Universities Are Still Struggling to Provide for Mixed-Race Students

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-22 00:50Z by Steven

Universities Are Still Struggling to Provide for Mixed-Race Students


Kristal Brent Zook, Professor of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations
Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York

Photo courtesy of the author

Coming from a multiracial background can leave some students feeling isolated

“As a person of color…” Phoebe Vlahoplus, 20, a history major at Wesleyan University pauses.

“Or… half a person of color.”

“It depends,” she says carefully when I ask if she’s uncomfortable using the phrase. She is East Indian and Greek, but her parents were born in the United States. “I can’t speak for immigrants.” She weighs the considerations, then adds, “But my skin color is Brown.”

Meiko Flynn-Do is Japanese, Vietnamese, and White but before attending Stanford University, where mixed-race students made up 11% of undergraduates in 2012, she never saw herself as a “person of color. That wasn’t on my radar.” It wasn’t until college that she started “wrestling with those things. Ethnic studies classes kind of opened up those questions for me.”

Mariko Rooks attended Yale University’s Cultural Connections, a pre-orientation program for minorities, prior to starting her first year on campus. “It was so unapologetically Black and Brown,” she recalls. “So overwhelming and enlightening.” The experience “revolutionized her thinking,” says Rooks. Her friend Adia Klein, a junior at Yale agrees. “Going to college opened me up. I saw that being multiracial was a global thing… It was eye-opening.”

Like many college students, Vlahoplus, Flynn-Do, Rooks, and Klein all found that in college, questions of racial identity moved to the front and center of their consciousness for the first time…

……“It’s really hard for administrations to catch up,” says G. Reginald Daniel, PhD, professor and vice chair in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. One of the key areas lagging behind in universities is student counseling. “There are special kinds of microaggressions that come with multiracial identity,” says Daniel. “Our society is racially illiterate in general, and the greatest illiteracy is to be in the presence of a multiracial person.”…

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Multiracial Child Resource Book: Living Complex Realities

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work, Teaching Resources, United States on 2013-07-25 20:18Z by Steven

Multiracial Child Resource Book: Living Complex Realities

MAVIN Foundation
288 pages
8 x 7.9 x 0.7 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-0972963909

Edited by:

Maria P. P. Root

Matt Kelley

As America experiences a multiracial baby boom, parents, teachers and child welfare professionals must be equipped with resources to help raise happy and healthy mixed heritage youth. Published in 2003, this groundbreaking, 288-page volume edited by Maria P. P. Root, Ph.D. and Matt Kelley, offers 35 chapters to assist the people who work with children to serve multiracial youth with compassion and competence. Providing both a developmental and mixed heritage-specific approach, the Multiracial Child Resource Book provides a layered portrait of the mixed race experience from birth to adulthood, each chapter written by the nation’s experts and accompanied by first-person testimonials from mixed heritage young adults themselves.

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Even The Rivers: A film about educating South Korea’s multiethnic generation.

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos on 2013-05-10 15:01Z by Steven

Even The Rivers: A film about educating South Korea’s multiethnic generation.

April 2013

Cindy Lou Howe, Director

Matt Kelley, Producer

Uikwon Lee, Researcher

“In 10 years, even the rivers and mountains change.”
—Korean proverb

South Korea has seemingly always known dramatic change. Created after Japanese colonization and a devastating civil war, the nation became one of history’s most remarkable economic success stories. Today, many South Koreans are proud that their former “Hermit Kingdom” is a global economic and cultural powerhouse, hosting the Olympics and exporting everything from Galaxy smartphones to “Gangnam Style.”

Despite this constant change, South Korea remains one of the world’s most ethnically homogeneous societies. According to recent statistics, just two percent of South Koreans are immigrants, the bulk of whom are ethnic Koreans from China. Many Koreans cling to a “one blood” national identity that emphasizes so-called “pure” bloodlines, a notion borne of nationalist and anti-imperialist movements from the turn of the last century.

This self-concept, however, is increasingly at odds with the nation’s changing demographics. Urbanization, immigration and one of the world’s lowest fertility rates have resulted in a multi-ethnic baby boom for South Korea. According to the 2010 Census, there are over 150,000 children in the country with at least one parent of non-Korean heritage. By 2020, the government estimates there will be over 1.6 million multi-ethnic South Koreans, including half of all children living in rural areas…

For more information, click here.

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A Mixed Bag: Examining the College Experience of Multi-Racial Students

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2013-04-02 02:51Z by Steven

A Mixed Bag: Examining the College Experience of Multi-Racial Students

INSIGHT Into Diversity
April/May 2012 (2012-03-29)

Andrea Williams, Contributing Writer

To most American youth, college is the requisite rite of passage into adulthood, an experience marked as much by self-exploration and discovery as biology lectures and late night cram sessions.
From managing the excitement of living away from home for the first time, to coping with the stresses of time management, college can be simultaneously exhilarating and intimidating. And for biracial students who don’t fit neatly into the predetermined ethnic categories of many colleges and universities, the journey can be especially challenging.

For Theresa Lopez, the daughter of a white mother and a Latino father, the issues started with her application to the University of Illinois. “I was not given the option to be both white and Hispanic because the boxes were marked ‘White (Non-Hispanic)’ and ‘Hispanic (Non-White),’ making me feel as though whoever created the application was under the impression that white people and Hispanics could not have babies together,” says Lopez. “I would prefer, however, to call myself both white and Hispanic without denying either ancestry.”

