Racism Against Multiracial Students

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Schools, Minnesota School District School Board has urged students not to identify as multiracial. This is because they want to see American Indian students counted as only one race in order to get more funding. It is racist and inaccurate. Project RACE has responded by sending the letter below to the local newspaper. We will follow-up with the district and call for removing member Coulson from the School Board.

To The Editors: In “District 196 Oct 1 Enrollment numbers up again,” (October 11) it is reported that the numbers of American Indian students can be increased by taking numbers away from the multiracial student numbers. This is reprehensible and racist. Shame on School Board Treasurer Art Coulson for urging parents to take away multiracial identity of students for federal dollars.

It is just as important for multiracial students to have their own identity reflected in enrollment numbers as it is for any other minority or racial group.

To artificially inflate the American Indian numbers by reducing multiracial enrollment for federal or state dollars is a terrible idea and reflects poorly on a school district that should be teaching honesty to its students, not data manipulation. The national multiracial community is very disappointed in this Minnesota school district and its school board.

Susan Graham for Project RACE

It’s Famous Friday!

Adrian Fenty

Adrian is a known Politician, Professor, and Special Counsel. He is a former Mayor of the District of Columbia. He was born in Washington, DC and became the youngest mayor in the history of DC. Fenty has three children from his ex wife, Michelle Cross . He is currently in a relationship with Laurene Powell  Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Fenty’s mother is Italian-American. His father’s side has roots in Barbados and Panama. He graduated high school from Mackin Catholic High School. He earned a B.A. in English and economics at Oberlin College.  He received a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law.

Fenty became involved in Politics by working as an intern for U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum, U. S. House of Representatives D.C. Delegate Elenor Holmes Norton, and U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II. He was able to serve as an aide to councilmember Kevin Chavous and was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission district 4C.  In 2000 he won a seat on the D.C. Council.

Fenty was D.C. mayor from 2007-2011. His focus as mayor was on education reform.  After 2007, test scores rose 14 points in reading and 17 points in math. In 2010 Student SAT scores rose by 27 points. Graduation rates improved each year since 2007. His choice of a woman police chief received a lot of media attention. They added police officers to the streets and expanded community policing. The homicide rate dropped 25% during his term.


Makensie McDaniel

Co-President Emeritus


Image Source: The Business Journal

It’s Famous Friday!

Trevor Noah


Born in apartheid South Africa, comedian Trevor Noah was literally born a crime. Until the early 1990s, institutionalized racial segregation made it illegal for black and white people to interact. With a Xhosa mother and Swiss-German father, Noah couldn’t be seen with both parents. His mother was arrested several times for interacting with his father. He outlines this difficult childhood experience in his compelling autobiography entitled Born a Crime. In it he explains: “As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate.”

In 2011, Noah moved to the United States. After appearing on various talk shows and television series, while also doing stand-up comedy, Noah became a correspondent at John Stewart’s Daily Show in 2014. Less than a year later, he was named Stewart’s successor and took over the reins of the Daily Show.

Since then Noah has become a superstar. He has carried the Daily Show to the top of a highly competitive landscape of late-night talk shows. Each day, he addresses current political issues with humor, wit, insight, and passion. He manages to inform his audience on these important topics as well as make them laugh. His unique style, hilarious character, and diverse cast have earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and various other recognitions.

Trevor Noah is an influential and inspiring role model for all multiracial people around the world.


Ian Shen-Costello

Project RACE Teens Vice-President


Image source: http://www.vulture.com/2018/08/the-daily-show-trevor-noah-favorite-segments.html


It’s Famous Friday!

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Hamilton finally came to Cleveland and my family is now obsessed. The play, which has been acclaimed as a pop culture phenomenon, totally lived up to the hype and left me in awe of the brilliance of it’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda!

Lin-Manuel is an multi-award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor born on January 16, 1980. He’s best known (to me, at least) for creating and starring in Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. Hamilton has won a ton of awards. It was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and earned a record-breaking 16 Tony Nominations, winning 11 Tony Awards including two personally for Miranda. In 2016, Time magazine included Miranda in its annual Time 100 as one of the “Most Influential People in the World”. It was announced in June 2017 that Miranda would be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. Basically, he’s the man!

Miranda was born and raised in New York City, to psychologist Luz Towns and political consultant Luis Miranda, Jr. He has an older sister, Luz, who is CFO of the MirRam Group. Miranda’s mother is mostly Puerto Rican, but their ancestors include an interracial couple, Sophie, who was black, and David Towns, who was white; from the early 1800s, this couple spent their lives trying to “outrun slavery as laws and governments changed around them.” Most of the Towns family married Mexican spouses, and Miranda has described his ancestry as “a quarter Mexican”. His name “Lin-Manuel” was inspired by a poem about the Vietnam War, Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel, by the Puerto Rican writer José Manuel Torres Santiago.

