Famous Friday

 

Gianna Bryant, sometimes referred to as “GiGi” was an American middle school who loved the game of basketball.  She was destined to take after her father, the legendary NBA star, Kobe Bryant. Gianna Bryant was born in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 2006. She is the daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. Her father was African American and her mother is Mexican. Her mother was a model and her father played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years and helped them win five NBA championships..

Gianna, just like her father, took up basketball as her sport playing on her middle school team at Harbor Day School and Mamba Academy. Bryant played basketball competitively at her father’s Mamba Sports Academy, where she was coached by her father.

Just like every other aspiring athletic kid, Gianna had dreams to attend University of Connecticut where she would pursue playing basketball and join the WNBA.  There were many times when she would be seen alongside her father at Laker’s, UConn, and WNBA games. The two seemed to have shared an inseparable bond with their love of basketball.

Unfortunately now Gianna is famous because of a tragedy.  On January 26, 2020 while traveling to the Mamba Academy via helicopter with her dad, and seven others something went wrong with the helicopter and it crashed.  All nine passengers tragically passed away that day.  Gianna had such a full life ahead of her with so many dreams.  Even as many would tease her father that he needed a son to carry on his legacy, Gigi would interrupt and say, “I got this, you don’t need no boy for that.”  We now pray for the Bryant family and for her father and Gigi to rest in peace.

 

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Picture by Chris Costello Via MoPho/SpashNews.com

It’s Famous Friday!

Shakira

Look for Shakira performing at halftime during this Sunday’s Super Bowl show. Shakira is a Columbian singer, songwriter, dancer, business woman, record producer, and philanthropist.

She was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her father is Lebanese and her mother is Colombian. Shakira is most known as a Colombian pop singer. Her first album was when she was 13 and she is now 42.  Shakira’s hit, Hip’s Don’t Lie, was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 10.  She has talked about the difficulty of overcoming obstacles while becoming an international pop star. Her first albums were in Spanish. She taught herself English and crossed over to the Anglo-American Market and became an international star.

Her appreciation of her Arabic and Latin heritage is noticed often in her music by the sound and her dance moves.  Miami will be the perfect setting for the Super Bowl LIV halftime show which will be co-headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

 

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit: last.fm

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

See our new video!

See our 2020 Census Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72NslaIFNs

Q. What’s the difference between an academic, a government worker, a social group and an advocate?

A. The academic is still thinking about it, the government worker is still out of town, the social group is still having parties and the advocates got it all done.

 

Please share our video. We must spread the word on this ourselves. No one else is going to do it.

It’s Famous Friday!

 

It is Friday once again, and today we will be highlighting the (former) interracial couple Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt!  Sammy Davis Jr. was taking a huge risk in marrying May Britt.  It wasn’t until the Supreme court case of Loving vs. Virginia in 1967, that interracial marriages would become legal all throughout the United States.  Sammy Davis Jr. was African-American and Cuban, and May Britt is Swedish.

This couple’s marriage was definitely outside the norm for the time period.  The union of Sammy and May certainly contributed to the acceptance of interracial marriage here in the United States.  Davis and Britt faced a lot of discrimination during their marriage.  Not only did the discrimination hurt, it even affected their jobs in the arts.  As soon as Davis announced their engagement to the press while in England, the studio Britt was working with immediately canceled her contract with them.  The day after their engagement was announced, British fascists booing, shouting and holding signs with racial slurs, picketed the theater that Davis was performing at.  Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt even felt their safety was in danger as well.  Davis had gotten many death threats, and was worried for his wife’s safety.  Because of this, the two didn’t go out much together.  However, when they did go out, Davis brought either a gun or a cane with a knife concealed at the tip.  In a book written by Sammy Davis Jr.’s daughter, Tracey Daivs, Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal History with My Father, it reveals that because of their marriage, Kennedy refused to let Davis perform at his inauguration.  Despite the hardships that Davis and Britt faced, they persevered and even contributed to the Civil Rights Movement by joining many marches for freedom with Martin Luther King Jr.  Sammy has also been recognized for contributing many hours and lots of money to support this cause.  In May of 1963, the couple went to a mass civil rights rally at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field and was greeted by Martin Luther King Jr. as well.

Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt set a great example for generations of interracial couples to come!  Despite their trials and tribulations, the couple didn’t let other people’s opinions sway their love for each other.  Davis faced a lot of discrimination, yet he didn’t curl up and hide, while although it hurt, he fought for the rights many people have today. Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt helped level the path for couples to have interracial relationships, just like my parents!

