Friday, October 21, 2011

And Either I’m Nobody, Or I’m A Nation

Climbing into a rickshaw or walking through the busy streets of Udaipur, Rajasthan, I see an expression I never knew I longed for. 

My poor Hindi, my all too eager smile, and my unsure footsteps in this unknown city belie my foreignness.
But, perhaps, in all other ways my face, my color can easily be lost in the interminable swirl of browns and thick blur of vivid all around me.

I arrived in India two weeks ago, the end (or perhaps just the beginning) of a deeply personal journey I began over three years ago to figure out what it meant (if anything) for me to be Indian. What does it mean, when I had been raised African and Afro-Costa Rican; when my memories are wrapped up in the black and brown faces of my family and their stories of “back home”;  when even my very politics are steeped in blackness and latindad and when language and culture anchor and bind me to proud histories that trace the routes of slavery and migration from Africa, to the Caribbean, Central and North America?

It seems fitting then, that the Universe took her poetic license and fashioned the Dominican Republic--really the Caribbean--as the cuna, the cradle of my multitudes. My creation story, my own brief and wondrous life began in the “Ground Zero of the New World.” There begins my myth threaded into the countless other magic fictions born there  everyday.

India too, like Africa, feels like an ancestral place to my very being. Something about its haze, its smell, its taste, its movement is reminiscent of the other "back homes" etched in my rememory. In Hindi, 'to remember' and 'to miss' (as in I miss you), are the same word... And I miss what I cannot remember.

Some days India feels like a coming home, a place of rest. Maybe it’s all the Octavia Butler sci-fi I’ve
been reading, but thousands of feet in the air, tossing in my seat on my Air India flight, listening to "Shiva Mantra" and "Aisa Des Hai Mera"  on repeat, I had a fever dream, a dozy hallucination that had me wondering if land, earth, tierra... had flesh memories. If the minute I stepped on Indian soil, she would know me. Understand me, if only in theory, as one of her own. Perhaps it's the same way we Africans in the diaspora long for the continent, long for recognition, familiarity. I wanted it to be a fiercely intimate pact between us that, “You are a part of me, and yes, I am a part of you.”-- A mutual agreement, a validation. Something I have no need to defend to anyone, Indian, African, Latin@ or otherwise. 

Home and nation, culture and race, history and destiny, truth and myth.... questions yet unformed, answers still hidden and scattered across the world.

My story Osiris. And I, I could be Isis.

* Inspired by Junot Diaz’s novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Derek Walcott's poem at the beginning of the novel

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oberlin College's Multiracial Student Resource Pamphlet

Here's the Oberlin Multiracial Student Resources pamphlet I put together this past summer.

A few things didn't make it into the final version. This section came out of a discussion with the students from the ExCo. I've included them below:

A Mixed Toolbox 

MIXED ME: Empowering Multiracial Identities

“To thine own self...”: Self-identifying:  Develop confidence in identifying yourself and demand that others respect your identity.

“The more you knowwww”- Education: Explore your own background as well as resources, writing, scholarship dealing with multiracial experiences, histories of people of color and issues of social, economic and racial justice.

Power To the People: Developing Critical Consciousness: Understand the role of power & privilege and systemic structures on your identity and how it relates to that of other historically marginalized or underrepresented groups. 

In Solidarity: Be An Ally: Support other multiracial people, but also other historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.


Understand that the question “What are you?” can be a very sensitive one for multiracial people.

Be conscious of how simple remarks or even compliments can “other” or “exotify” multiracial people.

Be mindful not to homogenize mixed experiences and identities. Multiracial identities are diverse and complex. They may  be distinct from other identities and experiences, but there are also many commonalities and shared histories.

Recognize that multiracial people indeed exist and include multiraciality in discussions on race and multicultural activities and events.

Respect everyone’s process. Respect that individuals have the right to self-identify and that policing mixed identities or ignoring them altogether can be alienating to multiracial people.

Take time to explore and read up on multiracial issues. Yet perhaps most importantly, take time to explore your own identities and the spaces you occupy in the social system as it relates to power and privilege.

* Please see the MRC’s Privilege, Allyship & Safe Space Resource pamphlet for more information and definitions.

Mixed Dreams Guest: Rita Kamani-Renedo

On a New York-based, historically situated Multi Narrative
by Rita Kamani-Renedo 

On Monday, September 26th, I traveled to Brooklyn after work to attend an event at the Brooklyn Historical Society called “Who Are You? A discussion about mixed heritage.” I didn’t know what to expect but I was ecstatic (well, as ecstatic as one can be on a Monday after a full day of work). My “multi” friends and I had long contemplated the need for a conversation about multiraciality and mixed-heritage that is situated within New York’s unique historical context—a fabric that is woven from narratives of immigration, urban decay and plight, gentrification, racial altercations, ethnic enclaves, and post-9/11 politics. Many conversations that I have been a part of have assumed that multiracial means “White and something else.” Those of us who are the products of two people of color or two (or more) distinct immigrant identities have sometimes felt that conversations around racial mixing have excluded our experiences, and there was always something about a New York-focused discourse that seemed would embrace our experiences much more. We “East Coasters” have often lamented the lack of public dialogues, artistic projects or action campaigns around mixed issues in places like New York or Washington when we look west towards California and the Pacific Northwest, where organizations like the Mavin Foundation, the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and the Association of MultiEthnic Americans seem be constantly reshaping public dialogue on issues of multiraciality. But the West Coast’s history of racial mixing is uniquely shaped by its histories of expansionist policies, the encounters/destruction of the region’s Native American, Spanish, French and Anglo inhabitants, immigration through Angel Island, the Gold Rush and the construction of railroads that brought thousands of Chinese workers to the region, and of course, the region’s geographic proximity to Asia, Mexico and Central America. The demographic, racial, and cultural landscapes of the region’s urban centers have also transformed racial and ethnic identities in ways that are vastly different from the ways that identities and histories have crossed borders in New York. Thus, a conversation that considers New York’s distinct historical, economic, ethnic, racial and cultural terrain is necessary, now more than ever.

