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Multiracial Mixed Woman

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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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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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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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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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CHANEL'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 Chanel's experience...

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

Name: Chanel Bosh

Social Media: IG / TW

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

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Slick Styling Tamer

Initial reaction: OH MY GOD! This is magic! Nothing works to slick my hair. NOTHING! I have never been able to really achieve a "slick" look. For whatever reason, edge control pastes never really work on my hair texture. But as soon as I tried Mixed Chicks Slick Styling Tamer, I was very pleasantly surprised. I rubbed some of the product between my palms, then smoothed it onto my hair. Before I even used my brush, I noticed that my hair was already relatively slick. 

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out?  I decided to try Mixed Chicks out because of a referral to be a product tester. I had always been on the fence about trying this product line, because I did not think that the products would work for my type of hair, which is a bit kinkier than what people usually think of as "mixed chicks" hair. I thought, my hair might be too coarse and kinky. But when I saw that Mixed Chicks has expanded their product link to include the Slick Styling Tamer and Coil, Kink, and Curl Styling Cream, I decided to give it a try. 

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? Yes! Culture specific beauty products make me feel good about myself and my hair type. Also, because culture specific products are more tailored to my hair type, it is easier for me to style my hair, while using fewer products. 

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? I am interested in trying the Detangling Deep Conditioner and the Sulfate Free Shampoo

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

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL


BRITTANI NOEL, AS AN ACTRESS, I’D RATHER NOT MENTION AGE ;-))

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Hungarian & African-American

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Los Angeles

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Yes

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born & raised in LA, which is generally a diverse community. However, there were not many other mixed kids that I was aware of growing up…

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My Mom met my Dad when she was here on a trip from Budapest, Hungary, visiting my Aunt who had immigrated here. She met him at a convention and says it was love at first sight. They didn’t speak any of the same language, but ended up getting married anyway!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

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

The language barrier for one. Mixed race couples were still not too commonplace, so I’m told my Dad lost a number of friends who didn’t approve of the relationship at the time. There were also some challenges in the family as well, but for the most part I wasn’t exposed to that directly.

 

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

My current extended family has been, yes.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

My parents were divorced when I was about 7, so my memories are mostly of celebrating Hungarian traditions, which was connected to my Mom’s culture. We embraced a lot of her traditions even when my parents were together; my Dad was flexible/open to it and my Mom’s family was very involved in our lives.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Yes, Hungarian and English. I speak both fluently, much to people’s surprise!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I’ve always loved all things Hungarian, from food to the way we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, it always felt more festive to me. On the flip side, some of the cultural traditions were traded in for American ones. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was an odd mesh of traditional Turkey dinner with a Hungarian twist and side dishes.

 

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

For the most part they weren’t too actively/openly concerned about it. There were bits here and there, but nothing on a consistent basis.

 

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

Not really. Sometimes my sister and I talked about certain feelings we had around the topic that we’d feel uncomfortable discussing it with anyone else.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Mixed

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not actively, although the diversity of people I’ve dated has not been vast; it’s just naturally unfolded that way. My better half now is Caucasian/British with Irish and Scottish roots.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means everything and nothing all at the same time. Everything insofar as having reached the epiphany that I had so many more feelings and complex emotions tied up around being mixed than I cared to recognize over the years, so it is, in a way, very much a part of who I am. And nothing insofar as feeling like it shouldn’t be quite so relevant; sometimes when I get asked the question one too many times, my instinct is to say, why does it matter what I am?

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I do have a solid few mixed friends now! If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s no one way or right/wrong way of identifying with being mixed--- it’s such a vast and complex topic that is also quite personal.

 

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

I abhor the question “What are you?”--- the wording just feel rude, especially when it comes from random people that I don’t even know and out of nowhere!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

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

For people to see people as people and move away from so much labeling. I would love to see the day that race finally becomes less of a hot-button topic.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Part of my journey in coming to terms with certain mixed race issues has been to write a film about it so that we can all connect more openly and compassionately as this community continues to grow. My Kickstarter will be launching soon, so stay tuned!

 

You can follow Brittani Noel on her personal Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

And you can also follow her project The Other Short on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


 

 

 

 

 

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A LOOK AT 'LOVING'


In the last few weeks I've found myself paralyzed and heavy into my feelings. Everyone across America is dealing with a flood of emotions, but being multiracial adds and extra layer to the confusion.

