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SWIRL NATION BLOG HAS MOVED OVER TO MULTIRACIAL MEDIA!


We are excited to announce that Swirl Nation Blog has moved over to Multiracial Media! You can now go to one place for all of your multiracial goodness! 


Every Friday we will feature a multiracial family or individual as a part of our Swirl Nation Multiracial Interview Series. Check back every Friday to read about a different featured multiracial family, individual or couple. 

 

Also make sure you follow the Multiracial Media and Swirl Nation Blog platforms. 

@multiracial_media   //  @swirlnationblog

 


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INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER AND JODI OF THE ASIAN AMERICAN FILM LAB

Apparently, I have been living under a rock. Sometimes I can be quite oblivious. When I first heard about the 72 Shootout by the Asian American Film Lab (AAFL) I was like why have I never heard of this? Is this new? Nope, they've been around for years. I am apparently just living in my own little world.

Of course, I knew I had to meet Jennifer Betit Yen he president of AAFL and find out what exactly this 72 Hour Shootout is and what other awesome things AAFL does.

Along with Ms. Yen, I had the opportunity to speak with Jodi Lin - Social Media, AAFL TV Editor, and 72 Hour Shootout Editor.

Click to read full interview...

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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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN


SYLVESTER GASKIN, AGE 35

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

My mother is White. Her family is from Sweden and Ireland and immigrated to the US in the 1920’s. My father is Black, but his family is unsure where they originally came from. We think my paternal grandmother is from the Dominican Republic but I’m hoping I can do some more research on my father’s family so I can know for sure.

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Maryland

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

It has a large number of Black and White families, but little else from other communities.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I am a military kid so I grew up all over the place. Some areas were very diverse and others were entirely White. When I lived on military bases, there were plenty of other mixed kids, so I felt incredibly normal.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They met in the military. Both were pretty young.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

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

From what they told me, there were tensions in the beginning. My mother’s family was not supportive of the relationship (they lived in a very conservative part of the Midwest), but my father’s family warmed up to my mom really quick. It wasn’t until after I was born that my mother’s family became somewhat more accepting of my Dad.

 

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

My father’s family has always been supportive. There was a lot of warmth from them, probably because they respected my mother and treated her like part of the family. My mother’s family was not as supportive, but as I grew older and went to college they did their best to keep their opinions to themselves.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Most of the celebrations were connected to my father’s background, like eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Most of our family traditions were created by my mom and dad.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Our household was strictly English, though I studied Spanish in high school and Russian in college.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

Probably food. I was able to eat wonderful meals from both sides of my family. Grits, greens, kringla, Swedish meatballs...it’s those meal times that really connected me to my family.

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

My family took summer vacations to both sets of grandparents each year to see extended relatives and learn more about cultures and norms. My family encouraged me to ask questions about our ancestors and to take part in whatever customs they practiced (not many to be honest).

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

It wasn’t a major topic of discussion until I was in high school and learning how to drive. My father gave me “the talk” about dealing with the police and what to do in a traffic stop. The important thing I remembered was that I wouldn’t be seen as a kid with a White mother, but as a Black man that could be a threat.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I do identify as Multiracial. I did identify as Black when I was younger, but I no longer wanted to deny both sides of my family. I feel very comfortable identifying as Multiracial.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Race had no factor in who I chose to date. I was looking for a partner who treated me like an equal and could respect my background. In fact, I’ve been married to my partner for almost 7 years. Her family immigrated from Mexico to the US several years ago, so it’s been a joy to be a part of her family and for us to both explore what it means to be in a mixed-race marriage.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means that I’m proud of who I am and have the unique ability to understand what it’s like to be different.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I have a small number of friends who identify as mixed, and we always share stories on how people try to racially identify us or people who are confused when we tell them our parents are of different races. What I’ve learned is that I’m not the only one and there are others who are trying to navigate a world that still struggles to respect mixed people like myself.

 

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

I’m tired of hearing that we are “mutts”, or we’re “confused” and have to choose an identity.