This is precisely the vision of the folks at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) who have initiated the Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations (CBBG) public programming and oral history project. This initiative seeks to provide a forum for dialogue around “mixed-heritage families, race, ethnicity, cultural and identity, infused with historical perspective.” Such an historical perspective will allow the project’s participants to explore the stories of mixed-heritage individuals and communities who have been shaped and who have shaped Brooklyn’s own racial history. Upcoming events will examine the 1991 Crown Heights Riots, Spike Lee’s iconic Jungle Fever, and Kip Fulbeck’s The Hapa Project. This conversation is bound to draw upon Brooklyn’s rich cultural mélange—Jews, Poles, Haitians, Russians, Dominicans, Italians, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, West Indians, Mexicans, Chinese, not to mention the hipsters, the hip-hop-ers, the musicians, writers, artists and activists who call Brooklyn home. I am gradually learning more about the CBBG, and last night’s event helped me to understand more about the vision and scope of this exciting project.

The evening began with an introduction by Jen Chau, the Founder and Executive Director of Swirl. Jen’s comments (which started with a personal anecdote about the time a 2000 Census workers curiously asked Jen what country “Biracial” is) were followed by brief presentations by Judith Sloan, co-author and co-creator of Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, Suleiman Osman, author of The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification, Race and the Search for Authenticity in Post-War New York, and Katrina Grigg-Saito, creator of the documentary and installation, FishBird. All three of the panelists focused on the historical context and the geographic complexities of multiraciality. Katrina Grigg-Saito’s project actually emerged when she heard a woman in the UK say, in reference to mixed-race people, “a fish can love a bird but where would they live?” This question really touches upon one of the central questions explored at Monday’s event and one that I have long pondered – what does location have to do with one’s experience as a person of mixed-heritage? This really begs two more sub questions that I am exploring in this post and will continue to throughout this project. First, if there is a need for conversation around mixed-heritage that is situated within a particular geographic and historical context—Brooklyn, to be exact—what will that conversation look like? Second, for those of us who identify as mixed-heritage, how does our geographic location—and all the cultural, racial, economic, political and social implications it bears—impact or shape our experiences? Are there certain places—cities or countries, perhaps—that can feel more like “home” to mixed-heritage folks?

This last question takes me back to one mixed dreamer’s recent post about the concrete jungle itself. As Nicole so eloquently said, “In New York, my identity and all that I am seems to make sense. The ‘uniqueness’ of my own life is but a thread in the fabric, part of the millions of interwoven identities and narratives of migration, change, process and formation that make the city a home for the transient, a place for the liminal, those existing here and there and yet all the while staking claim and setting roots deep in the here.” If you haven’t yet, check out Nicole’s reflections on space, place, race and how “region and geography play such a critical role in identity formation”. She refers to how the city’s histories of migration, movement, and conflict have brought together Blackness and Latinidad in ways that have not been possible in other parts of the United States. The city’s Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Trinidadians, Jamaicans, Guyanese, Haitians, and so many more embody Afro-latinidad and reaffirm the multi identities that emerged from the mixing of people across continents, cultures, and colors.

This makes me think about my own unique history. When I tell people I was born in Queens, we often make jokes – “Where else would an Indian man from Ethiopia and a Chilean woman meet and make a baby?” Queens—the most diverse county in the United States of America. Ride the 7 train and in addition to passing the historic and extraordinary tattooed walls of 5Pointz, you’ll pass through Pakistan, Ecuador, Colombia, Russia, China, India, Turkey, Bangladesh…all without a passport! Now, I’m the last person to feed you the “melting pot” story that so many New York-lovers sing and dance. There are lines, borders, walls, boundaries, all throughout New York. I live on a block that is primarily Dominican. You cross the street and move away from Broadway towards Amsterdam, and you’re on a block that is almost exclusively African American or African. One block in Jackson Heights will have you speaking Spanish and eating arepas, while on the next one smells of curry and sounds of Amitabh Bachchan overwhelm your senses. And while gentrification might be pushing these lines in one direction or another, the stark differences and inequalities can still be found. My love of Queens does not equate to any kind of claim that all the Colombians and Russians and Chinese and Pakistanis are getting together and making Col-Rus-Chin-stanis (I tried). It’s not that simple, and that’s not what “multi” is about. But, there’s GOTTA be something about the geographic intimacy of so many different nationalities that allows for the unique coming together of histories and identities that otherwise may never interact.

Perhaps this hunch is what always drew me to New York growing up. I was born here but sadly, not raised. It wasn’t until my late teens and early twenties that I started spending time here and eventually moved back to the city of my birth. It was then that I realized there was something that felt like home about this fast-paced, walk-fast, look-straight-ahead, hustle-and-bustle, belly-of-the-beast world. Despite the city’s vastness and the fact that to visit a friend I sometimes have to travel 1.5 hours on a train, I have gained a sense of community here that I could never create in any other cosmopolitan center. Perhaps it’s because, as Staceyann Chin so beautifully explains, “I fit in because there was no criterion for belonging.” I believe that in New York City, you can be many things at once. Perhaps the boxes are not as rigid or people don’t expect you to fit into them so much. Or maybe, you just get to pick many and move throughout them as you please. As Staceyann Chin, a Black, Chinese, queer feminist from Jamaica, said about her beloved Brooklyn, “These noisy streets offer ample room, and by extension time, to hate Jamaica, to fall in love with Jamaica, and finally, to find the medium through which I can separate the impossible from the possible and become my most comfortable self.” I believe that in being in New York, you can still continue to be in other places, other countries, other worlds. Perhaps I am my most comfortable self when I can carry my histories within me and know that around me, identities that are as disparate as my own are colliding and changing every day around me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Notes on A Work in Progress

This past summer I've been in hibernation--hard at work on what I've dubbed a "multifesto." My hope is to finish it up by October and publish the full text electronically on for your downloading pleasure. The "multifesto" is constructed as my blog meets topics from the Oberlin ExCo course meets my inner thoughts on multiraciality in the U.S.  Since I'll be on hiatus for a number of months working in India beginning this fall, I wanted to leave something substantial behind while I'm gone.

