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Swirl Nation Blog is the lovechild of four female friends who share the common bond of living multiracial and multiethnic lives. Join us as we feature mixed families and individuals from around the country, and discuss a variety of topics from parenting and relationships to fashion and beauty and everything in between. xoxo Jen, Kourtney, Amal and Jenn

 

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Multiracial #WCW: Devon Aoki


So I was watching Fergie’s video MILF (#goals, btw) and noticed Devon Aoki in the video.  I didn’t even know the woman had a kid, so I went down the rabbit hole of what is the Internet and caught up on this beautiful girl’s life.

MULTIRACIAL #WCW: Devon Aoki via Swirl Nation Blog
MULTIRACIAL #WCW: Devon Aoki via Swirl Nation Blog

A little background, I first saw Devon Aoki on the cover of Vegas magazine on one of my first visits in the early 2000s.  She was a tiny thing with almond eyes, blonde hair, and full, heart-shaped lips that sloped downwards.  On this particular cover, I think her freckles weren’t covered up.  She was a doll.  Seriously, she looked like a porcelain doll I had when I was a child.  I was totally intrigued and wanted to know her background.  This was before “googling” was a thing (can you believe it?), so I had to actually read the article.

 

Devon Aoki’s father, Hiroaki Aoki, is Japanese and the founder of Benihana.  Her mother is Pamela Hilburger, a woman of German and English lineage.  Devon began modeling at 13 and was the face of Versace at 16.  She moved on from modeling to acting.  Most people probably remember her from 2 Fast 2 Furious, but the only movie I’ve seen her in is D.E.B.S.

 

MULTIRACIAL #WCW: Devon Aoki via Swirl Nation Blog

Aoki is all grown up now.  She’s married and has three (THREE!!!) kids.  She is still just as beautiful and adorable and her three kids definitely have the pretty gene.  She is totally a MILF – Mom I’d Like to Follow… Get your head out of the gutter…


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INTERMARRIAGE ON THE RISE? LET'S LOOK AT THE STATS...


My coworker David shared an article with me recently, Why Is Interracial Marriage On The Rise? via Priceonomics.com, and I thought it was extremely well-written and included a lot of great stats and analysis of those stats. The first thing I learned was the difference between the term Interracial Marriage and Intermarriage. This is an important distinction (at least in the world of Census data) because Hispanic is considered an ethnic group, not a race. So intermarriage data includes Hispanics, whereas prior to 1980 the data was only collected on Interracial Marriages. So all of the stats that will be discussed below are inclusive of the Hispanic population and therefore fall into the Intermarriage category.

One of the charts I found most interesting was this breakdown of each state and what percentage of couples under 35 years of age were in intermarriages. I was not at all surprised to see that Hawaii ranked number 1, both with the military presence on the islands and the super strong Hapa community that resides there. I was a little surprised by Oklahoma and Alaska at first until I did a little research which explained that these high percentages are due to the large populations of Native Americans in Oklahoma, and Alaska Natives in Alaska who are marrying individuals that do not identify as the same race.  

Overall the article stated that intermarriage rates in individual states are largely correlated to what percentage of its population is neither white or black. So, states with large populations of Hispanics or Asians lead to a higher rate of intermarriage. The article cites that Whites are particularly likely to intermarry with Asians and Hispanics which leads to the large numbers.

So in Maine, where 95% of the state is white, doesn’t have as much opportunity to “interdate” thus leading to a low percentage of intermarriages. West Virginia and Vermont are similar in that respect. Mississippi however is a little different, because their population is almost 38% black and 60% white. But that only leaves 2% for everyone else- so it makes sense why at 6.8% their number is so low. I have never personally been to Mississippi, but I would also be willing to throw out the notion that deep seeded segregation and racism also has a lot to do with it in many of the southern states- this list of Top 10 Most Racist States in America backs up my hunch.

Another interesting point the Priceonomics.com article is making is that the rise of Interracial Marriages can’t necessarily be attributed to changing beliefs or attitudes about race.

Our “no-demographic change” estimate suggests that intermarriage would have only risen to 6.7% if demographics had not changed – a 1.9% increase, dramatically smaller than the 8.6% increase actually observed.