I also hate when people when they try to determine what race we are or tell us “you look like (insert ethnic group here)”.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

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

I hope we can get to a point where we can respect everyone’s racial identity and understand that one race isn’t superior to others. We should be able to cherish everyone’s racial differences and respect the customs and traditions everyone brings to our country.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

It’s taken me a long time to understand my identity is a strength and not a weakness. I’m proud to identify as a mixed kid and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.


 

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YOU ARE INVITED: #WHEREISBEAUTY SCREENING AT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL


The short film, #WhereIsBeauty, is about an introspective visual artist dealing with the pressures of social media embarks on a journey of self-discovery capturing everyday life through hashtags which unexpectedly transforms her perspective of beauty.

YOU ARE INVITED: #WHEREISBEAUTY SCREENING AT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL via Swirl Nation Blog

The countdown to the Pan African Film Festival has officially begun...  We hope to see you at one of the two screenings!

#WhereIsBeauty is screening at the 25th Annual Pan African Film Festival on Friday, Feb. 10th at 3pm and Wednesday Feb. 15th at 2pm. 

The screenings take place in Los Angeles at the Cinemark RAVE Cinemas 15 - 4020 Marlton Ave at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

The mission of the Pan African Film Festival is to:

Present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

 

Please go HERE to purchase your tickets, festival passes and learn more about the festival.

 

Please JOIN the conversation and you can also follow the film on social media. 

IMDB / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

Here is a full list of films being shown at the festival.


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VIDEO KILLED THE INTERRACIAL RADIO STAR


It all started one night when I was sitting on my couch, listening to Terence Trent D’Arby. As a 28, going on 29-year-old, I was only a kid when his music was popular, but I still remember hearing his songs throughout the house as a child and watching his videos on MTV back when MTV actually showed music videos. As I listened to “Sign Your Name” (1987), one of Terence Trent D’Arby’s famous ballads, I decided to YouTube the video to further enhance my trip down memory lane.

 

* “Sign Your Name” – Terence Trent D’Arby (1987)

As I watched, the video portrayed the story of Terence, a mixed Black/White (Scottish/Irish) man who loved and lost a White French woman; their light-skinned, curly haired, brown-eyed child caught in the crossfire between the complicated love of two complicated adults.

Screenshots from official music video for “Sign Your Name” by Terence Trent D’Arby

 

After watching the video, I immediately thought to myself…

“How many other music videos highlight multiracial love?”

 

Continuing my late 80’s, early-90’s nostalgic journey, I thought about the catchy “Jungle Fever” (1991) by Stevie Wonder from the hit Spike Lee movie Jungle Fever and its story of an interracial relationship between a Black man and a White Italian woman in 1990’s New York City.

“Jungle Fever” – Stevie Wonder (1991)

 

In the late 90’s, there was the sexy futuristic video for “If You Can’t Say No” (1998) by Lenny Kravitz, where Lenny, a mixed Afro-Black/White Jewish man professed his love and loss for Mila Jovovich, a famous Ukrainian model and actress.

 

“If You Can’t Say No” – Lenny Kravitz (1998)

 

And of course, the video for “They Don’t Know” (1998) by Jon B., who everyone said “sounded Black,” but was a White man who displayed his secret love for a Black woman.

 

“They Don’t Know” – Jon B. (1998)

 

As for music videos showcasing interracial love into the 2000’s, many of us may remember Justin Timberlake’s video for “Like I Love You” (2000), his first single as a solo artist after leaving N’SYNC. The video showed him, a White man, trying to win the affection of a Black woman.

 

“Like I Love You” – Justin Timberlake (2000)

 

There was also the ballad “Lost Without U” (2007) by Robin Thicke, which featured then wife Paula Patton, as they engaged in a sexy flirtation. This music video also recounted a love that was lost between a White man and a mixed Black/White female.

 

“Lost Without U” – Robin Thicke (2007)

 

And most recently, Adele, a White British woman pined over a love lost with Mack Wilds, a mixed Irish/Afro-Dominican man, in her video for “Hello” (2015).