 

Madelyn Rempel

Project RACE Kids President

 

Picture Source:

https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/jfk-refused-sammy-davis-jr-perform-white-house/story?id=23379345

Informational Friday

When “Mixed” Isn’t Enough

GETTY

Why We Need Better Terms For People Who Identify As Two Or More Races

by Nicole Holliday  When I was a kid, I always just assumed that everyone in the world called people like me “mixed,” because in the 1990s in central Ohio, where I grew up, mixed almost always referred to folks like me, who had one black parent and one white parent. The community I grew up in had very few people who identified as anything other than black or white, so I just thought that mixed meant “black and white” unless otherwise specified. This was comfortable for me, and it allowed me to have a way to describe my racial identity quickly and concisely.

As I got older, however, the nation’s demographics began to shift, and I started to hear all kinds of people who had parents of different races refer to themselves as mixed. Suddenly, it seemed like when I told people I was mixed, their follow-up question was “with what?” At this point, I began to wish that I had a specific term to describe people like me.

I knew that, for example, in South Africa, I’d be classified as coloured, which, despite its history as a term of oppression during the apartheid era, is still utilized as a demographic category. In the UK, people who are mixed-race typically come from black and white backgrounds, though as their population has diversified, they have some of the same struggles for meaning around the term mixed as people in the US have.

A population changing more rapidly than its language

So, how mixed is the US population? The 2010 Census Brief The Two or More Races Population: 2010 shows that the population reporting multiple races (about 9 million) increased by 32 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared with those who reported a single race (about 300 million), which increased by only 9.2 percent.

While this increase in people identifying as two or more races is often considered to be positive evidence of greater social integration, it also creates challenges around the language we use to talk about both individual and group-level racial categories. This is due, in no small part, to changes in the format of many demographic surveys, but especially in the decennial US Census.

The demographer’s version of “mixed with what?”

In the year 2000, the Census allowed for first time individuals to check more than one box in response to the question “What is your race?”

While this greater recognition of people who fall outside of unary racial categories has been hailed as positive by multiracial advocates, it seems that the Census has, for many intents and purposes, fallen into the same underspecified pattern that I personally experienced.

“Two or more races” is like the demographer’s version of “mixed with what?”: it doesn’t actually provide useful information about exactly how people identify, which becomes even more challenging with a massive dataset like the Census’s.

On a large scale, this is a serious issue, because Census data on race is used for everything from enforcing the Voting Rights Act to allocating funding for community-based nonprofits, and thus inaccurate racial data can have tangible negative effects for majority-minority communities. However, breaking down the “Two or More Races” responses into every possible combination may also have the effect of making racial categories so small as to preclude generalization, causing a sort of demographic double bind.

Indeed, this issue of what to call and how to count people who don’t fit into neat racial categories has always been an issue for demographers. Multiracial individuals and communities, while they have recently increased in numbers in the US, are hardly a modern phenomenon. Though it is the case that the 2000 Census was the first time that individuals could select more than one racial category, it was not the first time that multiracial people were counted as their own Census category. The Census’s changing terms for multiracial people reflect some broader social trends over time.

Mulatto and other historical terms for mixed racial descent

The US once had specific terms in wide use to describe people of different types of mixed racial descent, though they mostly fell out of favor as the demographics and racial structure of the nation shifted.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Trends, from 1850–1880, the Census contained options for whiteblack, and mulatto (meaning black and white), which were important during the time of chattel slavery. In 1890, the Census kept those terms and added the now-offensive quadroon (one-quarter black) and octoroon (one-eighth black). Though they disappear from the Census by 1900, these two categories were presumably due to the fact that, in the post-Civil War era, percentage of black ancestry became important in the establishment and enforcement of Jim Crow segregation. By 1930, we have whitenegroother, and Indian, but mulatto was no longer an option.

Outside of the Census, the terms quadroon and octoroon were not only considered offensive, but also politically unnecessary by the 1930s. For much of the nation’s history and in most parts of the country, the “one-drop rule” classified any individual with a black or even partially black parent, as entirely black for legal purposes, eliminating the need for such specific terms. It is a uniquely American example of what’s called hypodescent—”assigning racially mixed individuals to the identity of the subordinate group”—and it has helped shape and reinforce the binary understanding of racial identity that persists in the US today.

The rise of broad terms

From the mid-20th century on, we have seen a dramatic increase in broader, more open-ended terms that reflect a society that sees more racial categories. There are still limitations, however, related to the many nuanced identities that compose these categories.

