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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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LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS


LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS via Swirl Nation Blog

We are LOVING this Etsy store called Letters From Adwoa! The online store aims to give young black girls Valentine's Day cards that feature their own likeness to pass out in class. As we all know representation is so important and these cards send a beautiful message! I love the comments in the reviews section of the Etsy page: 

I was totally blown away when these cards arrived. Also, when my daughter saw the cards she said "mommy is that me". Priceless moment!! Love theses cards that represent little black girls
Super fast shipping!!! Items just as pictured!! Thank you so much! My daughter and I absolutely love these beautiful cards! We can't wait to see what new designs you will have in the future. Hopefully you will offer some with little boys?!! Also children with locs 😉 (fingers crossed) will definitely be supporting again.

Etsy Store / Instagram

Personally I don't think Valentine's Day should be the only day each year we share cards such as these. Send the beautiful brown girl in your life one of these precious cards any time of year! 

LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS via Swirl Nation Blog

 

 

 

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN


SYLVESTER GASKIN, AGE 35

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

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

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Maryland

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

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

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

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

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They met in the military. Both were pretty young.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

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

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

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

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

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

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

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

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

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

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

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

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

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

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

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

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

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

 

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

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

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

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

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

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

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

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


 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY


MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY

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

Rick, age 38

Irish, Scottish, and English

Valecia, age 25

African American and Native American

Lorenzo, age 2

Irish, Scottish, English, African American, and Native American

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Richmond, VA

 

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

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met through mutual friends in 2012.

 

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

Are biggest obstacle was our age difference. We are 13 years apart in age, and in the beginning it was somewhat difficult because my wife’s family did not like it. Luckily, over time her family got to know me and accepted me into their family.

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?

We have found that our cultures are mostly the same. We both grew up in a working class family with the same religious background.

 

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

Her family is very close and she talks to her parents everyday. Unlike myself, I speak to my parents maybe once a month, see them even less. But now I am just as close with her family as she is, and I often go to them for advise as if they were also my blood relatives.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Our neighborhood and community is very diverse. We see a lot of mixed race couples and children. Two of my wife’s closest friends have mixed race children as well.

 

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

We do not speak any other languages unfortunately.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIRACIAL RELATIONSHIP?

Both of our families have been very supportive of our marriage. We both come from blended families. I have a biracial little sister, and Valecia has an Irish step-father, and a biracial younger brother. Our families are very accepting and supportive.

 

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

My parent’s love hunting, church, and the simple country lifestyle. Valecia’s parents are very into sports and cooking, and fishing.

 

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

We honestly don’t see much difference between our childhoods because of our race. Our only difference is that we grew up in different places, and she has a very close knit family.

 

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

We both get a lot of questions about our son’s race when the other isn’t around. But when we are out as a family, we get a lot of stares and whispers for mostly older people. But we also get a lot of compliments from younger people.

My wife has had a woman come up to her and asked if she was babysitting, and another situation where the flat out asked is our son was hers. I, on the other hand, have only received positive things from people about our son. People still ask about his race, but they always tell me how handsome he is. I have had a couple of situations though where people would assume that he is my grandson because of my age.

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

We make sure to expose our son to both sides of our family, and try to introduce him to other cultures as well. We have friends with many different backgrounds and cultures that we enjoy learning from and would want to expose our son to.

 

HAS YOUR CHILD ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Lorenzo is still too young to understand that there is a difference between us and our family. He also has not started talking in complete sentences yet.

 

DOES YOUR SON IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?  

We like to say that Lorenzo is our little panda bear. We also usually refer to him as simply mixed.

 

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

We will try to lead by example. We both enjoy experiencing different cultures and feel that that gives us better understanding and respect for those cultures and people. So we want Lorenzo to see this and want to have the same understanding.

 

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

Lorenzo Looks a lot like his father, but he mostly has his mother’s personality. He also has his mother's smile and eyes, but everything else about his appearance seems to come from me.

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

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

When Lorenzo gets older, we want him to be proud of all that he is, and understand that even though he may look different from other kids, he is still the same. Being mixed does not make him better than anyone else, but it also does not make him less either.

 

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

Our only dream for our son is that he grows up happy and respectful. We want him to follow his own dreams and paths, and also have compassion for others.

 

You can follow the Lambert family on social media. Snapchat: @Enzosdaddie and @Enzosmommie / Valecia’s IG / Rick’s IG / Lorenzo’s IG


 

 

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HONORING WORLD HIJAB DAY


HONORING WORLD HIJAB DAY via Swirl Nation Blog

Today, February 1st is World Hijab Day. One of our founders, Amal, is supporting in her city of Dallas, TX. During a time when hatred and anti-immigrant sentiments are at an all-time high, the movement, now in its 5th year is more important than ever. 

