Multiracial Media News Roundup
From celebrity parents describing how they’re handling their children’s Mixed identities to an upcoming actor bucking Hollywood’s racist casting system, the challenges of interracial marriage, and questions about the role of Multiracial folks in fixing racism, to the nuances of code-switching and birthing a Black-Pakistani-Muslim baby in the age of Trump, this week’s Multiracial News is bound to raise tricky questions, stir emotions and spark strong opinions. Dive in!
Is the Kardashian-West Family Truly Woke?
It’s no secret that practically everything Kim Kardashian or hubby Kanye West say or do generates equal parts fan frenzy, controversy and criticism, right? But props to Kim for sharing that they’re raising North to be Mixed and proud (why no mention of son, Saint, though?). While channeling Jackie O with either a great tan or enough bronzer to match North’s melanin on the cover of Interview magazine, Kim discussed their family dynamics.
“I’m very conscious of it … Kanye always has his family around and people who look like my daughter – that’s important to me … And we get to talk about it.” Kim also said they’re raising North and Saint to be aware of topics like Caitlyn Jenner’s transsexual journey and life. “The more you talk about things and keep them out in the open, the more they won’t be taboo,” she explained.
Who Turns Down a Job to Protest Racism?
“Colorblind casting” in Hollywood can sometimes result in White actors cast as characters of color—a Hollywood dynamic that is annoying as it is familiar. Props to Jewish actor Ed Skrein (“Deadpool,” “Game of Thrones”) for backing out of a role in the upcoming movie “Hellboy,” after being criticized for portraying a character of Mixed Asian heritage.
Ed, who is British, posted a message to Twitter saying that the complaints were “understandable,” and that he hadn’t been aware of the character’s race. Here’s hoping this is the start of a trend.
Exploring the Fantasy: Can Mixed People Help Ease Racial Tensions?
While the U.S. Census shows an increasingly diverse nation, the Pew Research Center states that 14 percent of Americans are Multiracial. Susan Graham, co-founder and president of Project RACE, which advocates on behalf of Multiracial identity, touts the potential that Mixed heritage holds for racial progress.
“A multiracial person has the benefit of having a lot of heritages … I think that they’re kind of a spotlight for where we should be, where our country should be,” she told the Public News Service.
Challenges of Interracial Marriage
While interracial marriage is more common and on the rise, the perpetual backdrop and context of racism continues to stoke controversy and pose challenges to couples who cross societal boundaries for love.
Several interracial couples shared their experiences on the social media site Reddit.
For all the progress that society has made in the last few decades in becoming more tolerant and accepting, there are some things that continue to be seen by some as controversial. Interracial marriages, while increasingly common, can still be seen as unusual.
So what are the biggest challenges of marrying someone from a different cultural or ethnic background? This was the topic of discussion on a popular thread on social media site Reddit.” A Black woman married to a Korean man described being stared at in public. A man encountered race-driven assumptions when trying to pay for himself and his wife to visit a museum. And a Black woman married to a White man shared discrepancies in treatment at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Assumptions, Stereotypes & Identity Policing of Mixed Folks
Most Mixed people know all too well what it’s like to encounter assumptions, stereotypes and identity policing from people of various groups—even those to which we belong. NPR’s Ask Code Switch shares some feedback to a question about this dynamic.
When Franchesca, a Mixed Filipino and Black woman in San Francisco wrote in asking how not to be offended when people projected their ideas about her identity onto her.
“Because I identify more with being Filipino, I get offended when people assume that I’m only Black or that I’m only into “Black things … Black men, etc. How can I avoid being offended and address the situation when I feel like I’m being boxed into a certain category?”
Decoding President Obama’s Racial Eloquence
Did President Barack Obama adjust his speaking style based on the race of his audience?
Speaking of code-switching,“Barack Obama and the Nommo Tradition of Afrocentric Orality” by Shannon Luders-Manuel in daily.jstor.org, examines his oratorical fluency in different settings. This breakdown of Obama’s nommo, defined as “a delivery style unique to African Americans [and] manifested in characteristics of African orality,” describes how he spoke one way to an audience at Historically Black Howard University, and another way in a commencement speech at predominantly White Southern New Hampshire University.
Do these variations reflect the code-switching that People of Color routinely form in different environments, the coping mechanisms of Multiracial people, or both?
Birthing a Black-Pakistani-Muslim Baby in the Age of Trump
Nayeyera Haq, a Muslim-American Pakistani woman married to an African-American man, pens a poignant meditation on the birth of their son in the context of our nation’s increasingly blatant racism, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant attitudes and policies.
Before Trump, “there was a feeling that you could avoid certain segments of racial and religious oppression in the United States. But after Trump and his Muslim bans, and threats … and attacks on dissent, there’s no place to hide, no amount of bubble wrap that can keep my baby safe.
“Which part of my family would be attacked by this administration first: the African American, the Pakistani American, the Muslim or all three?”
Photo credit: Alexis