I find myself gravitating toward my African American and Native American heritage even more as events unfold, but lingering in the back of my head is the fact that I'm a combination from several different worlds. What if somewhere deep in my Caucasian lineage, there are some hateful roots. Did one half of my family contribute to the history of hurt my other half endured? Even though I know my background doesn't affect my character, not all white people are on the regressive side of the issue, it still makes the matter of equality awkward at best. I have to remind myself, though, that things are not as divided and hateful as they seem on the news. Love is the majority and things are changing. 

Biracial relationships have never been a trend that people are wild about, and the children from those relationships have not always been welcome. We're here, though, and becoming more commonplace and less taboo. I think people have an easier time accepting another race than they do accepting another race commingling with their own. It's an angle of racism that doesn't make it to the forefront very often, but it's all I seem to be thinking about lately. While there are people who may hate me simply for being black, there are also people who possibly hate me even more because I'm a mixture of both black and white. Somewhere In my mental tailspin though, I realized that I need to be grateful. Right now, there is still ignorance and some people don't approve, but there was a time when it was actually against the law and a life threatening risk to love outside your race. I felt like I was missing appreciation for where we are now, because I was focused on where we need to be. I thought watching "Loving" might give me a little perspective. That and I really just needed to watch something other than the overload of current event updates on my social media feed.

A LOOK AT 'LOVING' via Swirl Nation Blog

I always want to watch historical movies, but I shy away because they upset, and stick with me. I'm an emotional lightweight, and I can only handle an occasional action movie outside of my romantic comedies. I figured this couldn't be as traumatic as some of the movies about slavery though, so I thought I'd probably be okay. I did get upset, but it wasn't anything that would give me nightmares. It was actually really inspiring to watch the story of the couple who changed the face of civil liberties with regard to interracial marriage. Despite the danger of defying the ruling by the State of Virginia,  they fought their case all the way to the Supreme Court where it was declared unconstitutional for any state to deny a couple the inherent right of marriage based on race. They were jailed, and banished from Virginia because they would not concede to the order requiring them to dissolve their union. They faced great opposition, but persisted and eventually succeeded, creating a monumental change during the Civil Rights Movement.

I loved Ruth Negga as Mildred; in part because she herself is Swirl Nation (Irish and Ethiopian). I wasn't crazy about the husband's portrayal, but then again I don't know the real figure behind the character. Also, there were parts of the movie that were a little slow. Any criticism I have, though, is completely muted by the fact that this was a true story. Their courage was pivotal to our country's history. I was born just 15 years after the ruling, and relatively speaking that's not even a full generation before me. Without the Lovings my very existence would be criminal. That realization alone gave me chills, and left me in awe of the entire movie.

"Loving" the movie, left me thirsty for more stories of people who paved the way for all the liberties I am able to enjoy present day. Recently our country may have taken a few steps back, and uncovered prejudices that hid but did not die, but we have still come such a long way. While it's possible to come across intentional obstacles, distractions, and delays, progress cannot be stopped. Rather than be consumed by what the media strategically shares, I choose to be encouraged knowing that love will prevail and change is inevitable. 

One day interracial and multiracial will be redundant terms used only in history books, because we will all realize that we are a nation full of immigrants and their descendants, and no one's heritage is linear. We all have relatives that mixed things up somewhere along the way, and that's what makes our country the beautiful melting pot that it is.

Multi cultural family.jpg

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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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3 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE MULTIRACIAL


3 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE MULTIRACIAL via Swirl Nation Blog

As the world becomes more diverse, multiracial people are not quite the rare unicorns we once were. Even with more combinations of skin, eyes and culture constantly blending, though, it seems that uni-nationality people (pretending for a moment that's actually a real thing) still don't quite know how to approach or talk to "The Mixed". -That's my new term and I'm sticking with it. It sounds like the newest hit drama on NBC; already in it's second season, with rave reviews, starring yours truly.  

No matter what term you use as a description, there are definitely 3 things you should keep in mind when you meet someone who appears to be multiracial.

 

The question, "What are you?", is not welcome!

It's probably the single most frustrating question for us. I haven't taken a scientific poll, but I think I can safely say we all have an eye roll reserved for the occasion. Just don't ask, and spread the word so hopefully the question dies altogether. We are human! Whether well intended or not, the question implies that we're not. Add in the bewildered face people wear as they ask, and the feeling of being an outcast just grows. I am a woman, sister, daughter, writer, actress, mother extraordinaire if you must, but if you'd like to know my background simply ask me, "What's your background?" I am happy to unlock the mystery.

