Thank you!

MHW Collage 2017

Thank you to everyone who helped make Multiracial Heritage Week a success again this year!

Since its inception in 2014, we have received state proclamations from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Washington, DC. This year we also reached out to city mayors in addition to states. We held numerous celebrations and special events for the children throughout the United States because at Project RACE, it’s about the kids! We gave them “skin tones of the world” multicultural crayons with paper plates to draw their own faces, also librarians and Project RACE members read them stories. Additional thanks go out to Patti Barry, Kim Carlucci and Carolyn Brajkovich for all their help. We could not have done it without you!

New York Times Q & A

This “The Ethicist” column appeared in the Sunday New York Times.

My mother is from Central America. She came to the United States for college and met my American father. I am, therefore, 50 percent Latino genetically, but I don’t identify as Latino. There were (to my regret) no Central American influences in my upbringing — no Spanish language, no Latino relatives, no foods from “the old country.” There was also no discrimination directed at me or my mother (we look “white”). Is it ethical to identify as Latino in social situations and on the census? Name Withheld

Our ethnic and racial categories drape loosely around the realities of our complex lives. I am the son of an English woman and a Ghanaian man. I am an American citizen. Am I a black American? African-American? Anglo-American? Anglo-African? “Latino” is a word that hovers uneasily between a category defined by culture and one defined by descent. The latter conception makes you Latino. The former doesn’t quite. There’s also a notion that ethnicity should be defined by your own sense of identity — by whether you think of yourself as Latino. But whether you think of yourself as Latino is shaped by ideas about culture and descent. There isn’t a single correct view about that. Still, here’s a solution: In cases in which you don’t have the time or space to explain your situation, probably the least confusing thing to say to people in the United States is that your mother is Latina. (As far as forms go, if they permit you to check two boxes, I’d do that. If they don’t, I don’t believe it matters much what you do.)

Babies show racial bias at nine months, U of T study suggests

Two new U of T studies suggest racial bias can develop in babies before they’ve even started walking.

According to a U of T study, nine-month-old babies looked at their own-race faces paired with happy music for a longer period of time, as well as other-race faces paired with sad music.  (SHUTTERSTOCK)  

Two new University of Toronto studies suggest racial bias can develop in babies at an early age — before they’ve even started walking.

Led by the school’s Ontario Institute of Child Study professor Kang Lee, in partnership with researchers from the U.S., U.K., France, and China, the studies examined how infants react to individuals of their own race, compared to individuals of another race.

“The goal of the study was to find out at which age infants begin to show racial bias,” Lee said. “With existing studies, the evidence shows that kids show bias around 3 or 4 years of age. We wanted to look younger.”

The first study looked at 193 Chinese infants from three to ninth months, recruited from a hospital in China, who hadn’t had direct contact with people of other races. The babies were then shown videos of six Asian women and six African women, paired with either happy or sad music.

The study found that infants from three to six months old didn’t associate sad or happy music with people of the same race or of other races, which indicates they “are not biologically predisposed to associate own- and other-race faces with music of different emotional valence.”

However, at around nine months old, the reactions were different.

According to the study, nine-month-old babies looked at their own-race faces paired with happy music for a longer period of time, as well as other-race faces paired with sad music. Lee says this supports the hypothesis that infants associate people of the same race with happy music, and other races with sad music.

That’s not to say parents are teaching their children how to discriminate against other raced individuals, Lee says.

“We are very confident that the cause of this early racial bias is actually the lack of exposure to other raced individuals,” he said. “It tells us that in Canada, if we introduce our kids to other-raced individuals, then we are likely to have less racial bias in our kids against other-raced people.”

Andrew Baron, an associate professor of psychology the University of British Columbia, said while the goal of the study is “terrific,” there are many reasons infants would look for longer amounts of time at faces of different races. For example, he says an infant could spend more time looking at an own-race face because it is familiar, or at an other-race face because it is different and unexpected.

“It’s impossible to draw that conclusion about association from a single experiment when you could have half a dozen reasons why you would look longer that don’t support the conclusion that was made in that paper,” said Baron, who was not involved in the studies, but specializes in a similar field — the development of implicit associations among infants.

“There’s multiple reasons — and contradictory reasons — why we look longer at things. We look longer at things we fear, we look longer at things we like. That’s an inherent tension in how you choose to interpret the data.”