 

“Hello” – Adele (2015)

 

Despite these videos showcasing love and romance between interracial couples, they are predominately just a visual that comes with generic songs about love and heartbreak. The actual topic of interracial love is not overtly sung about. There are some examples, however, as few and far between they may seem. Auburn, a Black female rapper from Minneapolis, has received negative feedback by rapping about her Asian boyfriends and using Asian men to portray love interests in many of her music videos. In her song “My Baby” (2013) Auburn states,

“I know people look at us and they wonder why we’re attached because our skin don’t match.”

 

“My Baby” – Auburn (2013)

 

Other noticeable songs from the 2000’s which explicitly discuss the intricacies of interracial love are “Long Way To Go” (2004) by No Doubt front woman Gwen Stefani and member of Outkast, André 3000. The two sang about how love is love, regardless of color, but how society still has a long way to go to fully embrace the notion of colorblind love.

 

“Long Way To Go” – Gwen Stefani feat. André 3000 (2004)

 

There is Alicia Keys “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” (2009) which directly expressed what it was like to engage in an interracial relationship when such an idea was still very taboo.

 

“Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” – Alicia Keys (2009)

 

And lastly, Robin Thicke’s “Dreamworld” (2009) which has Robin dreaming of a world where he states, “There would be no black or white, the world would treat just treat my wife right, we could walk down in Mississippi and no one would look at us twice.”

 

“Dreamworld” – Robin Thicke (2009)

 

It is interesting how the videos for the songs I have mentioned which feature multiracial love are stories of love that was lost, stories of heartbreak and misery. The stereotypical tragedy of mixed-race plays out even in mainstream music. How come we do not see music videos where multiracial love flourishes? How come we do not hear more music about interracial love from a variety of perspectives, not just couples who are Black and White? Why are artists not singing about multiracial love in general? And why does interracial love have to be so difficult, even within the language of music, which is supposed to heal all when other remedies do not work?

 

The acceptance of multiracial and interracial relationships are higher than ever before, yet, popular music has yet to catch up to the claim. This all may be a moot point now that music videos are not what they used to be. Maybe a resurgence of the music video in the future will help propel interracial love into a new spotlight. Thankfully, interracial couples are still being seen in the media, from TV commercials to clothing ads. But it would be great to turn on a good song knowing there is a music video somewhere out there showcasing the beauty of multiracial affection, to see that multiracial love is not to be lost, but that it can be held onto long after the music fades.


NOTES:

*The original music video is no longer available in this country. The version of the video provided is a live version of Terence Trent D’Arby performing “Sign Your Name” live at The Roxy in 1988.

**Image from Google Images.

***Image from Instagram.

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A UNITED KINGDOM


Last weekend I took my daughter to go see Hidden Figures (which was INCREDIBLE) and worthy of its own blog post, but I have to say I was already in tears before the movie even started because the trailer for A United Kingdom played...

Looks incredible right?! So I have never heard this story before, but it is the true story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. Seretse was Botswanan and an Oxford-educated student prince. Ruth was an English middle-class clerk. In 1948 they were married despite all of the obstacles and outrage it caused.  Their relationship became the focus of a crisis between Britain and Botswana’s neighbour South Africa, which was about to introduce apartheid.

  Seretse Khama with his English wife Ruth, and their two children Jacqueline and Seretse Jr in September 1956

Seretse Khama with his English wife Ruth, and their two children Jacqueline and Seretse Jr in September 1956

 Ian Khama, current President of Botswana, son of Seretse and Ruth

Ian Khama, current President of Botswana, son of Seretse and Ruth

The couple went on to have a daughter and three sons. Their son Ian is now President of Botswana. Both Seretse and Ruth have now passed, but from the trailer it certainly looks as though British acting duo David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike have done an incredible job of capturing their love story. 

Oyelowo said that he was attracted by the ‘epic nature of the love story, and the backdrop of the British empire, and what it was like to be a king in Africa just as apartheid was being signed into law in South Africa’. There is already Oscar nomination buzz about his performance. He was certainly snubbed in my opinion for portraying MLK in Selma. 

It is wonderful to see a diversity of love stories being displayed on screen, of course Loving being most recent, and now A United Kingdom slated to be released on February 10th, 2017. 

