Multiracial Heritage Week a Great Success!

Susan Graham

I hope you enjoyed our showcasing some of our Project RACE Leadership families during Multiracial Heritage Week. I am being told by our Project RACE teens that it’s my turn!

I was born in Detroit and went through all of my schooling in Michigan. I pursued careers in public relations, writing, industrial real estate, telecommunications, and finance. I married a black husband in 1981 and we had two multiracial children. I now have two grandchildren whom I spoil and adore. I divorced and re-married in 2005 to my husband of 15 years, a poet and retired educator. We live in California’s Central Valley.

My son Ryan and I started Project RACE in 1990. I am still the CEO and Ryan is on our Board of Directors. He has testified twice before congressional committees at their request and I have testified three times. We have worked for over 30 years to help gain equality for the multiracial population. We have made a lot of progress with the Census Bureau, government agencies, schools, and medical facilities.

In May, 2019, my memoir, Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America was published. I am working on a novel about families and a murder.

We have had such an amazing response to highlighting our families for Multiracial Heritage Week on our blog and Facebook that we are inviting you to join us. If you are a Project RACE member (membership is free), just send us a description of your family, a picture, and a note that we have the right to publish both. We reserve the right to edit or reject any submissions. Email them to me at and put “MHW” in the subject line.

We still have a long way to go and we appreciate all our members. Happy Multiracial Heritage Week!


Susan Graham on Podcast!

I had the pleasure of recording a podcast on Multiracial Family Man recently with comedian Alex Barnett and it’s available at the following Internet locations:


Libsyn Podcast Network:


The interview is about 30 minutes and I would appreciate your taking the time to listen to it and find out what we have been up to at Project RACE. Also, Alex has some fascinating guests, so tune into the Multiracial Family Man podcasts. You can also leave comments and a review at the iTunes URL. Thank you!


Susan Graham

Born Biracial is out!

FOR RELEASE ON April 24, 2019


Susan Graham


Born Biracial is about the birth of a national civil rights movement


The White mother of two biracial children, Susan Graham realized her census form required her to pick only one race for her children. Wanting further explanation, she called the Census Bureau. She was put on hold for a very long time while they tried to figure out the answer. They got a supervisor involved. Finally, the United States Census Bureau employee said, “You should put down the race of the mother for your children.”

“But that can’t be right,” Graham answered. “They are not just my race. They are biracial.”

“Well, they can’t be.”

“I beg your pardon, but they are,” Graham replied.

“Not to us,” the man answered.

“Excuse me, but why should they arbitrarily be classified as the mother’s race and not the father’s?”

“Because in cases like this,” he answered in a very hushed voice, “you always know for sure who the mother is, but not the father.” That was in 1990, and it caused Graham to start a national movement to rectify the situation.

Now, with the 2020 Census looming, Susan Graham went after and got the changes her children and children like them need. The emotional memoir of her marriage to a CNN anchor, being a mother to biracial children, divorce, and remarriage are woven into the story. In Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America, Graham’s sometimes turbulent personal story will make you cheer for the underdog in battles against the government and other minority organizations.

You’ll be touched by the cover comments from baseball Hall of Fame legend Rod Carew, whose daughter died for the lack of a biracial bone marrow donor. The praises by Dr. C .Vasquez and others will make you want to turn the pages and you’ll be hooked from the words of people who stood with Graham over the years and fought the good fight. Interracial families, educational institutions, libraries, and multicultural organizations should all own a copy.

This memoir is the perfect addition to any personal library for Mother’s Day. It is a mother’s story of how she fought for recognition for her children and those like them. A primer for advocates, this book is an important how-to for people who want to bring about change.

Susan Graham is the founder, president, and executive director of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally). Specializing in race/ethnicity and public policy and an advocate for civil rights, Graham has testified before congressional committees in Washington. She has also been published in The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Orlando Sentinel, and in other major newspapers and magazines. Graham is married to Portuguese-American poet Sam Pereira.

