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Multiracial Mixed Kids

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Half & Half


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by Kaia Fittz

 

There is my father, like dark chocolate. Like the midnight that comes after the daylight has gone to rest. His hair when grown out is a winding road in the midnight without any street lights lighting the way. Hair as dark as a silhouette in front of a sunset. Eyes as dark as the midnight sky, and when light is caught in them it acts as twinkling stars, ready to explode into something even more amazing. Smile as bright and wide as an explosion on a movie theater screen, making the audience gasp.

 

Then there is my mother, like white chocolate. She is the daylight that comes before the midnight awakes. Her hair is as straight as the sun's rays.Her hair is like the golden sun during the eclipse, blinding anyone who dares to look. Eyes as blue and bright as our very sky, and when light is caught in these eyes, all you can see is the most perfect cumulus clouds dancing, ready to move when night comes to reveal the moonlight. Smile thin but bright, like the crescent moon, giving anyone, even someone acting as the grinch, joy in their heart. 

 

And there I am, milk chocolate. Like the sunset connecting both night and day together, to create a beautiful twenty-four hour day. My hair is a winding midnight road with a streetlight at the very end. My hair is as thin as the sun's rays, but as dark as a silhouette. My smile like an explosion, so big that it makes my eyes disappear into face. I am like Goldilocks' porridge, not too this not too that, just right.

 

This piece was originally posted on kaiafittz.com


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BLACK ENOUGH FOR MY BABIES


Xavia and her daughter

Xavia and her daughter

I was always aware, growing up, that I was neither white, nor black. No one directly called me out. Although, the question, "What are you?", did always feel like a public challenge. It wasn't spoken, but it didn't need to be. I didn't quite fit in on either side; not white enough, not black enough. I wasn't sure if I would ever belong to one group or the other, but as I grew up I learned that being white was never even an option. I was half and half, but the world never views white/black mixed kids as white. I guess that made me black enough by default. Eventually, I knew that I didn't need to be enough of anything, for anyone but myself. I choose the labels I wear. It never occurred to me, though, that any issues with racial identity would follow me into motherhood.

 

My children don't shun me, but they don't feel like I understand their experiences, as black kids, either. I didn't even know I was that different in their eyes until my daughter said to me, "Mom, how does it feel to be the only white person in a house with all black people?" OMSheeesh, I thought, you can't ask people that. Even if they're your mother. I wasn't really offended. I actually laughed in the moment. I've got that thick "motherhood" skin you need, to maintain your self esteem while raising children. It did make me realize, though, my daughter really thinks I'm white. 

She looks at my skin color as an advantage over her own. I'm comfortable in my skin, but I am secretly obsessed with her golden brown tone. Then again, I see brown skin as a thing of beauty. I don't automatically think of the negative stereotypes that are sometimes associated with it. Even though I was a bit confused about which heritage should dominate my description, I've always had a natural pride in who I am and all the wheres I come from. I've definitely experienced prejudice, but I never internalized it. For me it was more a reflection of the person looking down on me. It exposed their character, not mine. It's different for my children. The oldest two primarily, experience our white washed world as a defective sore thumb. They think the issue lies with them. They don't see their beautiful reddish brown skin, or their African American heritage as a blessing, and that makes me incredibly sad.

 

I know I can't change the way some people will see them, but it's my hope that one day they'll absorb my example of how I see myself.  I also know now, that the only way I can do that is to share with them some of my own experiences. I don't bake myself in sunshine the way I used to throughout my high school and college years, so chances are I'll never not look like a bright light. I can't make us look more alike in that way, but I can help them understand that I've never experienced white privilege. That brown is brown, and my lighter shade has never exempt me from prejudice. 

 

I'm grateful my daughter said what she did, because it made me aware of how she sees me as different. Now the challenge, for me, is to help her see that, really, we're very much the same. 

Xavia and her children

Xavia and her children

You can also find Xavia over at Messiful Mama where she shares her humorous take on motherhood.


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET ISABELLA!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET ISABELLA!

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

No, There were mixed kids but there were only 1 or 2 per class.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

At The Cheesecake Factory

 

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

Yes

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY? 

Yes I somewhat celebrate some of the traditions of the Philippine side

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

I enjoy the fact that I am not a slice of "white bread".

 

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

They showed me the foods and my mother shows me the culture, food, language and location.

