by Susan Graham
We’re not asking for a month or a day-but just a moment during this week. June 7 to 14 is National Multiracial Heritage Week. I know, I know, you’re getting tired of all these groups with all their months, weeks, and days. Does every group need a special time-slot? Probably not, but if they do, we want one too.
This special week now has the official sanction of the Governors and legislators of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia. The multiracial population is the fastest growing racial group in the country. We’ll only get bigger.
Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) is in its 25th year of “introducing” the multiracial community to the rest of the world.
The word “multiracial” has had a stormy ride. In the 1990s, when we were trying to convince the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that people needed to be able to check more than one box, they advised us to give them a definitive word to use. We had the choice of multiracial, biracial, mixed-race, and others. We asked the community and the consensus was the term “multiracial.” It is more inclusive than biracial. It doesn’t grate as much as “mixed,” which lends itself too easily to “mixed nuts” or “mixed up,” not to mention the problem that “mixed” is the opposite of “pure,” and that’s not a place we want to go.
Yes, the nomenclature is a problem. I wish we could be as successful in changing terminology as the gay community. Remember when people used the term “homosexual”? Not anymore. I wish we could be as savvy as the community once known as colored, then Negro, then Black, and now African-American. But for reasons beyond our control, we remain more mixed than multiracial, more “other” than biracial, and more forgotten than other populations. But are we invisible? Didn’t you see that light tan baby being pushed down the street in the stroller yesterday? The dark woman pushing it was not the nanny-she was the mother. What about the family with the children who look part Asian? Yes, they take after their Asian mother and their white father.
When we were trying to reason with OMB, we also ran into the U.S. Census Bureau. But they still call us “MOOMs”-people who Mark One or More races, or the “combination” population. It’s hard to get bureaucrats to change once two or more of them make up their minds.
Then there is the United States Department of Education. They might allow schools to let students check more than one race, but then they redistribute us to other racial categories with some strange algorithms. If a student checks Hispanic as one of their ethnic parts, then they become 100 percent Hispanic.
Then we have the United States Department of Justice, and all of their concerns about discrimination. They depend on the data to ensure that minorities are not discriminated against in any way. How could a multiracial person prove discrimination based on the fact that they are multiracial if no such multiracial numbers exist? It’s a real quandary.
Choosing to be multiracial is just that: a choice. If you want to be monoracial based on your personal history or just because that’s how you feel today, that’s great. However, if you wish to celebrate your entire heritage, the choice should be yours and yours alone.
So, if you can, think about how you can contribute to Multiracial Heritage Week from June 7th to 14th. Give us a moment. Perhaps you can simply acknowledge a grandchild, teach about famous multiracial people, think about what you are going to call that multiracial person you know, or contribute to our cause. Join us. Google us. Befriend us. Follow us. Help us get the message out that this is the start of something big-something multiracial.
Susan Graham is the president of Project RACE, Inc.
Too nice to call it trolling: HoneyMaid responds to hate — with love
Do progressive politics just make for good business?
It seems they might, judging from the latest HoneyMaid ad, called “Love,” released after people left hateful comments about the same-sex couple featured in their ad, “This is Wholesome.” HoneyMaid avoided the snark route, and went straight for sentimentality instead. They printed out all of the negative comments and used them to make a collage that spells out the word “love.”
The HoneyMaid commercial is just the latest in a general trend toward inclusivity in advertising. Remember all the flack Cheerios caught for its biracial couple and their sweet daughter in “Just Checking?”
Both companies responded by doubling down on their initial ads; the Cheerios sequel aired during the Super Bowl.
“Advertisers who do this kind of progressive marketing are surprised by the haters no longer. In fact, I’d be willing to bet Honey Maid and Droga5 already had a plan in place for the video below — a response to the haters (and supporters) of its ultra-inclusive ‘This Is Wholesome’ ad — before the first spot (which now has more than 4 million views) even aired.”
It seems Cheerios and HoneyMaid have found the antidote to the snark and cynicism that passes for high-minded commentary on much of the Internet: genuine niceness. Still, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ve still got to avoid a minefield of seeming pat, schlocky or sanctimonious, all turn-offs.