The second study took a closer look at that bias and how it affects children’s learning skills.

Researchers showed babies videos of own-race and other-race adults looking in the same direction that photos of animals appeared (indicating they are reliable) and looking in the wrong direction of the animals (indicating they are unreliable).

The study found that when adults were reliable and looking in the direction of the animals, the infants followed both own- and other-raced individuals equally. The same results occurred when the adults were unreliable and looking in the wrong direction.

However, when the adults gaze was only sometimes correct, the children were more likely to take cues provided by adults of their own race.

“In this situation, very interestingly, kids treated their own-raced individuals — who are only 50 per cent correct — as if they were 100 per cent correct,” Lee said.

“There is discrimination, but only when there is uncertainty.”

The first study was published in Developmental Science and the second was in Child Development.

The study was conducted in China, Lee says, because the researchers were able to control the exposure to other-raced individuals.

Lee said he has been trying for nearly 10 years to organize a study looking at babies born into mixed-race families. He suspects infants born into mixed-race families would show less racial bias.

When it comes to parents who want to try to eliminate racial bias from a young age, Lee says exposure is key.

“If parents want to prevent racial biases from emerging, the best thing to do is expose their kids to TV programs, books, and friends from different races,” he said.

“And the important message is they have to know them by name . . . it’s extremely important to know them as individuals.”

Famous Friday: YOU!

Famous Friday: YOU !

This week’s Famous Friday is featuring you! You will be worthy of fame in our minds if you become a partner in our advocacy and help us make this the best Multiracial Heritage Week yet.

We need volunteers from every state.

Please click the link below to become famous!

http://www.projectrace.com/MHW

YOU

Thumbs UP!

Thumbs UpThumbs UP to Uber for using “Multiracial” in its annual diversity report. Their multiracial population is 5.1 percent of its workforce. But…thumbs way down Thumbs Downto the San Francisco Chronicle and its SFGate for CHANGING multiracial to “mixed race” in its article about Uber diversity.

Famous Friday

Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez

Sara Ramirez is a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her father was of Mexican ancestry while her mother was Mexican and Irish-American. Sara was born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa but relocated when she was young to Tierrasanta, San Diego with her mother when her parents divorced. She is fluent in English and Spanish.  Sara graduated from the San Diego School of Creative Performing Arts and then in 1997 graduated from Julliard School of Drama.  Sara Ramirez is most known for her role as Dr. Callie Torres on the drama television series Grey’s Anatomy. She was the original Lady of the Lake in the 2005 Broadway musical Spamalot in which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical. In October of 2016 Sara was a speaker at the True Colors: 40 to none Summit, which focuses on LGBT youth homelessness across our country. “So many of our youth experiencing homelessness are youth whose lives touch on many intersections- whether they be gender identify, gender expression, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status, and because of the intersections that exist in my own life- woman, multiracial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides- I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their own complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.”

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens president

 

We’re in Scholastic Choices Magazine!

“What Are You?”

Photos by Phil Skinner for AP Images

By Lexi Brock as told to Kim Tranell 

Lexi, 18, grew up hearing that question again and again in her small Georgia town. Now she will proudly tell you she’s multiracial—and what that means to her.

 

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant with your family and the couple at the next table ask to move. You aren’t sure why, but you’re no longer hungry.

Now think about going to church on Sunday, but all of a sudden you can’t, because no church will welcome your family through its doors.

My parents tried to shield me from these prejudices growing up, but the truth is, it’s impossible to shelter someone from who they are. My dad is black and my mom is white, making me multiracial, and I’ve always felt like an outsider: not white enough for the white kids, not black enough for the black kids. At school, I’ve actually heard, “You can’t date her; she’s mixed”—as if having tan skin affects my character.

For the longest time, I tried to blend in. I spent hours straightening my super curly hair. And I silenced myself when that black girl at school said, “She’s nothing but a mixed-breed mutt”—not directly to me, but just loud enough so I could hear.

Being silly with my parents last fall

Being silly with my parents last fall

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

Turning Point 

In 10th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fricks, assigned us an essay in my honors Lit class. The prompt was to write about how a short quote applies to your life. I had no idea what to write about, so I browsed Pinterest for inspiration. I saw the lyric It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world, from the Dolly Parton song “Tennessee Homesick Blues.” Upon discovering those words, I felt them immediately resonate in my soul. The essay poured out.

