The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2023-01-22 18:12Z by Steven

The Racism of People Who Love You: Essays on Mixed Race Belonging

Beacon Press
200 pages
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080702636-6
Audio ISBN: 978-080700776-1

Samira K. Mehta, Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Jewish Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder

An unflinching look at the challenges and misunderstandings mixed-race people face in family spaces and intimate relationships across their varying cultural backgrounds

In this emotionally powerful and intellectually provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, scholar and essayist Samira Mehta reflects on many facets of being multiracial.

Born to a white American and a South Asian immigrant, Mehta grew up feeling more comfortable with her mother’s family than her father’s—they never carried on conversations in languages she couldn’t understand or blamed her for finding the food was too spicy. In adulthood, she realized that some of her Indian family’s assumptions about the world had become an indelible part of her—and that her well-intentioned parents had not known how to prepare her for a world that would see her as a person of color.

Popular belief assumes that mixedness gives you the ability to feel at home in more than one culture, but the flipside shows you can feel just as alienated in those spaces. In 7 essays that dissect her own experiences with a frankness tempered by generosity, Mehta confronts questions about:

  • authenticity and belonging;
  • conscious and unconscious cultural inheritance;
  • appropriate mentorship;
  • the racism of people who love you.

The Racism of People Who Love You invites people of mixed race into the conversation on race in America and the melding of found and inherited cultures of hybrid identity.

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction
  • ONE: Where Are You Really From? A Triptych
  • TWO: Meat Is Murder
  • THREE: Failing the Authenticity Test
  • FOUR: American Racism
  • FIVE: Appropriation
  • SIX: Mentoring
  • SEVEN: The Racism of People Who Love You
  • Acknowledgments
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Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Family/Parenting, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2022-05-16 18:28Z by Steven

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia

Cornell University Press
300 pages
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN13: 9781501762949
Hardcover ISBN10: 150176294X

Adrienne Edgar, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples examines the racialization of identities and its impact on mixed couples and families in Soviet Central Asia. In marked contrast to its Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union celebrated mixed marriages among its diverse ethnic groups as a sign of the unbreakable friendship of peoples and the imminent emergence of a single “Soviet people.” Yet the official Soviet view of ethnic nationality became increasingly primordial and even racialized in the USSR’s final decades. In this context, Adrienne Edgar argues, mixed families and individuals found it impossible to transcend ethnicity, fully embrace their complex identities, and become simply “Soviet.”

Looking back on their lives in the Soviet Union, ethnically mixed people often reported that the “official” nationality in their identity documents did not match their subjective feelings of identity, that they were unable to speak “their own” native language, and that their ambiguous physical appearance prevented them from claiming the nationality with which they most identified. In all these ways, mixed couples and families were acutely and painfully affected by the growth of ethnic primordialism and by the tensions between the national and supranational projects in the Soviet Union.

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples is based on more than eighty in-depth oral history interviews with members of mixed families in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, along with published and unpublished Soviet documents, scholarly and popular articles from the Soviet press, memoirs and films, and interviews with Soviet-era sociologists and ethnographers.

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A mixed-race son choosing his identity is a lesson for us all

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2022-05-06 02:09Z by Steven

A mixed-race son choosing his identity is a lesson for us all

The San Francisco Chronicle

Kevin Fisher-Paulson

This week, Aidan decided he is Black.

He announced this at the family dinner table, as we served mashed potatoes, green beans and meat loaf. Aidan used to like my meat loaf, but everything changes.

Aidan’s Black now. Partly because he feels more comfortable in his skin at Compass High, whereas I think he felt that he needed to be White while he was at Riordan. Partly because of teenage rebellion. If my husband Brian and I were Black, I’m pretty sure he’d say he was white.

When he was little, he used to insist on his whiteness. One afternoon, after kindergarten, he got into the front seat of the Griffin (our old family car) and announced, “Zane’s the only one who has to sit in the back of the car.” Aidan had missed the nuances in his teacher’s lesson about Rosa Parks. It is one of the few times I’ve ever seen Zane cry.

Aidan’s Black now. Partly, I hope, because he knows that although he and Zane have challenges, underneath it all, they are brothers.

Read the entire article here.

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Growing Up in a Family With Multiple Ethnicities Was Both Lonely and Beautiful

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2022-05-05 15:39Z by Steven

Growing Up in a Family With Multiple Ethnicities Was Both Lonely and Beautiful


Mieko Gavia

I always felt like an outsider, but being mixed is filled with beauty and complexity.