 

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

I talked about the fact that I was different, but not a lot of talk.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I identify as half-asian

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE? 

No just as long as they are a nice person

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

That I can identify as being filipino and its nice.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I have a few friends who are mixed, but they all act just as white as anybody else- I mean it's a pretty white area.

 

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

  • when people call me "white rice"
  • when people ask me how to say words in the language of my nationality
  • when people ask “so what kind of asian are you?”
  • when people say the N word (not related to my race but it’s a pet peeve)
  • when people justify their use of the n word by saying “but i have a black cousin/friend”

 

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

I hope that everybody will be treated the same no matter if they are white, black, mayan, mixed, asian.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET ISABELLA BILLIK via Swirl Nation Blog

NAME AND AGE

Isabella Billik, age 15

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

50% Filipino

25% Russian

25% Romanian

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Orange County, California

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET ISABELLA BILLIK via Swirl Nation Blog





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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KARSON!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KARSON!


NAME AND AGE

Karson Baldwin, age 13

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

My Dad is African American and grew up  in Texas. He is planning to take a DNA test to see if we can find out more about where in Africa his ancestors came from. 

My mom is White American and most of her ancestors are from Scotland, Ireland and Germany. She grew up in New Jersey and Ohio.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

We moved to a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio this summer.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

We live in one suburb on the west side of Cleveland and I travel almost an hour each way to go to school on the east side of Cleveland. The town I live in is not very diverse, but my mom lived here as a kid and she said it is much more diverse than it used to be. Thankfully the school I go to is very diverse. It is a private school and the community places a lot of value on diversity. My family also belongs to a very diverse church that is like a big family to us.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born in New Jersey and lived there until we moved to Ohio this summer. My town in New Jersey, also was not very diverse. I went to public school there and unfortunately the highest performing schools were not in areas with a lot of diversity. But we did belong to the same family of churches there and that is where most of our closest friends were and that is a very diverse group of people. There were very few multiracial kids in my school, but lots in my church.

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My mom was a college student and my Dad was playing football for the Cleveland Browns and they met when my dad was out for a jog and stopped to visit a friend and my mom was at her house. They dated for six years before they got married and now they have been married for 26 years!

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

Both of their families were against them getting married, but after a couple years they all came around. Some people thought their marriage wouldn’t last but obviously they were wrong.

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

Yes. I am the youngest of my parents’ three kids so by the time I came along everyone was over it.

DO YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

We definitely celebrate traditions from both sides of my family. My Dad taught us about things like Juneteenth and we celebrate the religious holidays more like my mom did growing up. But we have made a lot of our own new traditions too. My dad cooks breakfast burritos on Christmas morning, we celebrate Christmas eve with Chinese food and a game of spoons, we go out to eat for family birthdays and things like that.

ARE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD? Unfortunately we only speak English at home but my sisters studied Spanish in school  and I am studying French. I really would love to learn many languages. To me that is the best way to really be able to learn about different people and cultures.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

It is cool being multiracial because I feel like I can fit in everywhere with everyone.  I’m comfortable with all kinds of people from all different backgrounds, racially, economically and all kinds of ways.

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

My parents always taught us that it was our hearts that mattered. Our race was a small part of who we are. My sisters and I became youth advocates not because our race is the most important thing about us, but because we believe all people should be treated well and should feel great about who they are.

DO YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Being the youngest, I probably heard a lot more talk about race than my sisters did growing up. My oldest sister became president of Project RACE Teens when I was four! She was holding minority focused bone marrow drives when I was six or seven and explaining to me how important it was that multiracial people were represented in medical data. Both of my sisters won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations two years apart. My second sister was the only youth member on our county Human Relations Commission. My oldest sister writes a lot about race. She wrote a piece about Tamir Rice that was seen by close to 100,000 people last I heard. My other sister is a junior at Harvard and tells me a lot about things she learns about race in her classes there. So, yeah, there was and is quite a bit of talk about race, all very positive and focused on what we could do to help. Now that Kayci and Kendall have gone to college and it’s just my parents and me left at home, we probably talk a little more about sports than we do about race.

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I do, but I use the term multiracial. Someone once told me that “mixed” sounded like you were mixed up or impure and that kind of stuck in my mind. I am the President of Project RACE Kids and we use the term multiracial.