  David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike are portraying the pair on screen

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike are portraying the pair on screen

I hope everyone goes out and supports this movie, the multiracial community in particular! What a wondeful love story to share with the world.

A UNITED KINGDOM via Swirl Nation Blog



 

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SWIRL NATION BLOG IS 1 YEAR OLD TODAY!

SWIRL NATION BLOG IS 1 YEAR OLD TODAY! via Swirl Nation Blog

A year ago today JennKourtneyAmal and I launched Swirl Nation Blog! After many group phone calls and texts we got our baby launched and just hoped someone would want to read it! Since then we have been lucky enough to have almost 60,000 people make their way to our site. We can only hope they enjoyed reading what they found when they got there! 

Over the last 12 months we have been lucky enough to add contributing bloggers from all over the U.S. as well as the U.K and Puerto Rico. Their unique voices and perspectives have allowed the page to represent a wide variety of multiracial journeys. 

On social media we have worked hard to connect with the multiracial community, reaching out to others who are passionate about the topic and we feel so blessed at the many individuals and families who have agreed to be featured on our blog! We had fun heading to the 2016 Best Nine site to find out which of our Instagram photos got the most love, and here they are!

 Our 2016 Best Nine from our Instagram page

Our 2016 Best Nine from our Instagram page

We are so grateful for everyone who has contributed to the growth of Swirl Nation, whether through writing blog posts, or subscribing to our newsletter, or liking our social posts! All of it means so much! In 2017 we will continue to share the Multiracial Goodness! We are always looking for more stories to share and people to collaborate with. 

Peace and love in 2017 to you all. 

xx The Swirl Nation Team

 

P.S. If you are just joining us as a Swirl Nation Blog reader, welcome:) We thought it would be fun to share a few of our very first posts from last January so you can see where we started, and then explore the blog more to see where we are now. So here is a little look back, click on photos to link to the original post...


 

 

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The End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Relationships


  Little Rock, Arkansas protest to keep anti-miscegenation laws on the books. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

Little Rock, Arkansas protest to keep anti-miscegenation laws on the books. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

On November 3rd, the new movie Loving hit theaters. The film features the story of interracial couple Richard Loving, a White man, and Mildred Jeter, a Black woman, from Virginia who defied anti-miscegenation laws by getting married. The film highlights their historic Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) case in 1967, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws nationwide. (It had previously been legal in all but 16 states.)

Seven months shy of the 50th anniversary of the SCOTUS decision, thinking of the film and the story of the Loving family, many may not understand the true importance of Loving v. Virginia and the extent to which the United States viewed interracial relationships at that time. Some may even take for granted how interracial relationships have become a societal norm and view the film as slightly shocking. Therefore, to better understand the historical context of the film, let us reveal the State of the Union at that time when it came to multiracial love.

Pre-Anti-Miscegenation Laws[1]

When digging deeper into the struggles of the lived mixed-race experience in the United States, it is apparent Western culture has worked hard to maintain a division of the races (Wilson, 1987). For over 300 years, more than half of the United States held strict anti-miscegenation laws to prevent different races from marrying, cohabitating, and engaging in sexual relations. Yet, prior to the creation of anti-miscegenation laws, racial divisions had already begun to take shape. Around the time of anti-miscegenation laws, elite white Americans created what is known as a “white racial frame,” where the “superior” racial group were white Americans while the “inferior” racial group were black Americans (Feagin, 2009). Since the creation of aforementioned “white racial frame,” this highly prejudiced point of view was strengthened during American social crises with immigration, slavery, and civil rights. Ultimately, the elitist “white racial frame” no longer applied solely to black Americans, but came to concern all persons of color as being inferior. Native, Asian, and Latin-Americans were all seen as being inferior to the superior white American race (p. 56).

The United States, unlike any other nation in the world, has used a black identity to create and maintain a divide between whites and non-white minorities. The one-drop rule, which delegates any person in the United States with any known African black ancestry, no matter how little or distant, is deeply rooted in American culture (Davis, 2006). The one-drop rule is truly unique because similar to anti-miscegenation laws, the one-drop rule resulted from United States experiences with slavery and racial segregation. According to anthropologists, for those who are multiracial and/or multiethnic, the one-drop rule is also known as the hypodescent rule, as mixed-race children are assigned to the status position of the lower status parent group (p. 17). Therefore, according to such racial hierarchy rules, any individual who is a person of color, yet mixed with white, will automatically be assigned the status of their parent who is of color. 