So in other words, it is the demographic changes that have happened in our country since the 1980s that have largely increased the rate of interracial marriage or intermarriage, not because everyone is suddenly totally down with a Swirl Nation (shameless plug:).

Hispanics, Asians, and those who identify as Other are leading that demographic change. In 1980 that group accounted for 10% of the population, but today it is 29%. This also explains why there is more opportunity to intermarry today. As the article states:

Almost surely, some of the Whites who were not intermarried in 1980 would have been more likely to marry a person from different race or ethnicity had the population been more diverse. If you grow up in a town with only one non-White family, the intermarriage rate doesn’t really reflect your beliefs. That’s partially why White people were three times less likely to intermarry in 1980 than in 2014: there were half as many opportunities. Only about 17% of young married people were not White in 1980, compared to 35% today.

The percentage of intermarried Whites more than tripled from 2.7% in 1980 to 8.5% 2014. A big increase but no where near as dramatic as the numbers for the black population. In 1980, less than 4% of all married Black people under the age of 35 were not married to other black people, today the rate is 18.7%!

Interestingly enough the rate of Asians and Hispanics intermarrying has actually decreased since 1980, which you can see represented in the chart above. An article in the NY Times offered the following insight on the decline within the Asian-American community:

From 2008 to 2010, the percentage of Asian-American newlyweds who were born in the United States and who married someone of a different race dipped by nearly 10 percent, according to a recent analysis of census data conducted by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, Asians are increasingly marrying other Asians, a separate study shows, with matches between the American-born and foreign-born jumping to 21 percent in 2008, up from 7 percent in 1980.
Asian-Americans still have one of the highest interracial marriage rates in the country, with 28 percent of newlyweds choosing a non-Asian spouse in 2010 (About 36 percent of Asian-American women married someone of another race in 2010, compared with about 17 percent of Asian-American men), according to census data. But a surge in immigration from Asia over the last three decades has greatly increased the number of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, giving young people many more options among Asian-Americans. It has also inspired a resurgence of interest in language and ancestral traditions among some newlyweds.

A similar story can be told for the Hispanic community, as studied by Zhenchao Qin, a professor at Ohio State University who found that education level also played a large role in intermarriage when it came to the Asian and Hispanic communities in particular. 

Studies show the number of native-born Hispanic men in intermarriages with whites declined by nearly 4 percentage points between 1990 and 2000 – from 35.3 percent to 31.9 percent.

The study found that education played a key role in defining who participated in interracial marriages. For example, native-born Hispanic women with a college education were more than three times more likely to be in a marriage with whites compared to their counterparts with less than high school education. The differences in intermarriage as a function of education were even larger for foreign-born minorities.

Qian said,

“The melting pot is clearly bubbling, but mostly along class lines, with the highly educated most likely to cross racial and ethnic lines to marry.”

It will be interesting to see how these numbers continue to evolve over time with the continued influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America, as well as the growing multiracial population. Qian did note that a change U.S. Census forms in 2000 plays a key role. This was the first time respondents were able to choose more than 1 race on their form. This change has made it more difficult to “understand marital assimilation” according to Qian. But his study did reveal that bi-racial American Indian-white or Asian American-white individuals were more likely to be married to whites rather than American Indians or Asian Americans. It was also mentioned that historically individuals who are mixed African-American and white have traditionally identified as black for the purpose of these studies. If our blog is any indication, then I think this will be changing as more and more individuals identify as multiracial.

Does this data surprise you? I know for me it was surprising to see that if demographics had not shifted at all, then the percentage of intermarriages would still be VERY low (about 7%). I had really never put that much thought to the impact of the demographics, I guess because I have lived in fairly diverse urban areas my entire adult life (except for college- Boulder, CO is not exactly the poster child for diversity), and have always been around a lot of "intercouples". But now that I think about it, it makes sense. As much as I would like to think America has had this huge shift when it comes to race, we all clearly know that is not the case. Never has that been more clear than in recent months.

