Did you Know?

Project RACE is an approved charity for donations from Amazon through the AmazonSmile program. Please remember this whenever you buy anything on Amazon. It does not cost you anything—a small percentage of your purchase goes to support Project RACE.

Sign up at smile.amazon.com on Amazon to get started and designate Project RACE as your charity. Then when you buy from Amazon, just log on through amazonsmile.com.

Your Amazon donations and any other donations to Project RACE will be used for operating expenses to keep our organization running and bringing the latest information to the multiracial community. Thank you for your support!

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,

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!

Important Update

Project RACE Update

August, 2018

Census Undercount of the Multiracial Population – IMPORTANT!

The US Census Bureau does not want multiracial or biracial people to be counted as multiracial. Numerous organizations both non-profit and governmental do not want the multiracial population counted as two or more races. They want to count us, but as single-race individuals.

Outreach programs have been started that systematically omit the multiracial community. This will continue until the 2020 Census. Every community has been asked to be a part of the efforts to count their population with the exception of ours. Why is this happening? They want us to deny our identities and that of our children in an effort to boost their own numbers.

They will be happy if multiracial people use the “some other race” space on the 2020 census form or choose only one racial category. Don’t do it. Our numbers get lost if you do. We can only show how much our community is growing if data are counted and allocated correctly.

The only way to obtain everything the multiracial community deserves is by checking more than one race on your census form. Let’s show them we know exactly who we are. We will have more about this important issue as we move closer to the 2020 Census.


We are very excited about our new co-president, Alexis Cook! She is a leader at her high school and very active in her community in Aurora, Colorado. When asked about her multiracial heritage, Alexis replied, “Growing up in an interracial family was a blessing because I got to learn from two cultures instead of just one.”

Alexis is a high school senior and is the Student Body President. She is in the top one percent of her class and embodies the Project RACE emphasis on education. She will be a great role model with another wonderful teen, Karson Baldwin, as co-presidents of Project RACE Teens. You can read more about Alexis at www.projectrace.com/blog. Welcome, Alexis!


We need help! A web guru is desperately needed on a volunteer basis to keep our site updated. Just a few hours a month would be perfect to update our WordPress site at www.projectrace.com The need is urgent and is a great community service. Please email us at susangraham@projectrace.com Thank you!


We thank Patti Barry who began Project RACE Grandparents for us several years ago. She has done a tremendous job, but her busy life means that Patti must give up her leadership responsibilities. We are looking for that special grandparent who can help us with meaningful programs for our Grandparents Division. It’s fun and rewarding! Please email susangraham@projectrace.com if you or someone you know is interested.


It’s a Royal Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: HRH Meghan Duchess of Sussex

There was clearly no other choice for this week’s Famous Friday. The whole world is talking about HRH Meghan, Duchess of Sussex! Her wedding! Her dress! Her carriage ride… and her race.

The last time we featured multiracial actress Meghan Markle on Famous Friday was in November of 2016 and at that time former PRT Co-President Lexi Brock wrote about Meghan’s “rumored romance” with Prince Harry. Well what do you know… the rumors were true! Fast forward a year and a half and we’ve got ourselves a Duchess!

We were visiting my sister in Chicago on Royal Wedding Day and set the alarm to be up to watch our multiracial princess (Yes, I know she is not officially given the title of princess, but I don’t care.) arrive at 6 AM. In many ways, this felt to us very much like Barack Obama being inaugurated President. Our people, those who look like us and have family histories that may mirror our own, reaching places we’ve never seen before impacts our hearts and minds more than we’d ever imagined. Like the White House, the palaces of British royalty were not known for being diverse or particularly inclusive, until now. This makes us believe that there is nothing we can’t do.

Twitter lit up with reactions to the many ways that Megan weaved her culture into the ceremony. The African American preacher, the gospel choir and the teenage cellist were all representative of the side of the bride’s heritage that is new to the royal family. And the fact that her heritage was celebrated and highlighted during the ceremony made this groundbreaking union even more wonderful.