Miranda’s dad has said he knew his son would end up in show business from the time he was in third grade. As a child, Miranda wrote jingles and, as a student at Wesleyan University, he co-founded a hip hop comedy troupe. He wrote the earliest draft of In the Heights during his sophomore year of college in 2000.

While on a vacation in 2008, Miranda read a biography of Alexander Hamilton and it inspired him to write a rap about Hamilton that he performed at the White House in 2009. Miranda says he spent a year writing my Dad’s favorite Hamilton song, “My Shot”, revising it again and again until every verse reflected Alexander Hamilton’s intellect. The lyrics are brilliant! By 2012, Miranda was performing a set of pieces based on the life of Hamilton, the Hamilton Mixtape. In 2015 Hamilton: An American Musical premiered off-Broadway with Miranda starring as the title character. The show opened on Broadway in August 2015. On the first night of Hamilton previews over 700 people lined up for lottery tickets. The Hamilton ticket lottery evolved into “Ham4Ham”, a series of outdoor mini-performances for lottery participants hosted daily by Miranda and cast members for over a year.

In earlier years, Miranda worked as an English teacher at his former high school, wrote for the Manhattan Times as a columnist and restaurant reviewer, and composed music for commercials. But he had a lot of show biz success before and after Hamilton. Miranda’s first Broadway musical, In the Heights, received four 2008 Tony Awards including Best Musical, with Miranda receiving a Tony Award. In the Heights also won a Grammy for its Original Cast Album and was a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Miranda has appeared in many TV and film productions including: The Electric Company, Sesame Street, The Sopranos, House, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Amy Schumer, Saturday Night Live, DuckTales, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Moana.

In 2016 Miranda contributed music, lyrics and vocals to several songs in Disney’s Moana, earning him an Oscar nomination and Grammy Award for the original song, “How Far I’ll Go.” He is co-starring with Meryl Streep in the film Mary Poppins Returns, which is due to come out in December 2018. He’s also involved in Disney’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in those! He will make his debut as a film director with an adaptation of Tick, Tick… Boom!, which he will also produce with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Outside of entertainment, Miranda is also quite politically active. After a meeting with President Obama in 2016, Miranda joined Senators Gillibrand, Schumer, and Warren to call for a Senate bill for debt relief for Puerto Rico, and raised funds for rescue efforts and disaster relief after Hurricane Maria in 2017. He has spoken out he created a benefit single, “Almost Like Praying” that raised $22 million and released its Salsa Remix, benefitting the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Fund. He worked with Jennifer Lopez on the charity single, “Love Make The World Go Round” as a tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. He powerfully responds to tragedy with music including creating “Found/Tonight” in support of the March For Our Lives anti-gun violence movement.

Miranda received an honorary degree in 2009 from Yeshiva University, becoming the youngest person to receive an honorary degree from that university. Former NYC mayor Ed Koch, presented Miranda with the degree. He received honorary Doctorates from his alma mater, Wesleyan University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Miranda married lawyer and high school friend Vanessa Nadal in 2010. At their wedding, he performed the song “To Life” and the video has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube. Miranda and Nadal live in NYC with their two sons, Sebastian and Francisco.

Miranda gave his last performance in Hamilton on July 9, 2016, but vowed to return to the show. I’d really love to be there to see that.

– Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Teens

Are You in an Interracial Family?

Project RACE is very pleased to announce that we have been asked to participate in a photographic project by the amazing photographer Ben Baker! He has photographed the Obamas, many other Presidents, entertainers, politicians, and other famous people.

He is looking for interracial families to photograph in New York this weekend or next. This could be any combination of backgrounds: black/white, Asian/black, Hispanic/white, African American/American Indian, etc. Please email me at susangraham@projectrace.com if you are interested. Let’s help Ben make this a huge success!

It’s Famous Friday!

Chelsi Smith

The pageant world lost an iconic and history making figure this past weekend.  Chelsi Smith, a Houston, Texas, native, succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 45 on Saturday, September 8, 2018.  Crowned Miss Texas, Miss USA and Miss Universe in 1995, Chelsi Smith became the first biracial woman to win all three pageantry titles in history.

Having been raised by her grandparents in southeast Houston, Chelsi was no stranger to wrestling with issues concerning her identity as a biracial woman.  Her mother was white and her father was African-American. While competing on the pageantry circuit, she objected to being identified solely as black. “If people are going to know me,” Smith told the Houston Post, “I just think it’s important for them to know I’m half-black and half-white and that it hasn’t been a disadvantage.”

Among the many things Chelsi Smith will be remembered for is her decision to use her notoriety to combat racism and her courage to call others to acknowledge all aspects of identity concerning biracial and multiracial individuals.

