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Half & Half


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by Kaia Fittz

 

There is my father, like dark chocolate. Like the midnight that comes after the daylight has gone to rest. His hair when grown out is a winding road in the midnight without any street lights lighting the way. Hair as dark as a silhouette in front of a sunset. Eyes as dark as the midnight sky, and when light is caught in them it acts as twinkling stars, ready to explode into something even more amazing. Smile as bright and wide as an explosion on a movie theater screen, making the audience gasp.

 

Then there is my mother, like white chocolate. She is the daylight that comes before the midnight awakes. Her hair is as straight as the sun's rays.Her hair is like the golden sun during the eclipse, blinding anyone who dares to look. Eyes as blue and bright as our very sky, and when light is caught in these eyes, all you can see is the most perfect cumulus clouds dancing, ready to move when night comes to reveal the moonlight. Smile thin but bright, like the crescent moon, giving anyone, even someone acting as the grinch, joy in their heart. 

 

And there I am, milk chocolate. Like the sunset connecting both night and day together, to create a beautiful twenty-four hour day. My hair is a winding midnight road with a streetlight at the very end. My hair is as thin as the sun's rays, but as dark as a silhouette. My smile like an explosion, so big that it makes my eyes disappear into face. I am like Goldilocks' porridge, not too this not too that, just right.

 

This piece was originally posted on kaiafittz.com


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BLACK ENOUGH FOR MY BABIES


 Xavia and her daughter

Xavia and her daughter

I was always aware, growing up, that I was neither white, nor black. No one directly called me out. Although, the question, "What are you?", did always feel like a public challenge. It wasn't spoken, but it didn't need to be. I didn't quite fit in on either side; not white enough, not black enough. I wasn't sure if I would ever belong to one group or the other, but as I grew up I learned that being white was never even an option. I was half and half, but the world never views white/black mixed kids as white. I guess that made me black enough by default. Eventually, I knew that I didn't need to be enough of anything, for anyone but myself. I choose the labels I wear. It never occurred to me, though, that any issues with racial identity would follow me into motherhood.

 

My children don't shun me, but they don't feel like I understand their experiences, as black kids, either. I didn't even know I was that different in their eyes until my daughter said to me, "Mom, how does it feel to be the only white person in a house with all black people?" OMSheeesh, I thought, you can't ask people that. Even if they're your mother. I wasn't really offended. I actually laughed in the moment. I've got that thick "motherhood" skin you need, to maintain your self esteem while raising children. It did make me realize, though, my daughter really thinks I'm white. 

She looks at my skin color as an advantage over her own. I'm comfortable in my skin, but I am secretly obsessed with her golden brown tone. Then again, I see brown skin as a thing of beauty. I don't automatically think of the negative stereotypes that are sometimes associated with it. Even though I was a bit confused about which heritage should dominate my description, I've always had a natural pride in who I am and all the wheres I come from. I've definitely experienced prejudice, but I never internalized it. For me it was more a reflection of the person looking down on me. It exposed their character, not mine. It's different for my children. The oldest two primarily, experience our white washed world as a defective sore thumb. They think the issue lies with them. They don't see their beautiful reddish brown skin, or their African American heritage as a blessing, and that makes me incredibly sad.

 

I know I can't change the way some people will see them, but it's my hope that one day they'll absorb my example of how I see myself.  I also know now, that the only way I can do that is to share with them some of my own experiences. I don't bake myself in sunshine the way I used to throughout my high school and college years, so chances are I'll never not look like a bright light. I can't make us look more alike in that way, but I can help them understand that I've never experienced white privilege. That brown is brown, and my lighter shade has never exempt me from prejudice. 

 

I'm grateful my daughter said what she did, because it made me aware of how she sees me as different. Now the challenge, for me, is to help her see that, really, we're very much the same. 

 Xavia and her children

Xavia and her children

You can also find Xavia over at Messiful Mama where she shares her humorous take on motherhood.


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY!


MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY: 

Luchi, age 35
  • Mixed White and Latino from Miami / Irish and German from his mother's side, indigenous Peruvian and Spanish on his father's side.
Amal, age 35
  • Black from Colorado / According to my sister's DNA test I am 60% West African (Congo, Togo), 15% British Isles (Scottish mostly), 15% Scandinavian (Finnish mostly), 7% Western European (French, Belgian, Dutch) and 3% Iberian Peninsula (Portuguese and Spanish).
Giordana, age 7
  • Triracial born in Miami
Liam, age 2
  • Triracial born in Texas
Yvonne, Amal's mom age 64
  • Black from Colorado

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met in Denver, Colorado at a nightclub.  He was playing professional soccer and I was modelling at the time - we were a match made in heaven.  

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS? IF SO, WHAT WERE THEY?

Luchi is very machismo.  I am very stubborn and headstrong.  I had to learn to acquiesce at times.  We both needed to learn to compromise.  He learned to do some of the traditionally feminine duties around the house (not all, but some).  I learned it’s better using sugar to get what I want from him.

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES? WHAT HAVE YOU PASSED DOWN FROM YOUR FAMILIES?

We celebrate Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day in our home. Noche Buena is a Latin Tradition.  Luchi’s family takes it to another level.  Food, music, dancing, and gifts at midnight.  The whole family joins for the festivities, like 40 people.  It’s great.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE? HAVE YOU ADOPTED THAT FEATURE/TRADITION IN YOUR OWN FAMILY?

Peruvian food...nom nom nom…  It’s the best cuisine ever.  Soccer.  My family, or the way we grew up, was to be very mindful of everyone around you and be kind to strangers.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

I live in suburban Texas.  I was surprised with how much diversity is here, but sometimes I feel there is a pressure to be Texan.  My ‘hood is 64% white, 12% Hispanic, 11% Asian, and 8% Black. There are a lot of mixed race children in my area, mostly Asian and White. There is hardly any diversity in the Hispanic population, unlike Miami.

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME? 

My husband’s first language is Spanish.  I can still barely understand German. We’ve failed passing Spanish on to the children.  Giordana was bilingual until we moved from Miami to Texas.  My husband and I now speak Spanish to each other when we don’t want the kids to know what we are talking about - now my daughter wants to learn Spanish because she is nosey.

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

My whole family has been mixed up for generations.  Some of my great aunts and uncles decided to “pass” in the 1940s for a better life.  All three of my sisters married caucasian men.  I have mixed cousins.  My husband’s Latin family consider themselves white-Latin (ancestry predominantly from European Spain), so although his parents are from different countries, their mixture was more cultural than racial.  There was one extended family member who did not like our union because I am Black.  That person is over it now.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

Again, Peruvian Food.  In Peru, you have this mixture of Indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian and they figured out a way to combine the cultures into culinary experiences.  It’s the best thing ever.  Imagine fried rice with cilantro and peppers thrown in, it works. Sometimes cheesy and over-emotional, Latin music is typically dance-friendly.  I particularly like the Afro-Peruvian music and dances.  The songs are passionate with a good beat.

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

Racially, no, but ethnically, yes - due to Luchi’s Peruvian father and his growing up in Miami.  Luchi’s life was filled with soccer, Spanish, and comida Latina.  His friends in Miami were first generation Cuban, Colombian, Honduran, Uruguayan, Haitian, Trinidadian, Brazilian, Argentinian, etc.  He was exposed to all of these different cultures from an early age.  I feel his experience growing up differently has just as much to with where he grew up as it did with his father being from another country.  I grew up in Colorado at a time when most of the population was of European descent.  I grew up sledding, skiing, and going to the mall and movies to hang out with my friends.  My husband grew up playing soccer, the beach, and going to nightclubs to hang out with his friends.

WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?

There is a lot of racism in the Latin culture.  It isn’t covert racism.  It is in your face and somewhat accepted.  I remember I decided to work out while my husband trained with a Uruguayan coach.  I was running and my husband told the coach I was really fast.  The coach made a joke that I needed to be, so I could run away from the cops.

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Giordana has either attended a Spanish-Speaking school or taken Spanish classes until she was 5. The kids eat everything from Lomo Saltado to Jambalaya.  They are exposed to music from both backgrounds.  