 

The touching of our hair isn't either

There seems to be a fascination with ethnic hair in general, but I've noticed an extra layer of "Oooh what's that" when it comes to hair that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It comes in a variety of textures and sometimes the color seems out of place given the corresponding shade of skin, but it is just hair, and we don't like people touching it. If my curls are calling to you and the urge becomes overwhelming, again, ask. You may get a firm and passionate, "No!", but if you're not given permission, it feels like a violation. It's kind of like the hand on the belly bump phenomenon. Apparently, there's an unspoken rule, that if a woman is pregnant and her belly is visible, she becomes public property, and it's okay to lay hands. Well uh, I can assure you this rule was not written by a pregnant woman; I literally used to slap any strange hand that got close enough. Anyone who thinks it okay to walk up and touch someone's anything, hair included, has been seriously misinformed. If you didn't know, now you do.

 

Starring makes things awkward

Now, I have to give a disclaimer. I have seen a multiracial few that are an absolutely stunning display of artistic magnificence personified, and I couldn't take my eyes off them. There are people that beautiful and visually captivating, but they are not wax figures and there is most certainly a line. Whether gorgeous and statuesque or not, The Mixed are something like a puzzle. It drives you nuts if you can't identify where all their features come from and you just can't look away until you've got it; I've been there. Starring is understandable, but anything beyond a 5 second gaze starts to become uncomfortable. Even worse, if we've made eye contact and you still haven't said anything things go from awkward to concerning. We are approachable, I assure you (most of us anyway), and we don't bite. If you find yourself taken aback by someone it's okay, and actually preferred, to say something instead of just persisting with a stare.

 

If you've been following the dots and my entire rant seems to deal with consent and respect, you're right on target. It's in our nature to explore the unfamiliar, admire unique beauty, and try to dissect anything that we don't understand. Unfortunately, it has also been a part of our history to treat differences in humans, the same way we would a new cell phone. We don't bother learning about it from the manual, we just look it over and play with it. Great for technology, not okay with people. I don't think enough of the population realizes or cares that it's not okay, though. My hope is that as people learn better, they'll do better. 

 

The differences in our cultures and traditions are what make blending them so beautiful. Admire, inquire and enjoy when you come across a way of life different from your own. I don't have a drop of Greek in me, that I know of, but Mediterranean cuisine is definitely at the top of my favorites. As you become more worldly though, just keep a sticky note, somewhere in the back of your think tank, that reminds you, there is not a person in this world that is on display for your curiosity or entertainment. Multiracial individuals are not beautiful patchwork quilts for you to run your hand over. Their feelings are no different than your own, so make sure you're "Doing unto others..."

 

I have grown into a much greater sense of confidence when it comes to my blend, but that was not always the case. As a child I felt like a bit of a sideshow. Kids always wanted to play with my hair, or come up with a creative reason why they thought I had freckles with brown hair and eyes. I no longer care much if someone turns my face into a guessing game, but I'm sure there are still children and even adults, today, who haven't yet gotten to that place of self assurance. In a world of carbon copies, unique is not an easy mountain to climb. When you do meet someone who appears multiracial, the biggest thing is to show respect. If you're sensitive in your approach, I think plenty of The Mixed wouldn't mind sharing their story. 


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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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KANDIA CRAZY HORSE


Kandia Crazy Horse, age 45

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KANDIA CRAZY HORSE via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Native American (my Nation’s always been in what’s now Virginia & surrounding territory) / African / Scottish

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Manhattan

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

I live on what was Alexander Hamilton’s farm, also once known as High Harlem, and it’s a rapidly gentrifying area of Upper Manhattan. Harlem was originally built as a suburb for German emigres, but quickly became the Black Mecca of the nation. When I first moved to this neighborhood, it was majority black & Dominican - with some other groups from so-called Latin America mixed in. Increasingly, whites from richer areas downtown & Brooklyn are moving in & the local businesses are changing to cater to them as a result. There’s unfortunately still a lack of services & certain infrastructure present to support the population that has been here for many decades & it’s causing tensions.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I am from the South, Virginia & Georgia; I also grew up for a time in the Latino barrio of Washington, DC, Adams-Morgan, which was an island of Aztlan amidst what was then known as Chocolate City - before I moved to Africa. In the deep South with my grandparents, where I lived for 4 months each year, there were only our kin & other black folks. Prior to gentrification, Adams-Morgan was predominantly Latino with a sprinkling of black revolutionaries including my parents & their friends -- the area had been utterly changed due to white flight a few years before I was born -- and thus my first language was Spanish & my primary identity was Chicana or Latina. As a babychile, I literally thought I would grow up to be Chicana round about age 20 & look just like Frida Kahlo in the women’s dress from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.