All of us who are passionate about the multiracial community will play a large role in shaping the future state of this data. While it might mean less clear-cut data for the analysts to interpret, with the wide variations of multiracial people, it should also mean a fresh perspective on demographics. As Pew Social Trends reports: 

Multiracial Americans are at the cutting edge of social and demographic change in the U.S.—young, proud, tolerant and growing at a rate three times as fast as the population as a whole.
As America becomes more racially diverse and social taboos against interracial marriage fade, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that majorities of multiracial adults are proud of their mixed-race background (60%) and feel their racial heritage has made them more open to other cultures (59%).

That point of "being open to other cultures" being key I think as we look at the future of race and marriage. Today, nearly half (46%) of all multiracial Americans are younger than 18 and as the data suggests, it is quite likely that they may grow up to marry other multiracial individuals. 

As a group, mixed-race adults are much more likely than all married adults to have a spouse or partner who is also multiracial,the survey finds. Among all mixed-race adults who are married or living with a partner, about one-in-eight (12%) say their spouse or partner is two or more races. By comparison, only 2% of adults among the general public who are married or living with a partner say the same.

So the story continues to unfold! Let us know your thoughts on these stats and studies! 


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BUI FAMILY!


MEET JESSIE, HUNG AND HONG-YEN!

Jessie, 26

White, Belgian European

 

Hung, 26

Vietnamese Laotian

 

Hong-Yen, 9 months

Half Belgian/Vietnamese Lao

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Belgium

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

On the internet 7 years ago

 

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

No actually nothing because he grew up in Belgium as a small child

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?

There are more traditions on my husband’s family side, like eating and burning money to remember the dead family members etc

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE? Chinese new year is nice to celebrate

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Not really where we live. Mostly local Belgians live here

 

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

My husband speaks Vietnamese to our baby but not very often. Together we speak only Dutch.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Yes, they have no problem with it.

 

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

The food because it’s totally different than Belgian

 

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

Not really but perhaps in the traditions they do at home, that is totally different.

 

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

It is not always very easy to adjust to an other culture

 

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

People staring at us because obviously you don’t see many couples where the man is Asian and the woman is white and especially with kids. That can annoy me because I feel like we are a family like anybody else.

 

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

My daughter is only 9 months but we will teach her Vietnamese

 

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

To learn that all children are equal regardless of race

 

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILD(REN) HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

She gets nervous rather fast like me, but is more optimistic like my husband.

 

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

That they understand they have 2 backgrounds and can appreciate it, and learn to live in balance with it.

 

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

(Not American) for her to be accepted because of having different backgrounds and have success in what she does


 

 

 

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG


FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG via Swirl Nation Blog

Caralie Maris Wegeng; 21 years old

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Asian: Filipino

White: German and Irish (as far as I know)

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Westwood Village, Los Angeles, CA / Santa Clarita, CA

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Currently, I’m attending UCLA; both the students and faculty are racially and ethnically diverse, however Asian and White people seem to make up the majority. Santa Clarita while having some variety is predominantly White.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG via Swirl Nation Blog

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I grew up and lived in a few different places. My early childhood was spent in the San Fernando Valley which was diverse, although I was around mostly Latinos (more so Mexican) and Filipinos. Since this was so early on in my life, I cannot recall being around mixed kids. I’m sure there were mixed kids; I was just probably unaware.

I also lived in a suburb in St. Louis, MO which had very little racial and ethnic diversity. There were maybe a handful of mixed kids, but our mixed identities were never part of the conversation. After 5 years in St. Louis, I moved to Austin, TX which is predominantly White and Latino (Again, mostly Mexican. Side note: The Mexican culture between LA and Austin are very different in certain ways which I found to be interesting). Because Austin is such an eccentric and free-spirited city, living there was what first sparked deeper thoughts of my racial and ethnic identity. Sometimes, I was the token Asian girl in various groups at school which was a weird experience for me since I didn’t have a strong identification with being Asian.

Although I didn’t become the best of friends with most of the mixed people I knew, I definitely felt a sense of solace and community knowing they were there (especially mixed Asian people).

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They were introduced through mutual friends.

 

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

Both sides were accepting of the ethnic differences. Although, one of my mother’s sisters was not very fond of my father in the beginning because he was in the Navy.