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE? AT WHAT AGE? HOW DID YOU EXPLAIN IT?

Before moving to Texas, we lived in Miami.  Giordana never noticed she was different in Miami.  Everyone in Miami is brown from being in the sun.  Even her blondest, blue-eyed friend was a light shade of brown.  I remember the first time she brought up being different.  It was after a soccer huddle and she noticed her hand was darker than everyone else’s hand in the huddle. Not long after, she asked me what is “Latino”.  I had to explain to her Latino, Black, and White.  It was a fun conversation.

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Giordana didn’t know there was a difference until “Latino” day.  After I explained she is also Black and I gave Beyonce as an example for being Black, she’s latched on to that.  I think she identifies as Black. lol

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?

Our neighbor-friends are Muslim from Jordan, Giordana knows they do not celebrate some holidays and they speak a different language at home.  Giordana has actually asked the little girl to teach her arabic and arabic calligraphy. Giordana used to attend JCC in the summers and she knows how to greet people in Hebrew and about Jewish holidays. She likes learning about different people, places, and customs.

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

Both of our children look like both of us.  As a family, we are all the same skin tone. My husband and two kids have light brown hair. The boy and I have the darkest eyes. My husband has light brown eyes.  The girl has hazel eyes.  Giordana’s ears are exact replicas of Luchi’s ears.  Liam has my nose.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?

They have know idea what that means.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

My dream is that stereotypes will be broken.  People will not assume things because their last names are distinctly Latino.  I need to think more about this question…


If you are interested in being one of our featured Swirl Nation families or individuals please email Jen at jfischyfischy@gmail.com!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE KETTERHAGEN FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE KETTERHAGEN FAMILY!


MEET THE KETTERHAGEN FAMILY: 

Luke Ketterhagen, age 40
  • White from Wisconsin / German and Scottish
Kourtney Ketterhagen, age 48
  • Black from Michigan / African, Native American, Spanish, French, Scottish and a couple others I would have to ask my mother about! 
Prakash Ketterhagen, age 14
  • Biracial born in Pennsylvania
Mangala Ketterhagen, age 12
  • Biracial born in Texas
John Lloyd, age 75
  • White from Beverly Hills, CA
Maurice Mitchell, age 60
  • Black from Michigan
 Luke and Kourtney

Luke and Kourtney

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met at an ashram in the Poconos and were married on the banks of the Ganges in Allahabad, India.

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS? 

I’m 8.5 years older than my husband and world traveled. He’s a good Catholic boy from rural Wisconsin turned yoga teacher trainer. Let’s just say it’s taken some adjustments but we’re celebrating our 15 year anniversary in January 2016 so I think we’re over the rough years.

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES? WHAT HAVE YOU PASSED DOWN FROM YOUR FAMILIES?

We study yoga philosophy but embrace all traditions. Halloween is our favorite holiday. Both of the kids attend Catholic single-gender schools. We’re a mixed bag!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR PARTNER'S CULTURE? 

As a black girl who attended high school in Texas in the 80’s I had my encounters with racism. It was always the Catholic kids who stood up for me. Both of us come from families who take in people who are struggling. We believe in actively helping those less fortunate.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE? 

YES! We just relocated to New Rochelle, New York from Venice Beach. Finding a city with diversity was a top priority. We’re in Westchester County which is the 7th wealthiest county in the US (you know what I’m sayin’!) but New Rochelle is unique--20% black, 30% Latino and 50% white. We love it!

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME? 

My husband speaks Spanish, our 8th grader speaks French and is learning Spanish and our 6th grader is studying Greek and has aspirations to speak seven languages--she wants to be an ambassador.

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILIES SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP? 

Yes, we are very much supported on both sides of our family and the kids spend summers with both families.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC/CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

My husband’s father is a professor of religion and theology at a Catholic university and my mother-in-law was a hospice nurse for over 15 years until becoming a chaplain at a hospital. They instilled in their children a great sense of appreciation for this gift called life. My husband is a health guru and he cooks recipes he learned from his mom. His gluten-free pancakes are legendary. The Ketterhagen’s are terrible dancers but my side of the family has that covered.

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS? 

They know their history--more on my side because our family has done years of research and has annual family reunions. We have slaves and slave owners in our DNA and know our ancestry from the Native Americans to Scotland to the Ivory Coast. My husband family doesn’t know much beyond the great-grandparents, but what we know, the kids know.

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE? 

They identify as mixed. Our son actually identifies as himself. He couldn’t care less about race. I recently asked them about joining an all-black social club. Son wasn’t interested, daughter was open. Not sure if we’ll do it but I was curious about how they felt about it. We don’t place a big deal on the race differences so it’s been a non-issue for them. Our son was studying genetics in 7th grade and finally asked why he was so light when I am so brown. He thinks it’s cool when his friends see me for the first time and say later “Your mom is black?” It cracks him up!

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS? 

Considering their elementary principal (who they loved!) was a gay white man with a black husband and a dog named Oreo, they’ve only known diversity. These are Obama-era kids!!! One of my best friends is a blonde haired blue-eyed lesbian that they’ve always known. One year she sent a Christmas card. The kids had been around her wife and their kids but it didn’t all click until the card came. Our daughter was seven at the time and said “She’s a lesbian?” I looked at her with surprise and she said deadpan “What Mom? Of course I know that word.”

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER? 

Our son is a pure athlete which he got from both sides. He can play piano with ease and has the kindest heart imaginable. He’s 14 but still very much a kid (like his Dad--in a good way!) Our daughter is a mini-me. She talks incessantly and is detail oriented. She has a ferocious sense of style and takes good care of her things.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN? 

They feel they have the best of both worlds and are comfortable everywhere they go. We took them to India two years ago and are taking them to Cameroon in 2017. When we hang out with our Latino friends with large families, people who don’t know them assume they are cousins. They are racially ambiguous--can’t tell what they are!


If you are interested in being one of our featured Swirl Nation families or individuals please email Jen at jfischyfischy@gmail.com!


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BORGET FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BORGET FAMILY!


FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

MEET THE BORGET FAMILY

Jennifer Borget, age 30

Black/African-American

Hubby, age 33

White- French/German

Big T, almost 3

Half of each :)

Lil’ J, age 5

Half of each :)

 

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Austin, TX

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met on a blind date in college at BYU. Yes, they do work!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Not really, only pertaining to our age maybe. We met when I was 18 and he was 22. We knew pretty quick that we wanted to get married (within 2 weeks). We got engaged officially after 4 months and married 2 months later. My parents were worried we were rushing into things, but 11 years later we’re as happy as ever!

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES?

We celebrate a mix of traditions, some religious, some just fun family traditions. When we visit Utah in July we celebrate Pioneer Day which is a Mormon celebration. We like it because a lot of my husband’s family is in Utah and we get to see them all then and fun parades and events. Though we stand out there, it’s always a fun place to visit. We celebrate Loving Day every year as well, and talk about the importance of the day, and how it’s especially significant for our family.

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

It’s pretty diverse. There aren’t a ton of black families in the suburb we live in, but there are a few on our street, and several other nationalities: Asian, Hispanic, and white. It’s a lot more diverse than anyplace else we’ve lived, I love it!

 

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?

No! But I’m working on Spanish because of where we live. My daughter wants to learn too.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Definitely. We haven’t experienced any issues from either side of our family.

 

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

So though my husband was born in Utah and lived there most of his life, his family moved to North Carolina for a decent chunk of his childhood. There, from my understanding, he was one of the only white kids. I’m not sure if that’s where he fell in love with black culture, but he definitely got some cred *wink*. Meanwhile I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta where things we split pretty 50/50 black/white. You could feel the racial tension. Both of us grew up LDS (Mormon) though, so I think a lot of our similarities meet there.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

One that we get a bit at church because he went on a mission to the Caribbean is “Did he meet you on his mission?” NO!