Below is a sneak peek of the work in progress with just a few of of the more or less finished pages. The multifesto is a combination of short essays and resources. So far, the publication is over sixty pages of what I'm hoping is some pretty good stuff. So feel free to take a look!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Made in New York

It's been stick to the pavement, fry an egg on your dashboard, Afreeecahh hot in New York City for the past week. Last night I ventured out of my self-imposed hibernation in the air conditioned indoors to visit a close friend and fellow mixed dreamer, educator and activist, Rita. Walking down Amsterdam Ave toward Broadway last night, merengue blasting from open parked cars, folks perched on their respective stoops and street corners, humid air smelling vaguely of something rank, fried and sweet all at the same time, fire hydrants raining down the streets and kids, men, women--young and old jumping into the spray, I got that feeling I always get when I'm back home, feet slapping quickly against the pavement, moving, always moving... That feeling that I am part of the mass of bodies in movement, the steaming concrete (which itself seems to breathe), the hard lines and rough edges above and below me, the gritty air and the unrelenting syncopated rhythm of the city. Among the many things Rita and I talked about during my visit was exactly why New York made us feel this way. Why NY feels more like "home" than any other place?
If there were a map of NYC and we were all dots on it, all the dots would be moving and buzzing around. We're a city of transience. I just don't think that happens everywhere else. -Rita Kaman

For the mixed and multicultural, finding place and belonging can be a struggle- no big there. Though I mostly grew up in the suburbs of Staten Island (the forgotten borough of NYC), I remember being surrounded by Latino, African, South Asian and Caribbean folk in Jamaica, Queens and even later in Staten Island growing up in predominantly white spaces, but where white identity was tied to great pride in being Italian, Irish, Russian, Armenian etc. I went away to college, have traveled extensively both at home and abroad and it's more than just the fact that I grew up here. In New York, my identity and all that I am seems to make sense. The "uniqueness" of my own life but a thread in the fabric, part of the millions of interwoven identities and narratives of migration, change, process and formation that make the city a home for the transient, a place for the liminal, those existing here and there and yet all the while staking claim and setting roots deep in the here. 

In diverse places like SoCal, I often feel uneasy with just how vast and yet disconnected all the parts of the city are (I call the NYC subway the Great Equalizer). I guess on a more personal note I'm uneasy with how Caribbean identities, black identities don't often fit into conceptions of latinidad, or how latinidad doesn't quite fit into understandings of blackness out west. And it makes sense Cali, has had a different history. That simple understanding of the mixed nature of latinidad and blackness is something that I see reflected in my own family, but also all around me in NY with Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Trinidadians, Jamaicans, Bajans, Guyanese etc. Even within the African American history of New York you see that intersection in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem and Washington Heights, decades of living, loving, struggling and yes even conflict between African American, Caribbean and Latino folk have left a distinct mark on race relations in the city. The city is segregated and divided along racial and class lines like all cities and the gentrification of historically black neighborhoods has already changed the face of communities across the city.
So let's not get it twisted. This is not just an I Love NY and there's no place on earth like it ramble. The specters of violence, racism, post 9-11 trauma, Islamophobia, xenophobia, police brutality, racialized and sexualized violence, gentrification, poverty, hunger, homelessness and straight-up down and dirty NY crime as old as the city itself continue to loom large.  And no, this is no multicultural utopia or mixed-race mecca. But it is my home. 

My love of NY and reflecting on how my life here has provided challenges but also valuable opportunities to navigate and understand my own identity and that of those around me, I got to thinking about how region and geography play such a critical role in identity formation. A great deal of scholarship and discussions around mixed issues has historically had a West Coast leaning. And indeed, the multiracial movement and much of the major organizations, events, scholars and activists are based in California. This leaning can tend to privilege a specific set of experiences, identities and even socioeconomic issues. But my time working at Oberlin-- OHIO, of all places, where I saw more mixed people, couples and families in two years than I had in 22 years of living in New York or living in Europe (a veritable Petri dish of multiculturalism and immigration in the 21st century) challenged me to think about the different forms mixed identity and multiculturalism writ large take on nationally and transnationally. In addition, being a part of the Other Tongues Anthology and reading the experiences of women from both Canada and the U.S. also prompted me to ask how does the conversation around these issues change? What do things look like from the distinct places in which we stand?  What makes home? What creates a sense of place and belonging?

 It still amazes me that when I am away from New York, the angles of me cry out for the subways, the impolite service industry and the streets teeming with cultural insanities.-Staceyann Chin from "No One Cared If I Kissed Girls" in Other Side of Paradise

Monday, June 13, 2011

Generation Mix? A Statement of Purpose

Call it a quarter-life crisis. A change in the winds, perhaps. Maybe it's my sad stack of rejection letters from graduate schools. Whatever the case may be, of late,  I've been having a bit of an intellectual, (even vaguely political) existential crisis when it comes to "mixed-race" issues. So, almost two years since I embarked on my self-proclaimed crusade toward a radical engagement with mixed issues, it's about that time to remind myself of the basics that started it all.

First off let me state: I'm a product of my times. I'm a millenial. We try hard to hang on to those foggy late 80s early 90s memories, pretending we weren't drooling Gerber mush over our bibs the night the Berlin Wall came down-- all in vain attempts to separate ourselves from our younger text-happy, equally tech-junky, mass media dependent, Disney Channel-fed, over-stimulated siblings born after 1990. We're all the same. Part of the newly christened "Boomerang Generation" of wandering twentysomethings who were raised partly, in the boomtown years of Clinton, but who really came of age under the dumbing apathy and silencing control of Bush Jr. We've gotten a pretty bad rep for being coddled, apolitical, just a touch nihilistic and downright lazy (Look! in our defense, try graduating from college right at the start of one of the greatest recessions in our country's history!)

And yet, we were the generation credited as most responsible for getting the first black president in the White House. We're the generation with the largest number of college graduates in the nation's history-- though we're now making history as much for being degreed as we are for being indebted and jobless. We're among the first children of the Internet age, though we vaguely remember early life without it. We're the "Ism" kids-- growing up amidst more (inter)national and societal ideological shifts and trends than we could imagine.

I myself was spoon-fed a good amount of liberalism... I blame that mostly on my New York roots and liberal arts education. The most activist and progressive among us have a nostalgic leaning towards revolutionary iconography of the 60s and 70s-- because if truth be told, we have few contemporary heroes... We were born at the height of multicultural politics only to currently find ourselves right on the cusp of colorblindness and post-raciality. We've been called Generation Mix- with a growing number of us choosing to claim multiple racial and ethnic identities. All of these things among many others have informed the type of young adult I've become and (most relevant to this conversation) how I see myself as a woman of color, as a mixed person in the U.S.....It's to my generation and those that follow that I often find myself speaking.

