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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 FAMILY: MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY!


MEET THE GONZALEZ FAMILY: 

Luchi, age 35
  • Mixed White and Latino from Miami / Irish and German from his mother's side, indigenous Peruvian and Spanish on his father's side.
Amal, age 35
  • Black from Colorado / According to my sister's DNA test I am 60% West African (Congo, Togo), 15% British Isles (Scottish mostly), 15% Scandinavian (Finnish mostly), 7% Western European (French, Belgian, Dutch) and 3% Iberian Peninsula (Portuguese and Spanish).
Giordana, age 7
  • Triracial born in Miami
Liam, age 2
  • Triracial born in Texas
Yvonne, Amal's mom age 64
  • Black from Colorado

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met in Denver, Colorado at a nightclub.  He was playing professional soccer and I was modelling at the time - we were a match made in heaven.  

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS? IF SO, WHAT WERE THEY?

Luchi is very machismo.  I am very stubborn and headstrong.  I had to learn to acquiesce at times.  We both needed to learn to compromise.  He learned to do some of the traditionally feminine duties around the house (not all, but some).  I learned it’s better using sugar to get what I want from him.

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES? WHAT HAVE YOU PASSED DOWN FROM YOUR FAMILIES?

We celebrate Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day in our home. Noche Buena is a Latin Tradition.  Luchi’s family takes it to another level.  Food, music, dancing, and gifts at midnight.  The whole family joins for the festivities, like 40 people.  It’s great.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE? HAVE YOU ADOPTED THAT FEATURE/TRADITION IN YOUR OWN FAMILY?

Peruvian food...nom nom nom…  It’s the best cuisine ever.  Soccer.  My family, or the way we grew up, was to be very mindful of everyone around you and be kind to strangers.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

I live in suburban Texas.  I was surprised with how much diversity is here, but sometimes I feel there is a pressure to be Texan.  My ‘hood is 64% white, 12% Hispanic, 11% Asian, and 8% Black. There are a lot of mixed race children in my area, mostly Asian and White. There is hardly any diversity in the Hispanic population, unlike Miami.

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

My husband’s first language is Spanish.  I can still barely understand German. We’ve failed passing Spanish on to the children.  Giordana was bilingual until we moved from Miami to Texas.  My husband and I now speak Spanish to each other when we don’t want the kids to know what we are talking about - now my daughter wants to learn Spanish because she is nosey.

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

My whole family has been mixed up for generations.  Some of my great aunts and uncles decided to “pass” in the 1940s for a better life.  All three of my sisters married caucasian men.  I have mixed cousins.  My husband’s Latin family consider themselves white-Latin (ancestry predominantly from European Spain), so although his parents are from different countries, their mixture was more cultural than racial.  There was one extended family member who did not like our union because I am Black.  That person is over it now.

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

Again, Peruvian Food.  In Peru, you have this mixture of Indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian and they figured out a way to combine the cultures into culinary experiences.  It’s the best thing ever.  Imagine fried rice with cilantro and peppers thrown in, it works. Sometimes cheesy and over-emotional, Latin music is typically dance-friendly.  I particularly like the Afro-Peruvian music and dances.  The songs are passionate with a good beat.

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

Racially, no, but ethnically, yes - due to Luchi’s Peruvian father and his growing up in Miami.  Luchi’s life was filled with soccer, Spanish, and comida Latina.  His friends in Miami were first generation Cuban, Colombian, Honduran, Uruguayan, Haitian, Trinidadian, Brazilian, Argentinian, etc.  He was exposed to all of these different cultures from an early age.  I feel his experience growing up differently has just as much to with where he grew up as it did with his father being from another country.  I grew up in Colorado at a time when most of the population was of European descent.  I grew up sledding, skiing, and going to the mall and movies to hang out with my friends.  My husband grew up playing soccer, the beach, and going to nightclubs to hang out with his friends.

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

There is a lot of racism in the Latin culture.  It isn’t covert racism.  It is in your face and somewhat accepted.  I remember I decided to work out while my husband trained with a Uruguayan coach.  I was running and my husband told the coach I was really fast.  The coach made a joke that I needed to be, so I could run away from the cops.

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

Giordana has either attended a Spanish-Speaking school or taken Spanish classes until she was 5. The kids eat everything from Lomo Saltado to Jambalaya.  They are exposed to music from both backgrounds.  

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE? AT WHAT AGE? HOW DID YOU EXPLAIN IT?

Before moving to Texas, we lived in Miami.  Giordana never noticed she was different in Miami.  Everyone in Miami is brown from being in the sun.  Even her blondest, blue-eyed friend was a light shade of brown.  I remember the first time she brought up being different.  It was after a soccer huddle and she noticed her hand was darker than everyone else’s hand in the huddle. Not long after, she asked me what is “Latino”.  I had to explain to her Latino, Black, and White.  It was a fun conversation.

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Giordana didn’t know there was a difference until “Latino” day.  After I explained she is also Black and I gave Beyonce as an example for being Black, she’s latched on to that.  I think she identifies as Black. lol

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

Our neighbor-friends are Muslim from Jordan, Giordana knows they do not celebrate some holidays and they speak a different language at home.  Giordana has actually asked the little girl to teach her arabic and arabic calligraphy. Giordana used to attend JCC in the summers and she knows how to greet people in Hebrew and about Jewish holidays. She likes learning about different people, places, and customs.