My teacher eventually entered my paper in a contest, and it won. I was really excited, but winning didn’t matter nearly as much as what I learned in the process. Writing the essay was a big turning point, because when I put things down on paper, they become clear to me.

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

My favorite line is: “Let us never forget that, like human beings, not all things are simply black or white.” I think that everyone needs to think long and hard about that statement. The truth is, we’re all a mixture of cultures and traditions and experiences, and we should celebrate that—not let it divide us. The only difference is that I have to wear my mixture on the outside.

Rising Above

I still encounter people with hate in their hearts—like the woman at Subway a few weeks ago who stared at my dad and me, the disgust written all over her face—but I don’t take it personally anymore. If you let someone change your mood and your mind-set, you’re giving them power. Now I feel sorry for people like that, because their prejudices must make them miss out on some really great friendships.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

I’ve learned that the only way to change things is to talk about them, so I’ve been working with the nonprofit Project RACE to get certain companies to add a box that says “multiracial” on applications and tests. Often the only option to answer the race question is “other”—which is just a reminder that there isn’t always a place for teens like me to fit in.

Being multiracial used to be something I tried to hide, but now it’s my superpower, because it allows me to help other multiracial kids. I want them to know that they aren’t weird. They aren’t alone. We’re all shining diamonds in this rhinestone world.

You can view the essay online at

“What Are You?”

Kim
Tranell

Photos by Phil Skinner for AP Images

By Lexi Brock as told to Kim Tranell 

Lexi, 18, grew up hearing that question again and again in her small Georgia town. Now she will proudly tell you she’s multiracial—and what that means to her.

 

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant with your family and the couple at the next table ask to move. You aren’t sure why, but you’re no longer hungry.

Now think about going to church on Sunday, but all of a sudden you can’t, because no church will welcome your family through its doors.

My parents tried to shield me from these prejudices growing up, but the truth is, it’s impossible to shelter someone from who they are. My dad is black and my mom is white, making me multiracial, and I’ve always felt like an outsider: not white enough for the white kids, not black enough for the black kids. At school, I’ve actually heard, “You can’t date her; she’s mixed”—as if having tan skin affects my character.

For the longest time, I tried to blend in. I spent hours straightening my super curly hair. And I silenced myself when that black girl at school said, “She’s nothing but a mixed-breed mutt”—not directly to me, but just loud enough so I could hear.

Being silly with my parents last fall

Being silly with my parents last fall

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

With my best friend, Bethany (she’s multiracial too)

Turning Point 

In 10th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fricks, assigned us an essay in my honors Lit class. The prompt was to write about how a short quote applies to your life. I had no idea what to write about, so I browsed Pinterest for inspiration. I saw the lyric It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world, from the Dolly Parton song “Tennessee Homesick Blues.” Upon discovering those words, I felt them immediately resonate in my soul. The essay poured out.

My teacher eventually entered my paper in a contest, and it won. I was really excited, but winning didn’t matter nearly as much as what I learned in the process. Writing the essay was a big turning point, because when I put things down on paper, they become clear to me.

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

Visiting my boyfriend, who goes to the University of Georgia

My favorite line is: “Let us never forget that, like human beings, not all things are simply black or white.” I think that everyone needs to think long and hard about that statement. The truth is, we’re all a mixture of cultures and traditions and experiences, and we should celebrate that—not let it divide us. The only difference is that I have to wear my mixture on the outside.

Rising Above

I still encounter people with hate in their hearts—like the woman at Subway a few weeks ago who stared at my dad and me, the disgust written all over her face—but I don’t take it personally anymore. If you let someone change your mood and your mind-set, you’re giving them power. Now I feel sorry for people like that, because their prejudices must make them miss out on some really great friendships.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

Hanging with my cousin, Hayden.

I’ve learned that the only way to change things is to talk about them, so I’ve been working with the nonprofit Project RACE to get certain companies to add a box that says “multiracial” on applications and tests. Often the only option to answer the race question is “other”—which is just a reminder that there isn’t always a place for teens like me to fit in.

Being multiracial used to be something I tried to hide, but now it’s my superpower, because it allows me to help other multiracial kids. I want them to know that they aren’t weird. They aren’t alone. We’re all shining diamonds in this rhinestone world.