The Era of Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States first appeared in the mid 1600s, around the Chesapeake area of Maryland and Virginia, where many mixed-race relationships were occurring between white slave owners and black slaves (Davis, 2006). Anti-miscegenation laws proclaimed fornication between whites and Negroes was equivalent to bestiality, with 38 states adopting such laws (Brown, 2001). By the 1700s, anti-miscegenation laws, along with the one-drop/hypodescent rule, were not only meant to prevent marital unions based on race, but became the social definition of a black person in the South (p. 17). Alibhai-Brown explains how the word miscegenation [was] used to describe the products of relationships across racial barriers and [was] infused with the implication of something not quite the norm, something deviant (Alibhai-Brown, 2001).

The End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Relationships via Swirl Nation Blog

Anti-miscegenation laws were a clear way to curb a national fear of individuals and behaviors that seemed to be abnormal and deviant. In addition, anti-miscegenation laws were vital in maintaining Jim Crow segregation, allowing for racial “purity” to persevere (Davis, 2006). Despite the law and a general fear of blending races among elite white Americans in the United States during this time, sexual, romantic, and marital relationships occurred at significantly high rates between whites and blacks. The number of mixed-race children being born during this time steadily increased; however, children from mixed-unions were automatically placed outside of the existing social order (Brown, 2001).

Post-Anti-Miscegenation Laws

It was not until the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, which facilitated an end to Jim Crow laws. The well-recognized Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, handed down in 1967, was a momentous event in United States legal and cultural history. Loving v. Virginia, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws, making them unconstitutional, created a spark that lit a charged fire of demographic change throughout the U.S. (Bratter and Zuberi, 2001; Brunsma, 2005). Elam (2011) reinforces the notion that although Loving v. Virginia and other cultural transformations shaped by immigration trends have contributed to the United States increasingly multi-hued population, people of mixed descent are not a recent phenomenon: they have existed in often distinct, self-identified communities since the colonial era in the Americas, from Black Seminoles to Melungeons (p. 6). Up until the Loving decision, it is clear race mixing occurred, but it was a strictly managed affair, driven by force and power. Yet, such a power shift in American culture following the Loving v. Virginia case helped bring mixed-race identities and struggles out of the private sphere into the public sphere (Olumide, 2002). In addition, such a socio-cultural and legal endorsement of mixed-race identities and relationships eventually produced what has come to be known as the “biracial baby boom.” In the 1970s, approximately 1% of children were products of a mixed-race union and by 2000, that number grew to more than 5% (Herman, 2004; Brunsma, 2005).

Mixedness in the New Millennium

We then come back to present day where the growing mixed-race population is observed not just in the United States, but across the world. This has created greater interest in multiracial individuals and their lived experiences. A recent example of such interest is presented through The Pew Research Center June 2015 report, Multiracial in America: Proud, Diverse, and Growing in Numbers (Pew, 2015). The 156-page report is based off findings from 1,555 multiracial Americans across the nation, aged 18 and older, who were surveyed in regards to personal attitudes, experiences, and demographic characteristics (Pew, 2015). The report describes how the multiracial population is growing at a rate three times as fast as the total population, citing 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data which shows approximately 9 million Americans chose two or more racial categories when asked about their race (Pew, 2015).

  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

As we approach the 50-year anniversary of Loving v. Virginia next year and hopefully continue to see more media stories of not just the Loving family, but other multiracial couples and families, there is trust in the multiracial community continuing to add to the history of interracial relationships in America. Yes, it has been a bumpy road. Nevertheless, it has been a road worth traveling for the sake of not being afraid to cross boundaries for love, for happiness, and for freedom.

