#119: Moving “Multiracial” from the Margins: Theoretical and Practical Innovations for Serving Mixed Race Students

Posted in Campus Life, Live Events, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2015-05-25 01:29Z by Steven

#119: Moving “Multiracial” from the Margins: Theoretical and Practical Innovations for Serving Mixed Race Students

The 28th Annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE)
Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
2015-05-26 through 2015-05-30

Part I: Tuesday, 08:30-11:30 EDT (Local Time)
Part II: Tuesday, 13:00-17:30 EDT (Local Time)

Despite evidence from the 2010 U.S. Census that multiracial youth are the fastest growing demographic in the nation, multiraciality continues to be on the margins of the discourse on race and racism in higher education theory and practice. This two-part institute invites educators from all backgrounds and expertise levels to engage in deep learning about the complexities of serving multiracially-identified students. After briefly reviewing contemporary models of multiracial identity and development, presenters will focus on better understanding the contexts shaping and complicating such models. Further, the institute will focus on theoretical innovations that help to move of understanding of multiraciality forward, including systems of oppression and models for assessing the campus climate for multiracial students. The latter part of the institute will focus on applying theories to practice and working through hands-on issues related to serving multiracial students. Throughout the institute, contradictions in the popular discourse about multiraciality and recent controversies will be presented for participants to engage in critical thinking about their own potential biases (i.e., self-work) as well as how to educate others toward creating more inclusive contexts for multiracial students. Additionally, a range of activities, including presentations, journaling, and small- and large-group discussions, will be used to allow participants to actively engage throughout the institute.

Pre-Conference Institute

This institute will:

  • Contextualize current approaches to supporting the healthy identity development of multiracial people;
  • Explicitly connect the discourse on multiracial identity to monoracism, a system of oppression related to traditional racism that marginalizes those who do not adhere to society’s promotion of discrete monoracial categories (Johnston and Nadal, 2010);
  • Include multiraciality in larger efforts aimed at obtaining racial equality in higher education; and
  • Provide ample opportunities for in-depth discussions of the complexities of serving multiracial students to assist participants in evaluating and growing their own institution’s service to multiracial students.


Marc Johnston, Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Studies
Ohio State University

Eric Hamako, Assistant Professor
Department Equity & Social Justice Program
Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, Washington

Natasha Chapman, Assistant Professor
West Virginia University

Victoria Malaney, Special Assistant to the Dean of Students
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-23 19:51Z by Steven

‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”?’ Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage

The Huffington Post
The Blog

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Photograph: Ken Tanabe

One of the main characters in the award-winning film Dear White People is a mixed “black and white” college student who works to make sense of her life and relationships. The movie addresses several thought-provoking subjects, and the storyline around this character raises the question: Should people of mixed heritage have to choose one part of their ancestry over another?

From Nov. 13 to Nov. 15, over 600 people came together at DePaul University in Chicago to explore this question and other issues surrounding ideas of race, perceptions of racial mixture, and the experiences of mixed-heritage people. The goal of the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, titled “Global Mixed Race,” was to “bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.”

As the number of people who identify as “mixed” increases, discussions around various topics concerning people of mixed ancestry are also expanding and challenging our perceptions of race and racism. Both critical mixed-race studies and films like Dear White People accomplish the same goal of furthering conversations regarding race — dialogues that we can engage in with friends, family, and those in our communities at large…

…CMRS Asks: Is There a “Global Mixed Race”?

Activists, artists, and scholars who compose critical mixed-race studies (CMRS) are complicating questions beyond “What are you?” and combating the myth of the “tragic mulatta/o.” In past decades, CMRS has expanded over a number of academic fields spanning several disciplines.

While CMRS has fought over the years to gain legitimacy within scholarly circles, one of its greatest attributes is that the coalition is not made up of solely academics but includes community activists, students, educators, families, visual artists, independent filmmakers, and others interested in the varied experiences of mixed-heritage peoples. Of course, not all these categories are mutually exclusive, as many of the activists, artists, etc., are also scholars.

Laura Kina and Camilla Fojas of DuPaul University organized the third CMRS conference, “Global Mixed Race,” which featured a variety of people telling their own stories, sharing the stories of others, and dissecting theories that surround notions of ethnoracial mixture.* In the opening keynote address, sociologist Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, co-editor of the book Global Mixed Race, explored the idea of a “mixed experience,” where she discussed the commonalities that people of mixed descent share widely across the globe.