A Washington Bad Cop/Bad Cop Story

A Washington Bad Cop/Bad Cop Story

by

Susan Graham for Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally)

Everyone knows about the U.S. Census Bureau (CB), but not everyone has heard of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The CB counts important things in the United States, including people—by things like race and ethnicity. The OMB decides what race and ethnicity people can be in the United States. They are both bad cops. Sometimes they try and play a game called Bad Cop/Good Cop, in which they go back and forth trying to get the public to place blame on the other. The 2020 Decennial Census is only a few years away. Planning for it takes a great deal of time and actually began as soon as the 2010 Census results were made public.

The CB recently released its recommendations for approval by the OMB. Project RACE had attempted to have input into both the CB and OMB by letting them know how we wanted the multiracial population to be listed, counted, known, treated, etc. The CB pretended to be the Good Cops and pretty much said they cared what we had to say. OMB played the Bad Cops and would not return our calls, email, letters, etc. or answer our questions.

I will cover some of the more salient requests and salacious responses to revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Most of the items had nothing to do with the multiracial population, so first I’ll cover those that did. It’s a very short list.

  • In addition to people being able to check all of their races, we gave many examples of how to include the term “multiracial,” which is very important. Correct wording in race and ethnicity is very important, particularly for children. Just ask the people who were once “Colored,” then “Negro,” then “Black,” and now “African American.” Yes, terminology is important. However, CB and OMB will not call the multiracial community “multiracial.” We were denied even though they were taking “Relevance of Terminology” into consideration. For the next ten years, we will remain the “two or more races.”
  • Some people write in “multiracial,” “biracial,” “mixed” or some other term instead of checking the little boxes. They should be put in the category of what is called “two or more races.” They are not. They will be placed in the “Some other race” category. They will not be multiracial. Denied again.
  • It appears that the way the race question is asked is important, although not important enough to use the wording that our community wants. What they have decided is this. Drumroll please. Instead of instructing people to “Mark all that apply,” we will be instructed to “Select all that apply.” That’s what we got. We’ll know when we see our 2020 Census forms.

Project RACE is not recommending that our members bother to write further comments to the Census Bureau or the Office of Management and Budget at this time.

_________________________________________________

So there we have it. If you’re interested, a few other interesting things having less or nothing to do with the multiracial population were put forth for further input. Well, not really. CB and OMB have actually already decided on the following points, but they very quietly put out a Federal Register notice for comment.

  • A new category will be added for Middle Eastern or North African people. The acronym is MENA. You can be a MENA person or you can still report more than one. By the way, Israelis are now Middle Eastern. If I had been checking say “White” for my entire life, but was now given the choice to be MENA, I would probably check white and MENA, but that’s just me. They still don’t seem to know if a MENA will be a racial or ethnic category.
  • The Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific guidelines for the collection of detailed data for American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White groups for self-reported race and ethnicity collections. However, the Subgroup plans to continue its deliberations as to whether OMB should require or, alternatively, strongly support but not require Federal agencies to collect detailed data. If you know what this means, please let me know.
  •  Should it use the NCT format, which includes separately Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshallese? If neither of these, how should OMB select the detailed Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race and ethnicity categories? Apparently, these small populations are more important than the multiracial population.
  • Relevance of Terminology: The Subgroup proposes that the term “Negro” be removed from the standards. Further, the Subgroup recommends that the term “Far East” be removed from the current standards.
  • The Subgroup proposes further clarifying the standards to indicate the classification is not intended to be genetically based, nor based on skin color. Rather, the goal of standards is to provide guidelines for the Federal measurement of race/ethnicity as a social construct and therefore inform public policy decisions.
  • The Subgroup also considered whether referring to Black or African American as the “principal minority race” is still relevant, meaningful, accurate, and acceptable. Given that many of the groups classified as racial and ethnic minorities have experienced institutionalized or State-sanctioned discrimination as well as social disadvantage and oppression, many consider it to be important to continue identifying the principal minority group in Federal data collections and reporting systems. However, it is not clear if the referent groups should change given changing demographics. Whew!
  • Should Hispanic or Latino be among the groups considered among “principal minorities”? Would alternative terms be more salient (g., “principal minority race/ethnicity”)? Hispanic or Latino usually is considered an ethnicity while “minority” is usually used when referencing race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Column

Below is a guest column by Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D. in response to my “A New Concern” blog entry and email. I think this response is particularly thoughtful and thorough. We had a great response to “A New Concern” with people stressing that yes, they do care about the bullet points regarding some of the recent concerns and they are very wary of the negative media portrayal that being multiracial is a hindrance. Project RACE continues to get out positive messages about the multiracial community. Thanks to all who participated. –Susan Graham

 

Guest Column – Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.