Google Books Ngram comparison of terms shows a steady increase of multiracial and biracial from the 1950s until about 2000. There is also a corresponding virtual disappearance of the antiquated terms quadroon and octoroon, indicating a trend toward more general terms. In the 1980s, we start to see a sharp rise in the occurrence of the term biracial children, reflecting the increase in children born in the 1980s to parents of different races.

Both multiracial and biracial have expanded in meaning since they first gained traction in American English. In the 1950–60s, both of these terms were primarily used to discuss groups where more than one race is represented, as in multiracial society and biracial committees. Over time, as the US became more integrated and rates of interracial marriage and children who could and did identify as two or more races went up, these words became useful for talking about individuals of mixed racial descent. Despite that shift, the broadness of these terms make them less useful for people simply trying to discuss their identity without explaining their family tree.

I believe that speakers are increasingly experiencing these terms as underspecified, and that some individuals and groups that identify as two or more races are sensing a lexical gap for terms they would like for their own their specific racial combination.

What’s next? Halfricanhafu, and blackanese

One piece of evidence for this lexical gap is the rise of the term hapa, “a person of mixed-race heritage who identifies racially and culturally as both white and of Asian descent,” especially in Hawaii and California. Originally a Hawaiian Pidgin term meaning “half,” hapa is now seeing broader use on the mainland, such as the Harvard HAPA, or the Harvard Half-Asian Person’s Association, one of the first such organizations for hapa students established in 1995.

Perhaps the best way to guess what terms might further fill these lexical gaps in English is to see what people are using in online spaces. On Twitter and Urban Dictionary, words that have been suggested to describe specific groups of multiracial people include halfrican (half African) and hafu (a person who is Japanese and something else, based on the the English half). Joining hafu are blasian and blackanese, and indeed, there are probably a dizzying array of other portmanteau words for every possible ethnic combination.”Some may remember the nationalist uproar when African American and Japanese Ariana Miyamoto won the 2015 Miss Universe Japan title… As hafu, it seems we are at once objects of fetish and scrutiny.”

As the proportion of people with ancestry from multiple racial and ethnic groups increases alongside greater societal recognition of self-identifications, I think that some of these highly specific terms may begin to increase in use. Personally, I haven’t stopped longing for a quick, intelligible way to describe my own racial background. Maybe I’ll just start saying “halfrican” and see if it catches on!


Nicole Holliday is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She received her Ph.D. in linguistics from New York University, where her dissertation focused on how individuals with one black parent and one white parent use linguistic variation to construct and perform their racial identities. Her scholarly writing has appeared in journals such as American Speech and Language in Society. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Dwayne “The Rock” Dogson.

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

Census Bureau Reduces Multiracial Population

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 21, 2020

Susan Graham

Project RACE

Email: susangraham@projectrace.com

 

CENSUS BUREAU REDUCES MULTIRACIAL POPULATION

San Joaquin Valley, CA -The United States Census Bureau has chosen to exclude the multiracial group from the 2020 Census by giving false instructions to biracial people who call or email the bureau for direction on how to fill out their census forms. They also have excluded the group from all marketing and advertising material, unlike they have done for every other racial and ethnic group. If a multiracial person does not fill in their census forms correctly, we lose the biracial/multiracial number, which could result in loss of benefits and funding.

Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), is the national organization representing the multiracial population for the last 30 years. Susan Graham, president of Project RACE and author of Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America said, “We have attempted to resolve this issue for the past six months with Census Bureau personnel, including Director Steven Dillingham. The issue remains unresolved and will produce an inaccurate 2020 Census.”

According to Pew Research, there are almost seven million multiracial people in the United States. The multiracial population won the right to be counted on government forms by the OMB in 1997, although proper instructions—which include checking two or more race boxes—are key to counting everyone accurately.

 

See our 2020 Census Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72NslaIFNs

 

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It’s Famous Friday!

 

Happy Friday Everyone. This week we are taking a look inside the life of teen actress and musical artist, Isabela Moner. Isabela was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Katherine Moner (Peruvian) and Patrick Moner (Caucasian). Isabela’s main language is Spanish, but she also speaks English. Additionally, she claims to have learned some Peruvian for her role in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

 

Isabela says that performing has been a passion of hers from a young age, starting community theatre at only six. Her first major Broadway role came when she was ten, in the musical production Evita, where she performed alongside Latin-pop legend Ricky Martin. Her other Broadway appearance came in 2013 when she performed in a production of Dallas.