King-O’Riain noted that people of mixed heritage have had to learn how to live and operate within their respective societies, often finding themselves ostracized by individuals within their local communities and battling exclusive national definitions of citizenship. King-O’Riain explained that people of mixed ancestry therefore have often had to skillfully create a flexible hybrid identity, one where they develop a keen ability to operate among several groups…

Read the entire article here.

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Improving Anti-Racist Education for Multiracial Students

Posted in Dissertations, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2014-04-16 19:43Z by Steven

Improving Anti-Racist Education for Multiracial Students

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
May 2014
479 pages

Eric Hamako

Submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education

This dissertation explores how anti‐racist education might be improved, so that it more effectively teaches Multiracial students about racism. A brief history of anti‐racist education and a theory of monoracism–the systematic oppression of Multiracial people–provide context for the study. Anti‐racist education in communities and colleges has supported U.S. social movements for racial justice. However, most anti‐racist education programs are not designed by or for students who identify with two or more races. Nor have such programs generally sought to address Multiraciality or monoracism. Since the 1980s, Multiraciality has become more salient in popular U.S. racial discourses. The number of people identifying as Multiracial, Mixed Race, or related terms has also increased, particularly among school‐age youth. Further, the size and number of Multiracial people’s organizations have also grown. Anti‐racist education may pose unintended challenges for Multiracial students and their organizations. This study asked twenty‐five educators involved in Multiracial organizations to discuss anti‐racist education: what it should teach Multiracial students; what is working; what is not working; and how it might be improved. Qualitative data were gathered via five focus group interviews in three West Coast cities. Participants proposed learning goals for Multiracial students. Goals included learning about privilege and oppression; social constructionism; historical and contemporary contexts of racism; and impacts of racism and monoracism on Multiracial people. Participants also called for education that develops interpersonal relationships, self‐reflection, and activism. Participants also discussed aspects of anti‐racist education that may help or hinder Multiracial students’ learning, as well as possible improvements. Participants problematized the exclusion of Multiraciality, the use of Black/White binary racial paradigms, linear racial identity development models, and the use of racial caucus groups or affinity spaces. Participants also challenged educators’ monoracist attitudes and behaviors, particularly the treatment of questions as pathological “resistance.” Suggestions included addressing Multiraciality and monoracism, accounting for intersectionality and the social construction of race, validating self‐identification, and teacher education about monoracism. The study then critically analyzes participants’ responses by drawing on literature about anti‐racist education, social justice education, multicultural education, transgender oppression (cissexism), and monoracism. Based on that synthesis, alternate recommendations for research and practice are provided.


    • Significance of the problem
    • Goals and intended audiences
    • Locating myself as a researcher
    • Research questions
    • Organization of the study
    • A brief overview of CBARE
    • Two brief histories of CBARE
    • Anti‐intersectional praxes
    • Binary racial paradigms
    • Racial essentialism
    • Pathologizing “resistance”
    • Toward new anti‐racist praxes: Accounting for monoracism
    • Theorizing monoracism
    • Addressing challenges to a theory of monoracism
    • Benefits of theorizing monoracism
    • Summary
    • Focus group interview methodology
    • Participants
    • Focus groups: Number, size, and locations
    • Pre‐focus group data collection: Surveys, curricula sharing, and curricula analysis
    • Focus group data collection
    • Data analysis
    • Representational knowledge: Learn about racism and monoracism
    • Representational knowledge: Hierarchies that trouble Multiracial organizing
    • Relational knowledge: Learn to connect with other people
    • Reflective knowledge: Learn about oneself
    • Summary
    • Representational knowledge: Learn about racism and monoracism
    • Representational knowledge: Hierarchies that trouble Multiracial organizing
    • Relational knowledge: Learn to connect with other people
    • Reflective knowledge: Learn about oneself
    • Summary
    • Monoracism in anti‐racist educational theories, curricula, and pedagogies
    • Monoracism in educators’ attitudes and behaviors
    • Summary
    • Monoracism in anti‐racist educational theories, curricula, and pedagogies
    • Monoracism in educators’ attitudes and behaviors
    • Summary

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Science Fiction and Multiraciality: From Octavia Butler to Harry Potter

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2013-12-14 13:56Z by Steven

Science Fiction and Multiraciality: From Octavia Butler to Harry Potter

Brooklyn Historical Society
Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
Saturday, 2013-12-14, 14:00-17:00 EST (Local Time)

How do science fiction narratives investigate questions about identity, racism, and fear?