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Particularly, WHD focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically. We must stand for Muslim women's right to cover. There are many ways to show your solidarity and it is not too late to participate!

More more information go to their website.

On social media share your photos using #Istand4Hijab #WorldHijabDay


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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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SHUHERK FAMILY


MEET THE SHUHERK FAMILY

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

Emma 33

Half Black American and half German

Cassie 33

White American

Genevieve 15 months

Genevieve is 1/2 German, 1/4 Swiss and 1/4 Black American

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? 

Boston, MA

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET? 

Cassie was my manager at a bakery called Kickass Cupcakes when we met.  I was instantly smitten.  She had just gotten out of a bad relationship and sworn of women so I didn't even come out to her till months after becoming friends.  A few months after that we started dating.

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

                                                                                                   

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

No

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?

We love holidays and celebrate both German and American holidays which is what my parents did when I was growing up.

 

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

We have adopted the American way of celebrating Christmas.

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE? 

Extremely.  Probably 80% of my daughter's friends have mixed backgrounds.

 

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

Yes we speak English, German, and ASL at home

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP? 

Yes

 

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

The food, music, and large family gatherings.  They are big on comfort food and 70's and 80's music.

 

 

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

Cassie lived on a farm in rural Indiana growing up, whereas I grew up as a city girl in Germany.  I think for me it was shocking how much I enjoy being out in the middle of nowhere.  It is so nice to sit in actual silence and go outside and see stars at night.  

For Cassie I would say it was definitely everything about going to the beauty salon from how long it takes to get my hair done to the small community formed there.

 

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

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

Are you her nanny?  

Daddy must be very light skinned.

 

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

Currently Genevieve is only 15 months old but because so much of the brain develops by age 3 we wanted to get started early.  Right now we are teaching her both German and English as well as observing holidays from both cultures and eating food from both cultures.

 

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Currently we are raising her to be trilingual (German, English, and ASL).  We also travel a lot and I hope that those two things will give her a first hand experience in cultural diversity.  It's hard to say exactly what we will say in the future.

 

DO YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?  

Both Genevieve and I identify as mixed.  

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

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

Genevieve is still young and so far has only noticed that we are different because she doesn't have a dad.  I always tell her every family is different and how cool is that because life would be boring otherwise.

 

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

She has my eyes and nose and she has Cassie's sense of humor, IQ and sass

 

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

I look around and see that so many of her friends are also mixed and it makes me so happy. When I was younger I didn't know anyone that was more than one race besides my brother. I hope that America continues in the same direction as far as that.  I also hope we come to a place where everyone is treated equally regardless of race. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET STEVEN D. MCKIE


Steven D. McKie (My middle name is only a letter), age 26

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET STEVEN D. MCKIE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

I’m French-Canadian Abenaki American Indian, African American, Italian, and Scottish!

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

San Francisco, CA

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

No, goodness no.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I grew up in North Augusta, SC. Just a stone's throw from Augusta, GA -- where I was born. I grew up being the only light skin person in any of my classes. Aside from a few African American classmates, I was all alone until 8th grade when we moved to VA.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET STEVEN D. MCKIE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

Out with friends at a dance club/bar? If I remember correctly. They met in Georgia.

 

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

Dad was black and from a mixed background himself, my Mom was lily white. They were raising mixed children in the 90s in small town in SC, so yeah, plenty of issues regarding race (from both their respective families)

 Steven and his uncle

Steven and his uncle

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET STEVEN D. MCKIE via Swirl Nation Blog

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

Definitely have never heard anything negative. Then again, most on my Mom’s side don’t really speak with us. Mostly just the black side of our family that keeps in contact, even then only somewhat.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Neither of my parents were ever religious. We never had any traditions outside of Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. Pretty much celebrated whatever was the standard, Christian norm. Though, we never set foot in church.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

The social culture of my African American side I am very proud of. I try not to pigeon hole myself down to one race though. All of me is equally as good.

 

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

Nothing, just that racist kids were rude to me because their parents don’t know any better. And, that one day it wouldn’t be that way.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET STEVEN D. MCKIE via Swirl Nation Blog

 

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

My Dad made a lot of race based jokes; but that’s only because he loved Richard Pryor and Steve Harvey :)

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Just say I’m mixed, and what it is I’m mixed with. Just another American, with a fancy pigment.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

For the longest time it definitely did. My GF of ~5 years is actually white.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means being flexible and that I’m gifted with the ability to be a social chameleon.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

Kind of? I have a lot of friends from all over the world. Only a handful of actual mixed friends.