 

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

We are starting to dive into family history. Beginning with people still alive, like my great-grandpa. We talk about the things he’s seen--Inventions he’s watch develop. We talk about where mommy grew up and where daddy grew up, things we did when we were kids. As they get older we’ll dive more into history, where some of our family came from. I hope to take my kids to France in a few years and we’ll definitely all be studying about France and their family history there before then!

 

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Not exactly. My daughter has asked about literal skin color a few times. But we don’t shy away from it either. When we read books about MLK and Rosa Parks, she classifies herself as brown and says daddy looks like the white people in the books. We talk about how things are different now compared to then, and how we should treat everyone with love. We also read books showing how there are SO many different shades of brown. That got her really excited. Just yesterday she also just realized that Princess Tiana is brown like her mommy.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?  

My daughter seems to identify as “in the middle, a little bit like everyone.” I love it!

 

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?

I don’t shy away from her questions when she notices differences. I praise her for asking a good question and do my best to explain how God made us all as we are, everyone is beautiful and made especially that way. We do practice runs of how to treat people who are different than us, or have families that look different from ours, and she always passes with flying colors. *smile*

 

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

They both have our curly hair. I feel like their complexion is right smack dab in the middle. When they’re next to me they look closer to my shade, and when they’re next to my husband they look closer to his. They both have my husband’s big round eyes, but when they smile they look like mini me’s.

 

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TEACHING THEM TO BE PROUD OF BEING MIXED?

I plan to teach them that they can embrace all sides of them. Growing up I sometimes felt insecure about the way I spoke or acted because of the way my mom (raised in Chicago) raised me. I never want my kids to feel out of place or uncomfortable in their own skin. I ALWAYS want them to know to be proud of who they are on the inside first, then also embrace and be proud of their heritage, and never place themselves above or below others because of it.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

Oh man that’s a tough question but a good one. Part of me feels like I wish we could move past the differences so that we could stop bickering. But I LOVE our differences, and want the world to love and embrace all of them. In just four generations my line could look and be completely different. My great-great grandchildren could be 75% Chinese but have a full-black great-great grandma. That is so fascinating to me, and really goes to show that we’re all connected, or all will be some day in future generations. When we realize that and embrace and love each other for, and not in spite of our differences the world will be such a better place. At least, that’s my hope!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

Follow Jennifer and her family on her blog Baby Making Machine 

Instagram / Facebook


 

 

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET ISABELLA!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET ISABELLA!

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

No, There were mixed kids but there were only 1 or 2 per class.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

At The Cheesecake Factory

 

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?

Yes

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY? 

Yes I somewhat celebrate some of the traditions of the Philippine side

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

I enjoy the fact that I am not a slice of "white bread".

 

WHAT ACTIONS DO YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

They showed me the foods and my mother shows me the culture, food, language and location.

 

DO YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?

I talked about the fact that I was different, but not a lot of talk.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I identify as half-asian

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE? 

No just as long as they are a nice person

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

That I can identify as being filipino and its nice.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I have a few friends who are mixed, but they all act just as white as anybody else- I mean it's a pretty white area.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

  • when people call me "white rice"
  • when people ask me how to say words in the language of my nationality
  • when people ask “so what kind of asian are you?”
  • when people say the N word (not related to my race but it’s a pet peeve)
  • when people justify their use of the n word by saying “but i have a black cousin/friend”

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

I hope that everybody will be treated the same no matter if they are white, black, mayan, mixed, asian.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET ISABELLA BILLIK via Swirl Nation Blog

NAME AND AGE

Isabella Billik, age 15

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

50% Filipino

25% Russian

25% Romanian

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Orange County, California

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET ISABELLA BILLIK via Swirl Nation Blog





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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KARSON!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KARSON!


NAME AND AGE

Karson Baldwin, age 13

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

My Dad is African American and grew up  in Texas. He is planning to take a DNA test to see if we can find out more about where in Africa his ancestors came from. 

My mom is White American and most of her ancestors are from Scotland, Ireland and Germany. She grew up in New Jersey and Ohio.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

We moved to a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio this summer.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

We live in one suburb on the west side of Cleveland and I travel almost an hour each way to go to school on the east side of Cleveland. The town I live in is not very diverse, but my mom lived here as a kid and she said it is much more diverse than it used to be. Thankfully the school I go to is very diverse. It is a private school and the community places a lot of value on diversity. My family also belongs to a very diverse church that is like a big family to us.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born in New Jersey and lived there until we moved to Ohio this summer. My town in New Jersey, also was not very diverse. I went to public school there and unfortunately the highest performing schools were not in areas with a lot of diversity. But we did belong to the same family of churches there and that is where most of our closest friends were and that is a very diverse group of people. There were very few multiracial kids in my school, but lots in my church.

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My mom was a college student and my Dad was playing football for the Cleveland Browns and they met when my dad was out for a jog and stopped to visit a friend and my mom was at her house. They dated for six years before they got married and now they have been married for 26 years!

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS? 

Both of their families were against them getting married, but after a couple years they all came around. Some people thought their marriage wouldn’t last but obviously they were wrong.

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?  

Yes. I am the youngest of my parents’ three kids so by the time I came along everyone was over it.

DO YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

We definitely celebrate traditions from both sides of my family. My Dad taught us about things like Juneteenth and we celebrate the religious holidays more like my mom did growing up. But we have made a lot of our own new traditions too. My dad cooks breakfast burritos on Christmas morning, we celebrate Christmas eve with Chinese food and a game of spoons, we go out to eat for family birthdays and things like that.

ARE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD? Unfortunately we only speak English at home but my sisters studied Spanish in school  and I am studying French. I really would love to learn many languages. To me that is the best way to really be able to learn about different people and cultures.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

It is cool being multiracial because I feel like I can fit in everywhere with everyone.  I’m comfortable with all kinds of people from all different backgrounds, racially, economically and all kinds of ways.

WHAT ACTIONS DO YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

My parents always taught us that it was our hearts that mattered. Our race was a small part of who we are. My sisters and I became youth advocates not because our race is the most important thing about us, but because we believe all people should be treated well and should feel great about who they are.

DO YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Being the youngest, I probably heard a lot more talk about race than my sisters did growing up. My oldest sister became president of Project RACE Teens when I was four! She was holding minority focused bone marrow drives when I was six or seven and explaining to me how important it was that multiracial people were represented in medical data. Both of my sisters won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations two years apart. My second sister was the only youth member on our county Human Relations Commission. My oldest sister writes a lot about race. She wrote a piece about Tamir Rice that was seen by close to 100,000 people last I heard. My other sister is a junior at Harvard and tells me a lot about things she learns about race in her classes there. So, yeah, there was and is quite a bit of talk about race, all very positive and focused on what we could do to help. Now that Kayci and Kendall have gone to college and it’s just my parents and me left at home, we probably talk a little more about sports than we do about race.

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I do, but I use the term multiracial. Someone once told me that “mixed” sounded like you were mixed up or impure and that kind of stuck in my mind. I am the President of Project RACE Kids and we use the term multiracial.

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not at all. I actually haven’t been on a date yet.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

I am happy with who I am, but my race is a small part of that. I am mostly proud of myself because I always try to do the right thing and give my best, not because of my race.

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

It’s really not something my friends and I talk a lot about.

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE?

Sometimes people say racist things without seeming to even realize they’re doing it and that is kind of scary because your racism has to be pretty deep if you don’t even see it as racist.  I hate when people argue that there is no racism or that there is no such thing as white privilege..

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

For multiracial people to be the majority would be cool. But even better would be for race to be something that people hardly notice.


Please visit www.projectrace.com to follow the great work Karson and the team at Project RACE are doing and follow him on Twitter at @projectracekids


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET MEI!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET MEI!


NAME AND AGE

Anna-Mei ‘Mei’ Szetu, 16 or 司徒安美

 

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

¼ Irish

¼ English

¼ Malaysian

¼ Chinese

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET MEI via Swirl Nation Blog


WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

I live in the small city of Adelaide, Australia.


IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Adelaide is incredibly Multicultural.


WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I’ve grown up in Adelaide, though I’m originally from Miri, (a town in Sarawak, the part of Malaysia on the Island of Borneo). In terms of diversity, the city is not unlike Singapore, with a variety of ethnicities everywhere you look. Unfortunately, there tends to be a division between the races; Asians tend to hang out with other Asians, generally of the same nationality. It’s funny, I think, that I’ve never found my place in groups because I’ve never been ‘asian enough’ or ‘white enough’. Other mixed kids have always been present in my life. In primary school there was always at least one other mixed kid in my class, though now, I think I may be the only mixed kid in my year level. My father has kept strong ties with mixed families, so my closest family friends have mixed kids. Funnily enough, my first date was with one of those mixed kids and a woman told us that it was “good to see siblings bonding”- his mix was half filipino.


 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

Working at a Coffee Shop.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

They were incredibly lucky to have families whom embraced each other. I love looking at the pictures of all of my grandparents together. Aesthetically my grandparents are so different and you can see how differently they carry themselves but at the same time you can also see how happy they are in each other's company.

 

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?

My family in Malaysia were really progressive and starting with my uncle’s marriage to a norwegian woman, were the first in their town to have an interracial marriage. Most of my cousins are mixed and therefore there has never been a divide in our family; there has never been the division of asian and half asian. My Caucasian family is much the same, with cousins of half Japanese heritage. Unfortunately, my second cousins and other extended family have always made me feel like ‘other’.  It’s never been intentional, but, when I’m with them, a group of people with traditionally beautiful european features, I never feel welcome or related.

 

DO YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY? 

Whenever possible I travel to my father’s home town for Chinese New Year and even when we can’t my father and I celebrate by going out for dinner. Both sides of my family are quite traditional and I enjoy participating in both of their cultural celebrations.

 

ARE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Unfortunately I’ve only ever spoken english but I have in the past gone to Chinese Language Weekend School to learn Mandarin.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

I think it’s the atmosphere that I love as a whole. This is actually a really difficult question to answer! I love the food of course, especially my dad’s Sarawak Laksa and I never miss an opportunity to got to a Malaysian restaurant. The clothing, I think, is just a small feature of the culture, especially now, but I love my Cheongsam and just inherited my grandmother’s. I’m planning on wearing it to my year 12 formal (the Australian equivalent to prom?). It’s the people that I love most, and the history. I like hearing my family’s stories, like when my great grandmother jumped off of a boat to avoid an arranged marriage, despite never having swam before. I love my family’s history of strong coloured women.

 

WHAT ACTIONS DO YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

My immersion into each of their cultures has been very organic. I learnt about each like a child learning how to walk- it was natural and inevitable. It was important earlier on in life that my father take me to Malaysia a lot just to let me know that I was part of something much bigger than myself and his choice to do that now means a lot to me.

D0 YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Not until recently. Within the past few months I’ve had a lot of problems with my identity as a biracial person and trying to discover where I fit in the community. My mum hasn’t really known what to say as a White Australian and my Father is equally oblivious. My Parents seem to have their own struggle with raising a child who has a culture beyond their own.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Personally I identify as ‘Eurasian’ or a Biracial Asian.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

It doesn’t matter at all because my parents have taught me that when it comes to love, or attraction, race shouldn’t be a factor. However, my father does have his ideas about who I should date and he has made it clear that he wants me to date a “nerdy asian”. (note the quotation marks).

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means sticking out like a sore thumb and always having to state your ethnicity before other people state it for you. It also means epitomising the slowly dissolving divide between cultural groups. There's this thing that my friend said to me that I can never get out of my mind- he said that being a Eurasian Australian was “having vegemite and soy sauce running through your veins”.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I do have friends that are mixed and from them I’ve learnt that people react differently to exposure to so many cultures. I’ve learnt that mixed people, even of the same mix identify as different things.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET MEI via Swirl Nation Blog

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE? 

“What ARE you?”

“It wasn’t meant to be offensive. Why are you so sensitive?”

*white people telling POC what to and not to be offended by*

“It’s not cultural appropriation, it’s cultural appreciation.”

“I call my friends the n* word as a joke.”

“You’re only half (or, “You don’t look Asian”), but you’re SO Asian!”

“You’re not REALLY asian.”

*Any use of the n* word by non-black people*

*People putting chopsticks in their hair*

*White girls wearing Cheongsam as a fashion statement*

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

I’m not American, so I can’t say for sure what race relations are like in America. But, in regards to Australia, I can say that we’re comfortably racist and I dream that one day White Men will stop telling me that I’m overly sensitive and that they’ll recognise what is and is not racist. As soon as we recognise racist connotations of statements and actions we can begin educate people and eliminate our racial prejudices.

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE McCLURE FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE McCLURE FAMILY!

We were introduced to The McClure family through their adorable photos on their Instagram page and just had to feature them! Enjoy reading about this lovely family!

 

- Jen


MEET THE McCLURE FAMILY

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE MCCLURE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

Justin

White, Irish

Ami

Black, born in Nigeria 

 

Ava and Alexis, identical twins age 2.5

Biracial

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE MCCLURE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

West Orange, NJ

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

Ami (pronounced Ah-me, short for Aminat) was getting out of her car in Washington Heights, NYC and I saved her from some dude trying to hit on her. After she parallel parked this guy was “talking game” to her and I just walked up to her pretending to know her.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Not really. Her family is Muslim so there are some differences but no hindrances.

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?

Hmm, we are not traditional AT ALL. Actually as Humanists, we are (especially from the head of the household- Justin) very much opposed to organized traditions, instead we try to embody and create traditions that mean something to us. If the tradition fits our family dynamics then we apply it to our household but overall we are very progressive socially and religiously.  We are both Humanists, void of religious creed or dogma, and believe human beings can create a better world separate from any belief in supernatural beings. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?

We see things very differently (a good thing), because most people let the religion of a culture get in the way. I see her Muslim culture for what it is and leave the religious aspect. Her family makes great food and I appreciate their sense of community and loyalty!

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Yes. We have muslims, jews, christians, and other free-thinking Humanists like ourselves.

 

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?

Justin speaks Spanish fairly fluently and Ami speaks her native Nigerian tongue because she was born there. It’s important to the family for the girls to know Spanish so that will be incorporated as they grow.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Yes except for a few people here and there but Ami and I are both very strong personalities and believe that nothing gets in the way of our happiness. If anyone in our families had a problem with our love...that is their problem and can excuse themeselves from our lives until they embrace our happiness:) we do not let anyone get in the way of our joy.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

Probably the food and Ami enjoys my southern hillbilly upbringing because it makes me unique (she says). I have a bit of a southern accent and embrace much of growing up in the south.

 

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

Sure, I grew up very very religious in the south (rural North Georgia) so that exposure made me naive and impotent towards realities of the world. Ami did not grow up embracing religion because her Mom is Christian and Dad Muslim so they didn’t even discuss spirituality.

Also growing up in the south we didn’t have many black people... as I grew and evolved I realized dating outside my race was more interesting than dating what I know.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?

Probably when I learned of her tribal marks. In Africa they give you tribal marks when you’re born (cuts with a knife). Probably for Ami was when she realized how country my family really is! I was born and raised in the same location where the movie Deliverance was filmed - we were very indigent and bucolic in upbringing.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

We are tired of hearing…”Your girls are so gorgeous!” haha, kidding, we love hearing that. People always comment on the beauty of our family. This gives us gratitude because we know “being attractive” is simply luck. Nobody is in the womb of their mother asking for beautiful features..it just happens and has nothing to do with the quality or integrity of the person...so we are grateful for sure.

 

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Well they are 2.5 years old so still very young, but as they grow we’ll let them embrace both sides of their parents. We are very big on offering choices and not telling our kids how to think and feel.

 

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Umm no, they can barely talk.

 

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Identical mixed twins.

 

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?

We raise them to see everyone as equal.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

We just want them to be happy and to feel loved every moment of their life. We spend quality time with them and are present so they feel the attention and love. Race will not be talked about much in our house because it should never be an issue. Instead we will raise them to see outside of race and gender, instead focus on developing dignity of character and pursuing the passions in life they love and stand for.