 

Then, between age 8 - 20, I moved to Africa, living in various countries from Bamako, Mali in the Sahel to Accra, Ghana; living in Francophone & then Anglophone Africa, where initially my mother was a U.S. Ambassador (the 3rd woman of African descent to be so named in American History), I socialized with the international set, many expats, & attended the Lycee Francais for 8 years; but I also always knew many native Africans from the given country we were based in, as well as became early on what they now term Afropolitan. I was like Lupita Nyong’o or Michael Kiwanuka before they existed, but that was extremely complicated because I was a black American of southern roots which always confused people (and still does).

 

So again, I grew up with many children from Central & South America, then from West & East & Southern Africa, as well as Europeans, before going to boarding school in New England -- the only place yet that I’ve experienced culture shock, amongst the Mayflower descendants & other Yankees. At the progressive and then private schools I always attended, I also knew the first publically recognized/free boom of biracial (primarily black/white or black/Native American/white but also some black/Asian due to the VietNam War which was still raging when I was born) kids that had a certain new style upbringing and access due to the Civil Rights Movement and, like me, being the first born of my family not under Jim Crow. I socialized with all of these biracial kids & tended to be their lone black friend, but I didn’t have the exact same experiences as them because I was darker skinned than my Afro-Native mother & grandmother -- not as obviously Creolized -- and because I was reared abroad rather than in the States belonging to the Links, Jack & Jill, summering @ Oak Bluffs & apart of other “Old Freedom Bourgeoisie” lifestyle happenings. So, actually, the majority of the time, my twin sister & I could only identify with our own circle of two.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

I no longer recall the details; but they were both 1960s revolutionaries from the South & pan-Africanists who had been living in Africa (separately, then together) since 1960. I always inquired -- before my mother went to the Spirit World -- & have repeatedly been given the answer that the sisters & brothers who cared about Africa and their progressive Third World coalition-building concerns back in the 1950s & 1960s were initially very few, so all the now famous people of the Movement -- most of whom my parents were friends with or knew from actions -- and my kin involved in the revolution were relatively tight compared to the apathy, disunion and mutual hatred of the post-racial black community today.

 

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

Yes, my grandmother (being redbone, Native American/African/Scottish) did not like my father, blamed him for the dilution of our blood/change of hair, stopped speaking to my mother for over a year when she cut her hair & etc…

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

Not entirely. My mother subsumed her Native identity under the black one dominating the 1960s, only to return to it before she walked on. Because of her color, she was always claimed by Ethiopians (Amharas) as one of them & she spoke fluent Amharic, lived in Addis Ababa etc. When I first moved to Mali, the natives there that were Fulani considered me one of them. I always knew I was Native from birth, but was not raised on the reservation & grew up abroad away from American culture point blank; so I have had to find my own way along the Red Road once I left home.

 

I now live mostly immersed in Indian Country, but I still honor my African roots as well as the Scottish ones via my music, which is Native Americana/Black Hillbilly/mountain music derived from the blend of African-Native American-Scotch-Irish in the Southeast where I hail from. There were some issues when I married my ex-husband, who is of Danish descent with some Albion contribution; but then again, I have always lived & socialized amongst an extremely diverse population & was educated with kids from France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain etc & I formerly worked at the United Nations -- so there would have been too much hypocrisy to completely condemn certain choices I have made in life.

  

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

See above responses. We mostly observed southern traditions & then many diverse cultural practices from different nations in Africa, especially Yoruba (we were supposed to be born in Lagos & have dual citizenship) & Ashanti.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

My parents were not raised with foreign languages (although my mother particularly gained knowledge due to her work, as well as being fluent in Amharic & Swahili) & my Native tongue has been dead for at least 300 years. Yet my sister & I were raised on foreign languages from the start; I have been educated / fluent in Spanish, French, and absorbed some Bambara, Arabic, Sotho, Twi, Tamashek, German, Turkish, Tsalagi...

