Starting today and repeating biweekly, our Editor-at-Large, TaRessa Stovall will author the Multiracial News Roundup. It’s a roundup of news relevant to the Multiracial community. Today’s piece: What Do Biracial People Know, Anyway?
A New York Times opinion piece got the whole country thinking and talking about Multiracial folks last week. “What Biracial People Know,” written by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, “the son of a Jewish dad of Eastern European descent and a Puerto Rican mom,” asserts that President Barack Obama’s “multitudinous self was, I like to think, part of what made him great—part of what inspired him when he proclaimed that there wasn’t a red or blue America, but a United States of America.”
Velasquez-Manoff adds that he “can attest that being mixed makes it harder to fall back on the tribal identities that have guided so much of human history, and that are now resurgent. Your background pushes you to construct a worldview that transcends the tribal.” Read More
The clapback was swift. Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save the Country on NPR’s “CodeSwitch” responded to the NYT piece with warnings against false assumptions and hopes from swirling, while reminding everyone of the true nature of the ism at play.
“This hope that a mixed-race future will result in a paradise of interracial and ethnically- ambiguous babies is misleading. It presents racism as passive — a vestigial reflex that will fade with the presence of interracial offspring, rather than as an active system that can change with time. A 2015 study by Pew Research Center concluded that mixed-race Americans describe experiences of discrimination in the form of slurs, poor customer service, and police encounters. These figures were highest among people of black-white and black-Native American descent.” Read More
Do More Mixed Folks = Less Racism?
As the number of interracial marriages rise, we’re reminded that politically, Black in America is not defined by percentages. Thanks to an increase since swirling became legal 50 years ago, the number of Mixed-race children has grown 10 times since the 1970s. “According to the Pew Research Center, the number of mixed-race Americans is growing three times faster than the U.S. population as a whole. The U.S. Census projects the multiracial population will triple by 2060.”
But racism doesn’t do racial math by fractions. The Pew Center also found “4 in 10 mixed-race Americans with black as a part of their racial makeup say they have been unfairly stopped by police. Sixty-nine percent say most people see them as black, and that their experience is more similar to the black community.” Read More
Hollywood’s Interracial Love Codes
From 1967’s ground-breaking interracial love story, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” last year’s Oscar-nominated “Loving,” and the current hit, “Get Out,” Hollywood has been grappling with depictions of Black/White interracial love on the big screen for at least a half century. Here’s how their “code” works.
“For many years, the industry forbid depictions of interracial relationships. From 1930 until the late 1960s, the Motion Picture Production Code banned ‘vulgarity and suggestiveness’ so that ‘good taste may be emphasized.’ The code curtailed criticism of law enforcement, marriage and public institutions, and prohibited nudity, drugs and miscegenation.
“The code reveals the systematic dissemination of social and political values through entertainment … Paired with legal proscriptions, film is a persuasive medium for administering racial convention and shaping romantic aspirations.” Read More
TV’s First Biracial Child Shares ‘Pain, Poignancy, Purpose’ and More in Hot One-Woman Show
What do you do when you’re the multi-talented offspring of an iconic Black comedic genius and a take-no-prisoners Jewish mom? You serve up “Fried Chicken & Latkes” to rave reviews. Rain Pryor made history as television’s first Biracial child character on ‘Head of the Class.’ Now Richard Pryor’s equally brilliant daughter shares her life story growing up #BLEWISH in Beverly Hills.
Growing up, “she ate both brisket and collard greens, fried chicken and latkes. She went to church, temple, and lit the Sabbath candles as well as Christmas and Hanukkah lights.”
“’I hope my new play will help bridge different cultures and contribute to a larger conversation about what we can learn from each other,’ Pryor said. ‘I think my show is timely, relevant and joyful. It shows how humor can cross lines, as racially mixed audiences will laugh in and at each other’s worlds.’” Be sure to see the Los Angeles run—held over by popular demand. Read More
Who Covered Up the Racial Slur?
When interracial Connecticut couple Heather Lindsay and Lexene Charles found another racial slur spray-painted on their garage door, they were fined $100 a day for refusing to remove it until it was investigated by authorities, who Lindsay says had covered up previous attacks and ignored previous incidents.
“Lindsay recounted that her home had been vandalized several times and that at least three neighbors had called her husband the n-word. Lindsay and Charles were both demanding action in their silent protest, although the sight of the word apparently upset some in the town.
Now a mystery person has covered the slur with black paint. Symbolism … or coincidence? Read More
So, it begs the question, what do Biracial people know, anyway?