You can follow The McClure Twins on Instagram

You can follow Ami here and Justin here and their company Facebook page here





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WHY I STRIKE

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WHY I STRIKE


 My sister and I circa the late eighties

My sister and I circa the late eighties

This day is important to me. Today women are striking across the world in a display of solidarity. I recognize that not all women identify as feminists, although I don’t understand it. I also recognize that the majority of men do not identify as feminists, although I don’t understand that either.

I think back to my childhood and realize the privilege that I have always had. Part of it I was born into, my parents were both white and educated and came from families where they were loved. Growing up I was bossy (and still am) and no one ever made me feel bad about it. I was encouraged to be a leader, I was raised to be confident, and because of that support I achieved in school and in sports. I get my work ethic from my parents, they didn’t preach it, they just lived it every single day.

When it was time for college I had a couple years that I didn’t know what I wanted to be, or how to recognize my talents. I took that time to take a lot of women’s studies courses (sounds pretty Boulder-like right? ;) and then with my dad’s suggestion I found my passion in the world of marketing.

I went to art school and graduated early, I was ready to jump into the real world. I landed the job I wanted, again privilege followed me. I feel very grateful for the life I have had and I recognize that while I have worked very hard, there were so many factors that have been working in my favor ever since I was born.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the world of advertising was flawed. About a year into my career a coworker of mine got drunk and revealed his salary to me. We went to the same school, graduated at the same time, were hired at the same time, and had the same job- he made $10,000 more than me. I remember taking the information in calmly and then headed home to figure out how I was going to make this right.

So the next Monday I told my boss that I needed to talk to his boss. I gave them the facts, they came back with comments like “well, schooling and how long you have worked here all play into salary”. When I told them we were literally identical in all of those factors, they gave me the $10,000 raise. Keep in mind I was making $25,000 a year at the time so this was huge for me. But besides the bump in salary, it made me grateful that I was raised in way that made me comfortable enough to fight for what I was worth.

I moved up quickly in my career. I had a male friend tell me one time he wished he could bottle up the “cajones” I have. As I moved up I was often the only female creative in the room. It definitely has shaped the personality I have today. The environment was competitive, frat-ish at times, and has been full of uncomfortable moments with clients, coworkers and bosses.

 
 Can you see the confidence? ;)

Can you see the confidence? ;)

Now, getting close to 40 I have been in this world for almost 18 years which seems impossible, but it is true. I am a long way from that young woman fighting for her extra 10k in a lot of ways, but in many ways much has stayed the same. I became a mom to a daughter just after my 26th birthday which opened my eyes to figuring out how I wanted to raise a strong female.

I teach by doing and fighting. It has just been the 2 of us for the better part of her life. She is my teammate, at my side all the time, so she sees the fight. She sees me when I am struggling, but most importantly she always sees me get back up. She sees that I am flawed like everyone else, but that I am fiercely devoted to doing anything and everything I can to make sure she succeeds. I have become the woman, the feminist, the boss, and the mother I am to show her what she is made of.

My hope for her and the people in her life is that they realize this is what it means to be a feminist. It means that she means as much to the world as the boy who sits next to her. It means that her brown skin is as valuable as my white skin. It means that all of the men in her life- her father, her grandfathers, and everyone else who loves her- want her to succeed and believe in her success as much as they would believe in a boy’s.

I recognize my life has been full of blessings and full of privilege. I am very grateful for everything that I have been given, the love that I was raised in, and the chances I was given to prove myself. That does not mean I don’t have something to fight for. I have heard this a lot lately, women in a position of privilege who don’t understand that one woman’s fight is all of our fight.

My dream is a world where we are all feminists, because we all recognize that your son is not better than your daughter. He doesn’t deserve additional opportunities or respect simply because of his gender. When women do better, we all do better.  Please find your own way of standing in solidarity today, I am striking with the knowledge that all women do not have that luxury, so I will strike for them too. Even more important is how each of us continue to carry out the spirit of today into each day moving forward.

Why I Strike by Jen Fisch via Swirl Nation Blog

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BEING MIXED WILL ALWAYS BE ENOUGH: A CLAP BACK FOR THE HATERS


I strongly identify as a mixed-race Black and Latina female. I was raised by my parents to never choose just one or the other because I am both: all day, everyday. As passionately as I hold my racial/ethnic identity to be true, I have grappled with the fact that the world sees my truth as a falsity. I, Joanna Lillian Thompson, am proud to say I am the child of a Black man, born and raised on the ghetto streets of southeast Washington D.C., and a Central American woman from Nicaragua who came to the United States with nothing but a dream for a better life.

  Left: My parents during their courtship in the 1980’s; Right: My parents a few years ago during a visit to Chicago.

Left: My parents during their courtship in the 1980’s; Right: My parents a few years ago during a visit to Chicago.

As a child, being mixed was not complicated. I grew up in the rather diverse suburb of Rockville, Maryland, right outside of the nation’s capital. There, commonalities between my friends and neighbors were highlighted more so than our differences. However, as I have gotten older and moved away from home to travel nationally and internationally to pursue my academic and career goals, I have found myself in more and more situations where my mixedness becomes a topic of interrogation. These situations are fueled by constant reminders of what makes me different from those who do not identify as mixed-race. Unfortunately, I am more than used to typical questions of “What are you?” or “What are you mixed with?” and statements like, “I didn’t think being mixed was a thing.” or “You don’t even seem Black and Latina.” Nevertheless, the questioning of my racial/ethnic identity has come to a point where it is not just a question of what am I, but a discrediting of my racial/ethnic identity all together.

 

This discrediting of my racial/ethnic identity recently came to a highpoint when a new friend of mine, who is Black and undeniably Pro-Black in her personal beliefs, frankly informed me that I am not “ethnic,” I have been “whitewashed” because it sounds like I was “sheltered,” like my parents “kept all the Black people” away from me, and I am “not like any other Black/Latina person” she knows because “other Black girls” don’t sound like how I do. The justification for my apparent display of no ethnicity, according to my friend, are due to characteristics I embody such as I am passive and am too nice, I talk properly all the time, I like baseball and hockey, I do not listen to a lot of “Black people” music, I am not urban, I say phrases like “okie dokie,” and I simply carry myself in a way that if you did not know me, you would not necessarily think I was Black or Latina. These characteristics, from how I act, to how I speak, to even what sports and music I like, have somehow, and unbeknownst to me, stripped away my racial/ethnic background. Ultimately, it has made me a White person.

  Left: Me in my Alexander Ovechkin jersey at a Washington Capitals game; Right: Me after catching a ball from a pitcher during batting practice at a Washington Nationals game.

Left: Me in my Alexander Ovechkin jersey at a Washington Capitals game; Right: Me after catching a ball from a pitcher during batting practice at a Washington Nationals game.

When thinking about these characteristics, which seem to be perfect evidence to support the claim I am not “ethnic,” I believe what I like and how I act are merely consequences of the environment I was raised in and the spaces I continue to surround myself in. I was raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, which was a well-off suburb. Compared to most youth, I had a pretty amazing childhood which included an abundance of love from friends and family who were prosperous themselves. I do not say that to be conceited, but to simply acknowledge the varying levels of privilege I have been given in my life. My childhood included being excited for my first Backstreet Boys concert at the age of 13; yearly summer vacations to the beaches of Florida with my parents; attending different professional sports events, including soccer, because my father, that Black kid from the ghetto of D.C., worked as an equipment manager for the Washington Diplomats in the 70’s and fell in love with the sport, among other sports as well. My life includes both of my parents, whom have now been married for 34 years, and have always supported me in any way they can: financially, emotionally, spiritually, and just by being my best friends. Today, I live on the north side of Chicago where I am pursuing my PhD in Criminology, Law, and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago and have been extremely fortunate to meet people from different walks of life who are just as diverse as I am. Somehow, these wonderful characteristics, which have irrefutably shaped the eclectic person I am today, have simultaneously disqualified me from being genuinely Black and Latina.