At Project RACE, we really love advocates. One of the cool things we newly discovered about Meghan in all the wedding coverage was that she was an advocate from a very young age. As an 11 year old, she contacted Proctor & Gamble after seeing a commercial for Ivory dish soap that implied doing dishes was a woman’s job. Her efforts led to the company changing the commercial, swapping out “women” for “people.”  No wonder she has gone on to great position.

Many do not know that, as groundbreaking as this union is, HRH Meghan is not be the first biracial royal. That title likely belongs to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived during the 18th century. Charlotte was married to King George III and was queen for nearly 60 years, until she died in 1818. She’s the grandmother of Queen Victoria, the great-great-great-great-grandmother of the current Queen Elizabeth and the namesake for the American city of Charlotte, North Carolina. She also shares a name with the latest addition to the royal family, Princess Charlotte.

Another interesting note, is that we have another wonderful wedding we are excited to share about as our very first PRT President, Ryan Graham has married his beautiful bride Shelby this past weekend!

– Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Credit:   News.com.au

It’s Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Karson Baldwin

My awesome co-president was so sweet to use last week’s Famous Friday post to write about me! Well, guess what? It’s my turn to write the blog and I bet you can guess who I’ve decided to write about!

Three years ago, I joined Project RACE’s youth leadership team of high achieving, hard working teens who were passionate about multiracial advocacy. The youngest and the one with the longest history with Project RACE was Karson Baldwin! Karson was only 13 then, but he’d been working with Project RACE for as long as he could remember.

“Yes, I have worked with Project RACE for a long time,” Karson told me. “I look back at old videos and listen to interviews and laugh at how young and small I was.” (check out this 2009 Project RACE Teen video PSA on equality in healthcare for multiracial Americans and you’ll see exactly what he means! So cute!  https://youtu.be/Ila0AsDpyf8 )

Karson had the good fortune of growing up in a house full of social justice advocates. When he was just four years old, his oldest sister became Project RACE Teen President. When that sister went off to college, his other sister succeeded her as president. A couple years later, when his second sister followed the first to Harvard, our Executive Director Susan Graham, spoke to Karson about the possibility of taking the PR Teen torch. But rather than step in to the role of PRT president, Karson had an idea of his own. He told Susan that he would like to launch a new division of the organization, Project RACE Kids!

“Susan loved the idea,” Karson said, “not only because multiracial people are the fastest growing racial group, but also because multiracial people are the youngest racial group. All these younger multiracial people needed a safe place for their voice to be heard. I was fortunate to grow up in an amazing family with a supportive community, but not everyone has that.”

So at 13 Karson founded Project RACE Kids for multiracial youth ages 8 to 12! He established the “PRK Kids Krew” made up of a dozen young difference makers from across the U.S. to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences with the multiracial population and beyond. He held minority focused bone marrow drives, helped launch Multiracial Heritage Week, gave media interviews and so much more! Karson has done an awesome job with PRKids, so I was really happy when he stepped up this year to join me as Project RACE Teens Co-President!

“I intend to work with Project RACE for a long time because our work is important to me, to our country, and even the world,” Karson told me. “There are many nice organizations that focus on celebrating the growing multiracial community, and that’s cool, but none are committed to advocacy like Project RACE has been for all these years. ”

Karson’s long history of work with Project RACE is impressive, but it’s even more impressive when you understand that he fits that in with so many other meaningful pursuits. In addition to being a straight A student at the top all-boys school in his state and a two sport high school athlete, Karson is leading in a huge variety of areas. He helps lead singing at his church every Sunday, he was student body president of his school, he was selected to represent his school at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and at the leadership meetings of the Cleveland Council of Independent Schools, just to name a few.

