Abraham Booker IV, age 29
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
Mother’s side - Grandma is Puerto Rican Islander & Grandfather was Irish, Polish, and German
Father's side - African American (Booker plantation), Cherokee, and Blackfoot Indian.
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
Highly Diverse! Truly a melting pot of cultures!
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in Minnesota where there was not many mixed kids.. I bonded with the other mixed kids of other high schools when we competed in sports. Sadly the lack of diversity led to identity depression through my early teens.
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
My parents lived in the same apartment complex and were friends for awhile before my mom considered him a catch ha
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Yes, my mother’s paternal side disowned her and my grandparents still to this day (30+years), however the second generation and third have been in contact with us! When my dad met some of my mom's family an aunty thought the touch of his skin would burn her!
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?
Yes! We were always told/taught to embrace everything about us!
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
We as kids would always celebrate primarily the Puerto Rican traditions over the summers with grandma! Sadly, the European and African traditions were all lost and westernized. I love chats with my paternal grandad on our great aunts and uncles of the tribes and hearing such great stories from the Native side! (as well as stories of the slave times).
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD? IF SO DO YOU SPEAK MULTIPLE LANGUAGES?
I actually grew up nervous to speak Spanish given the fluency of my maternal grandmas side and the fact that growing up in my areas it wasn't used in the school system (I was fluent in Spanish at one point and learning French).
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I enjoy hearing stories of great people from both sides of the family as it gives me courage and strength in my everyday! I also love the Spanish music and the stories of great bravery from my slaves and native ancestors.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
My parents are big on always checking in with family and extended family and big on celebrating different cultures and backgrounds. We would go to many different festivals growing up and dad would expose me to all kinds of music!
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
Yes, As the oldest of 3, I had many questions and not a lot of people I could relate to so I would always search for people like me in the media or ask “how should I act or dress” I was very confused as my response usually was “ both I am both!?” So proud of my parents and how they raised Cory, Brittni and I around the 80s. I could never thank my parents Abe and Marie enough!
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I used to identify as a teenager as “light-skinned,” and then Brown American. Now I am simply human or jokingly mixed (my cousin wrote his thesis on this - Aaron Wilkinson)
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
No, there is beauty and ugly in all races.. My wife is Australian.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
It is everything to me. A sense of pride. I can draw from so many different sides of history and empathize with several and link back to family not just on one side of a story!
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
Not in the same sense of when I grew up (black/white) but may of several nationalities and speakers of many languages - which I found so amazing to know such beautiful people.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
In a word YES - I don't understand reverse racism.
And living in Australia I don't understand why us Americans have to identify ourselves by a color. I hope in the near future we can move past such labels and appreciate actual nationalities instead of my black, white, etc friend.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
For us to move away from stereotyping people by skin and class and only judge by the merit of one's character. Not all Middle eastern people are terrorists and not all African Americans are “gang bangers.” From someone looking outside into the USA now. I feel the American dream needs a re-awakening.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
I want to thank Jen and everyone at Swirl Nation for this opportunity as mine is only one of countless many! Please check out a 130 mile charity run I am doing next month and Very Special Kids! I have gone from a 300lbs D1 Defensive tackle at the University of South Dakota to a trim UltraMarathon runner in Australia :)