Join us for a fun, interactive presentation and dialogue about mixed-race identity in the Harry Potter franchise, the legacy of African-American sci-fi author Octavia Butler, and the role of the imaginary in destabilizing oppression and re-envisioning multiracial community.

We will be debunking myths, talking back to popular sci-fi movies and stories, and exploring new possibilities for racial justice through imagination. We will explore racial elements of popular fictional universes, participate in collective storytelling, and we encourage dressing up as your favorite sci-fi character!

Presenters include: Eric Hamako from University of Massachusetts Amherst on Harry Potter and the Mistaken Myth of the Mixed-Race Messiah, and Walidah Imarisha, Co-Editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.

This event is co-sponsored by the Harry Potter Alliance and MixedRaceStudies.org.

For more information, click here.

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Lecturer points to racism in Harry Potter

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-09-07 20:01Z by Steven

Lecturer points to racism in Harry Potter

The Daily Campus
The Independent News Source for the University of Connecticut

Christopher Kelly, Campus Correspondent

Nature of science fiction discusses race in unseen ways

Eric Hamako from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst came to speak to UConn students and faculty Wednesday about the increasing popularity of racist movies. Racism in this case is referring to stereotypes or what “Psychology Today” calls “empirical generalizations.” These generalizations stem from what may be or may have been true for a number of people, but do not extend to every member of a group.

Following this understanding of stereotypes, Dictionary.com defines racism as, “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

Hamako, who has a master’s degree in mass communication from Stanford and is half-Japanese and half-Jewish, lectures on the position of multiracial Americans in society. His lecture, “Harry Potter and the Mistaken Myth of the Mixed-Race Messiah,” addresses the polar opposite of the overt racism that was so prevalent in pre-Civil Rights Movement America: mass media subtle projections of stereotypes.

“Sci-fi, fantasy movies talk in code so that you can talk about mixed-ethnics without realizing you’re talking about it” he said…

Read the entire article here.

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US Census: Rationalizing Race in US History

Posted in Census/Demographics, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2013-05-29 01:18Z by Steven

US Census: Rationalizing Race in US History

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
Brooklyn Historical Society, Othmer Library
Brooklyn, New York
2013-04-18, 19:00-21:00 EDT (Local Time)
View the full video of the event here.

What boxes do you mark on the U.S. Census to describe your heritage?

Prior to the year 2000, multiracial people could only check one box in the Race category of the U.S. Census. Now, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, multiracial Americans are the fastest growing demographic group.


Moderated by Eric Hamako, doctoral candidate in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This event is part of Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations, an oral history project and public programming series, which examines the history and experiences of mixed-heritage people and families, cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity, and identity.

View the full video of the event here. View photographs from the event here.

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So, What Are You… Anyway?: 2013 Conference on Multiracial Identity

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-06 16:17Z by Steven

So, What Are You… Anyway?: 2013 Conference on Multiracial Identity

Hosted by the Harvard College Half-Asian People’s Association
Harvard University
2013-04-05 through 2013-04-06

The Harvard Half-Asian People’s Association will host its fifth annual conference on mixed-race politics and identity issues, “So…What Are You, Anyway?” (SWAYA) on Friday, April 5, 2013 and Saturday, April 6, 2013 on the Harvard University campus. The event is open to the public and will feature an array of exciting guest lecturers who will speak on issues involving multiracial identity.

The conference will include lectures given by author Pearl Fuyo Gaskins, Harvard professor Jennifer Hochschild, and Eric Hamako, as well as discussion groups led by experts on modern race relations. Last year, the event drew over one hundred students and other guests from colleges and cities around the US.

SWAYA will culminate in a special gala dinner* in honor of the 2013 recipient of the Cultural Pioneer Award, Pearl Gaskins, author of the book What are You?: Voices of Mixed-Race Young People

For more information, click here.

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Who will benefit from AR-TPD “cost-savings”?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-25 03:12Z by Steven

Who will benefit from AR-TPD “cost-savings”?

Two or More: Mixed thoughts about the Census NAC

Eric Hamako

Eric Hamako is one of 32 members of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Race, Ethnic, and Other Populations, 2012-2014. This blog is intended to 1) share updates and Eric’s perspectives on the NAC, 2) gather community perspectives, and 3) promote discussion about the Census Bureau as it relates to Multiracial people, the Two Or More Races (TOMR) population, and social justice.