He has many passions. But along with multiracial advocacy, school and sports, he is passionate about service to the materially poor. He serves on the HOPE worldwide National Youth Advisory Council and designs and regularly leads youth service efforts in his community. He is currently working on an exciting partnership with a one-of-a-kind public school for kids that have been in the United States for two years or less. The 900 member student body at this school is from 47 different countries and they speak 28 different languages!

“It’s an amazing place, the only one of it’s kind,” Karson says. “A lot of the kids are refugees and who knows what they’ve been through to get here. I am really excited about the projects we’re working on and the relationships we’re building to help them feel at home here. Like at Project RACE, my work at the International Newcomers Academy is all about acknowledging each individual’s identity and fostering mutual respect among diverse groups of people.”

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this guy is just 16.

Photo Credit: Baldwin Family

A Great Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Makensie McDaniel

Each week our Project RACE youth leadership team features a multiracial person of interest here on our blog. Typically those featured are a celebrity, someone renowned in their field, and someone we consider to be a good role model for the multiracial community. This week, I chose for the first time to write about someone within our organization who fits that description, my awesome Co-President of Project RACE Teens, Makensie Shay McDaniel.

A lot of people know Makensie as a beauty queen. She was named Miss Shelby’s Outstanding Teen 2015, Miss Queen City’s Outstanding Teen 2016, and Miss Charlotte’s Outstanding Teen 2017. She is smart and beautiful and passionate about her pageant platform. She is also an accomplished competitive dancer with aspirations of becoming an Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader. But these are not the things that impress me most about Makensie. I have had the pleasure of working with Makensie at Project RACE for about 5 years now and she is a force! She is a girl who know who she is and is proud of her entire heritage. But that wasn’t always the case. As a child Makensie struggled with her racial identity. Her mother is Caucasian and her father is African American and growing up she felt a lot of confusion. She was raised primarily by the white side of her family, attended majority white schools, and lived in a predominately white community. Her birth certificate says she’s white, because of a state law that says a baby’s race is determined by the mother’s race. For these reasons, she self identified as white in middle school, but was constantly told by society that she was black.

“In middle school I struggled more because boys started to say things like ‘you could be my girlfriend if you were not half black.’” Makensie said. “A group of girls at my school had a nickname for me. They called me “Nancy” because they said I acted white and dressed white.”

These experiences inspired Makensie to search the internet at the age of thirteen looking for information on other multiracial people like her. That’s when she came across our Project RACE website and found it both informative and encouraging. She followed us on social media for a year and then, at the age of fourteen, she joined us as a volunteer helping us reach out to government officials in an effort to launch Multiracial Heritage Week.

“I remember Executive Director Susan Graham sending me a box of multicultural crayons to thank me for my help and I was so happy because I thought it was so cool to have a crayon for every skin tone,” Makensie shared.

The President of Project RACE Teens was preparing to head off to college, so we looked for her successor by posting an ad for the Project RACE Teens president position and Makensie, then 15 applied. Her resume and essay really stood out from the other applicants and after a series of interviews, she was named PRT Co-President. Makensie started advocating for others and spreading awareness on social media.

“By sharing my own story, being authentic, expressing my feelings, others started sharing theirs,” she said.

She contacted North Carolina’s Governor and persuaded him to issue a proclamation in 2015 and 2016 so that multiracial people could have an official week to celebrate their heritage. She asked for North Carolinian’s to send her their pictures and tell her their heritage so she could create a video. Everyone was so proud of their multiracial heritage that it made Makensie even more proud and brought her to tears. She handed out t-shirts to anyone who wanted them to help us celebrate Multiracial Heritage Week. In 2017 Charlotte’s Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the state’s new Governor Roy Cooper issued a MHW proclamation. Nationally 12 states including Georgia and the District of Columbia celebrated Multiracial Heritage Week thanks to the efforts of Makensie and the rest of our Project RACE team.

Seeing others respond to these efforts fueled her advocacy more and made her dreams even bigger. She has spoken at churches, schools, and many other organizations to spread awareness of causes important to the multiracial community.