Born Biracial (Memories Press, 2019, 240 pages, $14.95 ISBN:978-1-7339088) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.



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.


Talking to Washington

Talking to Washington


Susan Graham


Last week when I had spoken with the CB Division Chief, she told me that if I need more information, I could call the CB Call Center (toll free) and they could “walk me through finding information on the website.”


It was a hot July 2, 2013 in California at 10:08 AM PST, when I decided to call the CB Call Center from my air-conditioned office. This is how it went:


ME: “How do I find the total number of multiracial people there are in the country from

the current population data estimates?”


CB: “I have no idea. I’ll transfer you to CPS personnel.”


CB: “This is Steve. Can I help you?”


ME: “How do I find the total number of multiracial people there are in the country from

the current population data estimates?  Can you walk me through it?”


CB:  “I haven’t a clue. I can’t walk you through it right now, but I can figure it out and call

you back.”


ME: “Great!”


He did call me back in about ten minutes.

STEVE: “You have to go to DataFerrett. It’s where the public gets Census information.

Have you ever been there?”


ME: “I’ve never even heard of it.”


STEVE: “It’s on the CPS website.”


ME: “And how would I get to that?”


STEVE: (Big sigh).


I won’t go through the whole mess, but for the next approximately 30 minutes, Steve and I might as well be speaking different languages. I start giving him alternative language: “Two or More Races,” “National Demographics,” “NOT only in combination respondents, etc.”


Steve responds, “I can’t understand what you need. Why don’t you just do some simple arithmetic?”


ME: “I have to have some accurate numbers to work with and you’re not giving me those.”


STEVE: “Maybe you just have to play with DataFerrett until you find what you want.”


ME: “Can I speak to a supervisor or someone who can help me?”


STEVE: “I’ll have someone call you back.”


I was pretty frustrated and glad I was in air-conditioning. Now it was an hour from the time I first called and I was no further ahead.


Finally, a call from “G.” I have never heard anyone speak so fast in my life. He could do those drug side-effect lists on commercials. Here’s how it went:


ME: “How do I find the total number of multiracial people there are in the country from

the current population data estimates?”


G: “You talked to Steve. He told you how to find it.”


ME: “No, he did not. He said he didn’t understand what I was looking for.”


G: “Oh, that’s because that count is not readily available.”


ME: “Huh? The number of people who checked more than one race is not available?

How can that be?”


G: “Well, by that I mean it’s a ‘special tally,’ but we can find it on DataFerrett—and

make sure you spell it with two t’s, that’s the tricky part.”


ME: “OK, could you get me to where I need to be on DataFerrett with 2 t’s and walk me

through it?”


G: “Sure!”


G and I proceed to try and find the data on this supposedly public-user-friendly site. At one point he mumbles,” Where did we hide that?” After going back and forth, trying to take notes—not possible with his speed-fast speak—we finally outsmarted that darn ferret and found the information in just under an hour and a half. If you ever find yourself with time to spare, you can try it, too!


Actually, my favorite part was when DataFerrett asked for my email address and G assured me that the only reason the government wants that information is to contact me with updates. Sigh.


Finding out information on the multiracial population should be as easy as finding information on every other race and ethnicity on under “Data.” But no, the Census Bureau still wants the multiracial community to remain invisible.


Bottom line, here is the answer to how many people are estimated by the Census Population Survey as of May 1, 2013:






Census Clarification

May 3, 2013


Earlier this year in February, an Associated Press article reported findings that revealed varying, and at times contradictory, definitions for Hispanic, Basque, Latino and/or Portuguese at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, including the US Congress. The article was rapidly disseminated through the Portuguese American media and along with a false rumor that the US Census Bureau had plans to classify Portuguese Americans as Hispanics in the 2020 census. Unfortunately, this caused a visceral and uninformed reactions from our community some of which were neither flattered our community nor represented our tolerance and respect for diversity. Many individuals contacted the National Organization of Portuguese Americans (NOPA) with concerns to investigate the source of such a decision and why key leaders of the community where unaware of it.
Upon realizing that there was nobody leading the effort to clarify why such a decision would have been made without any input from the community, NOPA immediately contacted Ambassador Nuno Brito to update him on the situation and see if he would be able to get an immediate audience with a federal official. After researching which government offices had oversight and influence over Census ethnic classifications, NOPA shared the information with Ambassador Brito, who within a day was able to meet with top officials at the US State Department and Census Bureau where he discovered that there was no current or future effort planned to classify Portuguese Americans under the Hispanic classification. To this day, there is no information about how or where this rumor began.
NOPA confirmed with the Census Bureau that their offices received calls about this topic and that the rumor was not true. Census officials stated that there were “no plans to count Portuguese Americans as Hispanic in 2020” and that the “Census Bureau follows the Office of Management and Budget definition of Hispanic origin: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”
NOPA is grateful to Ms. Susan Graham Pereira, who works in the area of multiracial policy issues, for reaching out to NOPA and providing guidance on contacting the entities who would clarify the erred information. NOPA is also grateful to Ambassador Brito, who took immediate action to represent the interests of the Portuguese American community.
Unfortunately, there has been a limited amount of effort to disseminate this update as compared to efforts to announce the erred information. Therefore NOPA asks that the community disseminate this press release as much as possible. Moving forward, NOPA believes that a more accurate measure of the community’s pulse on this issue is needed that can capture feedback from a proper sample size and ensure that the respondents are properly informed with background information such as the pros and cons of changing or not changing our community’s ethnic classification. Most importantly, there has been a lack of an education effort to inform our elected officials about our community, and NOPA believes that more has to be done to ensure that the Portuguese American community is properly defined and recognized by government agencies and officials.
For any questions regarding this matter, please call NOPA at 703-389-3512 or email

About Us

The National Organization of Portuguese-Americans is a national non-profit, tax exempt organization that supports and works with individuals and organizations in the community to advocate for and empower Portuguese-Americans. If you feel inspired to join our mission, contact us.  
NOPA, Inc.
PO Box 2652
Falls Church, VA 22042   
Follow us on Facebook to get more up-to-date information on  
federal legislation, congressional action, and events.    