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

On most days, the Music, for music is my grand passion & the only constant in my very complex & turbulent life. All of these other aspects you cite, have waxed & waned or even been taken away from me, but the music has always remained no matter where I was in the world. No doubt, this has contributed to me becoming an artist. Even before I was a singer-songwriter, for most of my existence I have (only) made connections with people based on music. Of course, I do dress in Native American style adapted to my particular Taurean sense of adornment & love my regalia…& never turn down a chance to have some stone ground grits OR great frybread!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KANDIA CRAZY HORSE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

Even though my parents were upraised in segregated, mostly southern areas & culture, we were exposed to the whole wide world from the beginning. Aside from being deeply steeped in African history, we’d been to all the major & minor D.C. museums before we were 5 years old, and consistently exposed to many cultures beyond our multilingual education. My parents were in the Movement & traveled a lot, so we spent even more time with our southern grandmothers, learning our heritage & pre-1960s traditions. We were taken to marches, actions & diverse cultural events -- I first came to love bluegrass, mountain music & the Song of the Plains Indians from toddling after my mother at the Folklife Festival & similar programs.

 

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

Yes, all the time -- it was the Revolution & then the long era of always trying to re-attain the Movement that had disintegrated

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I identify as Native American. Ultimately, there’s not really such a thing as a “black Indian;” but due to racism & historical miscegenation laws, there’s a lot of blood quantum & enrollment issues that plague Indian Country unto this day. Still, I always honor all sides.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Again, my ex was Danish-American. My preference has always been Native American men, but have only recently been meeting them in significant numbers, due to being raised abroad. At least since I was age 7 or so, there’s never been more than 1 or 2 -- African or black American - boys in any of my classes/grades, so dating black guys or only black guys has never been a luxury afforded me -- & frankly, the few black folks there were around, especially in boarding (high) school, mostly did not cotton to us having such a nontraditional, “weird” upbringing; they were not pan-African nor conscious nor what the millennials now call “woke” -- the black & Afro-Latino kids denigrated us for growing up in Africa, even at the heights of Native Tongues hip-hop/Acid Jazz/London’s second Summer Of Love/early 1990s Black Renaissance heyday.

 

With biracial black/white guys, I have always had to be just the friend, usually their only black girl-friend who their mothers tended to wish we would date but they all chose white women to partner with & have children with. I have dated an Aztec in the past.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

I was raised around a diverse set of cultures, never given the choice to just remain solely in the Black Community, so I just see the world always that way rather than being wed to blackskin chauvinism -- despite being born into the height of that sentiment. Ultimately, I am myself, with all the complexities that entails & I am starting to be middle-aged, so I am just becoming ever more deeply rooted in what that is.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

See above; due to my liminal position in society, I was privy to a lot of the issues & growing pains & internal self-hatred of kids from the boom of interracial marriage in the 1960s/Afrohippies/AffirmativeAction/growth of the black middle class. It’s all given me a unique perspective, as I have watched the post-racial viewpoint rise & lived amidst Obama America plus the social media debates of “mixed chicks,” “team dark skin vs. team light skin,” Black Women’s Empowerment, & seen the natural hair movement return. These gleanings have fed into my social choices & certainly informed my activism.

 

Yet I have really mostly learned from my own personal sojourn, as a child of multiple roots growing up on both sides of the Atlantic; being an Afrohippie & aging Deadhead who spent years on the road traveling between concerts & Coastopia; having covered the next wave of southern rock as a (black female) rock journalist & music editor in an extremely white male English-speaking field; and now abiding as a Native Americana/black hillbilly/Cosmic American Music artist in the country & Americana genres which do not generally accept black, Native, and other artists of color. I continue to be misunderstood & not accepted in different social/cultural scenes, and yet still I rise. And I Sing.

 
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET KANDIA CRAZY HORSE via Swirl Nation Blog

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

If I had a dime for every time someone non-black touched my hair growing up…& I wish that within Indian Country there would not be so much privileging of the white-passing over the black, considering that here in the East, most of the surviving nations are tri-racial & we need unity now in this era of Standing Rock - I have been part of the Dakota Access Pipeline & Algonquin Pipeline resistance for months, doing activism primarily in Indian Country all of 2016 -- more than ever.

 

Also: folks should stop telling me there are no/they never heard of a black country singer; I have recorded 2 country & western albums, Stampede & Canyons, & been writing lots of songs for the next few I hope to get a record deal for, including a song for our precious water protectors of Standing Rock - “Mni Wiconi (Water Is Life).” And I lead a diverse, black and white, Native Americana band called Cactus Rose that is based in Harlem - yes, Harlem-on-the-Range. I also associate with some of the Federation Of Black Cowboys members, who sometimes tend to be “Afro-Native” and includes some hillbilly musicians -- like my friend AR of Ebony Hillbillies.

