Intermarriage Report

From Pew Research:

One-in-six newlyweds (17%) were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015. This reflects a steady increase in intermarriage since 1967, when just 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center analysis.

While Asian (29%) and Hispanic (27%) newlyweds are most likely to intermarry in the U.S., the most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds, 18% of whom married someone of a different race or ethnicity, up from 5% in 1980. About one-in-ten white newlyweds (11%) are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity.

Among both Gen Zers and Millennials, 53% say people of different races marrying each other is a good thing for our society, compared with 41% of Gen Xers, 30% of Boomers and 20% of those in the Silent Generation, according to the Center’s 2019 report.

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!

Ben Baker

 

A few months ago, my family and I made the three-hour trek down to NYC to be photographed by world renowned photographer Ben Baker. This fall he started working on a project that highlights multiracial families (like mine!) and their positive impact on our nation. We met Ben Baker at his studio in Chinatown. He was very friendly from the moment we met him. He told us a bit about his homeland, Australia, and his past photoshoots. It was all so cool! We even got to sit on the same stool that former president, Obama, sat on when his portrait was taken by Ben!

Ben Baker was born in Adelaide, Australia. He currently lives in Chinatown in New York City.  He is an Australian and American portrait photographer.  He has photographed many people, including presidents Obama, Trump, Clinton and Bush, and huge entertainers like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and Tony Bennett.

As a child he grew up traveling with his dad around the Outback. Ben grew up near Alberton Oval, where his dad exposed him to sports while his mom introduced him to the arts. This is how his inspiration for art grew.  He did well in art class in school, which led him to apply to TAFE (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_and_Further_Education), to study photography. Unfortunately, he was rejected. However, he didn’t give up on his dream. He ended up being able to work with some local photographers that took him under their wings.

Ben’s plan was to travel to South America and Britain to further his career, but when he ran out of money at the age of twenty-three, he found himself in New York City! As Ben would put it, “luck” would lead him to become the assistant of the legendary photographer, Annie Leibovitz. Before he knew it, his work was showcased in New York Magazine, Fortune. It was Fortune that gave him his big break to photograph the 2008 presidential candidates. This eventually led to famous portraits of the Obamas for Barak’s second term. When the weather forced him to improvise this monumental photoshoot, Ben reflected and said, “I love these moments – they’re incredibly stressful, the thrill of the chase, but sometimes the best moments are when you can walk away knowing you have succeeded.” And on taking big chances in photography Ben says, “It’s a dance, but the crazy part is I know the steps.” Ben’s adaptability to stressful situations and personable disposition has opened many doors!

You might come across his several projects featured on his website.

Ben is also in a biracial marriage. While Ben photographed Obama’s top economic advisers at the Treasury Department, he met his future wife, Marti Adams Baker. Marti Adams Baker, a Spellman alum, formerly worked as a deputy communications director for Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York. At the age of 30, in 2014, Marti Adams Baker was featured in Mary Claire Magazine, being quoted about her success, “The first thing I do each morning is grab my BlackBerry to check for breaking news. I definitely had those early mornings when my hair is still wet and I’m getting a phone call from the mayor. I have to read everything before I see him.” But before coming to City Hall, Marti Adams Baker was deputy press secretary for Michelle Obama, and in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Marti is a force to be reckoned with!

Ben and Marti Baker are a true biracial power couple which we are honored to highlight for their contributions to our nation! We admire the work Ben is putting forth to highlight multiracial families in our nation. Can’t wait to see the finished product! He is taking on the political, entertainment and current event scene one portrait at a time!

 

-Madelyn Rempel, Project RACE Kids President

picture source:

https://twitter.com/benbakerphoto

http://spelmancollegeconvocation2016.blogspot.com/p/biography-ashley-derby-is-owneroperator.html

It’s Famous Friday!

Mildred Loving

Mildred was multiracial and started dating a white male, Richard Loving. At the age of 18 she became pregnant and so they decided to marry. They could not marry in Virginia because of their race so they drove to Washington D.C. to get married. After the Loving’s were married they returned home to Virginia. Mildred and Richard were married only a few weeks before two deputies came into their home in the middle of the night to arrest them for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, which forbid interracial marriage. They were told their marriage certificate held no power in Virginia. One huge reason states had these laws were because they did not want multiracial children. After serving some jail time and pleading guilty they were ordered to leave the state of Virginia for twenty-five years to avoid prison time. The Loving’s moved to Washington D.C., but Mildred missed Virginia. She decided to sit down one day and write a letter to the Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. The American Civil Liberties Union then got involved. The case was Loving vs. Virginia. The Supreme Court struck down the Virginia law in 1967 which also ended the remaining ban on interracial marriages in other states. The judges unanimously ruled in favor of the Loving’s with the chief justice writing “the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” This ruling ultimately marked the end of segregation laws in America.