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not at all. I actually haven’t been on a date yet.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

I am happy with who I am, but my race is a small part of that. I am mostly proud of myself because I always try to do the right thing and give my best, not because of my race.

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

It’s really not something my friends and I talk a lot about.

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

Sometimes people say racist things without seeming to even realize they’re doing it and that is kind of scary because your racism has to be pretty deep if you don’t even see it as racist.  I hate when people argue that there is no racism or that there is no such thing as white privilege..

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

For multiracial people to be the majority would be cool. But even better would be for race to be something that people hardly notice.


Please visit www.projectrace.com to follow the great work Karson and the team at Project RACE are doing and follow him on Twitter at @projectracekids


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET MEI!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET MEI!


NAME AND AGE

Anna-Mei ‘Mei’ Szetu, 16 or 司徒安美

 

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

¼ Irish

¼ English

¼ Malaysian

¼ Chinese

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET MEI via Swirl Nation Blog


WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

I live in the small city of Adelaide, Australia.


IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Adelaide is incredibly Multicultural.


WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I’ve grown up in Adelaide, though I’m originally from Miri, (a town in Sarawak, the part of Malaysia on the Island of Borneo). In terms of diversity, the city is not unlike Singapore, with a variety of ethnicities everywhere you look. Unfortunately, there tends to be a division between the races; Asians tend to hang out with other Asians, generally of the same nationality. It’s funny, I think, that I’ve never found my place in groups because I’ve never been ‘asian enough’ or ‘white enough’. Other mixed kids have always been present in my life. In primary school there was always at least one other mixed kid in my class, though now, I think I may be the only mixed kid in my year level. My father has kept strong ties with mixed families, so my closest family friends have mixed kids. Funnily enough, my first date was with one of those mixed kids and a woman told us that it was “good to see siblings bonding”- his mix was half filipino.


 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

Working at a Coffee Shop.

 

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

They were incredibly lucky to have families whom embraced each other. I love looking at the pictures of all of my grandparents together. Aesthetically my grandparents are so different and you can see how differently they carry themselves but at the same time you can also see how happy they are in each other's company.

 

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

My family in Malaysia were really progressive and starting with my uncle’s marriage to a norwegian woman, were the first in their town to have an interracial marriage. Most of my cousins are mixed and therefore there has never been a divide in our family; there has never been the division of asian and half asian. My Caucasian family is much the same, with cousins of half Japanese heritage. Unfortunately, my second cousins and other extended family have always made me feel like ‘other’.  It’s never been intentional, but, when I’m with them, a group of people with traditionally beautiful european features, I never feel welcome or related.

 

DO YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY? 

Whenever possible I travel to my father’s home town for Chinese New Year and even when we can’t my father and I celebrate by going out for dinner. Both sides of my family are quite traditional and I enjoy participating in both of their cultural celebrations.

 

ARE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Unfortunately I’ve only ever spoken english but I have in the past gone to Chinese Language Weekend School to learn Mandarin.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND? 

I think it’s the atmosphere that I love as a whole. This is actually a really difficult question to answer! I love the food of course, especially my dad’s Sarawak Laksa and I never miss an opportunity to got to a Malaysian restaurant. The clothing, I think, is just a small feature of the culture, especially now, but I love my Cheongsam and just inherited my grandmother’s. I’m planning on wearing it to my year 12 formal (the Australian equivalent to prom?). It’s the people that I love most, and the history. I like hearing my family’s stories, like when my great grandmother jumped off of a boat to avoid an arranged marriage, despite never having swam before. I love my family’s history of strong coloured women.

 

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

My immersion into each of their cultures has been very organic. I learnt about each like a child learning how to walk- it was natural and inevitable. It was important earlier on in life that my father take me to Malaysia a lot just to let me know that I was part of something much bigger than myself and his choice to do that now means a lot to me.

D0 YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Not until recently. Within the past few months I’ve had a lot of problems with my identity as a biracial person and trying to discover where I fit in the community. My mum hasn’t really known what to say as a White Australian and my Father is equally oblivious. My Parents seem to have their own struggle with raising a child who has a culture beyond their own.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Personally I identify as ‘Eurasian’ or a Biracial Asian.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

It doesn’t matter at all because my parents have taught me that when it comes to love, or attraction, race shouldn’t be a factor. However, my father does have his ideas about who I should date and he has made it clear that he wants me to date a “nerdy asian”. (note the quotation marks).