Source: The Washington Post
Swiffer’s New Ad Features A Real Multi-Racial Couple And An Amputee Dad Who Cleans The House
Last May, a Cheerios ad featuring a multi-racial family went viral. Its fans held it up as a sign of long-overduedemographic changes in advertising, and as with seemingly anything on the Internet, its detractors felt the need to make racist comments about it.
Within that context, it is easy to be jaded about Swiffer’s new commercial, which features the Rukavina family.The mom is black and the dad is white and an amputee. And as a bonus, he’s the one doing the household cleaning, not his wife. At first glance, it seems like a corny attempt by a casting director to create the perfect ad to start an Internet discussion.
The Rukavina family is real, however, and has had a career in the media. The commercial, like the rest of the family’s television history, is primarily about the father, Zack, adjusting his life to losing his left arm to cancer:
Publicis Kaplan Thaler, the ad agency behind it, was certainly looking to get the cleaning brand attention through a “progressive” commercial, and it succeeded. This could have come across as obnoxious, but the final product is a sweet look at a family with a dad who can especially benefit from the product advertised.
Zack proposed to his wife Afi in 2012 on the Yahoo web series “Ultimate Surprises,” and has appeared in television shows like “Switched At Birth.” His family also appeared in a dramatized documentary about his life as an amputee.
Taking Office, de Blasio Vows to Fix Inequity
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Bill de Blasio, right, with his wife and children, was sworn into office at City Hall on Wednesday by former President Bill Clinton. More Photos »
Bill de Blasio, whose fiery populism propelled his rise from obscure neighborhood official to the 109th mayor of New York, was sworn into office on Wednesday, pledging that his ambition for a more humane and equal metropolis would remain undimmed.
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Letitia James was sworn in on Wednesday as New York City’s public advocate. Dasani Coates held the Bible.
In his inaugural address, Mayor de Blasio described social inequality as a “quiet crisis” on a par with the other urban cataclysms of the city’s last half-century, from fiscal collapse to crime waves to terrorist attacks, and said income disparity was a struggle no less urgent to confront.
“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love,” he said to about 5,000 people at the ceremony, many beneath blankets on a numbingly cold day.
Mr. de Blasio, 52, the first liberal to lead City Hall in two decades, delivered his critiques as his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, whose Wall Street pedigree and business-first approach to governance seemed to embody the city’s current gilded era, sat unsmiling a few feet away.
It was only one of many potent symbols of change that dominated a ceremony unlike many before it.
Gone was the more solemn air of inaugurations past, replaced by the booming strains of disco, soul, and dance music by the Commodores, Marvin Gaye and Daft Punk, spun by a local D.J. stationed high above the audience. (Even Hillary Rodham Clinton, seated onstage, swayed with the music.)
Several of the nation’s pre-eminent Democrats — including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and former President Bill Clinton, who administered the oath of office over a Bible once owned by Franklin D. Roosevelt — appeared with Mr. de Blasio on the dais, celebrating the elevation of a party stalwart with whom they had close ties.
The ceremony was filled with an unusually open airing of the city’s racial and class tensions, including a poem bristling with frustration about “brownstones and brown skin playing tug-of-war,” a pastor’s words about “the plantation called New York,” and fierce denunciations of luxury condominiums and trickle-down economics.
Mr. de Blasio, a careful custodian of his image, took pains to choreograph the appearance of a newly approachable and inclusive City Hall, arriving with his family on the subway and walking onstage to doo-wop tunes. Even the placement of cameras seemed to ensure that only the dignitaries on stage and ordinary New Yorkers arrayed behind them would be shown — and not the many lobbyists and political operatives in the crowd.
And although he warned that his administration’s work “won’t be easy,” Mr. de Blasio made only passing reference to the myriad and daunting challenges — fiscal, political and structural — that he will face in enacting his ambitious policy agenda.
Several of his proposals, including his signature plan to pay for prekindergarten classes by raising taxes on the wealthy, are at the mercy of the governor and state legislators in Albany. Other elements of his platform are expected to be opposed by powerful interests in the city’s corporate classes.