 

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

“You look basically white, so you’re white to us man.” I….what...ugh. Moving on.

 

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

I dream of an America flushed with mixed-race babies. Racism is something that can be made a moot point if everyone, and their grandma, is mixed. It’s an inevitability. Until then, we’ll just enjoy paying less for sunscreen.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Never let anyone tell you you belong to a particular race or culture. If you are mixed, you are uniquely you. Not white, not black, not latino, not Chinese. You are an amalgamation of millions of years of selective breeding. Congratulations, you probably have some of the best genes in your friend group. Embrace it, stand together, and work to spread cross-cultural awareness.

 

You can follow Steven on Twitter / LinkedIn


 

 

 

 

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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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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY


MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY

 

Annabella, age 22

Ecuadorian

African

Chinese

Swedish

Chris, age 22

Mexican

Leonardo, age 3

All of the above

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Provo, Utah

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

No. I live in a predominantly white neighborhood and community.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I grew up in Palo Alto California which was fairly diverse. There were definitely a lot of other mixed kids around and my three best friends of 16 years are all mixed.

  

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

I grew up with my mom's family. I did not know my dad or his side of the family until I turned 18. It was always obvious that I was mixed, but no one else in my family is. I was the only one with brown eyes and most of my family has straight blonde hair. They were always supportive, but it was never really talked about.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

I only ever celebrated with my mom's side. Just recently I have been getting to know my dad's side of things.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

No. I only speak English. I am often mistaken for someone who speaks Spanish though.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

When I met my dad he took me out to eat Ecuadorian food. It was amazing and I have loved it ever since. I have done a lot of research about my ethnicities and I would like to be more in tune with my dad’s side of things culturally.

 

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

When I met my dad he told me how important it is to know about my background on his side. My mom never really talked about it growing up.

 

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

I did not have many conversations about race in my house because I didn’t really know that in other places in the country it wasn’t normal to be mixed. Where I grew up most people were either mixed or something other than white.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I usually identify as being Ecuadorian and White (Swedish).

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Race never had a play in who I dated. I ended up with a man who is full Mexican.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

I absolutely love being mixed. I love that no one looks like me. I don’t mind that people guess or ask what ethnicity I am. I am proud of being mixed. I love having the different cultures in my blood.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

Yes. I think all of my friends are mixed. I have learned that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what our skin colors are. If you are dark, then you are blessed. If you are as white as paper, you are blessed. I think that whatever you look like, you should own it.

 

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

I think my only pet peeve is when people ask if my hair is real. It is just kind of disrespectful in my opinion. I have worked really hard on my hair, so I love when it is complimented but I do not consider “I love your hair! Is it real?” as a compliment.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog
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HAVE YOU FACED ANY OBSTACLES AS A MIXED RACE FAMILY?

My fiancé has experienced a few instances of profiling in our town. He is Mexican American and he has gotten pulled over for no reason and he gets some dirty looks when he is with me and see that we have a son together. I’m not sure if they assume I’m full white or not. My son is one of two Latino students in his pre school, but so far we have not experienced any obstacles there.

 

HAS YOUR CHILD ASKED ABOUT RACE?

No. I don’t think he is old enough to understand.

 

WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE WHEN YOUR SON IS OLDER TO TEACH HIM ABOUT EACH OF HIS BACKGROUNDS?
Once we have the money, my fiancé and I are planning to travel. We want to show him (and ourselves) our different cultures. We will go to my fiancé’s parents house for Christmas eve and show our son the traditions of his family, while we will go to my parents for Thanksgiving and show him mine. I think that it is all about balance and teaching him to love and respect all cultures.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

HOW WILL YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?

I think first is to teach him not to judge other people especially based on skin color, religion or culture. I think starting young and teaching him this will allow him to grow up respecting other people and cultures.

 

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

Our son has my eyes and eye color. They are large and light brown. He has tanner skin and it gets pretty dark in the summer. He has my curly hair, but it is also really thick like my fiancés. I am very short (5’0) but it looks like he is getting my fiancé’s height. (6’0).

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

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

I think that my dream is to have a world where color doesn’t matter. That we celebrate our differences in skin color, hair, eye shape, culture, etc. instead of judging each other.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Being mixed shows a coming together. We are all so unique and beautiful. We need to celebrate that instead of bashing each other so much!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

You can follow Anna on IG and also her business account where she created custom, hand painted letters for kid’s rooms and nurseries!

 Image is from Anna's Etsy page, click photo to go to page! 

Image is from Anna's Etsy page, click photo to go to page! 


 

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