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means sticking out like a sore thumb and always having to state your ethnicity before other people state it for you. It also means epitomising the slowly dissolving divide between cultural groups. There's this thing that my friend said to me that I can never get out of my mind- he said that being a Eurasian Australian was “having vegemite and soy sauce running through your veins”.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I do have friends that are mixed and from them I’ve learnt that people react differently to exposure to so many cultures. I’ve learnt that mixed people, even of the same mix identify as different things.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID MEET MEI via Swirl Nation Blog

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

“What ARE you?”

“It wasn’t meant to be offensive. Why are you so sensitive?”

*white people telling POC what to and not to be offended by*

“It’s not cultural appropriation, it’s cultural appreciation.”

“I call my friends the n* word as a joke.”

“You’re only half (or, “You don’t look Asian”), but you’re SO Asian!”

“You’re not REALLY asian.”

*Any use of the n* word by non-black people*

*People putting chopsticks in their hair*

*White girls wearing Cheongsam as a fashion statement*

 

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

I’m not American, so I can’t say for sure what race relations are like in America. But, in regards to Australia, I can say that we’re comfortably racist and I dream that one day White Men will stop telling me that I’m overly sensitive and that they’ll recognise what is and is not racist. As soon as we recognise racist connotations of statements and actions we can begin educate people and eliminate our racial prejudices.

 

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WHY I STRIKE

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WHY I STRIKE


My sister and I circa the late eighties

My sister and I circa the late eighties

This day is important to me. Today women are striking across the world in a display of solidarity. I recognize that not all women identify as feminists, although I don’t understand it. I also recognize that the majority of men do not identify as feminists, although I don’t understand that either.

I think back to my childhood and realize the privilege that I have always had. Part of it I was born into, my parents were both white and educated and came from families where they were loved. Growing up I was bossy (and still am) and no one ever made me feel bad about it. I was encouraged to be a leader, I was raised to be confident, and because of that support I achieved in school and in sports. I get my work ethic from my parents, they didn’t preach it, they just lived it every single day.

When it was time for college I had a couple years that I didn’t know what I wanted to be, or how to recognize my talents. I took that time to take a lot of women’s studies courses (sounds pretty Boulder-like right? ;) and then with my dad’s suggestion I found my passion in the world of marketing.

I went to art school and graduated early, I was ready to jump into the real world. I landed the job I wanted, again privilege followed me. I feel very grateful for the life I have had and I recognize that while I have worked very hard, there were so many factors that have been working in my favor ever since I was born.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the world of advertising was flawed. About a year into my career a coworker of mine got drunk and revealed his salary to me. We went to the same school, graduated at the same time, were hired at the same time, and had the same job- he made $10,000 more than me. I remember taking the information in calmly and then headed home to figure out how I was going to make this right.

So the next Monday I told my boss that I needed to talk to his boss. I gave them the facts, they came back with comments like “well, schooling and how long you have worked here all play into salary”. When I told them we were literally identical in all of those factors, they gave me the $10,000 raise. Keep in mind I was making $25,000 a year at the time so this was huge for me. But besides the bump in salary, it made me grateful that I was raised in way that made me comfortable enough to fight for what I was worth.

I moved up quickly in my career. I had a male friend tell me one time he wished he could bottle up the “cajones” I have. As I moved up I was often the only female creative in the room. It definitely has shaped the personality I have today. The environment was competitive, frat-ish at times, and has been full of uncomfortable moments with clients, coworkers and bosses.

 
Can you see the confidence? ;)

Can you see the confidence? ;)

Now, getting close to 40 I have been in this world for almost 18 years which seems impossible, but it is true. I am a long way from that young woman fighting for her extra 10k in a lot of ways, but in many ways much has stayed the same. I became a mom to a daughter just after my 26th birthday which opened my eyes to figuring out how I wanted to raise a strong female.

I teach by doing and fighting. It has just been the 2 of us for the better part of her life. She is my teammate, at my side all the time, so she sees the fight. She sees me when I am struggling, but most importantly she always sees me get back up. She sees that I am flawed like everyone else, but that I am fiercely devoted to doing anything and everything I can to make sure she succeeds. I have become the woman, the feminist, the boss, and the mother I am to show her what she is made of.