 

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

Yes. It has never been a negative experience in my family life.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Somewhat. There isn’t really a specific culture we engage in on my father’s side. On my mother’s side, we will have family parties with my Filipino side since we live near them. Every once in awhile, we will see extended family on my Filipino side which means greeting a lot of our elders in the traditional Filipino way by taking the person’s hand (who we are greeting) and lightly touching it to our own forehead. I can’t recall anything else specific at the moment, but family gatherings are usually a medley of both sides.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

English and Tagalog. Only my mother speaks Tagalog; my siblings and I unfortunately cannot.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

The food is wonderful and can win over anyone’s heart. I don’t eat much Filipino food these days since I am vegan. I have grown a special love for Filipino desserts as many of them are vegan friendly (Thank goodness for coconut and rice!).  

The Philippines also has a lot of beautiful traditional clothing having influences from Spain and some from pre-Spanish colonization (more jewelry and accessories; minimal clothing -- very tribal looking). I also love the many traditional dances of the Philippines. They’re super entertaining! Especially Tinikling which is the Filipino bamboo dance. Watch some videos online if you’re unfamiliar. It’s great!

 

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

Nothing really. Mostly just food and talking about our ethnic mixture to bring awareness to it, but nothing specific.  

 

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

Not very often. I think and talk about it much more often ever since I entered college.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Yes. Sometimes multiracial/multiethnic, Filipino and American, Asian and White. Depends on the situation or form I’m filling out.

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not at all. I’ve dated people of various racial backgrounds - mixed and not mixed.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

To me being mixed means getting to enjoy and embrace multiple racial and ethnic identities that are so important to me. Although a big part of this does include the struggle of balancing these identities. Being mixed is a constant learning experience. For the entirety of my life, I feel like I will always keep learning about my mixed heritage, especially about my place in society as a mixed person and how I will keep adapting to that role as society changes.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED? 

Ever since I joined UCLA’s Mixed Student Union, many mixed people have become my close friends. From them I’ve learned how varied the experiences of mixed people can be. At the same time, many of us share very similar experiences regarding our mixed identities even though most of us come from different ethnic backgrounds. Most importantly, they’ve given me reassurance that I don’t have to choose a side nor do I have to let others categorize me in such a way.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG via Swirl Nation Blog

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

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET CARALIE MARIS WEGENG via Swirl Nation Blog

You don’t look Asian.

Filipino isn’t even Asian.

I thought you were White.

I thought you were Mexican.

Filipinos are like the Mexicans or Blacks of Asia.

Is your mom a nurse?

Your dad must’ve had yellow fever.

Oh, you’re only half though so you don’t really count.

 

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

For people to not be judged (underestimated, overestimated), discriminated against, or be afforded certain privileges because of their race.  

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Instagram: @vulvarine_666

Twitter: @kegatron94

Facebook: Caralie Wegeng


 

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VIDEO REVIEW: MTV DECODED'S 7 MYTHS ABOUT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION DEBUNKED


I can’t remember the last time I watched anything on MTV. I don’t have cable anymore, so it’s not really even an option and I kind of forgot that the channel even existed (do they even have music videos anymore?!). Oddly enough, I came across an MTV produced video on Facebook a few days ago with an interesting title. “Are cracker, redneck, and white trash racist?” I was immediately intrigued and watched the 5-minute video. The video is part of MTV’s Decoded series, which is a weekly series on MTV News, hosted by Franchesca Ramsey. Franchesca covers topics such as, race, pop culture and “other uncomfortable things” according to the shows YouTube page.

 

After I watched the first video, I was left wondering what this series was about and if they had more videos. I then spent the better part of my afternoon watching them all. Oops! Although I didn’t exactly get much done that afternoon, I do think I learned a few things, so it definitely wasn’t a waste of time. Of all the videos I watched, “7 Myths About Cultural Appropriation Debunked” stood out to me the most. This is likely because this topic has been a hot button issue as of late and also because it’s a topic that has intrigued me for a long time. I’ve had many conversations with friends and family about it and have done my best to try to explain why dressing in Native American garb or as a rapper and painting your face brown for Halloween was inappropriate and disrespectful. While I’ve always stuck to my guns, I haven’t always been able to precisely articulate why doing these things is disrespectful.

