‘We Are Just Humans’: Portrait Project Highlights Ethnic Diversity

Pantone is known for its color matching system, often used in fashion, printing and painting. But Angélica Dass is using the famous swatches for something even more exciting: creating a dialogue around ethnic diversity.

The Madrid-based photographer (pictured above) has been working on her project Humanaesince April 2012, taking portraits of people and matching their skin tones to Pantone hues to show how wide-ranging the human spectrum really is. There are now more than 2,000 photographs on the project’s Tumblr.

“The inspiration for this project comes from my family roots,” Dass tells Mashable. “I am the granddaughter of black and native Brazilians, and the daughter of a black father adopted by a white family. So, I am a mixture of diverse pigments. Humanae is a pursuit for highlighting our true colors, rather than the untrue and clichéd red and yellow, black and white.”

For Dass, the project is like a game of “subverting our codes” — challenging the ideas and labels of social and personal identity.

“What we have learned in social, linguistic or cultural contexts tend to distract us from everyday nuances that I would like to rethink,” she says.

Humanae originally began as Dass’ final work for a master’s degree in art photography. The first images were taken of her family in Brazil, and then she began posting announcements via social media, inviting anyone to be involved. Eventually, she took portraits in galleries, art fairs, favelas, NGOs, the UNESCO headquarters and many other places.

Dass says the project is a work in progress; “infinite and unfinished.”She will stop one day, but she feels it’s important, at least symbolically, to highlight people from each continent. The current 2,000 portraits come from Madrid, Barcelona, Winterthur, Switzerland, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paris and Chicago.

The project has already generated a lot of discussion, including being used in educational textbooks, as a tool for teachers to talk about equality, and by scientists to illustrate research in optical physiology. It also helps children to identify themselves as unique.

“The audience is free to read into it. The ultimate goal is to use the Internet to provoke a discussion on ethnic identity, creating images that lead us to match [ourselves] independently from factors such as nationality, origin, economic status, age or aesthetic standards,” Dass says.

“We cannot fit [ourselves into] codes. We are just humans.”



Bullied, 12-Year-Old Girl Is Threatened With Expulsion For Refusing To Cut Her Natural Afro Hair

A 12-year-old girl is being threatened with expulsion from school for refusing to cut her natural afro hair.

Vanessa VanDyke, who is a student at Orlando’s Faith Christian Academy in Florida, had been suffering taunts over her hairstyle from fellow students.

But her mother, Sabrina Kent, says that when she complained about the issue, school administrators took similar aim and told Vanessa that her hair violated school dress codes for being a ‘distraction.’

She feels that her hair is part of her identity and for that reason, does not plan to change it.

Vanessa says that she was given one week to decide if she wanted to cut her hair, and if not, she would have to leave the school.

She feels that her hair is part of her identity and for that reason, does not plan to change it.

‘It says that I’m unique,’ Vanessa told Click Orlando. ‘First of all, it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t want to fit in,’ she continued.

“…it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t want to fit in” – Vanessa VanDyke

Ms Kent says that school administrators targeted Vanessa after she approached them about the excessive teasing Vanessa was receiving from fellow students over her hair.

‘There have been bullies in the school,’ she said. ‘There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to be that they’re blaming her.’

School officials now say that Vanessa is violating the institution’s official dress code, which includes clauses about hair care, reports Click Orlando.

It states that ‘hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction,’ and cites mohawks, shaved designs, and rat tails as distracting examples.

The school says that Vanessa’s hair qualifies as a distraction, but according to Ms Kent: ‘A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another. You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?’

Administrators at Faith Christian Academy were not available to respond to MailOnline’s requests for comment.

Vanessa, who has been at the school since the third grade, says that she is ‘depressed about leaving my friends and people I’ve known for a while, but I’d rather have that than the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair.’


Coming Out as Biracial [Essay]

While the year 2042, the year there will be no ethnic majority in the United States, is still a ways away, many of us still have to deal with the complex world of being bi-racial. The following is an excerpt from an essay by journalist  on her experience “coming out as biracial”

“A few months ago, I not-so-subtly asserted myself as biracial while having dinner with a new coworker. “I’m a Capricorn,” she’d said. “Yeah…my mom’s black,” I responded (not verbatim, but the exchange was similar). Whoa. What? Immediately after I injected that part of my identity into the conversation, I had a Come-to-Jesus moment. What was I doing? Did I always do this when I met new people?

The answer, if you’re wondering, is yes. (Although the timing and context are usually a bit more appropriate.) I’ve been coming out this way since I was a teenager. First, my friends would do it for me, whenever one of our peers said something racist in front of me (which was often). “Dude. Steph’s mom is black!” The requisite retort was always, “Oh, sorry Steph. Are you half-offended?” (No, but I amwishing tired ass jokes qualified as hate crimes.)

Here it is: My mother is black. My dad is white. Two of my siblings look like my mom, and two of us look like my dad. Of the two who favor my dad, only one is biracial — that’d be me, the pigmentally challenged Michael Jackson of our troupe. Are you confused yet? Good. Welcome to what it’s like to be biracial.”

Biracial people are largely invisible as a group; we get tossed into whatever category we resemble most. We’re expected to choose black or white (or Indian, or Chinese, or whatever traits dominate). But lots of us don’t want to quietly “Circle One.” Some things aren’t black or white. Like human beings.

read the rest here.

ICYMI: Culturally Insensitive, Poorly Worded Tweet of the Day



This really happened today. Rookie Moms, a site normally dedicated to doling out advice for new moms and has a twitter following over 87,000, felt the wrath of twitter after naively tweeting about their hunt for creative baby costumes for “a  variety of skin colors”.



After a slew of angry tweets from the outraged, Rookie Moms then tried to clear the air by explaining why they sent the tweet in the first place.


While a few brave voices applauded them for trying to include costumes for a “variety of skin colors”, Rookie Moms felt it was in their best interest to apologize without acknowledging the larger issue of WHY people were so offended by the tweet to begin with.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Rookie Moms culturally insensitive tweets today in the comment section below.

MMXLII Perspective: Mixed Race Baby Fetish

Staff writer Joel is back for another MMXLII perspective! Inspired by his adoration for photos of mixed race babies, Joel shot this video to confess his love – and his secret fear that a preference for one particular type of baby might be just a little bit racist.

MMXLII Baby of the Week [9.21.2012] – Molley

Molley: Cambodian [mom] + African Jamaican [dad].  Make sure to check out our Facebook as we will be posting our MMXLII Babies everyday starting next week.  You can vote for your favorites there each week.  Click here to view the photo.

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