 

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

I am for complete liberation of Turtle Island & all that entails.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Just everyone -- but particularly my sistahs -- try to finally get over the hair; the battles waged over it are not productive & we have so many more important issues to tend to for our survival (although I understand that, as a woman, beauty is a central reality). I was born into “Black Is Beautiful” & believed that would never change, only to see the gains of that era whittled away bit by bit to the sad state today wherein black men & women are mostly at war with each other. None of this infighting has yielded ultimate positive results nor progress has it? We shall never return to some glorious, isolated City of Zinj -- I know only too well -- in the Motherland; we need to try far harder to all get along, never forgetting nor abandoning our Roots, yet all truly learning how to live & love together, as Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, & all my most beloved Bold As Love artists of the 1960s & 1970s strove to articulate.


You can learn more about Kandia on her website and IG

 

 

 


 

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“BROWN SKIN AND BLONDE GIRLS ONLY”, SAID MY DAUGHTER


It was the moment I dreaded. Today my daughter came home recounting her day with the casual tone she adopts when talking about homework.

But instead she told me she’d created a secret club.

“Oh?”, I said, intrigued.

“Yes, and it’s for girls only. And only brown skinned and blonde girls can be part of it.” At the mention of skin colour, my head turned. But, instead of the usual defensive lioness I’ve become so used to at the mention of anyone excluding her for being brown, I had to do a double take.

“What??? Why would you?… Who??….”, my voice tailed off. Realising she’d included blonde girls, I calculated that most of her friends were actually probably included- even with this strange entry requirement.

All except one. “Were all your friends allowed to join then?”, I asked carefully. “Yes”, she said. “Except N…”

My heart dropped. Just as I feared. One of her friends who didn’t play with her that often but who was often on the periphery of her little group was unfortunate to have brown hair.

My daughter was obviously oblivious to her error. In fact, she looked at me curiously to see why I might be so concerned.

What do you do and how do you say it? My automatic anti-racist, discrimination-hating, scary-Mum instinct was about to be unleashed where I lecture my daughter about everything that’s wrong with excluding someone because of their skin colour.

And yet I knew that if I scared my daughter with my reaction, what would be the impact on any future conversations about race? Would she want to bring up any more moments where race and skin colour come up and would she feel comfortable to know that she can ask anything- even if it is offensive?

Because keeping that conversational door open is one of the most important things to me. That she knows that she can ask anything of us- her parents- even if she suspects it’s not a comfortable subject for many.

We talk about race and heritage and colour because it’s there. Not because we want to make a big deal of it but because it’s there. And we don’t have a choice.

Fortunately, the people who make up my daughter’s entire world are all of different colours so I didn’t have to travel far to get her to understand.

“You do know that your rules mean that I couldn’t join your secret club”.

Armed with this new revelation, she seemed to pause and agreed quickly to change the rules so that blonde, brown and black hair, white skin and brown skin could be included.

In Shakil Choudhury’s recent ground-breaking book on diversity, he spells it out for us that our human brain is predisposed to be empathetic to those who are most like us. But as her immediate circle is made up of multiple skin colours and features, I knew that her concept of ‘us’ was unlikely to be limited.

So I didn’t harp on about the colour aspect. The incident that happened today could have happened to any kid, of any colour. For my daughter, it could well have been glasses, no glasses, brown hair, blonde hair or black hair, as long as her chosen friends were included.

In those next few moments, I chose to talk about exclusion as it happens to us all, not about colour specifically.

“Why would you want to exclude N***?”, I asked her.

“Is she mean?”

“No.”

“So, why?”

She didn’t really have an answer. Perhaps because it was easy to exclude N***.  And because her best friends were all blonde-haired or brown-skinned.

I continued. Today, you’re in control of the club but tomorrow, it may be those very same kids who exclude you because of your curly hair or your nose or your shirt or… your skin colour.

“How would you feel if…”

Pausing, she said she understood. And she felt bad, I could tell. She’s not a mean kid and I know she’s been known to stand up to bullies and other kids who turn on others. But what happened today, she was reminded of who she is and what she stands for. So proud was she of her ‘secret’ club and the fact that she’d come up with rules to make it even more exclusive (probably inspired by the recent episode of Peppa Pig), she’d forgotten how it felt to be left out.

Tomorrow she’ll go in and apologise to her friend. She’s done with secret clubs for now, she says. And she’s got a renewed incentive to be kinder and to ensure everyone gets included in her circle.  Because when encouraged to imagine themselves in the others’ shoes, children don’t need much encouragement to change their behaviour.