My hope for her and the people in her life is that they realize this is what it means to be a feminist. It means that she means as much to the world as the boy who sits next to her. It means that her brown skin is as valuable as my white skin. It means that all of the men in her life- her father, her grandfathers, and everyone else who loves her- want her to succeed and believe in her success as much as they would believe in a boy’s.

I recognize my life has been full of blessings and full of privilege. I am very grateful for everything that I have been given, the love that I was raised in, and the chances I was given to prove myself. That does not mean I don’t have something to fight for. I have heard this a lot lately, women in a position of privilege who don’t understand that one woman’s fight is all of our fight.

My dream is a world where we are all feminists, because we all recognize that your son is not better than your daughter. He doesn’t deserve additional opportunities or respect simply because of his gender. When women do better, we all do better.  Please find your own way of standing in solidarity today, I am striking with the knowledge that all women do not have that luxury, so I will strike for them too. Even more important is how each of us continue to carry out the spirit of today into each day moving forward.

Why I Strike by Jen Fisch via Swirl Nation Blog

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LIAM'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Liam's experience...

Before Leave In

Before Leave In

Name: Liam, age 3 (son of Swirl Nation founder Amal)

 

Social Media: IG / TW 

 

After Leave In

After Leave In

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Mixed Chicks Kids’ Leave-In Conditioner

 

Initial reaction? Yay

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? Giveaway

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? My son’s hair has never been challenging.  Being from a mixed racial background myself, I have a pretty good grasp on his type of hair; however, from my experience, to have the shine and definition for my curls and his curls, hair-wetting, every day, is almost mandatory.  Every once in awhile, we might have that lucky day where we could get away without wetting our hair and still have the brilliant, just-washed look.  With the Mixed Chicks Kid’s Leave-In Conditioner, my son can go three whole days – THREE- without me having to re-wet his hair and he still has defined curls.  This definitely saves time.  I don’t know the price-point of the products used, but if you could only buy one of the products, I would say invest in the leave-in.  Also, from a mommy standpoint, I love how you can easily “lock” all of the bottles without pushing down and turning (inadvertently dispensing product). My kids like to pour shampoo in the bath to make bubbles… whole bottles… that’s a lot of screaming and money.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? For the 3-year-old, no.

LIAM'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
Day Two

Day Two

Day Three

Day Three


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THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Theresa's experience...

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

Name: Theresa, age 9 (daughter of Swirl Nation contributing blogger Chris Kelly)

Social Media: TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Shampoo

 

Initial reaction? Was concerned when reading ingredients because it contains sulfates.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? My daughter is 9 years old, mixed race, Caucasian and black with a head of curls. I have tried every product on her hair and have been unsuccessful in finding anything that truly works. I tried Mixed Chicks when she was about 3, the children’s line and didn’t really like it.

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? Culture specific is not why I would buy or use a product, the efficacy of the product is what is important. Having tried many culture specific products, I do find there is a positive difference in products that are specifically designed for ethnically mixed hair.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The generosity of the products we received including the brush have really covered all of our needs. I would probably like to try the sulfate free shampoo I saw in their brochure included with products I received.

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



 

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KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Kaia's experience...

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

Name: Kaia (daughter of Swirl Nation founder Jen), age 12

Social Media: IG / TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? The Mixed Chicks Kids Shampoo and Conditioner.

Initial reaction? The shampoo was nice and gentle. My daughter has volleyball or conditioning pretty much every day of the week and gets super sweaty so she has to wash her hair every night, which can really dry out your hair. But the combination of the Mixed Chicks Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner keep it moisturized and looking great! Every night she goes to bed with wet hair and it air dries as she sleeps and in the morning we spray it with the Tangle Tamer Spray to define the curls and just scrunch it up a little.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? I had always been curious about the products, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to try them through the Hair Stories series!

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? I think it is great to know that a product is made with mixed hair in mind. Obviously not all mixed girls’ (or guys’) hair is the same, my daughter’s hair for example is pretty fine and has looser curls. Overall her hair is low-maintenance and easy to handle, it just needs the right mix of cleansing and conditioning which I think Mixed Chicks provides.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The Replenishing Oil would be great to try, I usually use Moroccan Oil or Coconut Oil Spray on her hair in the mornings so it would be great to see how that compares.

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

 

 

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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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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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‘She’s So Pretty. Where Did You Get Her?’

Um, from my uterus?