Mixed-Consciouness: In Search of a Political Education

Political education is crucial and yet, many of us are painfully deficient. For me political education is about developing a critical consciousness- a fancy word for a way of thinking and being and perhaps, most importantly understanding who we are and how we fit (and don't fit) into wider systems and structures of power, privelege and opression we are all a part of. Since mixed folk have historically never been recognized as legitimate social or political subjects in this country, figuring out who we are let alone how we fit into these systems can be a struggle to say the least.
So how do we politically educate and raise consciousness-- individually and collectively? Well, for me it starts with taking a look back into our pasts. Now, the type of reading and understanding of history I'm taking about it not this often random, ahistorical revisionist type that attempts to reclaim "mixed-race" people of the past and present: DuBois was mixed and so is Slash!!!Wooot!!!(though very cool, nonetheless). Our history is there, between the lines of  Indigenous histories, Black histories, colonial history,U.S. expansion, immigration, Asian-American history, Latina/o & Chicana/o histories,  U.S. military imperialism etc etc.-- we’re all there, we are and our ancestors are all part of these histories. Even me, with parents who didn’t come to this country until the early 70s. My history is nevertheless tied to immigrant histories and policies that made it possible for my parents to come here, my connection to Black, Latina/o and East Indian histories are rooted in my parent’s identities as part of the wider African and Indian diasporas and systems of global colonialism and imperialism that spread millions around the world over centuries and subjected them to the phenomenon of racialization.

I developed the "Mixed Dreams"  Experimental College course at Oberlin in a humble attempt to patch together a Mixed History 101 and to start to provide a “political education”--tools with which young mixed folk and transracial adoptees could explore who we are, where we’re coming from and how to feel empowered enough to locate ourselves in those histories and identities. I’ve also had students who identify as monoracial and my greatest hope is that we can use discussions on mixed identities, to also break open myths of monolithic identities, cultural & racial authenticity and purity. Isn’t being a 'hyphen American' in key ways also a “mixed” experience? Can we also discuss queer identities as parallel to if not linked to “mixed” experiences as well? What about issues of socioeconomic class and access. In the course, we speak very specifically about mostly “first generation mixed-race experiences post 1967 (acknowledging all the while the limitations of that)-- but we also use multiraciality as a lens through which we can engage with a wider range of issues concerning identity, belonging and perhaps most significantly social justice. In doing so, the discussion changes from some unique, community-specific discussion on our experiences that happens behind closed doors, into a wider, more powerful dialogue we can all deeply benefit from having.

Living on the Color Line: Fighting for Social Justice

Mixed folk's racial loyalties and politics are often under attack. There are quite a number of haters out there who for good reason, are wary of the multiracial wave and its implications on racial justice. The need to be recognized as multiracial on forms and in the general schema of American racial politics has been seen as an empty, individualistic desire that is not only pointless, but feared as destructive to the advancement of other "monoracial" communities of color. Those fears are not without some basis. But I am starting to get a tad defensive about people questioning just how “down” mixed people can be. It’s getting old. It’s true, as mixed people we live on the colorline, but just living there isn’t going to provide any buffer or change much if any of the tensions and violence that still continue to erupt on that line. I believe the only way we can truly start to be a part of changing the racial landscape and speaking some truth to power is by tapping into what Prof. G. Reginal Daniel  (Sociology, UC Santa Barbara) called the ‘greatest tool in our arsenal-- our anti-racist possibilities.’ For me that requires us to tell our stories (the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival is truly committed to that), critically and with sensitivity while educating ourselves and building that consciousness so that we can find the voice to say,  
I’m mixed and proud, my mixed identity is rooted in the legacies and struggles of people of color in this country and transnationally and I recognize the privileges that can effect the ways I move through this world in relation to white supremacy and power.  I won’t collude or be coopted by disguised white supremacy  and its insidious henchmen Multiculturalism, Colorblindness and Post-racialism. I’m no mixed-up, confused, tragic anything, nor am I some hybrid, superhuman. I’m family,  a legitimate member of various communities--I’m a partner, an ally, and I stand and act in solidarity.

Friday, June 10, 2011

4th Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival!

Happy Mixed Heritage Month!!! This weekend June 11th- 12th is the 4th Annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles. Check out the schedule of events here!

The Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for
the Arts
, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt
organization. Contributions on behalf of the Mixed Roots Film &
Literary Festival
must be made payable to the New York Foundation for
the Arts
, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  
Please support this project with your tax-deductible
Donate on-line at donation link. Or send checks payable
to New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Dusky Sally Productions PO
Box 291775, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Please specify “Mixed
Roots Film & Literary Festival”
in the memo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obama Releases "Official Birth Video"

President Obama's got jokes! At the Annual White House Correspondents Dinner this past Saturday, Obama takes a moment to respond gracefully and humorously to the birth certificate spectacle and The Donald (who was in attendance). I love my president.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Outsiders Within

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
-President Obama, Election Day Speech November 2008

"A natural born citizen is a person born with unalienable and undivided allegiance to the United States of America. And this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office never had. "-From The Birthers website


Call me unpatriotic. Call me unAmerican.
But I have to admit, I've had all too many days in my short life when I've been ashamed to be an American. Today was such a day-- as I read the news articles and watched the television coverage announcing that 44th President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama was indeed born on U.S. soil (I didn't realize so many people were doubtful) as proven by his birth certificate. I felt sick watching Donald Trump's statement posted above. Sick thinking that people felt they should be demanding proof from Obama of his U.S. birth to begin with. Sick that it has been framed as something "witheld" and "concealed" from the American public whose right it is to know without a shadow of a doubt that Obama was born in the U.S. It makes me sick that no one is publicly asking why there is even a doubt in people's minds about Obama's birth and citizenship status in the first place...

Before today, I was one of those people that snickered at the foolishness of the "birthers"--so dedicated to getting their hands on Obama's birth certififcate,  questioning the legitimacy of his presidency on the grounds that he was not a natural born citizen.  I believed that efforts of the birthers and their supporters were ultimately ineffectual-- stupid and racist, but really just a blip. But apparently, (and sadly) they held enough sway to finally obtain Obama's birth certificate and make it public. And we're supposed to be "post-racial?" Can you imagine just how much power this small group of "birthers" and supportive voters in states like Iowa have, to be able to sit there and have their petulant, ludicrous demand met? The thought itself makes me shudder.