Now, as a high school senior in North Carolina, where she has earned a 3.9 GPA, Makensie’s term as TPR Co-President is nearing its end, but she continues to dream of making a difference.

“To me, denying any part of my race is not okay,” she says. “I have spent hours writing letters, making phone calls, and speaking with senators about this issue. They all have acknowledged there is a need for change, but the multiracial identity issue hasn’t made its way on anyone’s agenda as of now. I haven’t gotten a law changed yet; however, I was able to get all Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, the largest school system in our state, to change all school forms to include multiracial terminology. My goal is to graduate from East Carolina University with a political science degree and go on to pursue a law degree or master’s degree so that I can continue to serve others and create change in this and many other areas.”

I am very confident that Makensie will continue to be instrumental in multiracial advocacy and am honored to have partnered with her for these last 5 years.

-Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Credit: Vika Photography

IMPORTANT! Project RACE Update



I have been asked some questions about Project RACE recently, so an update is in order. I have chosen to do this in a question and answer format. Please feel free to send your comments to me at SusanGraham@projectrace.com


  1. Why doesn’t Project RACE use the terms “mixed” or “mulatto”?


  1. The term “mulatto” is outdated and offensive; the literal meaning is small mule. We don’t like to use “mixed” because it is the opposite of “pure,” and we don’t want to go there. Also, “mixed” lends itself to “mixed up,” “mixed nuts,” etc. We’ve all seen those headlines. Project RACE advocates for multiracial and biracial because they are respectable, properly descriptive terms. We applaud organizations like the Brookings Institute and Pew Research for using the term “multiracial.”


  1. It’s acceptable to use the term “mixed race” or “mixed” in the UK, so why not here?


  1. This is an easy one. This is the United States, not England. It reminds me of a discussion I had with a group of writers who were coming up with company writing guidelines. The subject came up of how to use a period or comma with quotation marks. I stated that in the US, periods and commas go inside of the quotation marks. Someone said, “But in the UK, they go outside!” I said, “That’s absolutely true, but you are writing for an American audience.” Case closed.


  1. What is going on at the federal level?


  1. Things are in a holding pattern since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) opted to keep things as they are on the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, which is sometimes referred to as the Standard for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. It is not called “Directive 15.” The Census Bureau has made their recommendations to Congress. You can read more information here: https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/2020/operations/planned-questions-2020-acs.pdf


  1. What is the “citizenship” question and why should we be concerned about it?


  1. The current administration has decided that everyone who gets a census questionnaire should be asked if they are a United States citizen. Project RACE is against this because adding a citizenship question could result in reduced response rates and inaccurate answers on the 2020 Census, according the experts and demographers, including several former directors of the census. We can assume that a sizeable number of immigrants and other people who are multiracial will not answer the census because of the question. This could reduce the numbers of the multiracial population and other minority groups. In other words, the push to add the question will likely risk a significant undercount of immigrant, minority (including multiracial), and low-income populations.


  1. Is it true that the recommendation to make Hispanic people a race has been turned down?


  1. Yes. People can choose to be Hispanic as an ethnicity, but not a race. They can choose to be a race or races from white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska Native, or “some other race.” You can check as many races as you want.


  1. Is Project RACE in favor of a Hispanic racial category and a MENA (Middle Eastern North African) classification?


  1. Yes, Project RACE has made the Census Bureau and OMB very aware of our favoring both of these categories.


  1. A group called MASC is recommending that people contact their congressional representatives in the House of Representatives. What’s that about and is Project RACE also recommending this?


  1. MASC (Multiracial Americans of Southern California) and Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) are two very distinctly different organizations. MASC is a local, Southern California group and Project RACE is a national organization with representation in 48 states. We at Project RACE do not agree with the apparent “Urgent Call to Action” by MASC to make changes to Directive 15, which has not existed for the past 20 years (see above).