‘She’s So Pretty. Where Did You Get Her?’ via Swirl Nation Blog

As mother to a child of mixed race (mine happens to be half Caucasian and half African American), before her birth, I never put thought into things I would hear.

The first time someone, a stranger, asked me a question at the pharmacy, I was floored. Minding my own business standing in line holding my beautiful, golden baby, a woman asked, “Where did you adopt her from?” I stood in utter dismay. What? First of all, I didn’t. But more importantly, what in the world would make you think it would be okay to ask a total stranger such a personal question? Should I ask you when the last time you had sex was? I mean, isn’t that about the same level of intrusiveness?

When I owned a salon and spa, someone thought it would be totally legit to ask me if I had “spray tanned” my baby. And she was serious! Ummmm, ya, actually I did, that was following her lip injections and her perm. She is a year old. Seriously?!

I mean I get it, it can be confusing. But that doesn’t mean your mind needs to make your mouth move. I have friends who have biracial children. One in particular is Filipino and her first child is super pale, has bright red hair and blue eyes. I can only imagine the looks and questions. The questions that are not YOUR business!

One assumption that always gets me, and I am sure makes most of my African American male friends perhaps slightly uncomfortable when we are in public together, is when someone says to one of them, “Oh, your daughter is beautiful” ― except as Jerry Springer would announce, “He is NOT the baby daddy!”

Just because a white woman is with a man of color and the child is brown does NOT make that man the father. A nervous laugh always ensues when that question is uttered by yet another stranger. Immediately, the look on the face of my friend says, What do I say?

I typically will hop in with a thank you. I am beyond the point of explanation. Although at times I want to concoct a long drawn out story of how I was just about to break the news to him that, in fact, this is his child albeit an immaculate conception.

There are times when I am not immune to wondering. Just yesterday at the beach I was chatting with a mom who was speaking what I thought was Italian. Turns out it was Portuguese. She was Asian. That was confusing enough and then her child ran up and there was no resemblance. None. But I did not ask her if he was adopted or if she was the nanny or the aunt. The next child I see wandering to the playground was blonde, blue-eyed and with a fair complexion. Mom follows slowly behind, Hispanic in appearance. I think (to myself) little one must resemble Dad, until Dad walked up and NOPE! But once again, not my business. Love is love. Genetics are weird.

In a beautiful world where children are blessed by love whether it’s adoption or genetics, I encourage you to keep your thoughts and inquisitions to yourself. Does it matter where a child came from? Because ultimately they all came from the same place.

Just ask the woman who a couple of years ago made the mistake of asking me while in the checkout line at Costco. She caught me on a day where I had had enough. With seven years of experience now under my belt, when she looked at my daughter with the usual compliment of beauty and then at me with the worn out question of “where did you get her?” I looked her in the eyes and said, “From my uterus.” I have never been checked out of Costco more quickly by a shocked cashier.

Children hear what you say and we as adults don’t need to emphasize their differences in a world where differences are not positively embraced by everyone. Do you really need to know? Keep your words kind and your nosey thoughts to yourself unless you want to risk hearing the word uterus out loud in public.

Post first published on Huffington Post 


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When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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


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WHEN IT’S YOUR KID ASKING THE EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS: TEACHING DIVERSITY IN ALL ITS FORMS

THE OTHER DAY, I WATCHED MY DAUGHTER WALK OVER TO ANOTHER MUM AND ASK HER WHY SHE WAS A DIFFERENT SKIN COLOUR TO HER DAUGHTER.


WHEN IT’S YOUR KID ASKING THE EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS via Swirl Nation Blog

Perhaps that isn’t such a big deal to other parents but to me, I am often on the receiving end of such questions and resent it every time. So how could my own daughter of mixed race parents be so unforgiving?

I live in this smug world where I assumed that because I talk to my daughter about diversity and about mixed families, because she lives this reality everyday, because of who she is and her understanding that families come in all different shapes, colours and sizes, she would know, instinctively that mothers and daughters can have different skin colour and still be family.

While all of this is true, what I failed to realise is that her understanding is limited. She knows what makes up a mixed family, sure. But I don’t go out of my way to discuss other forms of diversity. Families with two dads, two mums, one mum or adoptive families. To her, a child of mixed parentage has lighter brown skin, not black like her Dad’s. Her logic was correct. Because her understanding was limited.