Today we saw a shining example of the twisted paradox that is the United States of America. In one moment we uplift our "multicultural" history as a part of the Great American Melting Pot (and parade it around the world and actually have the audamndacity to judge other people on how badly they're doing on civil rights and justice) and in another moment we scrutinize the leader of our country-- the praised "American son," the oft-celebrated "embodiment of the melting pot" and demand that he produce cold hard proof that he is indeed a natural born citizen of the United States of America. Obama produced his birth certificate in an attempt to finally shut down the birther's once and for all, and  to perhaps reveal their foolishness and demonstrate that amidst the countless more significant issues facing our world and country today, the matter of a simple piece of paper has consumed so much time and effort. Incredulously, even after the document was released, there are still those that believe the certificate was forged.

Today, was proof  (not that we needed it) to many of us-- people of color, immigrant mothers and fathers, immigrant daughters and sons that our claim to citizenship and belonging is not stable... it is contested and delegitimized at every turn from the seemingly benign inquiries about where we're really from from? to the same insidious hand of white nationalist supremacy that publicly questions the legitimacy of President Obama's black body--his mixed body and it's belonging in this nation.

You don't have to be an avid Obama supporter to recognize the blatant racism that underlies the "birth" issues ( Funny how no one is asking Senator John McCain for his birth certificate. He was born in Panama). This preoccupation with Obama's birth is in no way an isolated issue,-- a hiccup in our post-racial paradise-- but rather, a reminder that rhetoric such as this has been inscribed in the very nation-building history of our country. In my course today we covered mixed Asian-America and discussed the "mixed" experience of simply living on the hyphen, always having to validate the "American" part of your identity with other qualifiers like Native American (this is the one that gets me the most), African American, Japanese American, Mexican American. "American", apparently cannot stand on it's own and histories of exclusion and violence against communities of color as well as outright denial of citizenship time and time again have buttressed this need for constant acts of identification.

Later for the genocide and colonization of indigenous peoples who have long lost any "legitimate" claims to the land we now call the "United States" save for the reservations on which they were (dis)placed. Later for  the millions of Africans who were brought forcibly to the Americas and on whose backs and labor we built a powerful empire. Later for the millions of immigrants  who have claimed America as home and have labored for this country over generations. Later for all those who checked their heritage, histories and languages at the borders in order to access the elusive American dream/myth. Are these people and their descendants not part of the nation? Have they not proven their worth? Apparently not....

Must we be perpetual foreigners? Must our bodies always be markers of our difference? Will we forever be outsiders within?

I guess today, I'm angry and defeated. Tomorrow, I'll pick up the pieces and remember Obama's words--(however, cheesy and full of fuzzy feel good liberal multi-culti rhetoric) back in early 2008 and remember that the struggle continues and that I stand on the shoulders of those before me. Those who painstakingly carved a space for me to exist as a young woman of color in the 21st century. That space was not freely granted or written into the founding laws of this country, but it was fought for and will continue to be fought for as long as racism and injustice are the order of the day.  Tomorrow, I'll pick my torch back up, move forward and resist. 

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners — an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ethno-Ambiguo Hostility Syndrome and Other Mixed Symptoms

Am I to be cursed forever with becoming
somebody else on the way to myself?
~ Audre Lorde

Despite the twisted logic and lies of eugenics, scientific racism and old school anthropological research, none of us wear the completeness of who we are on our skin, in our eyes, the thickness of our lips, the squareness of our jaw or the texture of our hair. So why does our cultural, racial or ethnic legitimacy and authenticity have to come from how we look? How do we resist the colonizing gaze and decolonize our conceptions of beauty and aesthetics?  How can we find strength and empowerment and how can we break static definitions and categories of who we are if we insist on reading our bodies as if they should be a clear and discreet sum of our parts?
We are all marked. And we all take part in marking ourselves and others. Our skin carrying it with it visible and invisible stories of who we are (and aren't). How much control or power do we have over what others "see" and who we feel we are? Are we arbiters of our own appearance and how we choose to express it? Do collective politics trump our individual agency? Oh, the questions.....

Last week in my Mixed Dreams class we discussed the complexities of "keeping up appearances" as multiracial individuals (though, as always, I would argue the same goes for 'monoracial' people). Appearance plays a key role in conceptualizing  "mixed" experiences because it is often what marks our "difference." The privileging of the visual is something we can't quite escape and it holds a powerful currency all its own. And indeed, if we were all blind, would race exist at all? The visual is an inextricable part or the world we live in. Yet, while empowering aesthetics of people of color is a critical part of decolonizing our bodies- mixed aesthetics--mixed looks-- are often contested. And in this wonky racist world we live in, some would say rightly so. I'd like to take up two points-- paradoxes--of the "mixed experience"(forgive the generalization): on the one hand how do we critically discuss our racial appearance without always centering it and privileging "passing" and "ambiguity" as the text book markers of multiraciality and second, how do we as mixed people understand who we are and how we choose to present our racial selves as at once a personal choice, but one that is, ultimately, often externally ascribed and politically implicated as well.

Mixed Drag?: Performing Race
Marking our identities is something we all do -- sometimes consciously and sometimes not. Throughout my life and at different points in my personal growth I've marked my gender, my races and cultures-- often through clothing and hair. Froing my hair out to the best of my ability one day, wearing big earrings and blasting reggaeton the next, pressing my hair out or piercing my nose another day.... Some decisions were motivated by trying to fit into the communities that make up who I am, others were experimentations with my mixed looks and how far I could stretch them to encompass all that I am-- what would it take to look "blank enough"? But is "looking something" the same as "being something?" Is there something problematic and appropriative in the process of marking?
Some of my acts of marking and racial performing were attempts to hide what I felt were inadequacies--those gaps in authenticity. Looking back and even now as I continue to grow in my self-identification, I'm embarrassed at the ways in which I inevitably succumbed to essentializing myself and others on the road to de/reconstructing myself.  Yet you use the tools you are given... inadequate as they are.... and ultimately, I turned my racial marking into an exercise of empowerment and a grounding source developing my own style and embracing the fact that I can be all those different women. At the same time, I have butressed those empowered identities with the development of a critical consciousness. I would argue that, especially as a mixed-race black women I cannot express my racial identities without a deep understanding of my positionality in the systems and structures that unfortunately still control our lives. But with that understanding in mind, I'd like to think that I can inhabit both the personal and political spaces of my identities.... 