Multiracial Suicide-Part 3

Multiracial Movement Suicide? Part 3
     “Conclusion: The place you reach when you’re tired of    
       thinking.” –Martin Fischer
Now we can get to the convoluted conclusion the “’Founding Mothers:’ White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1970-2000) by Alicia Doo Castagno.  We would normally begin with the title, but I am not going to bother with “CONCLUSION; THE THWARTED UTOPIAN POTENTIAL OF MULTIRACIAL POLITICS” just because it’s so out in left field.  
In her conclusion, Alicia pronounces that, “Unwittingly, their [white mothers] white racial identity informed the ways in which they chose to advocate for multiracial rights.” Elsewhere in her diatribe, Alicia surmises that we white women really wanted our kids not to be black, so I’m going to take a stab at what little Alicia means. Apparently, I really have to go over this one more time: when I called the Census Bureau after receiving my 1990 Census form, I called and was told that “the children take the race of their mother.” I’m white, so my children were white by Census Bureau definition. If THAT was what I wanted, why have I worked for 23 years to get the privilege for multiracial people to embrace their entire heritage on US Census forms?! Do you get it now? 
We white mothers were not advocating for passing, we were hoping the federal government could include ALL the races of any person. Again, we were not trying to make our kids only white, black, or any other color. We hoped their various rainbow of colors would finally be validated and recognized.
Alicia Doo Castagno goes on to say that “the Multiracial Movement’s participants did not advocate for radical change outside of expanding racial data tabulation. She is right—we had our hands full. She is also wrong—tabulation is extremely important and is something the wannabe academics have never understood. So be it—remain uninformed about the real specifics of this issue and take those dollars doled out to finance your error ridden “thesis papers,” if it makes you happy.  
Then comes this: “Other academic criticism of interracial family organizations similarly castigates the white women in leadership roles for failing or refusing to engage with racial issues.” Huh? What do you think we were doing?!
We white mothers of the multiracial movement never promised to make America a racial utopia, but we are constantly accused of not succeeding with that small feat. This land is not just your land, but being critical of us for not correcting hundreds of years of racial strife is just plain ridiculous. We just set out to make things more accurate for our multiracial children.
The really funny thing about this is that it was the academics who warned me in 1990 that I would “never change the way the government counted race—never.” They didn’t think we should even try. Then they blamed us when we did and it didn’t go the way they wanted.
Everyone who has read the thesis in question and my reply, at my request, has also commented that staff at Wesleyan University should never have let this piece of drivel through. Some of my readers are academics themselves. So shame on Wesleyan.
Rocket scientist Alicia Doo Castagno, goes on to say the following:
          “Interracial family groups’ white female leaders had already set the course for multiracial advocacy by the time that mixed heritage adults took over leadership in organizations founded by white women.”
The real story is the ship was sinking and the white female leaders were the only ones willing to set any course. Carlos Fernandez was still scratching his head over how to get non-profit status, and Ramona Douglass—R.I.P.—was mostly whining about her roommate, or hoping to score points with the NAACP and go on to be a national hero because that’s what they promised her in return for her vote in making multiracial kids black.  
The author of this thesis, in addition to not being able to write a simple, declarative sentence, also says that “we” excluded non-white multiracials. Perhaps Alicia needs a drug test. Funny, I don’t recall any of her questions to me along those lines, but I can tell you with all certainty that we would have been happy to offer membership to her own mother if she only had asked.
The entire mess of a paper is concluded this way:
Based on my primary and secondary research, however, the racial identity of these “founding mothers” did influence the ways in which they chose to engage in multiracial politics.
Their inability to fully break free of their white privilege ultimately grounded founding mothers’ multiracial politics in privileged notions of racial safety, separate spheres ideology, and— in Graham’s case in particular—racially unreflexive [sic] forms of advocacy.
I’m still amazed that the word “paradigm” wasn’t anywhere in that paragraph. Much of Castagno’s argument throughout referred to white mothers and their white privilege. I call that the “typical academic fallback.” They go there when their dreamed up lies and stories don’t work, which is pretty much all of the time.
Being a white woman no more equals “white privilege” than multiracial equals black. Think about it. 
Susan Graham, who is very proud to be one of the founding mothers of Project RACE and the multiracial movement. 