I watched the video and I’ll share my thoughts:

It appears to me ideologies of biracial identity fluctuates depending on variables associated with an individual’s: environmental experiences, background experiences, family life experiences, support systems or lack thereof.

For example, our former POTUS clearly identifies as AA. From the outside looking in he was more than likely told from his grandparents (who raised him) he was black because his skin tone is brown, his dad was African, and who knows what else. I remember hearing him tell a story once of observing his grandmother (years ago) clutching her purse when passing an AA man, and how that made him feel.

My daughter who is 1/2 Black and 1/2 Hispanic (living in this era) does not identify solely as either black or Hispanic. With lots of purposeful persuasion, I raised and supported her to feel good about not owning to one category over the other. I wanted her to reach the age of accountability deciding to identify as biracial (I hope she continues). If she chooses to identify as either one race over the other, it will be her choice, but I do not believe she will. She feels strongly about her identity.

I believe strongly (just like political choices) racial identity is highly influenced by parental input. I also listened and cautioned grandparents, teachers and anyone else labeling my daughter as one race. I do not believe in the 1% rule. That is most ridiculous to me. Some might go further claiming the child should identify with the race of their dad. Why should the child disclaim their other half?

Regardless how my daughter “looks” to anyone, and it does vary, she is a combination thus – biracial, and she announces it with such pride, if asked, and many people ask often.

What I’ve noticed about my daughter is this: She has friends from all races – not only black and Hispanic – because she loves people. Due to the racial make-up at the school my daughter attends she does have a healthy balance of both black and Hispanic friends.

Now, I realize as well my daughter (being black and Hispanic) may not be termed the classic (black/white) biracial child being that she is a double minority, but believe me “bi” is “bi” so she faces the same experiences as all biracial individuals only her outlook and reactions makes the positive difference in her life. She isn’t bogged down with hectic decisions of choosing who to hang out with. She just has friends.

One other comment I want to make: Regardless of racial identity children should absolutely LOVE who they are and believe they can “set the world on fire” with their beauty, talents/skills. When we instill this sort of empowerment children possess such esteem and affirmation nothing topples their spirits.

As a parent, I want to continue fighting for my child’s identity rights and the rights of all children to identify as biracial! It’s their right!

About the Author, Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D.

Cherrye is a retired public school administrator and an adjunct professor who has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology.

Cherrye’s areas specializations are in Multi-cultural education, Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.

Cherrye lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Roy and daughter, Kelly.

As an educator, mother, and author Cherrye believes that adults and educators must, as role models, develop an atmosphere of respect for children to thrive in. Her books provide examples of how to reduce bullying by encouraging diversity.

http://cherryesbooksthatsow.com

 

 

 

A New Concern

A New Concern

I would like to sincerely thank all of the people who took the time to contact me after this week’s email update on Project RACE. I am personally responding to each one. It may take a while! Here is a recap of some of the current concerns:

  • Does the multiracial community even care if our numbers are skewed? This is all a numbers game—it always has been—and we should care a lot. The lower our population numbers, the less we matter to the government, businesses, advertising agencies, retailers, the medical system, and on and on.
  • Do we only exist for the annual party, movie, or book signing?
  • Do we really want to go back to the days when the one-drop rule was the law?
  • Do number tabulation and voting redistricting mean anything to us?
  • Should you even have to think about whether interracial marriages are allowed?
  • Will we be deported because we’re not 100% white?
  • Do we want respect for our identity choices, political clout, appreciation for the diversity our children bring to their schools, and the end of the tragic mulatto stories once and for all?
  • Does it really matter if our history is accurate?

Perhaps I did not successfully illustrate what is at stake if people still don’t care. Take a look for yourselves at an article and video that came out today from Breitbart and Buzzfeed about how being mixed-race is a hindrance. It’s at http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/14/buzzfeed-being-mixed-race-bad/  Is this really what you want our children to read and see?

Again, let me know what you think. My email is susangraham@projectrace.com

Susan Graham for Project RACE