The deadline for comments has passed. Congressional representatives are unlikely to make any change in the Hispanic question, which is what MASC is going after, because of any local multiracial group. If any change is made, it will be because of lobbying by the national Hispanic and Latino organizations, like MALDEF and UnidosUS (formerly the Council of La Raza), which is as it should be. Cutting and pasting canned phrases to OMB or Congressional Representatives is an ineffective action for this type of situation.


MASC has also suddenly stated that (surprise!) the Census Bureau does not make public policy. That should not be a surprise to anyone who has done any work in this area. However, the Census Bureau is responsible for national testing of census questions as well as recommendations on wording, which Project RACE has been involved with since 1990. They may not set public policy, but they do influence it.


  1. Are Project RACE and MASC at odds?


  1. MASC has publicly called Project RACE ineffective and something about being an organization that only holds a public party once a year.


Project RACE is the national advocacy organization for the multiracial community. Our primary focus is advocacy and public policy change. We work for the multiracial population in Washington, DC and in 48 states. We work with national diversity personnel at national corporations and organizations to utilize appropriate terminology for the multiracial community. We don’t just blow our own horn, we work very hard to let the community know what is going on with others communities as they relate to ours, in other words, we get the word out via our blog, emailings, our web site, social media, etc. We promote and coordinate bone marrow donor drives. We hold national Multiracial Heritage Week every year from June 7 to 14 to honor the multiracial community. Yes, people are welcome to participate with parties or in any other positive way.


MASC is mostly a social organization for a limited area of the multiracial community. There is a definite need for social organizations and we commend them for what they provide. We appreciate their work. We communicate and work with local multiracial organizations around the country and have no idea why the Board of MASC has chosen to become so hostile towards our work and our community. Their hostility does not influence our work in any way.


  1. Shouldn’t all organizations or groups that represent a community all be in agreement?


  1. No. Historically, we can look at the NAACP and Urban League, both of which represented the black community although they did not agree on many issues. MALDEF and UnidosUS do not always agree. The two national Portuguese organizations have different policy statements. There are many more examples. Although we all represent communities, we all primarily represent our members.



  1. Is Project RACE an organization for academics?


  1. No, our membership exists primarily of multiracial adults, parents and grandparents of multiracial children, and multiracial teens. We do have academics on our advisory board and fully cooperate and communicate with the fine academics who do important work on behalf of the multiracial community.


  1. Is Project RACE doing some kind of partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau?


  1. The Census Bureau has formally asked Project RACE to be their partner in the national 2020 Decennial Census program and we have accepted the invitation. What this means is that we will help people understand the importance of filling out the census questionnaire and to check as many races as they want. The goal is to get as many multiracial people as possible to be active in the 2020 Census.


  1. Does Project RACE charge membership fees?


  1. Project RACE never charges fees, as do some other multiracial organizations. We are an all-volunteer organization, unlike some others. We feel that anyone anywhere who wants to be a member of Project RACE should be able to, regardless of location or ability to pay. However, we do welcome donations, which are tax-deductible, since we are a 501(c)(3) corporation!



Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

Happy Holidays!

Holidays 2017

Real American: A Memoir BOOK REVIEW

Book Review by Susan Graham

Real American: A Memoir

Real American

I read a review of Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims in The New York Times yesterday. It said Julie Lythcott-Haims’ new memoir is about growing up biracial. It’s not. It’s about growing up black.

If you want to get really angry, read this book. In fact, it should be required reading for anyone even thinking about being in an interracial relationship and especially parents of multiracial children. In so many ways, it’s a primer on what not to do. To me, as the mother of multiracial children—now adults—it is reassuring that I raised them to embrace their entire heritage.

Lythcott-Haims claims early in the book that her parents had entered into some type of “interracial child experiment that was failing.” Experiment? Would people actually do that? Throughout the book, the author lashes out at her parents—mostly her mother—for any number of ways they let her down and made her identify as black, but in other places, she is proud of her black identity. It’s confusing.