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

Both of our children look like both of us.  As a family, we are all the same skin tone. My husband and two kids have light brown hair. The boy and I have the darkest eyes. My husband has light brown eyes.  The girl has hazel eyes.  Giordana’s ears are exact replicas of Luchi’s ears.  Liam has my nose.

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?

They have know idea what that means.

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

My dream is that stereotypes will be broken.  People will not assume things because their last names are distinctly Latino.  I need to think more about this question…


If you are interested in being one of our featured Swirl Nation families or individuals please email Jen at jfischyfischy@gmail.com!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BORGET FAMILY!

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BORGET FAMILY!


FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

MEET THE BORGET FAMILY

Jennifer Borget, age 30

Black/African-American

Hubby, age 33

White- French/German

Big T, almost 3

Half of each :)

Lil’ J, age 5

Half of each :)

 

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Austin, TX

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met on a blind date in college at BYU. Yes, they do work!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

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

Not really, only pertaining to our age maybe. We met when I was 18 and he was 22. We knew pretty quick that we wanted to get married (within 2 weeks). We got engaged officially after 4 months and married 2 months later. My parents were worried we were rushing into things, but 11 years later we’re as happy as ever!

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES?

We celebrate a mix of traditions, some religious, some just fun family traditions. When we visit Utah in July we celebrate Pioneer Day which is a Mormon celebration. We like it because a lot of my husband’s family is in Utah and we get to see them all then and fun parades and events. Though we stand out there, it’s always a fun place to visit. We celebrate Loving Day every year as well, and talk about the importance of the day, and how it’s especially significant for our family.

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

It’s pretty diverse. There aren’t a ton of black families in the suburb we live in, but there are a few on our street, and several other nationalities: Asian, Hispanic, and white. It’s a lot more diverse than anyplace else we’ve lived, I love it!

 

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

No! But I’m working on Spanish because of where we live. My daughter wants to learn too.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Definitely. We haven’t experienced any issues from either side of our family.

 

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

So though my husband was born in Utah and lived there most of his life, his family moved to North Carolina for a decent chunk of his childhood. There, from my understanding, he was one of the only white kids. I’m not sure if that’s where he fell in love with black culture, but he definitely got some cred *wink*. Meanwhile I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta where things we split pretty 50/50 black/white. You could feel the racial tension. Both of us grew up LDS (Mormon) though, so I think a lot of our similarities meet there.

 

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

One that we get a bit at church because he went on a mission to the Caribbean is “Did he meet you on his mission?” NO!

 

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

We are starting to dive into family history. Beginning with people still alive, like my great-grandpa. We talk about the things he’s seen--Inventions he’s watch develop. We talk about where mommy grew up and where daddy grew up, things we did when we were kids. As they get older we’ll dive more into history, where some of our family came from. I hope to take my kids to France in a few years and we’ll definitely all be studying about France and their family history there before then!

 

HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Not exactly. My daughter has asked about literal skin color a few times. But we don’t shy away from it either. When we read books about MLK and Rosa Parks, she classifies herself as brown and says daddy looks like the white people in the books. We talk about how things are different now compared to then, and how we should treat everyone with love. We also read books showing how there are SO many different shades of brown. That got her really excited. Just yesterday she also just realized that Princess Tiana is brown like her mommy.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 

DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?  

My daughter seems to identify as “in the middle, a little bit like everyone.” I love it!

 

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

I don’t shy away from her questions when she notices differences. I praise her for asking a good question and do my best to explain how God made us all as we are, everyone is beautiful and made especially that way. We do practice runs of how to treat people who are different than us, or have families that look different from ours, and she always passes with flying colors. *smile*

 

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

They both have our curly hair. I feel like their complexion is right smack dab in the middle. When they’re next to me they look closer to my shade, and when they’re next to my husband they look closer to his. They both have my husband’s big round eyes, but when they smile they look like mini me’s.

 

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

I plan to teach them that they can embrace all sides of them. Growing up I sometimes felt insecure about the way I spoke or acted because of the way my mom (raised in Chicago) raised me. I never want my kids to feel out of place or uncomfortable in their own skin. I ALWAYS want them to know to be proud of who they are on the inside first, then also embrace and be proud of their heritage, and never place themselves above or below others because of it.

 

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

Oh man that’s a tough question but a good one. Part of me feels like I wish we could move past the differences so that we could stop bickering. But I LOVE our differences, and want the world to love and embrace all of them. In just four generations my line could look and be completely different. My great-great grandchildren could be 75% Chinese but have a full-black great-great grandma. That is so fascinating to me, and really goes to show that we’re all connected, or all will be some day in future generations. When we realize that and embrace and love each other for, and not in spite of our differences the world will be such a better place. At least, that’s my hope!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY MEET THE BORGET FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

Follow Jennifer and her family on her blog Baby Making Machine 

Instagram / Facebook


 

 

 

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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 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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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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#ItsMineToDefine Giveaway


#ItsMineToDefine Giveaway via Swirl Nation Blog

Happy Holidays! I’m so excited to announce the last big GIVEAWAY Mixed Chicks will be hosting for 2016 that has something for everyone. If you have any social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) you are eligible to participate!