To see my little girl ask the embarrassing race question. “Is she your daughter?”, to the mum who’d recently adopted interracially made me shrink into my seat.

It made me realise that even we, as mixed race parents, have work to do in educating our children about diversity. It’s not because we live in a brown/black world that our kids will instinctively understand and respect difference in all its forms. We can’t be surprised when our children grow up and are asking questions about gay marriage if we’ve failed to show them that this is another form of ‘normal’. Or if our kid shies away from their autistic schoolmate because they don’t understand disability.

Standing for tolerance and openness for one group and ignoring or preaching against another destroys the very principle we’re trying to teach. Interracial adoption is not too far a stretch for us but what about different religions, transgender, disability or same sex marriage?

How many of us can say we have actively searched for books featuring different faiths, disability or trans folk? I can admit I haven’t. I focused on what is ‘relevant’ for my child. But if I follow my own advice, discussions about adoption and children with two dads should be had at home, cuddled up to a good book so that surprise and critique don’t feature when we’re out.

Like anything, it takes more effort because it’s not our immediate reality. But just as much as I encourage my white friends to talk to their kids about race and difference, so should I practice what I preach and talk to my kids about diversity in all its forms.


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I WANT A MAMA WHO LOOKS LIKE ME...


I WANT A MAMA WHO LOOKS LIKE ME via Swirl Nation Blog

We were running late. After 2.5 weeks off, it was back to school last week and back to getting 3 kids out the door- on time.

On day 1, I got overwhelmed, frustrated that I couldn’t find one of DD1’s take-home reading books. Costing a small fortune to replace, I shouted at her that she should take better care of them.

We got out the door but she refused to talk to me. I tried the usual cajoling and apologised for shouting but she refused to smile. Guessing she was overwhelmed by the roller coaster of emotion she was probably feeling over seeing her friends and teacher after so much time off, I left her.

We’d spent a lot of time together over the holiday including having my Mum over from Canada. I stopped though, weary of being late but feeling guilty because I knew I should have kept my cool. Leaning down I looked her in the eye and asked her what was wrong.

Then she said it. “I wish I had a Mama that looked like me”.

This year has been huge in my daughter’s life as she’s become more and more aware of both her own colour and that of people around her. We only talk about race and colour in a positive way, acknowledging the differences but recognising that people are all the same inside.

My heart dropped- sensitive to the hurt I might have caused her but devastated as well that she would think skin colour would mend her broken heart.

I tried hard not to be heartbroken but I knew that I was completely unprepared for this this morning. Gradually, we each took a turn to say what makes us mother and daughter. Not the colour of our skin. The fact that she has my mouth and my eyes and that she’s good at certain things and not so good at others. But our love for each other. And how that will never change… Even when I’m shouting.

We arrived on time.  And she’d forgotten about it when I raised it again after school. Flippantly, she said, “we already talked about this Mum”.

What made her feel this then… on that particular day, I’ll never know.  Perhaps she had been feeling it all this time. The feeling that perhaps we don’t match or she doesn’t fit in… or that someone who looks like her might not shout?! All at the age of 5.

I imagine her older, walking beside me and feeling the same thing but perhaps more equipped to be able to dismiss this feeling of matching skin colour as unimportant because well… it just is.


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Book Review: The Colourful Life! Same But Different


Book Review by a 7-year-old, my daughter, Gigi.

 

Book: The Colourful Life! Same But Different

Author: Naomi Kissiedu-Green

Illustrator: Maria de los Angeles Alessandra

 
Book Review The Colourful Life! Same But Different via Swirl Nation Blog

What is the book about?

The book is about different color skin.

 

What did you learn about the book?

No matter what type of skin you have, you are still beautiful.  Some people are mean when your mom and dad have different color skin and they don’t think they are your mom and dad.

 

What did you like about the book?

Book Review The Colourful Life! Same But Different via Swirl Nation Blog

I don’t know.  I’m excited about the baby.  (You have to read the book.)  It has pretty cool pictures.

 

What did you not like about the book?

They spell “color” with a “u”. (I explained the author is from Australia.)

 

Do you think this book relates to your life?  How?

Yes, because you (me, mommy) have different skin than Daddy, and I have the mixture of the two of your skin.

 

Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why or why not?

Maybe.  Because it will teach them it doesn’t care what you look like and what color skin you have.


You can buy the book HERE!


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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET PRASHANT!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET PRASHANT!