Growing up I always felt like an outsider. My name, my skin, my hair all tells the story of where my parents and my parent’s parents come from. It all marks me as a bit different. I’m mixed Okinawan, Black, and Mexican, and there aren’t a lot of people out there like me. I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a household with mixed parents and siblings because my parents made sure to teach us about our heritage, and about cultures all over the world.

This gave me respect for all sorts of different types of people, and instilled pride in my identity. I am also grateful that they encouraged curiosity about the world, and created an atmosphere where we all “got” each other…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-race Britons – we are of multiple heritages. Claim them all

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-04-20 20:45Z by Steven

Mixed-race Britons – we are of multiple heritages. Claim them all

The Guardian

Natalie Morris

Natalie Morris with her father, Tony Photograph: Natalie Morris

With my father’s death I lost the link to my Jamaican lineage, and I needed to address that. It is vital to embrace all sides of yourself

Losing a parent is profoundly destabilising. It takes the world as you knew it – the certainties, the constants, the safety nets – and whips it out from under you. In addition, as I have discovered over the past two years, there is an extra layer of complexity that comes with being mixed-race and losing the person who connects you to half your heritage.

My dad, Tony, was Black. He was a quite well-known figure here from his work as a journalist with ITV and the BBC, particularly in northern England. And in the months after he died one sunny day in August 2020, I began to question everything about myself…

Read the entire article here.

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Notes On ‘Passing’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-03-15 18:26Z by Steven

Notes On ‘Passing’


Rebecca Carroll

Ruth Negga (left) and Tessa Thompson in “Passing” | Photo Credit: Netflix

The upcoming drama, based on the 1929 novel, looks at the cultural self-alienation a black woman experiences when she attempts to gain the privileges that come with assuming a white identity.

When my light-skinned Black and mixed-race teenage son was little, I worried aloud to my best girlfriend about whether people would recognize him as Black—or whether, God forbid, he himself would decide to identify as even partially white. My girlfriend, who is also Black, would counter with, “Why would he want to be on that team? Seriously, have you seen that team?” Yes, I would say, all too much, for far too long. And we’d laugh, because it was funny-ish.

I was adopted by a white family and raised in a primarily white rural New England town. I then spent my life, well into adulthood, seeking out Blackness and trying to arrive at a place where I could feel unambiguous in my identity as a Black woman. My son opting to identify as white would have been the opposite of my journey. But as he grew older, I actually stopped worrying that he’d be taken as white—and became more worried that he’d be profiled by the police as Black. The irony…

Read the entire review here.

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She’s Biracial, but She’s Still Black: Reflections from Monoracial African American Parents Raising Biracial Children

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-11 04:42Z by Steven

She’s Biracial, but She’s Still Black: Reflections from Monoracial African American Parents Raising Biracial Children

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Volume 31, Issue 3 (March 2022) (Special Issue on Multiracial Families)
Published online 2022-02-22
pages 675–684
DOI: 10.1007/s10826-022-02263-8

Yolanda T. Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

In this commentary, a scholar of Black families blends observations that emanate from her research with those arising within personal experiences. Applying a multicrit lens, she seeks to reflect on the experiences of monoracial parents in joint biological stepfamilies, raising biracial children. Her work draws upon heuristic analysis of African American parents raising biracial children in concert with monoracial Black children. Multicrit tenets of experiential knowledge, challenge to dominant ideology, racism, monoracism, and colorism, a monoracial paradigm of race, and intersections of multiple racial identities are applied to contextual environmental factors of socialization including racial profiling, parents’ perception of their mixed-race child’s personality and skin tone, and parental orientations toward mixed-race versus monoracial children. This study highlights relevant aspects in the development of mixed-race children including how they are perceived and how they encounter the world around them in an effort to help monoracial parents limit racial polarization and increase an understanding of multiple intersectional identities.


  • Monoracial Black parents engage racial socialization as a protective factor in the development of their children.
  • Racial identity development is a central component of healthy identity development in biracial children.
  • Biracial identity development is influenced by contextual environmental factors such as family structure and parent racial socialization practices of monoracial parents.
  • Multicrit highlights the unique needs of multiracial individuals regarding experiences of race-ethnicity in the United States.
  • Biracial identity development techniques can be used to reduce racial polarization and inform a sense of shared racial identity.