 

After watching the MTV video though, I came away with a little better understanding of cultural appropriation and I feel that I can better explain to others. It seems as though the issue comes up at least once a week in the media and, based on the conversations the media coverage causes, there is still a lot of misunderstanding. If you’re anything like me, you like to be able to articulate yourself well and be knowledgeable about topics before you enter into conversation or debate about said topics. As far as cultural appropriation goes, this video is a really great one to use to bolster your confidence and to show others who might actually believe some or all of the myths they discuss.

 

Cultural appropriation is really only part of the overall conversation about race in the United States. If we can find better ways to explain and understand these pieces of the puzzle though, I think we can eventually affect true change.

 

I encourage anyone and everyone to watch this video as well as the others MTV has created. I’m not sure what else you can watch on MTV these days, but I’m glad that someone over there thought these videos were a good idea.  

 

After all, knowledge is power.

 

Here’s the Cultural Appropriation Video. Enjoy!


 

 

 

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TO KNEEL OR STAND - IS IT A QUESTION?


TO KNEEL OR STAND - IS IT A QUESTION? via Swirl Nation Blog

If you don’t pay much attention to sports, chances are, over these past two weeks, you have been bombarded from the news, social media, and possible conversation over San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick. Ringing any bells? Perhaps you’ve seen as many messages of support such as #VeteransforKapernick and memes with the outline of his silhouette now proudly sporting a FRO. Maybe you’ve even seen his now best-selling NFL jersey flying off the shelves. It could be the latter in which you’ve seen posts, tweets, and comments calling him everything from un-American and un-Patriotic, traitor, and my favorite “not really being Black,” (since he is biracial) regarding his current stance in choosing to sit down/take a knee during the national anthem. If you scroll through some of the tamer social media posts, this doesn’t even rock the tip of the iceberg regarding how vicious people have been in their judgement of his protest.

 

The act of defiance has sparked national conversation regarding the history of the anthem and what it means to be an American in the 21rst century. The question many sports fans are wondering is…  How should our athletes behave regarding political statements? Is it too far? Is the flag so sacred that Kaepernick’s act is toting a dangerous line? It’s been pointed out that Kaepernick is not the first athlete to make a stance in times of social justice with revered athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson immortalized for their bravery in times of adversity. Athletes using their platform to make a statement has been one that many sports fans have been calling for in light of increased brutality and victimization of minorities in the past few years.

Kaepernick states: “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said late last month. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

TO KNEEL OR STAND - IS IT A QUESTION? via Swirl Nation Blog

Despite pointing out several times that he has no mal intent or disrespect towards military members, many fans have pointed out the flag represents universal freedoms, beliefs, and ideals that reflect who we are as Americans. His jersey is being worn in support as much as people are buying it to stomp on it, burn it, and trash it to show their distaste for his stance. Celebrities, fellow athletes, musicians and politicians have even contributed thoughts on the statement that has caused an interesting ripple of effect of actions we’re now seeing at football games. J. Cole, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Steph Curry, Kareem Abdul Jabar and Tina Knowles are just a few who have been in support of the athlete by wearing his jersey or offering thoughtful insight into the conversation at hand.

Kaepernick’s choice in taking a knee has caused unwavering doubt and conversation regarding those inherent liberties extended to all Americans-yet is not reflected in the current way our political and socioeconomic community has been. When prompted with questions regarding Kaepernick’s choice, President Obama stated: “He’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there is a long history of sports figures doing so.”

Coming from a firm and long standing history of military members in my family as well as residing in Fort Hood, Texas (the largest army base in the world)- I do understand the perspective that Kaepernick’s actions could be perceived as disrespectful. However; if he had completed the action without context or regard for his choice outside of social justice endeavors, I would be upset. That’s not the case. He has stated on many occasions this specific choice is not because he doesn’t respect or acknowledge the ongoing sacrifice of our military servicemen, but does want the sacrifices that are made in regards to our liberties and freedoms extended to everyone. Regardless of what your personal opinion is on the matter, we can all agree that living in the United States alone does not ensure those inalienable rights are granted to all, not in the least. If you don’t agree with me, I’d suggest looking to the left and right of you, turning on the TV, listening to the conversations we have on justice and race. Do the freedoms, liberties, and justice you hold close to you and think of regarding the flag ring true for everyone? If you have to think twice…you may want to reconsider how valid Kaepernick’s platform is right now and how to engage the true heart of that conversation.