Picture Credit: NYtimes.com

An Interracial Marriage

An Interracial Marriage: Seeing life through the eyes of the other

by Guest Contributor Michael Dobson

Dobson Christmas

It’s hard to write about your spouse or your marriage, but easy to write about love. When writing about both, it’s a story of humanity, of our world and the lens through which we see and experience our journeys.

Nearly 20 years ago I called my eldest daughter Mia and told her that her dad was about to do something radical, that I was about to marry a white women. She was happy for me. There were few interracial marriages then. When we married In Leon County those 20 years ago, to some, we were pioneers of some sort. We were radical   “cool”… the interracial couple, not just living together, but married and raising a family. With the Tallahassee community being more  “liberal” than some others,   we never thought of any backlash.

For us, the issue of race was never a  concern. That’s not how we were reared.  My wife and I are children of the 1960s , but by living in completely different worlds, we saw those years through starkly different lenses.  She was reared in the white suburbs of Chicago, while my early years were mostly in Jim Crow era Florida, with annual sabbaticals to Elizabeth New Jersey.. only to keep returning to Florida. We both saw the 1960’s riots on TV, when  Watts and Detroit burned. Being black and white then, meant living in completely different worlds. We saw America come of age with the assassinations of JFK and  Bobby Kennedy,  and of   Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   We viewed, from different racial camps, America’s struggle to reform itself  after the passage of the civil rights act.

In the intervening years, we’ve all seen race relations harden and change for the worst. At the same time, paradoxically,  we’ve  seen the number of interracial families quadruple along with a spike in  interracial dating, paralleling the changing attitudes about sexual orientation. We have also witnessed an uptick in  interracial and multiracial couples  in film and on television.  In the early days of our marriage, whenever my wife and I left our safe enclave of Tallahassee to travel the back roads, we’d invariably find ourselves at a restaurant or store…. whereby someone may look at us sort of askance, or stare just a little too long. At store checkout counters in Tallahassee, we often had to correct the cashier to advise them that we were together.. apparently, not an assumption easily  made in those days. That’s changed. But, there are a few actions by others toward us, which still elicit some pain, once remembered.

Despite having to withstand occasional displays of bigotry, my wife and I are  ordinary people in an ordinary marriage.  When my wife is upset with me, which may be today, it is never about race. Our marriage is like any other. Ordinary.  It requires constant work, is dependent upon patience, commitment, love, understanding and forgiveness.

What I can say is this:  The experience of walking through life with the women I married and  love (through good and bad times), who just so happens to have a different pigmentation than I, has provided a view of our  humanity not shared by many. It’s  a unique gift. As a black man, I get to see the world through the eyes of my wife.. a white women. I get to understand her and those of similar backgrounds whose family’s journeyed to America from Ireland, and their struggles to get their footing in the Midwest; me know their family  tragedies, their loss, heartbreak, grief and celebration;  the loss of dear relatives over time ( cousins, aunts and uncles), and  knowing the tapestry of her life.. her white life in America. Through her eyes, I get to better  know the struggle for equality for white women, just as I also know of the   struggles faced by my mother and the other strong  black women in my life, of  their humiliations, the  physical brutality overcame from their oppressor and the accompanying bondage,  and their dreams for their sons and daughters.  I got to see my wife fiercely protect our children from the rare teacher who practiced their own version of bigotry and racism ..not quite feeling this whole interracial thing. Through my eyes, she knows that  Dr. Benjamin E Mays is correct when he said “He who starts behind in the  great race of life must forever remain behind, or run faster than the man in front” meaning a black man has to work twice as hard to make the same dollar.  Through my eyes she saw the way society sometimes reacted to my skin color, that  black men are indeed treated differently than their white counterpart.