I hope that my daughter got the lesson. I certainly did not think I’d be having this conversation with her, especially at 5 years old. But, then again, I’m glad it happened and I can understand better when young children do make judgements and decisions based on skin colour. Later, it may become more sinister and I’m ready for those conversations. But it’s a reminder that in this racialised world, none of us are perfect and we’re learning along the way. Talking about race is not taboo, nor should we scare our children or run away from such conversations. Even when when they surprise us with the most unimaginable.


Post was originally published on Fariba's blog, mixedracefamily.com

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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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THE BACHELOR BRINGS BIRACIAL TO THE SMALL SCREEN


Taylor Nolan, biracial contestant on The Bachelor

Taylor Nolan, biracial contestant on The Bachelor

Happy 2017 and if you are like most of America you may have started out your week with The Bachelor on Monday night. I’m not an avid Bachelor fan, but to appease my younger sister I indulged her whim to watch it. I’ve seen a handful of seasons and we all know the process: one man dates thirty girls and cherry picks his way to the love of his life in roughly two months. We got it, not a hard concept. The older and more #woke I get, my attention to the diversity, education and background the women selected increases rather than focusing on the man.

What got my attention this first episode was a biracial, black and white contestant named Taylor Nolan. In her introduction video, she listed a few key facts: she’s an entrepreneur, mental health counselor, graduate from Johns Hopkins, and biracial. Following her statement on being biracial she states

“Connections can be somewhat difficult for me. My mom is white and my biological father is black. Being biracial is very much um… white girls didn’t like because I was black and black girls didn’t like me because I was white. But I think I’ve really learned to love myself and be comfortable with who I am.”

 To be honest I had a very complicated reaction to this reveal. One, it felt like the most cliché label associated with being mixed. It’s a very blanket statement that I know we’ve all felt- disconnect and displacement, it just felt like an odd association to make in relation to her love life. Our social position and acceptance within our own cultures is different in my opinion than our connections with a potential partner. If she had somehow tied this to being in an interracial relationship it would have made more sense, but the way it was packaged, it felt more like a label to stamp her with, which is often what mixed people receive 100% from the outside looking in. At the same time, I understand and hope that there was more context to what she said, and it was edited because well, it’s reality TV.

ABC wants us to know a few things

  1. We have a mixed person who identifies as such (yay for diversity)
  2. I’m assuming since this was part of her introduction, if she lasts that will be further explored to some degree (maybe not since this is The Bachelor and not a PBS documentary)
  3. Her background with being unable to make a connection due to being biracial may be her “Achilles heel” in developing love with our Bachelor. Not sure. We’ll see.

In a 2016-2017 that has brought many mixed race and interracial relationship conversations to the forefront of media, I look forward to seeing how her position as a biracial woman will be explored as opposed to the other women if at all.


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS


Paige Rene Rogers, 25 years young

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

My father Chad, is African American and I have honestly never dug deep into my father's history. He never really talked about where his family originated from but my mother on the other hand was always told by my grandmother where she was from. My mother Shelly, is part Irish/English hence where the red hair comes from :)

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Littleton, Colorado

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

I live just south of Denver which I would say it feels pretty diverse being a big city and a lot of people migrating here. Littleton on the other hand is not as diverse and has a lot of old money in the small area.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born in Lansing MI and went to school there through 5th grade. My elementary school was very diverse and most of the kids in my class were mixed. Then I moved to good ole Mason MI where I then noticed I was the only mixed person in my class. I was 1 of 5 mixed kids in the entire school.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My mom and dad met at a stop light when my dad rode his motorcycle, my mom loves a guy on a motorcycle. They pulled over and traded numbers!

 

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

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

I would say yes, my mom's mother Yvonne was not a fan of my father because he was black. After my mom had my sister and I, my grandmother began to understand that we were her grandchildren no matter what color we are.

 

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

Absolutely! My aunts and uncles also grew up in a very diverse community so I think they were pretty used to seeing mixed children.  

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Um, not really. Both sides celebrated the basic american holidays and events. Nothing too special on either side.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Nope, good ol’ English. My sister and I came up with our own language that we still use today but my mother likes to call it baby talk...