 

Since then Isabela has moved on to bigger roles in television and movies. From roughly 2014-2017 she starred in television shows such as, Dora and Friends: Into the City as well as 100 things to do before High School. Her performance in 100 things to do before High School led to 2 nominations for “best Actor/Actress” by Imagen Foundation Award, one of which she won in 2016.

 

After moving to movies, one of her early appearances was in Michaels Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, where she had the opportunity to work with actor Mark Wahlberg. Her part led to a nomination for “Choice Summer Movie Actress” in the 2017 Teen’s Choice Awards. One other major movie she worked on was Instant Family, where she plays “Lizzy”, a teenage orphan who eventually finds a family along with her two other siblings. Her convincing performance led to titles such as “Best Leading Young Actress” as well as “Best Actress-Feature Film”. Her work in movies also includes, Sicario: Days of the Soldado, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Herself, and Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life. Her widespread success has landed her screen-time with major actors and actresses such as Rose Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, and more.

 

Matheson Bossick, Project Race Teens Vice President

 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabela_Moner
  2. https://www.tvovermind.com/isabela-moner/
  3. https://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Isabela-Moner/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rosycordero/2019/03/07/isabela-moner-learned-indigenous-peruvian-language-to-play-dora-the-explorer/#bae84885ff6c

Picture From:

  1. https://www.newsweek.com/who-dora-and-lost-city-gold-star-isabela-moner-17-year-old-actress-bringing-1373475

It’s Famous Friday!

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback

Happy new year!  As we celebrate the dawn of a new decade, our country eagerly and anxiously looks toward another presidential election year.  Since the time of Reconstruction, people of color have impacted our country’s legislation on a state and federal level.  This Famous Friday feature focuses on one early influencer by the name of Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, or P.B.S. Pinchback as most commonly seen in historical references.

Pinchback was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1837, to William Pinchback a white planter, and Eliza Stewart, his former slave.  Unorthodox for the times, Pinchback was educated at Gilmore High School In Cincinnati, Ohio.  He also worked as a hotel porter in Indiana to avoid recapture by his paternal relatives after the death of his father.  While living in Indiana he married Nina Emily and had four sons and two daughters.

P.B.S. Pinchback’s knack for public and political leadership was recognized during the Civil War.  He was the only African American captain in the Union-controlled 1st Louisiana Native Guards. After the war, he became very active in the Republican party and organized the Fourth Ward Republican Club in New Orleans.  In 1868, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate and also became the State Senate president pro tempore.  Three years later, he became the acting lieutenant governor.  In 1872, with the impeachment of incumbent governor Henry Clay Warmoth, P.B.S. Pinchback was sworn in as the first African American governor of Louisiana and non-white governor of any state in the United States. Although his term was only 35 days, Pinchback made history.  It would not be until 1990 that another African American person would sit as governor of any U.S. state.

P.B.S. Pinchback continued to remain active in politics by public service.  He was elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  He served on the Louisiana State Board of Education and was instrumental in establishing Southern University in New Orleans which is a historically black college.  Finally, after attaining his law degree, he became a federal marshal in New York and then practiced law in Washington D.C. P.B.S. Pinchback died in 1921.

P.B.S. Pinchback was a trailblazer and fought for equality for people of color.  As the election year proceeds, may we continue to see others follow in his legendary footsteps.

 

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Picture Source:https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pinckney-Benton-Stewart-Pinchback

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,

What Nelson Mandela Fought For

World of Weddings: Marriage of mixed-race couple in South Africa is “exactly what Nelson Mandela fought for”

In our weeklong series World of Weddings, we sent a team of correspondents around the globe to witness unique ceremonies and understand what marriage means in different cultures. In our third report, we take you to South Africa, where as recently as the 1980s mixed-race marriages were illegal under apartheid.


Two worlds collided as the Maselas and the Daltons came together in Pretoria, South Africa, for the marriage of their children Mante and Andrew. Once outlawed and punishable by prison, celebrating love across racial and cultural barriers would have been unimaginable in apartheid South Africa.

Although apartheid is over, weddings like Mante and Andrew’s are still the exception to the norm, CBS News correspondent Debora Patta reports.

“My grandmother, who unfortunately isn’t here to this day, she was more excited than anyone else because she’s like, ‘This is exactly what Nelson Mandela fought for,'” said the bride, Mante Maselas.