Post was originally published on Multiracial Media


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MULTIRACIAL #MCM: THE ROCK AKA THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE


MULTIRACIAL #MCM: THE ROCK AKA THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE via Swirl Nation Blog

Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock, is the Sexiest Man Alive, I've known it for at least 15 years and People magazine finally decided I was right;) This title ushers him into an elite group of physically appealing men that over the years has included George Clooney, Matt Damon, David Beckham, and Denzel Washington. 

Speaking of Denzel, he was the first and only black actor to hold this title back in 1996. So that would make The Rock (I refuse to call him Dwayne- he is way too sexy for that name) the first multiracial individual to hold the title since he is 1/2 Samoan and 1/2 black. 

Former People managing editor Landon Jones, who oversaw the 1996 Denzel Washington cover, said,

I’m proud we published the first [“Sexiest Man Alive” with a person of color]. I’m not proud we published the last.” 

I imagine all of the recent backlash in Hollywood, plus The Rock's timely movie release for Moana, moved the team at People Magazine towards this decision. Regardless it is impossible to deny he is a huge force in Hollywood as he is this year's highest paid actor pulling in $64.5 million in 2016. 

As we all know, representation matters, and I hope moving forward to see men of all races gracing not only the cover of this magazine, but across all mediums and platforms to accurately portray society. 

MULTIRACIAL #MCM: THE ROCK AKA THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE via Swirl Nation Blog
MULTIRACIAL #MCM: THE ROCK AKA THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE via Swirl Nation Blog

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When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts


When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts via Swirl Nation Blog

It’s Wednesday afternoon, the day after the election. I, like many others, have yet to fully recover from the shock of the results. I went to bed last night at 10:30, hoping beyond hope, that I would hear what I wanted to hear in the morning. My dreams were dashed when my husband came in at 12:30am and woke me up. He delivered the news that I had been dreading for a year and a half; the same news that many Americans had been dreading. We spent 30 minutes crying in each other’s arms. We cried for our mothers, sisters, nieces. We cried for people of color, the LGBT community, the disability community. We cried for America. We cried for the America that we thought we knew.

 

I woke up after a fitful few hours tossing and turning, replaying the last year and a half over and over in my head. How did this happen? How did we get here? I read several articles by people who predicted this and by people who were as angry and sad as I am. I needed to know that there were others who were in as much shock, pain and bewilderment as I was. I sulked around all morning and held back tears in front of everyone who asked how I was doing. The nurse at the doctor’s office and the cashier at the gas station. It felt like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

 

I came home and went straight into an hour of peaceful, inward focused yoga. As tried to breathe into my side body, lengthen and lift, and “find what feels good” (shout out to all my Yoga With Adriene homies!) I realized that I, and everyone in this beautiful country, am going to be OK. The yoga video I followed was focused on being grateful. And the universe spoke to me, as it often does during my time on the mat. “Be grateful,” it said. “To be alive. To have family. For the opportunity to be a part of the democratic process. For the privilege to travel. For the opportunity to meet and know people of different races, religions, and beliefs. Be grateful for the earth beneath you, the sun above you and the people you share this amazing planet with.”

 

Many of us are angry and just downright hurt. And as Hillary said in her concession speech today, “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.” It is hard to swallow the idea that we live in a place that would want someone who is openly racist, misogynist and mean spirited to lead the country. As a mixed race woman, this has shaken me to my core. I struggle to stay hopeful for our future. But I beg of you, everyone, do not lose heart. Do not give up. Do not move away. We are Americans. We are strong. We will continue to fight the good fight. We will continue to fight for equal rights for ALL Americans and ALL people of the world.

 

I know that if we keep our minds and hearts open we can make damn sure that all of the progress we have made in the last 8 years is not destroyed. Let’s also move forward. We can’t let fear and hate drive us into complacency. I appreciate that President Obama said, “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.” It’s true and we all know it. The bottom line is, this is reality and we have to live with the hand we’ve been dealt. So let’s do our best to make sure we play our cards right.