Oberlin College just finished hosting it's annual Drag Ball-- a celebration and homage to queer identities and performance. Despite the continuing violence inflicted on queer communities, the basic idea that gender is something that is performed and not biological is a commonly accepted one in the world of progressive liberal bubbles.
And while I am often wary of using "queer" as a catch all phrase or a blanket theoretical lens because of its political significance,  discussing multiracial identities and queer identities-- particularly when thinking about trans and  gender non-conforming folk provides some really provocative insights into racial identities and appearance as well. Ultimately, we all perform our gender, but also our race. But are there different implications for performing our gender and our race? Is the relationship to power different when moving between genders as opposed to moving between racial identities? In class, there was a unanimous discomfort with the idea that race can basically be a choice. While empowering for many, if anyone can be whatever race they feel like, how do you respond to a person of color saying they are white or a white person saying they are a person of color? There were some interesting ethical concerns  I couldn't quite put my finger on underlying this discomfort that weren't present in discussions of gender that suggest some distinct considerations when it comes to thinking about race and gender. 

 Racial Spies & Imposters: On Passing & Authenticity
There's an overwhelming amount of scholarship on multiraciality and racial ambiguity. There's also a weird pathology that accompanies these discussions- remnants of hybrid degeneracy and marginal man stereotypes of multiracial people in U.S. history. While these are important issues, I often wonder how much we limit ourselves by constantly reducing mixed identities to preoccupations with passing and ambiguity. I don't want to downplay the fact that for many of us this is cause for a great deal of anxiety about place and belonging. Feelings of inadequacy or feeling like a racial spy or even an imposter aren't healthy for anyone's identity formation. There are also so many external factors that police those lines. The gatekeepers are often times, members of our own communities. Yet instead of thinking about multiracial identity as the identity for the racially ambiguous how can we redirect the lens and challenge ourselves and others to look at the diversity of appearances and yes, ambiguity that exist in all races. That redirection would perhaps also lend itself to creating safer more comfortable spaces for mixed folk because it would destabilize the farce of authenticity. I don't know how many mixed people feel this way, but I know that I was often consumed with the search for authenticity. And it wasn't until I understood that authenticity did not truly exist, that I was able to create and find spaces for myself and my identity. I also accessed my other identities through coming to a profound understanding of the mixedness of my blackness- my most visible and political racial identity. We all have a different process, but multiracial identification often comes under attack because it is conceptualized as simply the opposite of "monoracial"-- specifically monoracial communities of color-- and in doing so it falls into the same trap of essentialism and from the outside looks suspiciously separatist. That dichotomy "multiracial"/"monoracial" is itself a farce and one that we need to critically debunk. The debunking, however, does not have to come at the expense of silencing mixed identities. Instead, I'd like to think that it would strengthen and ground mixed identification.

Decolonizing Mixed Looks: The Politics of Mixed Aesthetics
One of the dangers of blindly kumbayahing ourselves into a multiracial/post-racial paradise is that we will fail to adequately heal the scars of internalized racism. Contrary to popular belief, mixed folk have not escaped unscathed by any stretch of the imagination. As a mixed black woman, I have inherited just as many complexes about my blackness and my mixedness. Our bodies and minds need to go through that important process of decolonizing. I use "decolonizing" before "empowerment" or "pride" because while other marginalized racial identities are deemed inferior in the US's color schema, multiracal identities (I would argue some more so than others-- crazy to think about a heirarchy or pigmentocracy within multiraciality) are increasingly praised. And look, that can and does mess with your head a little. But as I find myself saying all too often: whatever you do, don't drink the Kool-Aid! Because anyone can assert racial pride-- case in point our resident white supremacists. Acts of decolonizing are related to power and privilege and require a conscious politics of resistance and empowerment.

This is where knowledge of history and a political education becomes incredibly important on our road to a radical mixedhood. And I'm starting to get a tad defensive. But I can't fight alone. The multiracial collective is accused of being individualistic and even ahistorical. It is seen as having no concern for the needs of other communities or standing in solidarity with other communities of color. It's all about our personal right to choose and to hell with everyone else (that sentiment came up a lot during the fight for multiracial identification on the 2000 Census.) But we must remember, the minute multiracial people and families decided to mobilize for state recognition was the moment that mixed-race became a political identity. As such, that comes with a different set of implications that demand we go further than the personal. What we all could do well remembering is that before we could choose multiple boxes, we were all and still are part of the other "boxes." We can't blame civil rights organizations and advocates  for getting a little territorial. While we're over here celebrating our "right to choose" we've got things like racial profiling and the prison industrial complex destroying communities. We can't put the cart before the horse. I want to obliterate all these racial boundaries just as much as the next one, but we're still living in a world where these racialized identities matter and hold political significance.

Will we ever wake up from the sleep we've lulled ourselves into over the years? I refuse to collude with oppressive systems and structures. But will we ever be able to collectively create proud, politicized, anti-racist, anti-oppressive multiracial identities?
 And even as I continue to use "we," I sometimes find myself questioning  whether there is a "we" to speak of at all. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mixed Dreams ExCo Syllabus 2011

Check out the syllabus for my course!

Mixed Dreams ExCo Syllabus 2011
Oberlin College

Also take a look at this list of courses compiled by Steve Riley of Mixed Race

Monday, February 21, 2011

Containing Multitudes

"Communities had to be created, fought for, tended like gardens. They expanded or contracted with the dreams of men-- and in the civil rights movement those dreams had seemed large. In the sit-ins, the marches, the jailhouse songs, I saw the African-American community becoming more than just the place where you'd been born or the house where you'd been raised. Through organizing, through shared sacrifice, membership had been earned. And because membership was earned--because this community I imagined was still in the making, built on the promise that the larger American community, black, white, and brown, could somehow redefine itself-- I believed that it might over time, admit the uniqueness of my own life." - Barack Obama from Dreams From My Father

Alright, I know, I know, talking about Obama and multiraciality is like beating a dead horse. But, I swear, I have a really good point (or two) to make!


It sounds simple enough: Race is not biological, it's a social construct. Identities are fluid, they change and even expand over time. But most of U.S. society hasn't caught on yet. And ultimately we need to ask, who gains from keeping these strict boundaries around identities?