Read the entire article here.

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“Mom, You Don’t Get It”: A Critical Examination of Multiracial Emerging Adults’ Perceptions of Parental Support

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-11 02:02Z by Steven

“Mom, You Don’t Get It”: A Critical Examination of Multiracial Emerging Adults’ Perceptions of Parental Support

Emerging Adulthood
Volume: 9 Issue: 4
pages 305-319
Article first published online: 2020-03-25; Issue published: 2021-08-01
DOI: 10.1177/2167696820914091

Annabelle L. Atkin, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Arizona State University

Kelly F. Jackson, Associate Professor of Social Work
Arizona State University

Multiracial families are becoming increasingly common in the United States, yet there is a dearth of research examining how parents of Multiracial youth provide support for navigating challenges associated with being mixed race in a monocentric society. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the parental support strategies that Multiracial emerging adults perceived to be helpful in their own development. Twenty Multiracial emerging adults (50% female, mean age = 20.55) with diverse Multiracial heritages were interviewed about conversations they had with their parents regarding their racial experiences throughout their childhood. Critical supplementary analysis using constructivist grounded theory identified three themes of parental support (i.e., connection support, discrimination support, and Multiracial identity expression support) and informed a conceptual model demonstrating relationships between environmental context, parent characteristics, family dynamics, risks, and identity development. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for researchers and practitioners serving Multiracial families.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Belonging is Everything: Talking with Georgina Lawton

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-03-08 16:02Z by Steven

Belonging is Everything: Talking with Georgina Lawton

The Rumpus

Donna Hemans

“My teacher’s methods were most definitely trash, but that day she taught me a valuable lesson about race,” Georgina Lawton writes in her memoir Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong. “She let me know that whiteness is a wholly exclusive racial category based around notions of racial purity, and as such would never allow admittance to anyone like me.” While Lawton’s teacher had drawn boundaries around whiteness that excluded Lawton, her white, Anglo-Irish parents stubbornly insisted that their darker-skinned daughter was white like they were.

In her memoir, out now from Harper Perennial, Lawton describes her family’s silence around her racial identity, their refusal to acknowledge her difference, her own experience with racial reckoning, and the detrimental effects of growing up in a color-blind household. “As a child I spent a very long time trying to work everything out for myself before eventually becoming invested in upholding the story my parents told me: I was theirs and that’s all that mattered,” Lawton writes.

As her father is dying of cancer, Lawton and he briefly speak for the first time about the potential that their DNA is different. After her father’s death in her early twenties, Lawton embarks on a journey of self-discovery, traveling to and living in predominantly Black communities in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, in a bid to understand and claim her own identity. The memoir, though, is not solely about Lawton’s childhood and journey. She talks to sociologists, psychologists, and others who, like her, had a part of their identities obscured, to understand how identity is formed and its relationship with race.

I spoke to Lawton recently about the challenges of writing a memoir about a story her family would rather not confront, the necessity and value of family stories, and the lasting impact of silences…

Read the entire interview here.

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Netflix’s ‘Passing’ could have been me

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing on 2022-02-14 00:56Z by Steven

Netflix’s ‘Passing’ could have been me

My Imperfect Life

Asha Swann
Toronto, Canada

(Image credit: Netflix)

Anchored by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, ‘Passing‘ on Netflix tells the story of racial passing back in 1920s New York. But it’s more relevant, and personal, than ever

In the film Passing on Netflix, two mixed-race women in 1920s America struggle to find their place when society can’t put them in the right box. It’s not an uncommon pain—talk to any mixed-race person and odds are they’ll be able to tell you at least a dozen horror stories about their identity being misunderstood, fetishized, or stereotyped.

In the Netflix film, the women, Irene (played by Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), are two sides of the same coin. Both light-skinned, Irene “passes” as white accidentally, whereas Clare “passes” on purpose to gain social status. What follows is an incredibly complex story about what it means to be somebody when the world sees you as something else.

When my dad would pick me up from third grade, kids would always ask if I’m adopted. There’s no way that Black man could be my dad, not when I’m so pale. After my parents split up and I went to live with my white mother and her parents in the suburbs, kids were ready to call me a liar when I would talk about being mixed. Though I never chose to pass—ask any mixed person and they’ll show you that genetics are messy and don’t give you much of a choice…

Read the entire article here.

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