But in his first hours as mayor, Mr. de Blasio opted to focus more on his aspirations for the office, and fulfilling a campaign promise to change the tone of city government on Day 1.
The mayor’s transition team held a ticket lottery so that ordinary New Yorkers could attend the inaugural ceremony, and the City Hall plaza was quickly filled with a diverse crowd that punctuated speeches with impromptu cheers, lending the feel of a jamboree to an event typically more formal than festive.
From her seat in a back row, Justina Taylor, 16, of the Bronx, started singing along with a Jay-Z song. “This is my kind of inauguration,” she said.
Light moments abounded. The young children of Scott M. Stringer, who was being sworn in as the city comptroller, squealed as their father sought to recite the oath of office and drowned out his words. Mr. Stringer laughed: “He’s not quite ready for a television commercial,” he quipped — a sly reference to the celebrity that Mr. de Blasio’s 16-year-old son, Dante, attained after starring in his father’s campaign ads.
Mr. de Blasio, clad in a black topcoat and red-and-white striped tie, was first glimpsed on a stadium-size screen emerging from a nearby subway station, as the song “Boy From New York City” played over loudspeakers. “He’s kind of tall,” went one lyric, a fitting description for the gangly Mr. de Blasio, who at 6-foot-5 is the tallest to hold the office in at least a generation.
The event turned starkly emotional at times, as well.
The crowd was rapt as Ramya Ramana, a young Indian-American poet, made a cri de coeur in verses addressing familiar themes of class and poverty from Mr. de Blasio’s campaign. Ms. Ramana, in an appearance partially arranged by Chirlane McCray, Mr. de Blasio’s wife and a poet herself, described a New York that was “not lights, not Broadway, not Times Square,” but “coffee-colored children playing hopscotch on what is left of a sidewalk.”
Letitia James, the new public advocate, delivered what amounted to a blistering rebuke of Mr. Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure as mayor. The first minority woman to hold a citywide elected office, Ms. James invoked images of “decrepit homeless shelters” in the “shadow of gleaming multimillion dollar condos.”
To underscore her message, Ms. James invited Dasani Coates, a young homeless girl featured in a recent series in The New York Times, to stand by her side. Dasani, who sat onstage behind Mr. de Blasio and his family, also held the Bible for Ms. James as she took the oath of office. If Mr. Bloomberg was perturbed by the tone of the proceedings, he did not let on. He sat stoically throughout, his lips pursed. Now out of office, he was headed to Hawaii and New Zealand for a two-week vacation.
In his own speech, which lasted 19 minutes, Mr. de Blasio urged the crowd to acknowledge Mr. Bloomberg’s work in public health and environmental policy, which he called “a noble legacy.”
But Mr. de Blasio did not hesitate to restate his determination to change the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics, saying he wished to “protect the dignity and rights of young men of color.”
And he invoked the names of towering liberals in New York’s past, including former Gov. Alfred E. Smith and former Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia as left-leaning politicians who proved social reform was possible in a city often synonymous with unfeeling, free-market capitalism.
After a highly personal campaign in which he placed his family at the forefront of advertisements and pamphlets, Mr. de Blasio unsurprisingly made sure his wife and children held central roles at the event. He introduced Ms. McCray as “my partner in all I do.”
And after the singer Harry Belafonte opened the ceremony, Dante de Blasio stood and slowly guided the 86-year-old singer back to his seat.
The political royalty on hand included Senator Charles E. Schumer and former Mayor David N. Dinkins, who provided Mr. de Blasio with his first professional experience in City Hall, and with a colleague who later became his wife. Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani did not attend. Edward I. Koch, who died last year and supported a rival of Mr. de Blasio’s in the mayoral race, went unmentioned.
After the ceremony, Mr. de Blasio greeted those who had attended inside City Hall on a receiving line that lasted some three hours, part of a conspicuous effort to show that city government would be more open during his tenure.
But his final event of Wednesday would be a private one: The mayor was set to host a party at Gracie Mansion, his new residence, for colleagues and friends.