Reflecting on the second NAC in-person meeting and a few brief discussions about the use of Administrative Records and Third Party Data (AR-TPD), I was reminded of an old saying, which I’ll paraphrase:

“There’s never been a time-saving device that’s created a minute of leisure.”**

My interpretation of that saying is this: Lots of technological advancements are advertised as doing menial work, so that we have more time for relaxing or doing more meaningful work.  But that’s rarely what actually happens.  For example, at my job, I have a computer and it’s frustratingly slow sometimes.  In those moments, I think, “Gah!  If only I had a faster computer, I could be done with this work faster!”  And that’s true.  But if I had a faster computer and finished my work faster, what would happen?  Would my boss say, “You finished that right quick, guess you’re done for the day!”

Probably not…

Read the entire article here.

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A Conversation with Eric Hamako

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-22 23:09Z by Steven

A Conversation with Eric Hamako


Steven F. Riley, Creator

This is the first in a series of interviews with scholars, writers, activists and others involved with the topic of multiracilism.

Scholar Eric Hamakois an Ed.D. candidate in the Social Justice Education concentration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a long-time student- and community-organizer of mixed-race activities. Last October, Eric wasappointed to a position on the United States Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee(NAC) on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations for a two-year term. The committee, as one of several National Advisory Committees, advises theCensus Bureauon a wide range of variables that affect the cost, accuracy and implementation of the Census Bureau’s programs and surveys.

I had a chance to sit down with Eric the morning of November 2, 2012, during the2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference (CMRS) at DePaul University in an attempt to learn more about him, his scholarship and his activism and how they intersect. The day before, both Eric and I had presented papers at the conference. Eric also presentedanotherpaper on Saturday followed by a report on the census for the CMRS business meeting on Sunday! Thus our face-to-face time was quite pleasant, yet far too brief. Recently, I caught up with him to follow up on our CMRS chat.

Steve Riley: What inspired you to get involved with mixed-race community and student organizing?

Eric Hamako: In college, like many Mixed-identified folks, I sought out community in various ways with various groups. In some places, I wasn’t seen as belonging or didn’t feel welcomed. In others, I felt I had more opportunities; people saw potential in me and welcomed my contributions. In particular, toward the end of college, I heard about a student organizing a student chapter of Hapa Issues Forum. I attended the small meeting and, as I listened to others, I thought, “Well, I have some thoughts and suggestions for what this group should do…” And, opening my big mouth, people seemed supportive—so much so that they said, “That’s a good idea… you’re in charge of that.” Little did I realize, at the time, that this was the first meeting and that, by virtue of showing up and demonstrating some initiative, I had somewhat inadvertently joined the leadership core of the group. Mixed-Race organizing has, unlike some of my other work and volunteer experiences, been a place where I’ve felt that I could make a more substantial difference. I’ve worked in other positions where, if I was heard at all, my ideas weren’t given much merit and I wasn’t sure what difference I was making. But, with my Mixed-Race work, I’ve felt that I’ve had more sense of community and more sense that I could impact what’s going on. So, I’ve tried to nurture that in my own work, to provide opportunities for others to connect and make their marks, too.

SR: Can you describe the selection process for membership to the Census NAC?

EH: Over the past few years, a number of Multiracial student and community organizations have been networking and getting closer to one another. Through some of our collective work, we were informed by a Census representative that the Census Bureau was putting out a public call for nominations to a new iteration of the Census Bureau’s advisory committee system. Our loose network of Multiracial organizations’ leaders decided we’d nominate someone, in hopes that we’d have a representative on the committee interested in Multiracial issues. Through an internal nomination and vote, the group elected to nominate me for a position. The Census Bureau grandparented in fifteen members of the former advisory committees, the REACs (Racial and Ethnic Advisory Committees), and of the nominations received, selected an additional seventeen new advisory committee members, for a total of thirty-two members on our National Advisory Committee. The Census Bureau chose me as one of the seventeen new nominees. I don’t know much about the process the Census Bureau used to choose among the nominees, but it’s my sense that they were looking for members who would be knowledgeable in various subject-areas and had community connections to various marginalized and hard-to-count populations.

SR: Certainly there are others in the mixed-race community who might have served on the Census NAC. What do you bring as a representative that others may not?

EH: There definitely are other leaders who also have area-related knowledge, historical perspective, and strong connections to Multiracial organizations and networks. I feel fortunate to have been nominated by peers and selected by the Census Bureau. To help share the information I’m learning and to solicit the concerns and opinions of people interested in racial justice and Multiraciality, I’ve created a blog: Two Or More: Mixed thoughts about the Census NAC (http://censusnac.blogspot.com).