 

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET NIA DAVIES


Nia Davies, 24.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET NIA DAVIES via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Half South Korean (mothers side), half Welsh (fathers side), born in London

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

London

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Very!

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

London, it is very cosmopolitan so we never had any problems!

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They were set up at a party in Hong Kong

 

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

Yes, my father’s parents were very traditional and objected to him marrying a foreigner, similarly my mother faced a few problems being an Asian woman living abroad as it was not the done thing at the time.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET NIA DAVIES via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

The period before their wedding was difficult but as soon as both families met for the ceremony and we were born, everything was fine!

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Kind of, we celebrate St David’s day and all of the UK traditions but due to my mother’s oriental influences we also celebrate Chinese new year with zodiac readings and palmistry!

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET NIA DAVIES via Swirl Nation Blog

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

No! My mum felt guilty that my father couldn’t understand so she never taught us and now regrets it.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I enjoy the spirituality of my Asian heritage, I also cannot get enough of the food, kpop music and beauty products! At the same time, I love visiting Wales for the people, fresh air and welcoming community feel.

 

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

I went to Korean classes for a little while when I was quite young and I spent a lot of time in Wales being spoilt by my grandparents

 

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

Not really! It has always been a bit of a non-entity

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET NIA DAVIES via Swirl Nation Blog

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Mixed / Eurasian

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not really

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

Being a blend of two wonderfully different cultures and heritages

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

Is anyone really purely of just one direct line of descent anymore?

 

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

I always get asked where I’m from and then no one believes me when I say London. It also annoys me that I don’t speak Korean as that’s the second most common question!

 

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

Equality, tolerance, acceptance (i.e. for Trump to lose)

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

My blog :) www.themixedmedic.com

Instagram: @themixedmedic

Twitter: @themixedmedic


 




 

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MISS JAPAN IS HAPA (AGAIN)!


MISS JAPAN IS HAPA (AGAIN)! via Swirl Nation Blog
 
MISS JAPAN IS HAPA (AGAIN)! via Swirl Nation Blog

I think it so awesome that this year's Miss Japan is once again biracial! Priyanka Yoshikawa is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Indian, and she's just stunning! How beautiful and wonderful that Miss Japan is mixed! Sadly, there is a lot of hate going around on social media about Miss Japan not being Japanese enough to represent.

3% of Japan is mixed. I feel that just because you are a blend doesn't make you any less of something. In my opinion if you were born and raised within a culture that ultimately makes you that. Perhaps it is just a very Americanized view of mine. I was born and raised in the U.S. I think of myself as an American regardless of my ethnic background! Plus she is 1/2 Japanese! She speaks Japanese, she is Japanese.

"There was a time as a kid when I was confused about my identity," she said. "But I've lived in Japan so long now I feel Japanese."

It is so sad that many of the Japanese people think Priyanka Yoshikawa is not fit to be Miss Japan. People have called her a "terrorist", "Arab", and "Arab terrorist". The same disgusting backlash happened to her predecessor Ariana Miyamoto, who is half black. Even though some of the Japanese people are being closed-minded it's nice to see that the people who judge Miss Japan are not, and give this title based on ability and not "pureness". 

Times have changed friends. Pretty soon there won't be anyone that can deem themselves "pure", and that makes me happy! 

MISS JAPAN IS HAPA (AGAIN)! via Swirl Nation Blog

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DONALD GLOVER'S ATLANTA CHALLENGES STEREOTYPES IN MEDIA


Atlanta chronicles the everyday life of its characters. Glover’s character, “Earn”, has a child and is not married to the mother, his cousin, “Paper Boi” is a rapper who commits an act of violence, and there are talks of drugs, however, in the world of Atlanta those are not stereotypes; it is reality. What is the line between stereotype and reality?

 

Stereotypes in television are often caricatures. They are over the top. When people say someone is being a stereotype, it’s usually extreme.