The public was not invited.
Source: The New York Times
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently rejected claims of “family status” discrimination under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA), finding that “discrimination based on family status alone is not actionable under Title VII.”
The case, found here, involved a 52-year old white plaintiff, who is married to an Asian ethnic Chinese woman and has seven mixed race children. Among other allegations, the plaintiff alleged that Pen Argyl Area School District (PAASD) discriminated against families with children of mixed race white and Far East Asian heritage, when it failed to interview him or hire him in various coaching positions that had become open, after he had purportedly expressed an interest in obtaining employment as an athletic coach. In support of his claims, the plaintiff alleged that younger white males who were not from mixed race families obtained such positions.
In summarily disposing of the plaintiff’s discrimination claim under Title VII, the District Judge held, “Simply stated, Mr. Blasi is not a member of a protected class for Title VII purposes. Because he is not a member of a protected class, he cannot establish a prima facie case of direct discrimination under Title VII. His claims under this legal theory have no merit.” The court likewise dismissed Plaintiff’s companion PHRA claim, finding that “discrimination based on ‘familial status’ is not actionable under the PHRA.”
Though the outcome in this case was favorable to employers, it is important that employers remain cognizant of potential associational claims under Title VII (among other statutes). By way of example, the EEOC’s guidance (found here) states that “Race/color discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color.” This case serves as a valuable reminder that plaintiffs are more frequently asserting claims based not on their own characteristics (e.g., race, national origin, etc.), but of those with whom they associate. As this area of the law continues to evolve, and judges are confronting “associational” issues and assessing the particular circumstances at issue, this is a close area to watch in order to keep abreast of the holdings (and potential inconsistencies among courts) arising in such contexts.
Source: The National Law Review
De Blasio First in Mayoral Primary
De Blasio First in Mayoral Primary; Unclear if He Avoids a Runoff
Bill de Blasio, whose campaign for mayor of New York tapped into a city’s deepening unease with income inequality and aggressive police practices, captured far more votes than any of his rivals in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
But as Mr. de Blasio, an activist-turned-operative and now the city’s public advocate, celebrated a remarkable come-from-behind surge, it was not clear if he had won the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff election on Oct. 1 with William C. Thompson Jr., who finished second. At night’s end, he had won just over 40 percent of the ballots counted; thousands of paper ballots had yet to be tallied, which could take days.
Mr. de Blasio, who campaigned as the most liberal Democrat in the field, immediately pivoted into a less strident general-election mode. In a victory speech just after midnight at a music club in Brooklyn, he soberly invoked Wednesday’s 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We were reminded that day of a crucially important lesson,” he said, “that the job of those of us in positions of authority is to keep our city safe, to be constantly vigilant, to use every tool at our disposal to protect our people.”
Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/nyregion/results-of-new-york-citys-mayoral-primaries.html?pagewanted=all&pagewanted=print
Source: NY Times
Yo, check this Project RACE Teens Panelist out! He’s a boss!
We told you about 18 year old Nico Mukendi being named to the USA Team Handball team. On the Athletic Standard test he scored highest of 21,000 athletes! Watch this video to hear more about him and his family and how he’s headed to the Olympics! – Karson
Springfield, Missouri police have handed over to the FBI an investigation into reported threats against a biracial Springfield family.Springfield fire officials reported a fire at the family’s home July 8 did some damage to the home’s exterior.
Assistant Fire Chief Randy Villines said fire marshals have determined the blaze was intentionally set. Days later, on July 13, police responded to the house again after a 28-year-old man reported his car had been vandalized.
A tire had been punctured and scratched into the side of the vehicle, the word “Die” was preceded by the N-word, said Cpl. Matt Brown, police spokesman. A police report shows officers confiscated a knife on the scene and logged it as evidence.
FBI supervisor in Springfield, Josh Nixon, confirmed his office has been in contact with police about the reported threats and said his office would investigate allegations of civil rights violations.Multiple attempts to contact the family have failed.
Source: Springfield, MO News-Leader.com