Multiracial Movement Part 2

Multiracial Movement Suicide? Part 2
Now that we know from Part 1 that I never had a picture of Newt Gingrich in my home, let’s move on to my politics instead of personal attacks about my home decorating savvy. Alicia Castagno in “’Founding Mothers:’ White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1979-2000)” calls me a conservative Republican.
Oy, where do I start? I’m actually a pretty liberal Democrat—always have been except for a short time when I was a registered Libertarian; hardly a radical moment. I do admit that I vote in every election, but I’m sure Alicia does too, along with all the academics.
The plain Jane truth is that before I came along, everyone in the multiracial movement was terrified of politics, especially the men for some reason. Alicia criticizes me endlessly about not having studied enough about multiracial politics before starting Project RACE. The following are just a few of the reasons for that:
1.     There wasn’t much available about multiracial politics. The groundbreaking book Who is Black? By F. James Davis was published in 1991. I called him one day and we not only had a lovely chat, but he and his wife came to visit me and my family. On a lovely evening in Atlanta, we talked into the night and the academic and I actually spoke the same language.
2.     The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport was in its 25th Anniversary Edition printing by the time I founded Project RACE, but it was an important classic. Most of today’s “multiracial academics” were probably still in diapers back then.
3.     Shelby Steele and Cornel West were starting to put out more mainstream books for the academics and us poor advocates who had learned to read, spent some time with those publications. Yes, the “privileged white women” read books by black men.  
4.     I had to make some quick choices, and the first one was whether to spend precious time reading what there was to read about the history of race relations from the time of the cavemen or learn all I could very quickly about public policy and the concerns of the interracial community. I chose to put my time where I could do the most good for the most multiracial children. I was born in Detroit and spent my formative years there; I lived in Atlanta when I started Project RACE and hung out with an Abernathy, a Portier, a King, CNN folks, and a lot of other people who were as happy to take credit as I was to give it to them. I think I had a pretty good background in race relations, civil rights, and discrimination. We at Project RACE also took crash courses in demographics, data analysis, non-profit status, law, business, government (local, state, and federal) and so much more.
5.     I think my political “wins” for the multiracial community came from the fact that I was fearless.  People have asked me for years how I got Senator Abernathy to champion our bill in Georgia and I still reply, “I called him on the phone, explained what was needed and he said, ‘Let’s do it.” Tada. The stories about what came about in the next THREE years that we worked that bill in Georgia will be in the book I am writing.
6.     You might want to keep in mind that this was well before we were all on the Internet, and it wasn’t as easy as googling information or taking an online class. Not many of us plain folk had email, but the academics were among the first to get it, and the first to abuse the public forum.
Alicia confesses on page 10 that “I focus specifically on the group Project RACE and its founder, Susan Graham, to illustrate the ways in which Graham’s racial identity informed her political decisions.” Wow. I bet she doesn’t even know my birthday or that I’m a redhead, but she does know how I was raised, my full racial and ethnic heritage, my religion, and my deepest private political thoughts. The girl is amazing! I happen to know that Alicia is part Asian, but I don’t think that says anything about her politics. I just can’t lump people of any racial or ethnic heritage into one box and I would never even think to make such assumptions.
Honestly, the rest of this disaster of a thesis is pretty boring same old shit, just re-quoted. It isn’t even well written. It’s more genuflecting to Rainier Spencer and his favorite mouthpiece and librarian, Steve Riley. Alicia even mixes in a little Eric Hameko, which is always good for a few laughs. There are more quotes from academics I don’t recognize, and never spoke to, but who apparently had webcams on me for 23 years.
Also keep in mind that the lofty period of time this was supposed to cover was 1979-2000. I came on the scene in 1990 and the Census Bureau/Office of Management and Budget (OMB) fiasco was pretty much a done deal by 1997. So Alicia didn’t cover 21 years, she actually tried to delve into 7 years, and never did write a word about Project RACE’s huge victories in many states and other venues. And by the way, we’re not done yet. I recently received a letter from OMB advising me of their plans for race and ethnicity up to and including the 2020 Decennial Census. Did you get yours?
My recommendation is that you skip the next 80 pages or so and go right to the absurd conclusions that start on page 99 titled, “CONCLUSION: THE THWARTED UTOPIAN POTENTIAL OF MULTIRACIAL POLITICS.” Yeah, that’s where I’ll be for Part 3, just as soon as I can get to it.
-Susan Graham

Multiracial and The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times


Northwest Voices

Entire heritages should be recognized

In “Growing up multiracial but not colorblind,” [NWThursday, March 21] a columnist interviewed an academic, who apparently included me in a book she wrote, although she never spoke to me. The author said I had my young son testify before Congress, so that he did not have to identify as black. Huh? Oh that crazy old misinformed notion.

We testified so that people who wanted to recognize their entire heritage could do so. Yes, we were asking the government to give up that old one-drop rule once and for all. The author apparently wants to hold on to it, since she refers to herself as a mixed-race African American, which says to me that she is still not willing to give up the one-drop rule that she accuses me of perpetuating.

The academics and their vocal mouthpieces really do need to get a new rant. If they could only give up old tales about white women of multiracial children, perhaps they could see reality.
–Susan Graham, executive director, Project RACE, Inc., Los Banos, Calif