In the U.S. we've gotten pretty good at essentializing identities into strictly defined, carefully bound, digestible boxes. The black American community, in particular, has long been seen as a monolith-- a static and unassimilable one at that-- and yet nothing could be further from the truth. I recently watched the Kobina Aidoo documentary film The Neo African-AmericansThe film aims to explore issues facing Caribbean and continental African immigrant communities and their descendants in the U.S. Though, it was at best an introduction to some very deeply rooted issues concerning black people in the Diaspora, the film definitely brings up some provocative points around identity, authenticity and community. The film got me thinking about the (often invisible) multitudes racial and ethnic identities contain and how crucial and yet limiting the process of "self-naming" can be for historically marginalized groups. As people of color, many of us live on the "hyphen"-- as hyphen "Americans" in a way that members of white ethnic groups do not.

Indeed, many of the issues faced by mixed people, mirror those faced by many "monoracial" people of color, especially as our society becomes increasingly defined by it's heterogeneity while migration, gender, socioeconomic class and sexuality further shape and shift our identities over time. We're all struggling to define and (re)define who we are as individuals and as collectives. Thus, crises of authenticity, legitimacy, community, progress and belonging are not the sole domain of one particular ethnic or racial group. In significant ways, we can say that they have become woven into the very fabric of our racial inheritance in this country and as such we are ALL implicated:  black, brown and (perhaps especially) white in tackling these issues head on. 


Today, I attended a discussion on Nell Irvin Painter's polemic 2010 book, audaciously entitled A History of White People. In it she breaks down how whiteness has been constructed historically and has come to function in U.S. society as the marker of all that is "free", "unbound", "privileged", "powerful", and "sovereign". Painter's book ends with a compelling conclusion which suggests that since whiteness has, over time, shifted and changed (through simultaneous acts of inclusion/exclusion) to encompass certain groups (ie: the Irish, Italians, European Jews)--in the 21st century, the new beneficiaries of whiteness may actually be educated, wealthy black Americans. She cites Oprah as an example of such a black individual being included in the whiteness "club."And in a way it makes sense. Oprah, through her socioeconomic class, has ascended into the realm of of the "free", "unbounded" "privileged" "powerful" and "sovereign" which defines the essence of whiteness according to Painter. But does Oprah, really count? Individuals may be "let in," but the whole collective is ages away from gaining admittance.  Is this, then, really "whiteness" or something else entirely? Should we conflate socioeconomic class mobility with equally mobile racial identities in U.S. society? Poverty, state violence and the prison industrial complex continue to cripple communities.

Painter offers Obama as another example of an individual of color who is for all intents and purposes "white", not because he has a white mother-- but because of his status. He is, after all, a Harvard educated lawyer and the head of one of the most powerful empires (yes, I said empire) in modern history. True, Obama came at the right time in U.S. history. His multiracial body (however presumptuously) coming to represent race reconciliation and racial redemption. He is America. But while he may be the mirror, he also becomes the canvas upon which many liberals have haphazardly and yet desperately cast every dream of social change and justice in a country whose racial inheritance is dark and burdensome to say the least. In addition, despite his white ancestry, the political right challenges Obama's legitimacy at every turn-- his very claim to citizenship, nationality and belonging are contested. In significant ways, the tea party, birthers and even the less obvious, but no less insidious anti-Obama rumblings can also be seen as symptomatic of a crisis of whiteness, the upheaval of seeing a "black" man in the White House. Whiteness doe not suffer that same objectification, the same scrutiny, instability, contestation or (as I would argue is the case with Obama) the voracious consumption.  It is wholly free of it and protected from it, on both the individual and collective levels. So is Obama really white even according to Painter's criteria?

I consider the quote above, from President Obama's first book Dreams From My Father (which I half-jokingly call the story of how Obama became an African-American) to be one of the most profound statements about what it means to be black in America, but also what it means to be mixed in America. One need only go as far as this book, written years before Obama became president to understand (in his own words) his often contested racial identities

I'd also like to rethink the idea that whiteness has dibs on freedom and sovereignty. The fighter in me wants to believe, there is a way that we can think of blackness, or browness as "free" and "unbound" as well. Perhaps, not in a huge macro, super-structure way that magically dismantles centuries old inequalities in one fell swoop, but in a gradual manner that acknowledges the power of not just the individual, but also the marginalized masses to be agents and arbiters of their own destinies.

With that understanding, we can also  (re)imagine Obama's choice on the 2010 census to only check "Black" as staking claim to an identity he came to understand as just as much his own as his white identity and to claim as a form of political resistance--as a means to bring about change-- personally and collectively. It's just a hunch- maybe a crazy one. But no harm in considering it. Perhaps he's not limiting or making invisible all he is at all-- instead he is exercising his right to choose, name and define himself-- a right that was bitterly fought for by black people in the U.S years ago. And which is reflected in his words  "Through organizing, through shared sacrifice, membership had been earned. And because membership was earned--because this community I imagined was still in the making, built on the promise that the larger American community, black, white, and brown, could somehow redefine itself-- I believed that it might over time, admit the uniqueness of my own life."

Ultimately, America contains multitudes. Black contains multitudes just as white and Latin@, Asian mixed etc.  When will we accept the "uniqueness" of Obama's life--really, the uniqueness of our own lives--and let that wield a transformative power all its own?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Back to The Future: A Response to 'Young & Mixed in America'

"One in 19 people are born mixed race and if you keep mixing there's going to be an average color that pops out...probably not in the next decade, but probably in the next century or so things will have changed a lot because things are changing exponentially and because of that race will no longer be the big hot least not the way it is now.   Most people will be in some way mixed" NYT 1.20.11 "Young & Mixed in America"
Since the late 90s, every few years an article or segment appears in our mainstream media about mixed-race people in the U.S. The New York Times, in particular, has often kept its fingers on the multiracial pulse.
In 2001, it was a NYT article declaring that now, given the choice, 6.8 million Americans checked more than one box in the decennial census. This was followed by another article that same year: "Multiracial Identification May Affect Programs" which expressed concerns about what increased multiracial identification could do to state/federal programs and policies based on enforcing long fought for civil rights. In 2003, the NYT article "Generation E.A.: Ethnically Ambiguous," focused on media and advertising. In 2005 "When You Contain Multitudes,"(oddly enough published like a new trend under "Fashion & Style") covered MAVIN Foundation's highly anticipated "Generation Mix Tour."  The video "Being Mixed in America" and an article "Who Are We Now: New Dialogue on Mixed Race were featured in 2008. Throughout 2007 and 2008, a few other articles appeared discussing what President Obama's mixed heritage could mean about the future of race in the U.S. Most recently, this past Saturday, January 29th, 2011 the NYT featured a video and an article entitled "Young and Mixed in America" which cover the rise of multiracial-identified students and organizing on college campuses.
...Now, I've only been alive for twenty four years and I vaguely remember anything before the late 90s. But I've been getting this weird sensation lately, that when it comes to discussing mixed issues in this country we're like a broken record-- repeating the same basic information for the past 10 years-- Surprise! There's mixed people in the U.S. They are visible and starting to be more vocal about their identity. Soon we'll all be mixed. Yay! Full stop.
But when do we move past that? When does the cover story move further and more profoundly into the issue? Mixed people seem to be always in a process of "becoming", on the brink of fully "being" and reinventing the wheel every few years-- particularly younger generations.

