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

Multiracial

Biracial

The “N” Word

Odd, twisted girls

Racially nebulous

Quadroon

Negro

Born again black people

Butterscotch

Mestizo Abandoner

Mixed

“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

 

Famous Friday

Ne-Yo

NeYo

Ne-Yo was born in Camden Arkansas as Shaffer Chimere Smith. He is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. His parents were both musicians. His father is of African American and Chinese descent and his mother is African American. When he was younger his parents separated and he moved with his mother to Las Vegas, Nevada where he was raised and given more opportunities.  Ne-Yo has had great success in the entertainment industry evidenced by hit songs that have topped the charts from all over the world. He was a featured artist on Beyonce’s Irreplaceable song and Rihanna’s Take a Bow.  Ne-Yo has won three Grammy Awards. He was recently a judge on Jennifer Lopez’s new NBC show, World of Dance.

 

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens Co-President

(Photo Credit: Rap-up.com)

Famous Friday

Famous Friday: DeShone Kizer

Deshone Kizer and Family
Last week my hometown Cleveland Browns played their 2017 preseason home opener against the New Orleans Saints and, man was I excited to get a look at our second round draft pick, DeShone Kizer. He did great. In June, Kizer signed a four-year, $4.94 million contract with the Browns that includes $2.42 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.73 million. But the starting QB slot for the Browns is still very much up for grabs.

The strong-armed 6’4″ Kizer is working hard to grab it and his performance last week may go a long way! He has been trying to show his grasp of Hue Jackson’s offense. He’s returning to the field following practice for extra work. He has run additional sprints and simulated plays he didn’t get to run in practice all by himself. Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com said, “If there were a bucket and a squeegee, he’d turn his attention to the practice facility’s windows.”

“[The coaches] have a good idea of when a quarterback is ready to go out there,” Kizer said. “I think the way that they’ve thrown me into the fire in the last couple months has allowed me to grow quickly and to become comfortable pretty fast.”

Kizer grew up in nearby Toledo, Ohio with his parents, Mindy and Derek, brother, Dayven and sister, Maelyn. Both of his siblings are still in high school. Dad Derek was a college basketball player and DeShone followed in his father’s footsteps by playing basketball in high school, but he also played baseball and football, which kept him busy year round. His high school coach thought he could have been a top collegiate basketball player, but thankfully for Cleveland fans, he chose to pursue football at the next level. DeShone played college ball at Notre Dame and as he began his career in the NFL said, “I will forever be Irish at heart.”

And, one of the youngest players on the team, at just 21 years old he surely has a bright future ahead in pro football. Many believe he’s going to be one of the great ones! After last week, I’m a believer. And I sure hope so, because the Browns have been waiting a long time.

— Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Source: heavy.com

Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

The Board of Directors of Project RACE denounces white supremacy, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, and the “alt-right” for their blatant racism and hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past weekend. Project RACE will always stand against any persons who threaten the multiracial community and any other minority group.

The hateful speech and deplorable actions by a few resulted in deaths and injuries and must be stopped before they are allowed to thrive and spread violence. We acknowledge President Trump’s later comments about the situation, but vehemently and negatively respond to his spreading the blame to “many sides.” There are not many sides to this evil behavior. There is right and there is wrong. The evil events of the weekend included domestic terrorism, which calls for complete and swift investigation and severe repercussions.

Some of the protesters shouted “blood and soil,” (“Blut und Boden”) a Nazi rallying cry that stresses that ethnic identity is based on only pure blood descent and the territory in which an individual lives.

Project RACE stands firm with other groups and individuals that resolve to swiftly take any necessary and peaceful solutions to cease hateful speech and actions by white nationalists and other extremist groups.

Ten Reasons

Ten Reasons Why White Mothers Can Raise Multiracial Children:

by Susan Graham

Ryan and me

  1. We conceived or adopted our children and we knew exactly what we were doing.
  1. We are fully capable of raising our children as equals with their other monoracial or multiracial siblings.
  1. We do not have to be the same color as our child to give them the history and knowledge of their other ancestry or ancestries.
  1. We know how to say, “No thank you; my child does not need you to tell her what she is.”
  1. We know and respect how President Obama chose to self-identify (as black). He could have identified as multiracial, but that wasn’t his Do not “Barack Obama” my multiracial children.
  1. We can say without laughing, “Yes, I’m the mom. Want to set up a play date for our kids?”
  1. We can say, “I learned how to do my child’s hair” or “I found it was easier to have someone else do my daughter’s hair.”
  1. We will stand up for our children’s right to be included on forms that require racial and ethnic identity.
  1. We fully understand the question, “What are they?” We can choose to answer any way we like and can explain one more time that the thing called the one-drop rule is not a law.
  1. We can happily live without you if you’ve programmed your family to be uncomfortable around our family.

 

Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Steph Curry
<> on June 15, 2017 in Oakland, California.

 on June 15, 2017 in Oakland, California.

As a Clevelander and huge Cavs fan, it hurts to write this, but this week’s Famous Friday is Steph Curry. Wardell Stephen Curry was born on March 14, 1988 in Akron, OH, in the same hospital where the King, Lebron James, was born.  As of this week he is also a two time NBA Champion. Sadly, on Monday night the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to take the NBA championship. Steph is also a 2 two time NBA MVP, 4 time NBA all-star, and one the leagues most famed players. The Warriors may not be my team, but I can give credit where it’s due and Steph and his team played an incredible season and deserve the title.
There’s a lot of talk about Steph’s race, which my research tells me is African American and Creole, but today when they ask  the question so many of us get, “what is Steph Curry?” The answer is simply “Champion”!

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!

Multiracial up to 14 Percent!

The rise of multiracial and multiethnic babies in the U.S.

The FINANCIAL — One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. This increase comes nearly a half century after the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage.

Multiracial or multiethnic infants include children less than 1 year old whose parents are each of a different race, those with one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic parent, and those with at least one parent who identifies as multiracial. This analysis is limited to infants living with two parents because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home. In 2015, this was the case for 62% of all infants.

The rapid rise in the share of infants who are multiracial or multiethnic has occurred hand-in-hand with the growth in marriages among spouses of different races or ethnicities. In 1980, 7% of all newlyweds were in an intermarriage, and by 2015, that share had more than doubled to 17%, according to a recently released Pew Research Center report. Both trends are likely spurred in part by the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.

The general public seems mostly accepting of the trend toward more children having parents of different races. In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 22% of U.S. adults said more children with parents of different races was a good thing for society, while half as many (11%) thought it was a bad thing. The majority (65%) thought that this trend didn’t make much of a difference.

Among all multiracial and multiethnic infants living with two parents, by far the largest portion have one parent who is Hispanic and one who is non-Hispanic white (42%). The next largest share of these infants (22%) have at least one parent who identifies as multiracial, while 14% have one parent who is non-Hispanic white and another who is Asian.

The share of infants in two-parent homes who have parents of different races or ethnicities varies dramatically across states. For example, 44% of infants in Hawaii are multiracial or multiethnic. Shares are also high in Oklahoma and Alaska (28%). At the same time, just 4% of children younger than 1 in Vermont are multiracial or multiethnic, as are 6% of those in North Dakota, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Source: The Financial

Meet our Presidents


Makensie McDaniel