Prashant is the kind, thoughtful cousin of Swirl Nation founder Kourtney and I was lucky enough to meet him during his visits when they lived in Venice, CA. Prashant has always been a thought leader and in 8th grade he won an essay content and the prize was a four year college scholarship! He also started his own tie-dye sock company while still in middle school. 

So clearly Prashant has a bright future ahead of him and we are very excited to share his perspective on Swirl Nation Blog, enjoy getting to know him! 

- Jen


Prashant (1) Swirl Nation Blog

NAME AND AGE

Prashant, 18

 

WHAT MIX ARE YOU? 

I am many different ethnicities, but if you want me to check a box it would be black and white.

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Lawrence, Michigan (Earth ;)

 

DO YOU THINK YOUR TOWN IS DIVERSE?

Not at all, but I’m not home much.

 

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I don’t really think about it much because it doesn’t matter to me but yes, I suppose I’m mixed.

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT BEING MIXED?

I look different

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT BEING MIXED?

Nothing

 

IS YOUR SCHOOL DIVERSE? DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE ALSO MIXED?

My high school wasn’t very diverse. The majority were Mexican and white, so I have a lot of white and Mexican friends. However my college is very, very diverse.

 

ARE THERE TRADITIONS YOU LIKE FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY? 

Yes, my sister Kama does African drum and dance and I love that. My mom’s side of the family is really cool as well, they just have a different perspective; which is good.

 

DO YOU SPEAK MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE?

Spanish and English

 

WHAT’S SOME THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM FRIENDS WHO ARE A DIFFERENT RACE OR CULTURE FROM YOU?

A plethora of things. I have learned words from various languages from them. Another thing is that many of them see the world differently than most people, and that’s a really, really neat thing.

 

WHAT IS ONE WISH YOU HAVE FOR AMERICAN WHEN IT COMES TO RACE AND DIVERSITY?

That more people would change the context of their minds to see that we are all equally human beings.



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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KAIA!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL KID: MEET KAIA!


The team at Swirl Nation Blog is dedicated to sharing the stories of Multiracial and Multiethnic families and individuals in hopes that our reader community will feel connected to others and learn from their unique experiences. We decided it would also be wonderful to share the stories of Mixed children and hear about their experience straight from their mouths. Unfiltered, unedited thoughts from mixed kids around the country. 

Please enjoy reading about our very first Swirl Nation Kid, Kaia! 


NAME AND AGE

Kaia, age 11

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Black and white and a million other combinations. My mom is blonde and Scandinavian and my dad is African. So I am that with a little Asian and other things mixed together. 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Marina Del Rey, California by the beach

DO YOU THINK YOUR TOWN IS DIVERSE?

Yes I think my town is diverse because it’s right by the beach so when people come to California from all over they move to Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica.

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I consider myself mixed.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT BEING MIXED?

I like that I am more than one thing because than I know that my family is from all over.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT BEING MIXED?

Not at all ….

IS YOUR SCHOOL DIVERSE? DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE ALSO MIXED?

My elementary school it was a little more diverse but I still have some friends at my new school that are mixed. I also have friends who are mixed with different things like my friends Mangala, Prakash, Abi, Micah, Morgan, Amanda, and more.

ARE THERE TRADITIONS YOU LIKE FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

I like how that during the holidays when I am with my mom’s family I get to make lefse with my Grandma, which is a thin tortilla with soft butter and sugar. They are very fun to make and eat. I also like how my mommy takes me on trips the weekend of my birthday week.

DO YOU SPEAK MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE? 

I only speak english fluently but I am starting to learn Swedish and Spanish

DO YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CULTURE AND/OR FAMILY HISTORY A LOT WITH YOUR FAMILY?

Yes I talk about where I am from a lot with my Grandpa Mike (mom's Dad). My Umi (Grandma on my Dad's side) also sends me books about history. 

WHAT’S SOME THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM FRIENDS WHO ARE A DIFFERENT RACE OR CULTURE FROM YOU?

I like how when I am with my friend Navi on Fridays I get to celebrate shabbat and sing in Hebrew plus Challah bread is delicious!

WHAT IS ONE WISH YOU HAVE FOR AMERICA WHEN IT COMES TO RACE AND DIVERSITY?

That everyone is accepted for who they are.


If you are mixed and would like to be featured please email swirlnationblog@gmail.com!

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