SR: Are the NAC meetings in-person?

EH: There are several different National Advisory Committees (NACs), including the NAC on Racial Ethnic and Other Populations. The NAC on which I serve is scheduled to meet in-person four times in two years, as well as holding at least two virtual meetings. These meetings are open to the public and provide comment periods, which I encourage people to use. Additionally, our NAC will have “working groups,” which are tasked with exploring and researching various subtopics, such as how to count hard-to-count populations; the impacts of using third-party databases to supplement Census Bureau data; and what might happen if the Census Bureau combined the “race question” and the “ethnicity question” into a single question. The working groups are also empowered to recruit experts from outside the NAC to contribute to the group’s work. So, for people interested in working with the NAC, you might think about how you could contribute to a working group’s work.

SR: Do you anticipate any changes affecting the Two or More Race (TOMR) option on the 2020 census?

EH: I think it’s important for everyone to know that neither racism nor race are stable or natural. Racism metastasizes and changes over time, changing the ways that race is thought about and implemented in the US. For the last few decades, the Census has been one way to try to observe and track the symptoms of racial inequalities. For example, we can use the data to determine whether a racial group is disproportionately imprisoned or denied access to equitable bank loans. Without such data, it’s difficult to demonstrate racist trends.

At the same time, the Census’ racial categories change from decade to decade; one reason for those changes has to do with the ways racism and race change over time. For example, the more a group is able to assert that it is a group and has valid claims to seek recognition and protection from racism, the more able it might be to seek recognition on the Census. The 1997 Directive No. 15 issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) allowed for the “Mark One Or More” (MOOM) format on the 2000 Census’ race question, resulting in the Two or More Races (TOMR) data we’ve seen from the 2000 and 2010 Census. At this point, I do not have reason to believe that the MOOM format will be significantly altered for the 2020 Census.

But, there are many important issues that are related and less visible. For example, in the lead-up to Directive No. 15, I think many people were talking about “What will the forms allow?” (i.e., “enumeration”) and far fewer people were talking about “How will people’s responses be counted up and reported out?” (i.e., “tabulation” and reporting). I encourage everyone to educate themselves about how the data is tabulated and reported. Different agencies and organizations tabulate and report in different ways—and that impacts how the data can be used and what we can learn about racial inequalities.

SR: What challenges (if any) do you anticipate with your NAC?

EH: I think several of the challenges are logistical, but the logistics of things also impact getting to know each other and working together. All of the committee members are working other jobs and have other responsibilities. We’re spread out across the country and meet in-person only a few times during our term; that makes getting to know each other and remotely coordinating our work more challenging. Thankfully, I think that many of us have had experience collaborating over long distances and the Census Bureau provides some technical support for bridging the distances (e.g., conference calls; a web-based space for communication and collaboration; financial support for travel to our in-person meetings). Another logistical or perhaps communication challenge is sharing information with and gathering concerns and opinions from various populations and communities. While I don’t claim to represent every Multiracial-identified person or every person concerned about Multiracial issues, I do hope to find ways to communicate with other people. For now, I’m counting on my connections to various Multiracial organizations and my attempts to reach out through those channels.

SR: The census in Canada does not collect data on race. Do you think that the U.S. should follow in its footsteps? Why or why not?

EH: Because I think the Census’s data about race is an important way to identify racial inequalities produced by systemic racism, I’m in favor of continuing to collect information about race, rather than discontinuing it. That said, collecting information about race via the Census is merely a way to track the symptoms of racism, rather than the systems through which racism operates. I think we need information about both.

Similarly—and perhaps controversially—I think that we often use a person’s racial self-identification (e.g., on the Census) as a loose way of inferring things about their experiences of racism. Some scholars have pointed out that this is somewhat sloppy and also reinforces the myth that “race” is real, when really race is just a product of racism. So, if what we really want to know is, “What’re your experiences of racism?” then we can and should ask additional questions, beyond just “What’s your racial identity?” or “What race are you?” Part of racism’s myth of race is the idea that members of a so-called racial group are all similar and thus different from everyone of other racial groups—but really, there’s tremendous diversity within so-called racial groups. And racism affects members of a racial group differently, based on racism’s interaction with things like sexism, heterosexism, classism, colorism, ableism, nationalism, and Christian Supremacy.