Nadia Wooten

Project RACE Teens Vice-President



Source for photo: Monty Brinton / CBS



Thank you!

Thank you!

Project RACE would like to thank Reuters, Business Report, Independent Online, and The Organization for World Peace for referring to Naomi Osaka as biracial in their news reports on the U.S. Open winner. Shame on AP writers and editors and CNN for using defamatory and outdated wording.

A Few Words to AP

A Few Words to the Associated Press

Several months ago, the Associated Press (AP) changed their stylebook to read:

<<The AP Stylebook states the following about the terms biracial, multiracial, and mixed:

“Acceptable, when clearly relevant, to describe people with more than one racial heritage. Usually more useful when describing large, diverse groups of people than individuals. Avoid mixed-race, which can carry negative connotations, unless a story subject prefers the term. Be specific if possible, and then use biracial for people of two heritages or multiracial for those of two or more on subsequent references if needed.”>>

Yet, a story appeared by AP on February 10th that repeatedly used the term “mixed” and “mixed-race” instead of multiracial or biracial. What happened to their own stylebook usage?! I wrote to them pointing out the error and asking what would happen in the future. I did not receive a reply, but did get a confirmation of our request. Then tonight, two days later, yet another story appeared with the same problem and never once used the preferred terminology. Obviously, the sports writers and editors at AP have different stories. We’d like to know why.


Project RACE and Nike

Project RACE and Nike

I was in Turlock, California today. It’s where Colin Kaepernick grew up—a multiracial boy adopted by white parents in a city where African American comprise less than 2% of the population. I saw one black person there today in a sea of white faces. I can only imagine that life there was challenging for him. Yet he played football on teams with predominately white players. He made friends and had family; he survived. And he always stood up for what he believed in.

Colin Kaepernick did not set out to make a difference at that young age, but he found himself in the center of a battle as he grew older. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Kaepernick was signed into an ad deal with Nike, which was announced this week.

The gist of the ad is when he says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

My multiracial son and I started Project RACE in 1990 because we believed that multiracial children needed representation in Washington, in states, at schools, in the medical world, and in many other areas. We were told that we were crazy; that we would never change the way Americans viewed multiracial and biracial people. We did.

We sacrificed. We fought to be heard. My stories of personal sacrifices that I made were many and some were heartbreaking. I heard from parents of children who were dying because they couldn’t get bone marrow from another multiracial person who could be their match. Many of them died. I talked to people who were shamed because their parents were of different races. I stood up as teachers told our children that they could only pick one race. I stood up for them because that’s what Project RACE has stood for and has done for the past 28 years.

You know Colin Kaepernick’s story and how he started a wave of protests among NFL players in 2016 having to do with racial inequality and police brutality. Colin did it because he felt it was the right thing to do, just as we did. His endorsement deal has brought an ugly debate within America. Some people disagree with the original premise and others talk about Nike and Kaepernick being in it just for the money. Yes, Nike is taking a risk, Colin is taking a risk, and Project RACE members take risks.

At the start of the ad, Kaepernick says: “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.” He said what I was thinking during the 1990s and beyond.

Project RACE stands with Colin Kaepernick and Nike because this is America and because we can.

Susan Graham for Project RACE

Happy Grandparents Day!


The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is undeniably important. But is it even more important when the child is multiracial? We think so.

We know that interracial families are on the rise. We know that the multiracial population is the fastest growing group in America. The social support of grandparents is important in early identity of children. Most of us can fondly remember spending time with our grandparents, which led to memories we still have today.

As grandparents to multiracial children, we can enrich their experiences by talking about our own childhoods and lives and give them a wider perspective on other people’s race and ethnicity. We can contribute to their well-being as children of more than one race.

How do we do this? Project RACE Grandparents provides wonderful resources for our grandparent members. Join us today! Membership is free. Meanwhile, here are some ideas:


  1. Read books together about interracial families and multiracial children. New and wonderful books are coming out all the time. Project RACE Grandparents provides suggestions and reviews of new books. Books like People by Peter Spier are wonderful to use to point out that people come in various colors and physical attributes. We also welcome book reviews by our members and their grandchildren of all ages.


  1. Introduce your multiracial grandchildren to the wonderful world of coloring using Multicultural Crayons and markers by Crayola. They come in different skin tones of the world. Explain to them that people come in different colors and that they can blend the crayons to get their unique color.


  1. Seek out dolls with a variety of skin tones, physical attributes, hair styles, etc. American Dolls has a line of dolls that are very diverse. Look for Pattycake Dolls, too.


  1. Cook together! Teach your multiracial grandchild some of the specialties of your own background, race, ethnicity, and nationality.


  1. Talk about different cultures and show your multiracial grandchildren your understanding and interest in their background. And listen, too.


 Enjoy your day as a grandparent to multiracial children!


Image Source: The Root.com