  Me as a child in Maryland

Me as a child in Maryland

  Left: Senior yearbook photo; Right: High school graduation

Left: Senior yearbook photo; Right: High school graduation

  Left: My parents and I at a Washington Redskins v. Detroit Lions football game in Detroit, Michigan; Right: My parents and I at dinner the day I graduated from college at West Virginia University.

Left: My parents and I at a Washington Redskins v. Detroit Lions football game in Detroit, Michigan; Right: My parents and I at dinner the day I graduated from college at West Virginia University.

Several questions have since risen in my mind from this new information on my lack of minority status. First, what does it mean to be ethnic? Second, what does it mean to be “genuinely” Black and/or Latina? Third, how does having a nice personality, liking certain types of music and sports, or being well-spoken as a POC essentially make you less of a POC? Sometimes I wonder, if I were to give into stereotypes, would that make me more genuine when it comes to my racial/ethnic identity? If I grew up on the same ghetto streets as my dad, if I struggled in the shacks of Nicaragua like my mom, if I had not been afforded good opportunities in the affluent suburb I grew up in, if I had a single parent to support me and wondered why one parent left, if I carried myself with a heavier and more aggressive swagger, if I blasted ratchet music 24/7 and spoke with more street slang, if I asserted a more visible pro Black/pro Latina way about myself, would all of that somehow qualify me as ethnic, would all of that somehow make me a bonafide Black and Latina female?

 

Personally, I cannot deny that I have struggled with questions of, “Am I enough?” and “Will I ever be enough?” This is because I have been, and most likely always will be, reminded that as “half and half,” I will never be fully Black or fully Latina. Yes, I could feel as whole as I wanted, I could shout it from every mountaintop and be proud of the reality I hold to be true, but the world will always see me as two parts of a whole, never two whole parts. The saddest part about these reminders is they usually come from my own people: Blacks and Latinas/os. My own people, who I assume will be the first to have my back in times when I am feeling inadequate, are the first to criticize and remind me that ultimately, I am neither Black or Latina.

 

And so, what happens now? Where do mixed-race individuals like myself, who are constantly being reminded of what we are not rather than what we are, go from here? Do we stop believing in who we are, whether our racial/ethnic identities are perceived by others correctly or not? Do we continue to convince our own people, the ones who give us the most pushback for not being enough that yes, we are enough and we should not be stripped of our racial/ethnic identity simply because we look different, sound different, or prefer to engage in different cultural interests? Do we try and establish definite connections for what it means to be “ethnic” or “genuine” as a POC so that at least we have “rules” to abide by when claiming a minority racial/ethnic identity? Or do we just not care, let the sensitivity and emotion all slide, and just deal with being accepted by some and not by others?

 

At the end of the day, I know I cannot give into the negative feelings I experience from discontent and questioning by others who feel I am inaccurately portraying the racial/ethnic identity I was born into. I know I cannot change people’s opinions, especially if those opinions are not grounded in anything definitive, anything aside from personal ideals. I also know the pride I have in my claim as a Black and Latina female is my truth, my reality, and that will never falter. Despite potentially not fitting into whatever cookie-cutter mold there is for being a “genuine” POC, best believe, no one can tell me that I do not fit into the history of what it means to be Black and Latina in America, because I do, I know I do. My place in history, as a strong Black and Latina, has been written and continues to be written; backed by a soundtrack of pop and hip-hop, a wardrobe of sneakers and sun-dresses, hooping to the basket on the court and sliding into third on the field, a personality that is equally passive and aggressive, and a swagger that is undeniably a lady in the workplace and a beast in the streets. Whether this depiction of who I am is evident to others or not, I know is it there. It is in my being, it is in my blood, it what wakes me up every day and puts me to sleep every night. And you know what? That will always be enough for me.


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THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD... TO THE SOUTH?


THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD... TO THE SOUTH? via Swirl Nation Blog

As mentioned in previous posts, I’m an NPR addict.  We have a local broadcast called The Texas Standard that highlights all-things-Texas.  Every day, I mostly learn about what the new presidency means for the state and I think they talk about tacos every show, with a once-a-week argument about chili or tacos being the state food.  I will admit, I don’t get as excited for this show, as I do for THINK or Fresh Air, but love their travel tidbits and random Texas History.  When the show brought up The Underground Railroad in Texas, I naturally thought slaves were making their way north, but I was wrong…

 

In the 1850s, Nathaniel Jackson, a white slave owner from Alabama, left his plantation for the Rio Grande Valley, bringing his black wife, and former slave, Matilda Hicks, their bi-racial children, and freed slaves.  Jackson Ranch was established in 1857 and served as a refuge for runaway slaves making their way down to Mexico.  The family built a church, a cemetery, and served vital roles in their little south Texas community for generations.  The Jackson’s heirs still live today, many of whom mixed with the Mexican-Americans in the town.  Lots of multi-racial goodness, but unfortunately, very little information about this revolutionary family.

 

In 2005, a lovely historical marker was dedicated to the cemetery for all to learn about this brave family.  I never heard this story, and it makes me wonder how many others are out there just like it.  If you know any, please share, and we’ll do a post on it.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD... TO THE SOUTH? via Swirl Nation Blog

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER


MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER, AGE 21

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

German and African-American

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Germany.

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Pretty much, yes..

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

Growing Germany wasn’t too diverse. I was the only mixed kid in class, the others were all white. Getting older this changed, due to the change in Germany which happened, we are a far more diverse country.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They met when my mom was 19 and my dad was 22. My dad was an American soldier and came to Germany because of his work. That’s where they met. Pretty happy he was stationed in the part of Germany my mother lives in ;D.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

My American grandma wasn’t really happy about my dad marrying a white woman in the first place, and some other things, but other than that not really :)

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER via Swirl Nation Blog

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?

Mostly. One of my relatives, though, told my mother one day: “Well that thing with the black guy you had was a mistake, we all make mistakes!’’ That was insane.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

I grew up with my mom because my dad died pretty early (when I was 4). So I’m basically 100% German. I don’t really like America that much actually. The country itself I like. The way people are proud of their country, I don’t.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Kind of. My German is perfect obviously. I do speak English better than most Germans do, I still don’t speak it perfectly. :D I speak French too.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

Basically everything (German). I’m proud of my dad and I love him but I don’t really celebrate American stuff (except for the music of course;).

 

WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

This question doesn’t really work for me , because my dad died when i was 4.

 

DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?

Not really, we were just children. I think we discuss this too much. Discussing it all the time, is making it matter. I see the thing about wanting to respect your culture and your background, I do that too!! Nevertheless, always discussing this doesn’t make sense to me.

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I mostly identify as a black German. People often consider me mixed, but I prefer going with black German. The thing is I got a lot of features from my mom and also a lot of my dad. I’m pretty brown but also have very small lips, people just always struggle to put me in some box.

I’ve had black, black/white, Maori, Indian... and so on. I thought some time about how to consider myself, but in the end I thought it doesn’t matter at all, I am what I am. German and American. That’s it for me. As I said I’m living very German, yet I am American too genetically.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE? OR IF YOU HAVE A PARTNER WHAT RACE ARE THEY?

I don’t care at all. There are so many beautiful people out there, I don’t want to limit myself because of something like excluding someone. I don’t believe in the “taste’’ thing. If it  clicks, not if she/he’s white, black, b/w, whatever

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means that I’m me. I’m no different than a white or black person. We are all the same. (Yet I have to say that it comes with external struggles sometimes ;S)

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I don’t unfortunately. My friends are mostly white or Turkish . Most German people are. But I’m always up for new friends;)

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

Looooooorrrrddd yes!

·      Are you adopted?

·      You are so handsome, you can’t be just black?

·      Is your mother only dating black guys?

·      You are so handsome for a black guy

·      Where are you from?

·      No what are you really?

·      Can I touch your hair? Or people just touching it without asking

·      Wannabe nigger

·      You mixed people always try to act black , but you are actually pretty nice (WTF??)

·      Imagine having a child with a white girl with blue eyes… omg .. your children would be so cute…. Yeah, right… the whiter the better ????!!