SR: I was impressed with one of your Facebook posts about the California Mumford Act of 1967, where the National Rifle Association (NRA) and conservative Republicans, led by assemblyman Don Mumford and governor Ronald Regan spearheaded gun-control legislation because of a fear of increased gun ownership by black people. How and why is it important to use an anti-racist social justice framework when engaging in your work?

EH: I can’t claim credit for the content of that post—only for reposting it along to folks; there’s some good stuff out there. As for my own work, I’m trying to find ways to improve the ways that we teach about racism and about monoracism (oppression of Multiraciality). As a student and an educator, I’ve found that much of the anti-racist curricula that’s currently available isn’t well-suited for addressing monoracism or for reaching Mixed-identified participants. So, I’m trying to work with colleagues to identify some of those shortcomings and to improve what and how we’re teaching about racism, about monoracism, and about the other “intersecting” or intertwined forms of oppression. I try to keep a multi-issue analysis in mind when I work and when I teach. For me, I aspire to a social justice analysis that sees how things like racism and sexism are not only “intersecting” but are intertwined and make up each other. And, further, I think Multiracial organizers can learn a lot from other social movements. I’ve been particularly interested in what Multiracial organizers can learn and share with people organizing for bisexual/pansexual liberation and transgender liberation. Certainly, we’re present in each other’s movements, but we’re also each situated as “in-between” and many of the stereotypes and aspects of oppression are similar, too.

SR: How and why is the examination of the “mixed-race metaphor” in science fiction and other genres important in the discussion of mixed-race?

EH: I believe that stories are powerful. Stories shape how we think about ourselves and others; how we think about social problems, their origins, and their solutions; and what we think is possible or desirable. Many negative stories have been told about Multiraciality and, while they continue to be told, now there are also more seductively positive-sounding stories, too. But I want to emphasize: racial stereotypes that sound positive are still racial stereotypes, are still racism, and often play into larger racist agendas.

In the past, we had more stories where Multiraciality was represented as negative, defective, confused or evil. And those stories are still being told (e.g., Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise). But now we’re seeing more stories where a hybrid hero embodies more positive-sounding stereotypes and defeats the hybrid villain. So, the hybrid hero tells us positive-sounding stories, such as “Multiracial people are smarter, healthier, stronger, etc.” or “Multiracial people will be the end of racism!” But as sweet as those stories sound, as seductive as it might be for people to believe those lies, that’s all they are: racist lies. Multiracial people are neither racially inferior nor racially superior. No one and no group is inherently better or worse than another on a racial basis. And, I hope that we will strengthen our mental self-defense skills so that we’re prepared to fight back against racist stories; not just the obviously hateful racist stories, but also the seductive racist stories that try to say, “Hey, we used to say you were bad, but now we’re going to say you’re better… (better than thosepeople).” I think that seeing the problems in stories is an important step to telling different stories, rather than retelling the same old stories.

SR: I found the Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) conference to be an incredible learning experience and thoroughly invigorating. It was great to have the privilege to present a paper and it was also really wonderful to meet many of the scholars that I have posts for on my site. What did CMRS do for you and how might it influence your NAC activities?

EH: I’m so thankful to all the people who’ve made the first two CMRS conferences possible—to everyone who attended, but also to the people who organized the conference and made it happen. As an attendee and a presenter, CMRS continues to be a place where I can meet new people, reconnect with friends and colleagues, feel inspired and useful, and also, as an academic, to be exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking. As a representative to the NAC, CMRS provides me with opportunities to share information, gather ideas and opinions, and to connect broadly and deeply with people who’re concerned about Multiraciality, monoracism, and social justice. I’m looking forward to CMRS 2014!

©2013, Steven F. Riley

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Report-back: The second NAC meeting

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-21 21:40Z by Steven

Report-back: The second NAC meeting

Two or More: Mixed thoughts about the Census NAC

Eric Hamako

Eric Hamako is one of 32 members of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Race, Ethnic, and Other Populations, 2012-2014. This blog is intended to 1) share updates and Eric’s perspectives on the NAC, 2) gather community perspectives, and 3) promote discussion about the Census Bureau as it relates to Multiracial people, the Two Or More Races (TOMR) population, and social justice.

On March 14-15, 2013, I attended the second in-person meeting of the NAC in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, I reconnected with other NAC members. Our three working groups presented some of our ongoing work and the Census Bureau presented information about a few topics. In this post, I’ll briefly outline some of the meeting’s content, provide links to further information about the content, and offer a few reflections…

Read the entire article here.

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