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

5 years ago I found the plant based diet and I have been vegan ever since. Before I told my family I no longer ate meat or dairy I loved my grandma Rogers cooking! It was very fatty and delicious but I knew it was not the best for my body as I got older and learned more about food.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

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

I don’t think my parents ever thought about sitting me down and explaining to me why I am different than most of my friends in Mason. I am also okay with that because it forced me to see that there is nothing different about me and my friends besides my skin color and I never saw that as an issue. I was most interested in learning about my background to stop confusing myself LOL!

 

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

No, not at all.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I identify myself as black when people ask me and I honestly just think I say that because that is what I have been taught to say. I feel like if I were to say “white” people look at me like I am lying. It really is a challenging question because society tells you to say one thing but then you look at yourself in the mirror and you see something completely different.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

I am currently engaged to the love of my life who is white, Chase. When Chase and I lived in Florida it was like the 60’s all over again. Sometimes people would stare when we went to dinner or ask us weird questions like “What do you 2 even have in common?” It was something I had not seen before and it was pretty uncomfortable at times.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

Bing mixed doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning to me because I see it as 2 people who fell in love created me. I am a human being with great skills and an open mind. I do not see color, I see people. Being mixed to me is show humanity that people of different races can come together and ignite love.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

My in-laws are mixed and I learn from them all of the time. It’s fun to hear stories from their past and how similar they are to mine. I have learned that LOVE is LOVE from all of them, no matter what color, sexuality or gender you are, you’re allowed to love WHO YOU WANT and be WHO YOU WANT.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

It is definitely never said anymore but when I was in high school kids used to call me a zebra or an Oreo and now that I am older I understand how rude those comments actually were.

 

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

My dream would be to forget about race over all but I know that’s a hopeful dream. But really, I want people to understand that it is okay to have a relationship with someone who is not the same race as you. It should not be this scary encounter or even uncomfortable. We are all HUMAN beings and that is the sad part. Sometimes we can’t even get along with our own species all because of the color of our skin….hmmmm

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

I am a proud mixed woman, business owner, daughter, big sister, soon to be wife, personal trainer, yoga instructor and a leader. I am damn good at my job and building connections within our community for our business. I am a people person and color will never stop me from being ME.

 

You can follow Paige and her business on their website / business IG / personal FB / personal IG

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET PAIGE RENE ROGERS 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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA


Xavia Omega, age 34

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

African American / Native American / Irish / German

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Rochester, NY

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Yes, I picked this suburb in particular because as a community they strive to support diversity.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born in Denver, but mostly grew up in Rochester. The only mixed kids I was around were my siblings and there were a brother and sister that rode my bus.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My dad owned a martial arts studio and my mom was a student.

 

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

I don’t know much from my father’s side, but my mother’s side did not approve. They have always been loving of her children though.

 

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

As supportive as they can. Unless you are proactively educating and exposing yourself, I think it’s difficult to gauge what’s supportive for someone, if their background is so different from yours.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Unfortunately, I was never exposed to traditions that related directly to the cultures I come from. It was something that made my identity struggle a little more intense.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

No. If someone is speaking Spanish I know enough words to get a general sense of what they’re talking about but I am not fluent.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I enjoy the urban culture of my African American side. I love the music and clothing styles.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA via Swirl Nation Blog

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

There weren’t many discussions and I feel that’s a reflection of the generation. We never talked much about anything.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

This has been a thorn for me for many years. When I was younger I never felt white enough to fit in there but I never felt black enough either. As I grew up, though, I began to identify as black; because I have never experience the privilege of a white girl but I have experienced much of the prejudices that come along with being a person of color.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

I’ve always been attracted to black men but race isn’t something I consciously consider. My current partner is black.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

Being mixed means that I get to enjoy being from more than one place. Even though I don’t know much about some of the cultures just the fact that I can not only explore them, but that they are a part of who I am as well, is exciting.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

Not a lot. I don’t think it’s as unusual as it was growing up so it’s not really something we talk about. I wouldn’t say I’ve learned anything related to being mixed, other than the fact that there are a lot more people who are mixed than I thought when I was little.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA via Swirl Nation Blog

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

“What are you?” Drives me nuts, because it sounds as if something other than human is an option.

 

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

I don’t want it to stop being a part of the discussion because I feel like there is so much beauty in each culture to be shared. But, I do dream that one day it won’t hold any more weight beyond that.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET XAVIA OMEGA via Swirl Nation Blog

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Growing up, being mixed was something I got teased about quite a bit. It wasn’t familiar for a lot of people. I think it’s such a beautiful thing to see our diversity celebrated on so many platforms now, including Swirl Nation.

 

You can follow Xavia on social media her blog / FB / IG / TW


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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