Give us your favorite holiday hairstyle selfie and #Itsminetodefine by Dec 25th. Winners will be selected and notified shortly after.


You Must TAG

@mixedchickshair
@mixedchicksuk
@yourhairstoryseries

in your post or we won't see your entry, only 1 entry per participant

  • Any social media platform can be used, but you must tag us so we can see it!!
  • 3 winners will receive the kids product set w/spring bands
  • 2 winners will receive the full men's line w/spring bands
  • 1 winner will receive the leave-in conditioner w/redefining foam and spring bands
  • 1 winner will receive deep conditioner w/replenishing oil, hair silk and spring bands 

I am excited to see your beautiful faces and encourage you to participate even if you have never used the products before. I look forward to seeing all the submissions.

Make sure to TAG and use the HASHTAG!

And follow on social media! Facebook  / Instagram / Twitter

#ItsMineToDefine Giveaway via Swirl Nation Blog

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WHEN "THE HATE" SLAPS YOU IN THE FACE


Don't you hate when you are minding your own business, just wasting time on Instagram and then BOOM! You are slapped in the face with hate. That's what happened to me this weekend. I saw this Banana Republic Factory Store ad sponsored in my feed. Normally I would ignore this ad because I am not a Banana Republic kind of girl and I also hate Outlet stores, but the multiracial couple caught my eye. Of course my first instinct, as the founder of Swirl Nation Blog and the mother of a biracial daughter, was "awwww how cute are they?!". But that was instantly me with a feeling of "oh shit, I bet the comments are full of ignorance." Unfortunately my feeling was correct. 

Over 3,000 people of course liked this photo so I don't want to discount that, but as usual those with the most hateful voices tend to also have the loudest. I am not one to engage with people on social media, especially in an argumentative way, but I was certainly tempted. Also since this is an ad, and not a post that will remain on the company's profile, I decided to screenshot the hate to preserve it for all to see. 

 
WHEN "THE HATE" SLAPS YOU IN THE FACE INTERRACIAL COUPLE ON INSTAGRAM via Swirl Nation Blog
 
WHEN "THE HATE" SLAPS YOU IN THE FACE INTERRACIAL COUPLE ON INSTAGRAM via Swirl Nation Blog

I have been the target of some social media hate in my day. All of the messages have been from insecure white men who feel like I "wasted my white genes" by having an biracial daughter. I've been asked why I "ruined myself" by dating black or multiracial men. These are always fun DMs to get. One was by a former high school classmate of mine, or at least that is what he said, I couldn't see his face because his profile photo was him in a KKK hood. Yup, this world is a scary place. 

Recently the hate has become more vocal. People are no longer hiding their racist views and with social media they can broadcast them to the world within seconds. As a mother with a daughter who is in middle school, it worries me what she may innocently come across when she's least expecting it. That's what happened here, just scrolling along, seeing what my friends are up to and BAM! Racist assholes trying to mess up my day. 

You can go through the whole chain below: 

 

Banana Republic is owned by the same company as The Gap and Old Navy. This Spring Old Navy got a lot of attention for their use of a beautiful mixed family which got endless attention from racists. As a company these brands have always been progressive in their use of interracial couples and multiracial families. I'm happy they do not back down to the hate and continue to share a diverse sampling of the human race. 

Instances like this remind me why we started Swirl Nation Blog. Sometimes living in Los Angeles it is easy to think that everyone thinks like I do. The latest election is a giant wake up call of course. Hate is prevalent and as @mshite2you says, is "trying to rise up again". Those of us who are involved and passionate about the multiracial community need to keep spreading love.

WHEN "THE HATE" SLAPS YOU IN THE FACE INTERRACIAL COUPLE ON INSTAGRAM via Swirl Nation Blog

The idea of sheltering my 12 year old daughter from racism and hate is attractive, but wouldn't do her any good. She needs to know her history and she needs to know the current state of race relations in America. And of course I hope if "the hate" slaps her in the face one of these days I hope she can be confident and strong in the face of discrimination. I hope outlets like this site will help her and other multiracial people feel loved, accepted and supported- for we are stronger when we battle back together against those who are filled with ugliness. 

I also hope corporate America will continue to represent diverse couples and families in advertising. I recognize this often brings them backlash to the companies, but I have noticed an increase in diverse casting choices the last couple years. The Cheerios commercial with the multiracial family probably got the most press and recently we featured the new Chase Bank commercial that follows an interracial love story. I wish everyone in this world was as smart as the kids in this video: 

Some wisdom from these kids: 

"Think about those people that are of mixed races, they probably feel horrible because of messed up people like the ones commenting." 
"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
"In real life there are family of all races." 
"It definitely will get people mad, but eventually those people will just realize it doesn't really matter."

So I want to thank Banana Republic Factory Stores, and all of the other brands that realistically portray America's families, don't back down to the hate.


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