·       Chessboard

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ERIC MARCEL SCHIESSER via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

That America understands that it is a country built up by immigration. We are all not just one thing. Just leave this stupid discussion about race and love each other, it shouldn’t matter. Not at all. But I really have to admit, that I think America’s not getting much better concerning this topic.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

You can follow me in IG


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EMPATHY


EMPATHY via Swirl Nation Blog

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about empathy these days. It seems as though people are at each other’s throats more than ever and it’s clear that a lot of that anger is coming from what’s going on in our political world. As one Time article states, “Empathy - the ability to step imaginatively into the shoes of another person and understand their feelings and perspectives - seems to be in freefall.”

 

People are angry with one another because they can’t possibly understand why the other person voted for or against so and so, is ok with the travel ban or not, is comfortable with the President's relationship with Russia or not. And I think that’s completely normal. However, I have been thinking that all of this anger and resentment can’t be healthy. I’m not saying that having empathy for those who oppose your views will for sure make you any less angry, but it might. And it might help you to, at the very least, begin to understand why that person feels the way they do. I think from there, we can begin to move forward.

EMPATHY via Swirl Nation Blog

There will always be people with perspectives that we don’t understand. No matter how long or hard we try to understand, we may never fully grasp that person’s individual feelings or opinions. I would like to argue though, that in just attempting to do so, you will open up your ability to empathize. This can be true with general groups of people (think Republicans v Democrats), strangers in the store, and people you are really close with. Simply stating that you understand where the person is coming from or by showing that you are at least trying by actively listening (rather than trying to problem solve) can change the way you perceive the other person’s actions. It also shows that person that you care and that they are not alone and in turn they will likely be more open to being empathetic toward you.

 

Dr. Mohammadreza Hojat states,

“Empathy is a cognitive attribute, not a personality trait.”

That means the part of our brain that handles empathy can be exercised. The more you practice, the more empathetic you become. We are living in a very polarizing time and I’m personally finding it difficult to empathize with people who don’t share my views. It makes me angry that anyone would want to stop people from coming to our country based on their religion. However, I’m finding that the more I think about why a person might feel differently than I do and step into their shoes, I become a little less angry. In a time when there is a lot to be angry about, I’m interested in anything that will help!

 

EMPATHY via Swirl Nation Blog

Here’s a great TED Ed video that really helped me understand the difference between sympathy and empathy and check out the helpful and interesting articles below if you’re interested in exercising your empathy!

How Being More Empathetic Can Make You a Better Leader

Exercise Empathy


 

 

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SORRY OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR YOU'RE JUST NOT THE RIGHT TYPE OF "ETHNIC" FOR THE OSCARS


SORRY OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR YOU'RE JUST NOT THE RIGHT TYPE OF "ETHNIC" FOR THE OSCARS via Swirl Nation Blog

The Oscar’s have come and gone for 2017 and this year’s Oscar nominations for best/supporting actors and actresses is much more diverse than last year. Go you Hollywood.

This year we have a whopping 7 actors of color nominated for an Oscar. 8 if you count my favorite Hapa, Emma Stone. That’s 7 out of 20 people up for this award.

Out of those 7 actors, 6 are black and 1 is of Asian decent, Dev Patel. Where are the other ethnicities? Oh, that’s right, Hollywood doesn’t produce Oscar-worthy films with diversity. Hollywood thinks diversity means just black and white. Sorry other people of color you’re just not the right type of “ethnic”. We wouldn’t want a Mideastern person playing anything but a terrorist. And we certainly wouldn’t want an Asian playing an actually Asian. What will the children think? That they too can grow up and become a famous Hollywood actor? That’s what white people are for.

That is essentially what Hollywood is telling us. That if you are Asian, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, etc you don’t get to be represented. That you are less than. Cause white people are magical and can take on anything, even race. That you, as a person of color do not matter.

It’s amazing to me that it’s 2017 and we still have so far to go.

SORRY OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR YOU'RE JUST NOT THE RIGHT TYPE OF "ETHNIC" FOR THE OSCARS via Swirl Nation Blog
SORRY OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR YOU'RE JUST NOT THE RIGHT TYPE OF "ETHNIC" FOR THE OSCARS via Swirl Nation Blog

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LIAM'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Liam's experience...

 Before Leave In

Before Leave In

Name: Liam, age 3 (son of Swirl Nation founder Amal)

 

Social Media: IG / TW 

 

 After Leave In

After Leave In

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Mixed Chicks Kids’ Leave-In Conditioner

 

Initial reaction? Yay

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? Giveaway

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? My son’s hair has never been challenging.  Being from a mixed racial background myself, I have a pretty good grasp on his type of hair; however, from my experience, to have the shine and definition for my curls and his curls, hair-wetting, every day, is almost mandatory.  Every once in awhile, we might have that lucky day where we could get away without wetting our hair and still have the brilliant, just-washed look.  With the Mixed Chicks Kid’s Leave-In Conditioner, my son can go three whole days – THREE- without me having to re-wet his hair and he still has defined curls.  This definitely saves time.  I don’t know the price-point of the products used, but if you could only buy one of the products, I would say invest in the leave-in.  Also, from a mommy standpoint, I love how you can easily “lock” all of the bottles without pushing down and turning (inadvertently dispensing product). My kids like to pour shampoo in the bath to make bubbles… whole bottles… that’s a lot of screaming and money.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? For the 3-year-old, no.

LIAM'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
 Day Two

Day Two

 Day Three

Day Three


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY


MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY

 

Swetha Maddula Batambuze, age 36

  • Indian-born raised in the U.K.

Jonah Batambuze, age 37

  • First-generation Ugandan, U.S. born

Iyla Joy (daughter), age 2yrs 11-months

  • Mixed Ugandan/Indian born in U.K.

Ajani Jagan (son), 8-months old

  • Mixed Ugandan/Indian born in U.K.
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

We live one hour north east of London in a town called Peterborough.

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

My husband Jonah was studying abroad for a semester at University College Dublin, and I was visiting a childhood friend who happened to be living in the same dormitory.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Yes. I’m a first-generation Hindu from a semi-traditional family, and my husband is first-generation Ugandan from a Christian background.  Not only did we come from different religious, and ethnic backgrounds, but I come from a family of doctors, and my husband wasn't set on a similar career path.  Since my parents didn’t have any experiences of socialising with Africans or Ugandans they felt uneasy about our relationship.  What I’ve learned is it’s easy to form generalisations when you’re not familiar with different cultures.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES?

We celebrate common Hindu South-Indian festivals, and we also have the kids participate in Christmas and other Christian festivals from my husband’s side.  With my husband being from the United States we also participate in festivals/holidays that are celebrated in the U.S. that aren’t as big in the United Kingdom (Halloween, Thanksgiving.)

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?

I really enjoy the rhythm of Ugandan music along with their dance.  We’ll oftentimes play the music aloud in our house and dance with the children and have a good time.  Music and dance can reveal so much about cultures once you investigate the deeper meaning.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Yes. The city we live within has people of various colours and religious denominations. And, is much more diverse than the communities that I or my husband grew up in.

 

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?

I speak Telugu, which is a South Indian dialect, (fluently) and I also speak English. My husband speaks English, but is not fluent in his mother tongue which is Luganda. We both want our children to speak multiple languages, and have textbooks to teach our children the basics. We both feel that our children knowing our traditions and cultures is important.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Both sides of our extended families are extremely supportive of our relationship, and have been since our wedding.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

As well as the music, and dance listed above I love the textiles and fashion from Ugandan culture. I love the use of bold colors and how the fabric is a true reflection of the culture. It feels as if there are 1,000 stories locked into each distinct piece of fabric.

 

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

Growing up Asian my upbringing was heavily focused on my education and academics. Extracurricular activities like music, and anything which could build up my CV for medical school applications was the first priority. I noticed my husband was given much more freedom to explore other interests and extracurricular activities when he was growing up.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?  

