling evidence that blacks have more severe heart disease than whites, but it’s still not clear why.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by heart attacks but it’s also caused by irregular heart beat and electrical disturbances. The study of more than 100 blacks and 1,200 whites who suffered cardiac arrest in the Portland area showed that blacks were, on average, six years younger than whites when it happened.

Blacks were also more likely to have other diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, than whites.

“We do not know why African-Americans are more likely to have sudden cardiac arrest,” said Kyndaron Reinier of the the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, who led the study.

“It could be due to the higher burden of illnesses that increase risk of heart disease, like hypertension and diabetes. Or it could be genetic because we know that certain health conditions are more prevalent in particular groups of people. Or, the reason could be environmental, such as access to good healthcare. But there is no doubt that there are differences between the races when it comes to clinical outcomes.”

The study, published in the journal Circulation, adds to a growing number of studies showing that U.S. blacks are far more likely than whites to suffer from many chronic diseases, from heart disease to some types of cancer. Heart attack rates are higher among African-Americans, for instance.

And there’s some evidence that it’s not all due to different diets, different lifestyles or even different access to health care. There’s evidence of biological differences, such as the discovery that one test of heart disease risk is more accurate in black women.

“Because sudden cardiac arrest is usually fatal, we have to prevent it before it strikes,” said Dr. Sumeet Chugh of Cedars-Sinai, senior author on the study. “These findings suggest the possibility that when it comes to prevention of sudden cardiac death, different races and ethnicities may not necessarily be painted with one broad brush.”

Medical Monday

Rural African-American women had lower rates of depression, mood disorderAfrican-American women who live in rural areas have lower rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and mood disorder compared with their urban counterparts, while rural non-Hispanic white women have higher rates for both than their urban counterparts, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

MDD is a common and debilitating mental illness and the prevalence of depression among both African Americans and rural residents is understudied, according to background in the study.

Addie Weaver, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and coauthors examined the interaction of urban vs. rural residence and race/ethnicity on lifetime and 12-month MDD and mood disorder in African-American and non-Hispanic white women.

The authors used data from the U.S. National Survey of American Life, a nationally representative household survey, which includes a substantial proportion of rural and suburban respondents, all of whom were recruited from southern states. Participants included 1,462 African-American women and 341 non-Hispanic white women.

Overall, when compared with African-American women, non-Hispanic white women had higher lifetime prevalences of MDD (21.3 percent vs. 10.1 percent) and mood disorder (21.8 percent vs. 13.6 percent). And non-Hispanic white women also had higher prevalences of 12-month MDD than African-American women (8.8 percent vs. 5.5 percent), according to the results.

The study also found that rural African-American women had lower prevalence rates of lifetime (4.2 percent) and 12-month (1.5 percent) MDD compared with their urban counterparts (10.4 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively). The rates were adjusted by urbanicity and race/ethnicity.

The same was true for mood disorder, with rural African-American women having lower adjusted prevalence rates of lifetime (6.7 percent) and 12-month (3.3 percent) mood disorder when compared to their urban counterparts (13.9 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively), according to the results.

However, rural non-Hispanic white women had higher rates of 12-month MDD (10.3 percent) and mood disorder (10.3 percent) than their urban counterparts (3.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively).

“These findings offer an important first step toward understanding the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on MDD among African-American women and non-Hispanic white women and suggest the need for further research in this area. This study adds to the small, emerging body of research on the correlates of MDD among African Americans,” the study concludes.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Addie Weaver, Joseph A. Himle, Robert Joseph Taylor, Niki N. Matusko, Jamie M. Abelson. Urban vs Rural Residence and the Prevalence of Depression and Mood Disorder Among African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women. JAMA Psychiatry, 2015; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.10

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Michelle Obama’s mother said WHAT?!

Michelle Obama’s mom says she was wary of ‘biracial’ Barack, but glad he wasn’t ‘completely white’

An interview Michelle Obama’s mother gave during the 2004 Chicago Senate has resurfaced thanks to a new book about the first lady, and it brings new attention to Marion Robinson‘s misgivings about her daughter’s marriage to the biracial Barack Obama.

Robinson, now 77, said she was wary about her daughter marrying Obama, who had a black father and white mom, but it could have been worse.

“That didn’t concern me as much as had he been completely white,” she said during the interview with WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” which was unearthed by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin .

“I guess that I worry about races mixing because of the difficulty, not for, so much for prejudice or anything,” she added. “It’s just very hard.”

Slevin wrote that Obama’s interracial background wasn’t enough to make Robinson oppose the marriage, according to the Daily News.

“Marian, no pushover, was favorably impressed with Barack.” he wrote.

Robinson famously moved in with the first family when they moved into the White House in 2008.

The book, “Michelle Obama: A Life,” is due to hit bookstores April 7.

Multiracial Miss Japan

Half-Black woman named Miss Japan—stirs reaction


Apparently Black is also beautiful in Japan, despite the nation’s reputation for a lack of diversity.

Ariana Miyamoto, daughter of a Japanese mother and African-American father, recently became the first multiracial contestant to be crowned Miss Universe Japan, according to news reports. The former Miss Nagasaki will represent Japan in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Local media describe the 20-year-old as a “saishoku kenbi,” a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty. She holds a fifth-degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy, according to JapanToday.com.

But there have been mixed reactions to a “hāfu,” the Japanese word used to refer to half-Japanese individuals, representing the country.

“The selection of Ariana Miyamoto as this year’s Miss Universe Japan is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese,” Megumi Nishikura, filmmaker and co-director of the film “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan,” told NBC News. “The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.”

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has reported that one in 49 babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent, according to “Hafu.”

While the nation remains a center of global tourism and trade, it remains skeptical of diversity and actually prides itself on its homogeneity—more than 98 percent of the population comprise Japanese nationals, according to Vox.com. As such, it has a long and complicated history of racism.

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