 

Atlanta is not extreme. It is a slow, easy paced show, often taking place in real time. Yes, they are showing rappers. But guess what, people in the “hood”, actually do try to rap. People actually do have guns. This is reality. What I found interesting when I was watching the show is that it showed the emotional response the characters were having to the situations around them. For example, as Paper Boi (played by Brian Tyree Henry), is becoming popular (once his song is on the radio), we see him moving through society and being treated differently. We see his interaction with the man at the wing shop who gives him extra perks. We see on his face, the way that he is affected by the things that this man is saying to him. We see his interaction with a woman who starts off angry and then changes her tune when she realizes who he is. We watch his reaction to little children playing violently as they imitate him. To me, that’s real. That’s realistic. It’s not a stereotype. And it begs the question of whether or not we should preserve the culture of our ghettos or be ashamed of it. The truth is, ghettos exist. And certain cultural aspects come out of those ghettos. If we are to be ashamed of the ghetto and get rid of all things associated with it, that would require us to get rid of some of the things we like, such as jazz, hip hop and street culture. Those are things that have been accepted into popular culture. But other things are not, such as, talking loudly, speaking with heavy colloquialisms, and aspiring to be a rapper or ball player. We look down on these things. But why? We can’t pick and choose what parts of people we like. And by doing so, we are buying into the stereotypes.

“I chose these characters because they represent every type of person. We based these characters off of our friends. I don’t think a lot of people understand how someone like Donald Glover is friends with a drug dealer and that’s what I’m trying to get at. It just happens, it’s not crazy at all.” – Donald Glover

I find it interesting when I hear people of color refer to stereotypical portrayals in TV and film. While I do agree, that sometimes people of color are reduced to stereotypes, I do think there is a difference between reducing someone to just a stereotyped caricature, and having a multi-dimensional character that fits a description of a certain type of person. These people are real. These people actually exist. And they deserve voices. Everyone is a stereotype in one-way or another. People who are against loud speaking, lip smacking girls, are a stereotype. They are a stereotype of  “uppity. Someone who speaks “white” is a stereotype. There are positives and negatives to each one. But at the end of the day, these are people who exist. Stereotypes come from somewhere. The negative connotations are really attached to the caricature of such stereotypes.

 
DONALD GLOVER'S ATLANTA CHALLENGES STEREOTYPES IN MEDIA via Swirl Nation Blog
“Stereotypes come from somewhere. People just don’t know people. I just tried to show a real person. With everybody on the show, it’s like, let’s make sure they’re real people. The second they don’t feel like real people, it feels more like a sitcom to people, which we didn’t want to do. I was like, I don’t want to make it a sitcom. I don’t want it to feel like what people think about when they say, "sitcom." Let’s make sure these characters feel like people and you’re surprised and interested when they make a decision based on their experiences. So, with Earn and Paper Boi and [Paper Boi's friend] Darius, I was like, let’s make sure that their friendship feels honest and then after that they can do whatever they need to do. I feel like people forget how much they’re different from their friends, how often people’s friends are very different and have different ideas and they come together to smoke or chill, but you live completely different lives and sometimes your philosophies cross and sometimes they don’t. And that's what makes for an interesting relationship.” – Donald Glover

Atlanta airs Tuesdays | 10PM ET/PT


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE


SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE via Swirl Nation Blog

In my quest to find authentic Hawaiian Snow Cones in NYC my bestie Carol took me to Bing Box in the East Village. Sadly not Hawaiian shaved ice but dare I say just as good? Granted it has been several years since my last vacay in Hawaii.

Bing Box is a modern take on Korean shaved ice or bingsu, and I love it! I’ve been twice now. They use low-fat milk for their shaved ice.

My first time eating a Bing Box my friend Kavin and I split: Mango, Lychee, Vanilla Wafers and Condensed milk.

 
SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE via Swirl Nation Blog

So refreshing and light! Perfect for a hot summers day!

Carol ordered: Tarro, Vanilla Wafers, M&M’s and Nutella.

 
SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE via Swirl Nation Blog

Dewey got the Sesame Bing Box: Milk, Sesame Powder, Red Bean, Mochi, Almond Flakes, and Condensed Milk.

 
SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE via Swirl Nation Blog

My second time around I made a Bing Box out of Strawberry, Mochi, Lychee, and Condensed milk. Isn’t it pretty!?

 
SWIRL KITCHEN: BING BOX SNOW CREAM, EAST VILLAGE via Swirl Nation Blog

Warren ordered the Taro Bing Box: Taro, Strawberries, Caramel Popcorn, and Condensed Milk.