Through each other’s eyes, we understand the world and people better.  What we have been privileged to see through each other’s eyes, while warring  communities  struggle on the issue of race,  is that God does not have a favorite, that trials and tribulations are visited on the comfortable as well as the afflicted,  that people are good, that they have great hearts , that everyone has a story and a worry… that we are the walking wounded..  a part of our shared humanity. Through each other’s eyes, we’ve learned that our hearts and what breaks them does not change based on race or religion. We’ve learned that we endure each day with bright sunny smiles, with exclamation points on Facebook … i.e.  “Congrats”, with a “Awesome”,  or  an simple “Great” when asked how are you, even while some  are dying inside. We’ve learned that tragedy strikes us all and with the same intensity of grief regardless of race. Through my wife’s eyes and the experiences shared with the blending of our extended families; we have learned that regardless of race ethnicity, culture or sexual preference, we all want the same things out of life and care about the same things. Together, we’ve seen that irrespective of race, we all love our children, wanting them to have opportunities that escaped us; we want them to be healthy,  all have personal freedom to pursue our dreams,  have health care, a job that pays a living rage; we all  want a place to live, respect, food to eat.. just the basics, and to have those we love out of harms way.

Through each other’s eyes, we see our sameness. Through each others eyes,  we see the unfathomable ridiculousness of bigotry and racism; we see it for what it is.. its fear.  We know that what passes as racial indifference or bigotry is not based on any thing rational, but instead fear .. fear of what is different. Seeing life through each others eyes, we are more humane, and forever have our hearts and our minds open to live in wonder, not fear. Through each others eyes, our love and respect for all things in us and things that are different, is strengthened.

Michael Dobson, is a long time Tallahassee based governmental relations professional and columnist; President/CEO of Dobson, Craig and Associates (aka Dobson and Associates), and renewable energy policy leader as founder of Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association. Can be reached at michael@michaeldobson.org or Michael@dobsonandcraig.com

This article first appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat and USA Today. Michael Dobson has given Project RACE his permission to reprint the original essay.

Pew Research Report

You can read the new Pew Research Report on Interracial Marriage in the United States here:

http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/05/19102233/Intermarriage-May-2017-Full-Report.pdf

Famous Friday

Ryan Gosling

This week’s Famous Friday features interracial power couple – Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. According to US Magazine, The dynamic duo quietly tied the knot in early 2016 after being together for over 5 years. They have two beautiful multiracial daughters, Esmerelda and Amada.

Eva Mendes was born in Miami, Florida, and she is of Cuban-American descent. She is a singer, actress, model, and designer. You have probably watched her in major films like Hitch, Training day, and Stuck on You. She has also been the face of several advertisement campaigns for huge companies including: Revlon, Cartier, and Calvin Klein.

Ryan Gosling is of English, French Canadian, and Scottish descent. He is an actor most famously known for his role as Noah in The Notebook. You may also recognize him from his role in La La Land, Crazy Stupid Love, or my personal favorite Remember The Titans. Over the course of his career he has racked up multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

One time when asked about his family Ryan said, “It’s heaven, it’s like walking through a field of flowers everyday – I live with angels.” I love that we are beginning to see more and more interracial power couples in Hollywood. I also love that I am seeing more interracial couples on sitcoms and commercials. It is awesome, especially considering that not even 100 years ago interracial marriage was illegal. Remember to take time to celebrate interracial couples and multiracial people everyday, and especially during Multiracial Heritage Week which is coming up soon.

Photo courtesy of US Weekly

LOVING MOVIE Opens in Select Theaters Friday

 

We are excited about this film and hope that those in the vicinity of the theaters that will screen the film this Friday will show their support by showing up!!

 

LOVING

From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.

To see some of the excellent reviews, photos, trailers and more, follow the link below:

http://www.focusfeatures.com/loving

 

Interracial Marriage

Multiracial Marriage on the Rise

One consequence of America’s diversity explosion is a rise in multiracial marriages. In 1960, before immigration levels to the United States started to rise, multiracial marriages constituted only 0.4 percent of all U.S. marriages. That figure increased to 8.4 percent in 2010 and for recent newlyweds, 15 percent.

Not surprisingly the prevalence of out-marriage is high for new minorities, Hispanics and Asians, in light of the large pool of potential partners who are of different origins. More than four in ten new marriages of each group marry someone of a different race—with whites the most likely partners.

Additionally, the vast majority of marriages involving American Indians are multiracial marriages. Many of these marriages involve spouses who identify as multiracial persons, signaling an extensive blurring that has already occurred among American Indian and white populations.

While multiracial marriages involving blacks are the least likely among major racial groups, the recent rise in such marriages is significant, as black-white marriages were prohibited in 16 states until 1967. The fact that nearly three in 10 new black marriages are multiracial with most of them to white spouses reflects an important shift toward blurring a long-held color line in the United States.

Material adapted from Diversity Explosion: How Racial Demographics Are Remaking America by William H. Frey, 2014.

Multiracial Marriages