I remember being a "multi baby" once in college, navigating my multiple identities and my spaces and finding and defining community for myself. The MAVIN Foundation was alive and well then, and I remember watching the film Chasing Daybreak about the Generation Mix Tour in a room full of other mixed students. Some students were mobilizing to specifically register other mixed people to be bone marrow donors. Others attended conferences solely dedicated to mixed students at other colleges. I remember when the first Kip Fulbeck book Part Asian, 100% Hapa came out and everyone wanted Kip to grace their campus. I also attended a small liberal arts college and was privileged to have a space where I could figure out what being mixed meant to me. Granted, it was always an uphill battle to figure out the needs of the mixed student community and there were always issues with support vs. activism, leadership, membership and organizing as with any student org. But, it was a start and one that many college students (let alone K-12 students) don't ever get to experience.

I work in higher education now and have found myself advocating for multiracial college students in a big way because it's true... the numbers don't lie and students are being even more vocal about the ways in which they choose to identify--mixed race or otherwise. But still, there are an overwhelming number of mixed students who come in feeling like they've been the "only ones" in their high schools and hometowns; mixed students struggling to navigate their spaces, not getting validation for their experiences and not hearing from either their peers or their professors about their history (yes, we have one-- several actually).

So, on the one hand it's amazing to know that there's visibility and recognition of the mixed community. Yet on the other, many of the articles I listed above speculate in some way, shape or form, what a mixed identity-- really, what a mixed body could mean for the "future" of race in America. I'm done with it. I kinda want to say... it's not about you right now, America. It's not about what "average color" is going to eventually "pop out"-- the browning vs. the whitening of America. My body will not be used as a launchpad toward some raceless, colorblind national myth or even as a resting place for dreams of race reconciliation. Not right now. Centuries of history has shown that mixing doesn't make race irrelevant. In key ways, race in the U.S. was constructed to confront the already existing reality of race mixing. So that can't possibly be the answer to our racial dilemmas. Since "multiracial" wasn't (and still isn't) a federally accepted racial categrory, no real comprehensive data exists before 2000 about how many people actually were of mixed race. But I'm sure that at the height of slavery, there was no doubt a sizeable amount of mixed people in the United States. They just weren't being counted, that's all.

What has changed drastically is the fact that "multiracial" is becoming more visible as a legitimate identity on its own. So, what I am more concerned with, is less about what this means for the racial redemption of America, but rather about how we empower and support that identity development-- critically and sustainably as parents and family, as educators, as peers, as policy makers and as a society. How can we educate, build community and reveal our histories-- those that already exist between the lines of various intersecting national and global histories? How can we contain all our multiple identities in a still rigid racial classification system and understand what it means to be mixed and black, mixed and Asian, mixed and white, transracially/transnationally adopted etc?

There's a spotty institutional memory that hasn't been passed down as fully as it could be and organizations who were at the forefront of advocacy work like MAVIN/The Mixed Heritage Center, MASC, iPride, AMEA are active (some less so than others) and media like the weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat among many others are still out there doing their thing. But few that aren't out on the west coast or weren't in some way connected to the early movement know anything about their existence. So we're left wandering around in the dark, trying to reinvent the wheel and making the same news over and over.

I want this generation and the next generation of mixed kids and adults to know that there was a movement, however flawed, however much a blip compared to things like the civil rights movement, but a movement nonetheless of activists and advocates, families and  young multiracial people that fought for recognition in the face of controversy and a centuries old system of power that served to either deny or grant people humanity based solely on the color of their skin.

Being mixed isn't some developmental phase you deal with in college and move past by your mid 20s. Nor is it a passing demographic or social trend. It's an identity and a lived experience.
It's ten years later, mixed folk. How far have we really gone? And how conscious are we of where we're headed?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4th Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival Coming this JUNE!!

The fabulous duo of Mixed Chicks Chat and their team of amazing organizers will be hosting the 4th Annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival in Los Angeles, California this June 11th- 12th at the Japanese American National Museum. The festival is currently seeking nominations for their event line-up! See their call for nominations below and if you have any great nominees fill out the survey by February 14th.

Seeking YOUR nominations!

What's the proudest Mixed moment of 2010?
What film or book best depicts the Mixed experience?*

We're gearing up for the:

June 11-12, 2011
to be held at the
Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles, CA!

And we need your help!  We are creating the Festival line-up and we'd like for
you to be a big part of the process.

This year we are going to have an Awards Presentation based on your nominations!  So we are asking you to nominate films, media, and literature in the following categories. And please feel free to make suggestions for more categories!

...drum roll, please...

The 4th Annual Mixed Roots Festival Nomination Categories are:
  • Best film or book depicting an interracial/intercultural relationship
  • Best film or book starring a person with a Mixed background
  • Best reveal of a person who is "passing"
  • Most historically accurate representation of the Mixed experience
  • Best commercial representing the Mixed experience
  • Best film or book representing the Mixed experience
  • Proudest Mixed moment of 2010
  • Your suggestions
We are accepting nominations until February 14,2011.  Voting will then take place from February 21,2011 - March 7, 2011.  The winners will be announced at the Festival in June!

to take the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival Nominations Survey!

*Remember, when you make your nominations, to consider that the "Mixed experience" refers to interracial/intercultural relationships, transracial/transcultural adoptions, and anyone who identifies as having biracial, multiracial, Hapa or Mixed identity.

Thank you for being a dedicated supporter of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival and for being a critical part in the planning this year.