 

When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts via Swirl Nation Blog

My hope is that we all learn from this time and that we come together as a country. I hope that the forces that seek to divide us fail and that we can all treat each other with respect, dignity and love. I do not believe in any of the same things that our next President believes in, but I do believe in love and it’s power to triumph over evil. I also believe in the power of the human spirit. And I believe that being an American is an honor and privilege. I am proud to be an American. I don’t wear clothes emblazoned with an American flag, I hate baseball and I’m not that into apple pie. Hell, I don’t even put my hand over my heart during the national anthem. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love my country. And no matter who is President, I hope that will never change.

 

For the people who are hurting, for the people who are scared, for the people who don’t understand - keep your chin up. “Don't get cynical, don't ever think you can't make a difference”, our current President said today. Ultimately, we're all on the same team.”


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ABRAHAM BOOKER


Abraham Booker IV, age 29

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ABRAHAM BOOKER via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Mother’s side - Grandma is Puerto Rican Islander & Grandfather was Irish, Polish, and German

Father's side - African American (Booker plantation), Cherokee, and Blackfoot Indian.

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Melbourne, Australia

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Highly Diverse! Truly a melting pot of cultures!

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I grew up in Minnesota where there was not many mixed kids.. I bonded with the other mixed kids of other high schools when we competed in sports. Sadly the lack of diversity led to identity depression through my early teens.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My parents lived in the same apartment complex and were friends for awhile before my mom considered him a catch ha

 

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

Yes, my mother’s paternal side disowned her and my grandparents still to this day (30+years), however the second generation and third have been in contact with us! When my dad met some of my mom's family an aunty thought the touch of his skin would burn her!

 

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

Yes! We were always told/taught to embrace everything about us!

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

We as kids would always celebrate primarily the Puerto Rican traditions over the summers with grandma! Sadly, the European and African traditions were all lost and westernized. I love chats with my paternal grandad on our great aunts and uncles of the tribes and hearing such great stories from the Native side! (as well as stories of the slave times).

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD? IF SO DO YOU SPEAK MULTIPLE LANGUAGES?

I actually grew up nervous to speak Spanish given the fluency of my maternal grandmas side and the fact that growing up in my areas it wasn't used in the school system (I was fluent in Spanish at one point and learning French).

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I enjoy hearing stories of great people from both sides of the family as it gives me courage and strength in my everyday! I also love the Spanish music and the stories of great bravery from my slaves and native ancestors.

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

My parents are big on always checking in with family and extended family and big on celebrating different cultures and backgrounds. We would go to many different festivals growing up and dad would expose me to all kinds of music!

 

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

Yes, As the oldest of 3, I had many questions and not a lot of people I could relate to so I would always search for people like me in the media or ask “how should I act or dress” I was very confused as my response usually was “ both I am both!?” So proud of my parents and how they raised Cory, Brittni and I around the 80s. I could never thank my parents Abe and Marie enough!

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I used to identify as a teenager as “light-skinned,” and then Brown American. Now I am simply human or jokingly mixed (my cousin wrote his thesis on this - Aaron Wilkinson)

 DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

No, there is beauty and ugly in all races.. My wife is Australian.

 WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It is everything to me. A sense of pride. I can draw from so many different sides of history and empathize with several and link back to family not just on one side of a story!

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ABRAHAM BOOKER via Swirl Nation Blog

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

Not in the same sense of when I grew up (black/white) but may of several nationalities and speakers of many languages - which I found so amazing to know such beautiful people.

 

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

In a word YES - I don't understand reverse racism.

And living in Australia I don't understand why us Americans have to identify ourselves by a color. I hope in the near future we can move past such labels and appreciate actual nationalities instead of my black, white, etc friend.

 

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

For us to move away from stereotyping people by skin and class and only judge by the merit of one's character. Not all Middle eastern people are terrorists and not all African Americans are “gang bangers.” From someone looking outside into the USA now. I feel the American dream needs a re-awakening.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

I want to thank Jen and everyone at Swirl Nation for this opportunity as mine is only one of countless many! Please check out a 130 mile charity run I am doing next month and Very Special Kids! I have gone from a 300lbs D1 Defensive tackle at the University of South Dakota to a trim UltraMarathon runner in Australia :)

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET ABRAHAM BOOKER via Swirl Nation Blog

 

 

 

 

 

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