What is very clear is that this biracial woman felt she had to make a choice. She is crazy angry at everyone and everything, yet she doesn’t get that she could have embraced all of her incredibly stunning heritage and, perhaps, celebrated that. No, being biracial is not just a way to acknowledge her white mother, as she says; it is a way of acknowledging herself. She just couldn’t get there.

It angers me that this author didn’t do her homework. She glosses over the entire multiracial movement with an offhand comment about the Census Bureau making “new terms” in the 1990s, as if it was their idea and not that of the many parents who led the action to get the government to even consider counting people as more than one race. We were everywhere and I find it amazing that an interracial family would have been hiding under a rock big enough to miss it entirely.

The author is completely preoccupied with the color of her children, who she refers to as “quadroon children,” “Black,” and “mulatto.” To her, they are more colors than people, which I just don’t understand. That she is angry at the plight of black people in America and all over the world, is obvious—I’m just as angry about it! She would say that wasn’t possible because I’m not black. Not true. Black lives matter to me, too. Multiracial lives matter to me, as well.

Much of what Lythcott-Haims is trying to say is that what matters is how other people see you. If they see you as black, you are black. As my son told congress, it is how he sees himself that matters. Does he know other people see him as black? Absolutely. Interracial families are not blind and stupid. We teach our children about all of their cultures and how people might look at them and classify them on their personal color scale. We get it; we live it, too.

The one thing the author and I agree on is that racism will never go away and that is why everyone needs to read about those of us who have been through it. You’ll have to read about both sides, search your heart, make your own decisions, and neither the author nor I can make it for you. I respect that you may choose for your children to identify as only one race. I just wish more people would respect that they may choose to be multiracial.



New People – Book Review

Book Review

New People by Danzy Senna

New People

New People is about a multiracial woman named Maria. These are some of the terms she uses for multiracial people:

Miscellaneous People

Mulatto (her favorite word, which means little mule) and Mulatta



The “N” Word

Odd, twisted girls

Racially nebulous



Born again black people


Mestizo Abandoner


“Everything” and

my least favorite, “Mutt.”

She also says things like, “Being black and looking white was enough of a freak show” and “He was embracing his black identity.” Apparently, biracial people can absolutely not embrace their white identity. So passing for black is fine; passing for white is not.


It’s as if the author, Danzy Senna, had plugged biracial into every thesaurus she could find and then used the words over and over ad nauseam. Maria measures everything and everyone by race and wouldn’t you know she is engaged to a biracial man, but falls for a black poet. I suppose that’s the premise of the book. By the way, the term New People was not invented by Senna. It was also a magazine that was started in the 1980s by Yvette Walker-Hollis.


I realize that a lot of readers think this book is quite funny. A review in Essence magazine thinks it’s hysterical. There is that. I also watched a new “comedy” on Netflix last week with a biracial character. Many “jokes” were made at his expense because he was biracial. His mother repeats several times that she hopes for “butterscotch babies.” Why is it suddenly OK to make jokes about the multiracial community?


When I read fiction, I ask myself about a quarter into the book if I care about the characters. In New People, I knew by page 14 that I didn’t care what happened to these people. I re-check half way through and with this book, things only got worse. Other reviewers of Danzy Senna’s works do not share my opinion. She and her book are being heavily promoted and praised. She is clearly the biracial darling of the moment. I read most books about multiracial people because of my work with Project RACE and the multiracial community. I can honestly say no person I have ever met—multiracial or otherwise—is preoccupied 100 percent of the time with race, like Maria. They are usually the people who scream, “There is no such thing as race because it’s a social construct,” but they are the same people who give you an entire host of words about the multiracial community. You may want to think about that for a moment.


To be fair, if you are looking for a book that presents an entire population as screwed up, also with no scientific basis, New People should fit into your life perfectly.


Susan Graham