The problems didn’t stop there for the college senior. In a society where people are confident in their own assumptions, even going to dinner becomes a lesson in cultural sensitivity. “When we go to eat at the local Mexican restaurant here in town, my friend, who is Columbian but does not speak Spanish, is always waited on in Spanish while I am always greeted in English because of the way I look,” says Lopez, whose blonde hair and blue eyes belie her Hispanic roots. “It makes me upset sometimes because even though I continue to speak Spanish to them, they seem to think I’m just some white girl who is trying to speak their language and be a part of their people. But I’m their people, too.”…

…Luckily for Matt Kelley, he discovered during the fall semester of his freshman year at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University that the school sponsored a mixed heritage student organization. “It was the first time I was made aware of ‘people like me’ who shared the experience of not fitting neatly into generally accepted racial boxes and boundaries,” he says. Kelley subsequently learned about similar clubs at other schools and in 1998 decided to launch a national magazine that would create a community among those organizations.

The publication – given the Yiddish name MAVIN, which means “one who understands” – was immediately well received, leading Kelley to form the nonprofit MAVIN Foundation in 2000 to further the work and reach of the magazine…

Read the entire article here.

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Will new age of mixed-race identities loosen the hold of race or tie it up in tighter knots?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-01 23:08Z by Steven

Will new age of mixed-race identities loosen the hold of race or tie it up in tighter knots?

Newhouse News Service

Jonathan Tilove

Ward Connerly, who describes himself as a roughly equal mix of French Canadian, Choctaw, African and Irish ancestry and who is married to a white woman, spent much of the last decade campaigning to end race-based affirmative action. Susan Graham, a white woman married to a black man, has spent that same decade working tirelessly as the founder of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) so that her two children and others like them could be counted in official statistics as “multiracial.”

For the first time in American history, respondents to the decennial census are able to identify themselves by as many races as they see fit. The tabulated results will yield 63 different categories and combinations—or 126 considering that each of those 63 could also be either Hispanic or non-Hispanic. And that does not take into account the limitless possibilities for writing in some race of one’s own devising.

But when the 2000 census is completed, all the folks at both the Connerly and Graham households will be assigned the race of their nearest neighbors. Why? Because both Connerly and Graham, for their own very different reasons, refused to check any of the boxes on the race question.

As America embarks on a new, more complicated era of racial counting, a look at how some of those close to the issue chose to answer the census race question presents a puzzle: Is this dawning age of mixed-race identities likely to loosen the hold of race on the American mind, or merely tie it up in tighter knots?

“It is progress,” said G. Reginald Daniel, a sociologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “Whether people understand it or not, we’re undoing 300 years of racial formation. We have yet to see the after-effect, but it will be radical.”

Daniel, who grew up black in Kentucky, said he has been thinking about his racial identity since Dec. 2, 1955, when his first-grade teacher reported that Rosa Parks had been arrested for refusing to let a white passenger have her seat on the bus. “It’s time we colored people stood up for our rights,” the teacher told her students.

Daniel was puzzled. He raised his hand and asked the teacher who “colored” people were. “Everyone in this school,” the teacher, startled, replied. But, Daniel persisted, what color are they? “We’re brown! We’re Negroes!” the teacher replied…

But Daniel’s skin was tan, a blend of white and brown, and when he asked his mother about it she explained that while they were a mix of African, Irish, English, French, American Indian, Asian Indian and maybe even German-Jewish, they were still members of the “Negro race.”

Over time, Daniel came to identify himself as multiracial. He became a leading intellectual adviser, at one point to Project RACE and on a continuing basis to the Association for MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA)—the largest of the organizations that pressed for a multiracial category on the census. The federal Office of Management and Budget rejected that possibility but in 1997, after four years of deliberation, announced that on the 2000 census respondents would be able to check as many races as apply…

…But to Susan Graham, the form felt like one step forward and two steps back. Graham had wanted a separate multiracial category so that children like hers would not have to choose between their parents’ racial identities, or end up some unclassifiable “other.”…

…“I’m not about to have my children check more than one box only to be relegated back to the black category,” said Graham, who now lives in Tallahassee, Fla. She left the race question blank.

But the census cannot permit blanks, so, by a statistical method known as “hot deck imputation,” Graham’s family will be assigned races that blend best with their closest neighbors—the assumption being that most people live in neighborhoods that match them racially. And, in Graham’s case that is true, with immediate neighbors black, white and interracial.

Rainier Spencer, a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, has studied the multiracial movement in his book, “Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States.” He faults Graham’s logic.

In Spencer’s view, Graham and others in the multiracial movement deploy their distaste with the one-drop rule selectively. If they truly want its repeal, they must recognize that virtually all African-Americans are multiracial.

To him, the whole notion of a multiracial identity depends on an assumption that racial identity is real. And as Spencer told some 100 students at the Pan-Collegiate Conference on the Mixed-Race Experience, held recently at Harvard University and Wellesley College, “All racial identity is bogus, no matter whether the prefix is mono, multi or bi.”

The “insurgent idea” of multiraciality can undermine the racial order by “demonstrating the absurdity of fixed and exclusive racial categories,” he writes in his book. But the moment multiracial becomes an official category—a box to be checked—it no longer undermines the existing racial paradigm, but expands it.

Moreover, Spencer said, while race may not truly exist, racism does, and OMB acted quite appropriately in ordering the racial data collapsed back into traditional categories for civil rights purposes…

Read the entire article here.

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