 

This is a great spot for dessert in NYC! Hope they make it through the winter and competing against Snow Days. Both spots have very similar deserts. I’ll let you guess which is my favorite!

For more info check our their website.


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE PENA

Enjoy getting to know Khelsey! We're super excited that she is not only featured, but is also our newest contributing blogger! Welcome to the Swirl Nation Blog Khelsey!

xx jen 


FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE via Swirl Nation Blog

Khelsey Juhrae PENA, age 23

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Italian, Dominican & African American

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

New York City

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

VERY!

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I am originally from NYC and I am still currently here. I grew up in the South Bronx, a very diverse community. Full of Latinos, African Americans, Europeans & Asians. I was also raised down in Atlanta & Richmond during my summers growing up. So I’ve been around a bunch of diversity since I was a child.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My parent’s met  through  another  relative  of  mine.  They were all high school friends and they just pursued their marriage after 6 years of dating.

 

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

Not really.  My  biological father  was incarcerated a few months after I was born, so that put a major hold on their marriage. My mom later divorced him. She then met my sister’s father, who is Cuban.

 

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

I never really knew my extended family. I was only raised with the Italian side of my family. I was around my stepfather’s side growing up, so a bunch of Latino’s.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

I did not have certain traditions with my Italian side of the family. We were a normal catholic family who celebrated holidays like normal people did.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

English, Italian and Spanish

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I love food in general, but I did love baked ziti a lot growing up! Haha. Though jazz and soul come from the African American side of my family, I grew up enjoying it. I was big on blues!

 

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

My grandmother raised me. She made it clear to me to understand about different ethnicities and the different cultures in our blood.

 

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

I didn’t honestly.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I get identified as mixed most of the time or people will just assume I am Latina.

 

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

I am open to different races when it comes to dating. I’ve never been biased or judgmental based on anyone's background. My partner is Puerto Rican and Black.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

I think being mixed has its own way of expressing itself. I think to me, it’s a beautiful thing. So many cultures & blood lines running through my little body.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED? IF SO WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THEM?

I have a ton of friends who are from different countries actually. I love to get into their beliefs and thoughts towards racism. One of my best friends growing up was actually Cambodian. So growing up with her, I was aware of the standards, beliefs, culture & religion they had set for their children. I’m into learning more about a person and how they grew up living. I think you learn more about yourself, when you learn more about others.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE via Swirl Nation Blog

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

I really get bugged when someone makes a statement about my hair texture being “less” nappier or if it’s actually my hair. Not everyone has a coarse texture to their hair, which totally annoys me. Not every mixed woman wears a weave, which is totally rude and obnoxious.

 

Also, I’ll have people ask me “what’s my ethnicity”, and I’ll get into detail… They are totally like at lost for words. “You don’t even look Italian. Your complexion yes, but maybe if you had a slimmer nose or colored eyes..” Just total NONSENSE!

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

I honestly just hope that Americans can learn to accept one another, not for their skin color or assets. That’s our biggest default in this country. So much hatred is being shown. Gentrification is a big part of racism as well. People can look at my father, who owns a house upstate, and automatically assume “he’s no good for this town.” I just wish people learned to stop casting judgments on those who don’t always deserve it. Get to know others before you belittle them. “Love one another, as I have loved you”.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KHELSEY JUHRAE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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PRAYERS TO LAUREN AND JRUE HOLIDAY

Prayers to Lauren and Jrue Holiday via Swirl Nation Blog
Prayers to Lauren and Jrue Holiday via Swirl Nation Blog

Today we're sending love and light to the Holiday family. Lauren Holiday is a former member professional soccer team who played for the U.S. Women's National Team in 2 Olympics and retired last year because she wanted to start a family with her husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Lauren is due with their first child, a girl, this fall but found out in late June that Lauren has a brain tumor. Doctors discovered the tumor when Lauren was having terrible headaches. The tumor is operable and everyone is hopeful she will recover fully, but she can't have the surgery until after she gives birth. So we want to send love and prayers to the Holidays. Prayers that the baby is born healthy and prayers that Lauren then has a successful surgery. Can't imagine what this couple is going through right now.


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