The most surprising thing we learned about each other, is how similar both of our cultures are. Both cultures share similar ceremonies, with a heavy focus on respect for family.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

There’s a complex within Indian/Asian culture regarding skin complexion, with lighter skin being seen as pretty. When our daughter was younger, I oftentimes heard relatives commenting on her skin tone which got under my/our skin.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

We have made sure to take our children to both of our respective homelands (Uganda, India) to meet our respective families and experience our countries. We have also exposed them to our different religions by visiting places of worship (temples, church) and participating in festivals specific to our cultures

 

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON SPEAKING TO YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN ABOUT RACE IN THE FUTURE?

We’ve done a fair bit of traveling so far and our younger daughter is already becoming conscious of other countries, and geography. Our approach would be looking at a world map, and using flashcards to teach our children about the diverse religions and cultures.  

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

I am quite outgoing, outspoken, and loud, while my husband is much more reserved.  Our daughter has both of our characteristics and can be found running around yelling one-minute, and bashful the next.  Being South Indian I naturally have thick, black, wavy hair.  My husband has kinky afro-hair which makes for a perfect mix of our genes.

 

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN TO BE PROUD OF BEING MIXED?  

By continuing to show both of our children the positives of both our cultures.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

That our daughter is confident and successful in what she does, and always remains respectful of others differences. My dream for America is that there is less prejudice and that different races join together vs. fighting.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

In 2014, our daughter Iyla was born, and we struggled finding vibrant products with stories which reflected our cultures. In the absence of finding these products, we created our own and KampInd was born.  The name KampInd reflects the merging of our Ugandan and Indian heritages.  Teaching our children about our cultures comes natural, and we want to share these stories with the world.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

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XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Xavia's experience...

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

I get a little nervous writing reviews. The way my opinion is set up, it's really hard for me to fluff and fudge, and I worry about the day when I have to review something I hated. Not today, though. Phew!

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Mixed Chicks was my first. With curly hair care that is. Years ago, I was a faithful customer. With each baby, though, I lost a portion of the energy I put into my hair until, eventually, it was all messy bun, all the time. What can I say, the kids killed my curls! Since I'm all about making a mess beautiful, though, I thought it was time to direct some of that attention to my mane. I was given the opportunity to review by the Mixed Chicks crew, and I was more than happy to revisit my first love.

With the intent to help my girls embrace their locks, I’ve made the decision not to straighten my hair anymore. At least until they're old enough, and their self-image is a little less pliable. You'd think I have a stockpile of good curly girl product, but very often I don't; hence the messy bun. Thanks to Mixed Chicks, though, I now had the goodies I needed to give my curls some life.

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

The wash and wear process required as much energy as I remember, but there was a ginormous difference. My girls lasted longer than I expected. I attempted to cheat the system, and just run a bit of the leave in conditioner through, but my results were just "meh". I still got compliments, but once I took the time to section my hair and really work it in, I was impressed with the result. All these years I've associated Mixed Chicks with amazing definition and curls, but with a lot less softness than I prefer. I appreciated the hold when I needed my hair to turn heads, but it wasn't practical for my every day. I'm a mama of small kids, I need practical.

Once I stopped cutting corners my hair lasted an impressive 3 days, with very little effort on my part; aside from day 1 of course. To be fair, I have a whole lot of super thick hair. I'm not sure the work I had to put in is typical. Now back to the softness, let's get back to that. My hair was like clouded pillows . I remember the leave in being a little tacky which left my curls with a slight crunch. Well, either they have done their homework and stepped their game up, or my mind is playing tricks, because I had crazy definition without sacrificing the touchable factor. It itches the left side of my right cornea when someone touches my hair uninvited, but if I do give you the go, you're gonna want to linger.

Back in the day all I knew was the shampoo, conditioner combo. If there were other products I certainly wasn't aware. This time around I had their Deep Conditioner, Smoothing Serum, and Morning After Redefining Foam to play with. I felt like the deep conditioner, and serum had something to do with the luxurious outcome, but I felt a little clumsy with the foam. It wasn't difficult to use, I just was a little less than sure of how. I intended to use it day 2 to revive, but I didn't need to! I kinda liked day 2 even more.  Perfect ringlets are great, but I'm a fan of the "I woke up like this" approach to hair care. My curls had fallen just enough to make it look like I didn't try, my hair was just awesome on it's own. That was a huge score for me. Day 3 I really didn't need it either, but I was getting impatient so I went ahead anyway. It was easy to use, and brought the plum back, but I'm not sure if I used the right amount. Again, I did the work a little through with my fingers, and I have the feeling my volume and length probably needed a little more than that.

I finger combed the deep conditioner through, but followed it with the Mixed Chicks brush, which felt amazing on my scalp and gave it some much needed attention. I'm not sure why or how, but chunks of my hair were not left behind in the bristles. That was new to me, but not nearly as important as how my scalp felt, Most every other shampoo leaves it super irritated, but Mixed Chicks was scalp friendly. Huge bonus for me. If I have one gripe with co-wash, other than liking a lather clean from time to time, it's that they really irritate my scalp, as do most shampoos. Co-washes though, tend to leave it extra cakey, and even if my hair looks great my scalp is never happy. I didn't even have any scalp expectations of Mixed Chicks, but it felt and looked super healthy afterwards. That either means there's a uniquely awesome ingredient that agrees with me, or that there's the lack of an ingredient that all other shampoos have that perhaps I'm allergic to. It's a win either way. I'm not a chemist so don't ask me to explain the science, all I know is I didn't want to instantly destroy my hair with a scratch attack.

Last but not least let's sniff this stuff, because it smells sooooo good! Honestly, most of us would use even the worst product at least sometimes if it smelled amazing. Makes no sense, but then again, beauty isn't always synonymous with logic. Luckily with this brand you don't have to smell good in vein, because the products work just as wells as they smell. The styling products smell good too, but the shampoo and conditioner have a very distinct scent, that's kinda fruity, kinda floral, and leaves me smelling the bottle, just cuz.

Most curly girls know, it can be difficult to maintain a monogamous relationship with any one line. The mood of our curls swing just as much as we do with styling them. Most lines have one stand out strength and serves a specific purpose in our arsenal. For me, Mixed Chicks used to serve as my definition/smell good go to. The fact that there's also a softness now, has me considering settling down.

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

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THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Theresa's experience...

THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Name: Theresa, age 9 (daughter of Swirl Nation contributing blogger Chris Kelly)

Social Media: TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Shampoo

 

Initial reaction? Was concerned when reading ingredients because it contains sulfates.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? My daughter is 9 years old, mixed race, Caucasian and black with a head of curls. I have tried every product on her hair and have been unsuccessful in finding anything that truly works. I tried Mixed Chicks when she was about 3, the children’s line and didn’t really like it.

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? Culture specific is not why I would buy or use a product, the efficacy of the product is what is important. Having tried many culture specific products, I do find there is a positive difference in products that are specifically designed for ethnically mixed hair.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The generosity of the products we received including the brush have really covered all of our needs. I would probably like to try the sulfate free shampoo I saw in their brochure included with products I received.

THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog



 

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KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Kaia's experience...

KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Name: Kaia (daughter of Swirl Nation founder Jen), age 12

Social Media: IG / TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? The Mixed Chicks Kids Shampoo and Conditioner.

Initial reaction? The shampoo was nice and gentle. My daughter has volleyball or conditioning pretty much every day of the week and gets super sweaty so she has to wash her hair every night, which can really dry out your hair. But the combination of the Mixed Chicks Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner keep it moisturized and looking great! Every night she goes to bed with wet hair and it air dries as she sleeps and in the morning we spray it with the Tangle Tamer Spray to define the curls and just scrunch it up a little.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? I had always been curious about the products, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to try them through the Hair Stories series!

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? I think it is great to know that a product is made with mixed hair in mind. Obviously not all mixed girls’ (or guys’) hair is the same, my daughter’s hair for example is pretty fine and has looser curls. Overall her hair is low-maintenance and easy to handle, it just needs the right mix of cleansing and conditioning which I think Mixed Chicks provides.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The Replenishing Oil would be great to try, I usually use Moroccan Oil or Coconut Oil Spray on her hair in the mornings so it would be great to see how that compares.

KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

 

 

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