Mante is Pedi, one of South Africa’s many ethnic groups, and Andrew’s family is from England. The families gathered to negotiate a bride price known as lobola, traditionally a means to cement ties between two families. Lobola is a centuries-old tradition that used to be paid in cattle, but that’s a little complicated in modern times.

“At first I was a little bit skeptical because obviously, again, something’s new to me, but you have to go in with an open mind and you have to respect the culture and the family,” Andrew said. “And at the end of the day if I want to marry Mante, that’s something I’m going to have to do.”

The final amount is confidential, but a young well-educated woman like Mante could easily fetch up to 15 cows, the equivalent of just over $10,000.

As Mante got ready for her wedding ceremony, she acknowledged it’s not always easy being a modern couple navigating traditional African customs.

“We’re just doing what we need to do in this period to make our parents happy, and then we go back to our normal lives where we don’t have to fall into the gender roles,” she said.

In that moment she had a more pressing concern: “I am also worried about his dancing,” she said, laughing. “He’s been trying to practice the moves.”

At the ceremony, there also was a thoughtful, if slightly misplaced, nod to Andrew’s heritage: bagpipes. Nobody seemed to mind that Scotland and England are completely different nations. But, for the most part, was a thoroughly African affair, which included being schooled in how to be a good wife.

The traditional ceremony was part of 10 days of festivities, culminating in what many would regard as a thoroughly modern wedding at a wine farm just outside Cape Town.

That ceremony was very much Mante and Andrew’s event. Their friends flew in from around the world for the big day, part two. There were the usual wedding-day nerves and the bride’s almost obligatory late arrival, followed by the joyful walk down the aisle on her father’s arm. And then it was time to party, where Andrew’s dance moves were finally put to the test.

For family friends like Rudi Matjokane who lived through apartheid, there was even more cause to celebrate.

“Love knows no boundaries,” he said. “In those days, love would know boundaries because then you would be arrested for having it, so it’s the proudest day of my life.”

While weddings like this are still unusual, for Mante and Andrew it felt completely natural. They’re just two young people deeply in love.

Famous Friday Sneak Peek!

Famous Friday: Nandi Hildebrand

Happy Friday everybody. For this week’s Famous Friday, we are excited to share about teen actress, Nandi Hildebrand. We at Project RACE are proud to be partnering with Count the Nation, an initiative of USC Annenberg aiming to ensure that everyone across America knows how much census participation benefits their community. It is through this exciting and important partnership that we came to know Nandi who stars in Count the Nation’s awesome new census video (https://youtu.be/HYYG1w65U64). Nandi, whose father is Caucasian while her mother is African (Zulu), is a developing teen actress who has also used her influence to become a social activist.

Even at the young age of 15, Nandi has many special skills including acting, dance, athletics, and martial arts. Her acting experience has led to major roles in both television and theatre. One notable role was in the fourth season of NBC’s hit television show Fresh Off the Boat. Another hobby she has is reading, enjoying both fictional and nonfictional genres. Nandi credits her love of reading as well as traveling for her vast knowledge of cultures and philosophies.

Born in Maryland, Nandi has traveled all over the world, including growing up for a number of years in South Africa with her grandparents. When she was seven Nandi moved back to the United States. In Southern California, she became a victim of bullying due to her, “accent, [and] puffy hair,” and, “lack of knowledge about the popular culture”. But Nandi was determined to turn that difficulty into good. Recently, Nandi has utilized her platform to create Nandi’s Anti-Bullying Youth Club, a charity whose goal is to ensure that all children feel accepted in their environment. Members of the club are encouraged to gather and discuss their experiences with bullies. Nandi believes that she must spread awareness about this serious issue affecting so many young people. She shares that her long-term goal is for people to attempt to understand the backgrounds of their peers, rather than judging others because of pre-formalized prejudices.

After spending a short time in California, Nandi’s adventures continued as she toured Asia with her parents, mainly staying in Vietnam. These diverse opportunities, coupled with her own multiracial identity, have allowed her the opportunity to embrace a unique cultural perspective.

For more information on Count the Nation, please visit countthenation.org.

Matheson Bossick, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Sources:

  1. https://strongselfie.com/pages/beyondthebox
  2. http://www.nandihildebrand.com/
  3. http://www.nandihildebrand.com/acting/
  4. http://www.nandihildebrand.com/philanthropist/
  5. http://www.nandihildebrand.com/multi-talent/

Image From:

  1. http://www.nandihildebrand.com/