Is Japan Ready For Multiculturalism?

The newest Miss Universe – Japan is already having to defend her crown but not in ways you may think. Ariana Miyamoto was born and raised in Nagasaki, a Japanese citizen and speaks the language fluently. So what’s the issue? Her father is African American. Critics are questioning whether a “Hafu” (biracial, i.e., ethnically half Japanese) should be allowed to represent Japan. What are your thoughts? Click here to read more.

Meet the New Mayor of New York and His Multicultural Family

Why the De Blasio Family Matters: Meet the ‘Boring White Guy’ of the Future

As New York’s final primary votes are counted and analysts examine the campaign that made Bill de Blasio the likely next mayor, it’s clear that race matters — just not in the way some might have expected. Earlier in the week, Mayor Bloomberg had characterized De Blasio as “racist” for “making an appeal using his family,” and his widely condemned comment pointed to an insidious prejudice: the assumption that interracial families, simply by existing in public, are somehow rubbing themselves in everyone’s faces.

A white man can hug his black wife without “using” her or “making an appeal,” of course. And yet the De Blasios also demonstrate how appealing that simple act can be. An increasingly multicultural America is hungry for public figures who reflect their ideals. The De Blasios understand that — which helps explain how De Blasio’s populist campaign “grabbed at least one-third of every major ethnic group’s vote.”

Read the entire article at


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.

Heidi Durrow on Being an Afro-Viking Writer [Countdown to 2042]

Heidi Durrow is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. A mystery wrapped up in a coming-of-age story, Durrow’s novel tells the story of an 11-year old girl who, much like herself, is the daughter of a white Danish woman and a black GI. Like much of Durrow’s other writing, which includes contributions to the New York Times, NPR, and the Huffington Post, the novel deals with themes related to the mixed race experience. In addition to her writing, Durrow is the founder of the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, as well as a co-host of the award-winning Mixed Chicks Chat podcast. We had the chance to chat with Heidi about why self-identifying as half white is important to her, how we’re all connected to the mixed experience, and what it means to be an Afro-Viking in our latest Countdown to 2042.
If you liked this Countdown to 2042, check out other insightful interviews with writer and comedian Baratunde Thurston and rapper/comedian/YouTube personality Timothy DeLaGhetto, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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 Perspective: Thank You, Twitter Racists

Today we’re pleased to announce the start of a new video series, MMXLII Perspectives. In our first video staff writer Joel, dismayed by the recent rash of Internet racism, has a message for the Twitter racists.

Nielsen Survey Forces Dual Race Children to “Choose One Ethnicity”

This open letter to Nielsen came to us via Twitter from Leslie V. Ryan, author of I am Flippish!, a picture book inspired by her own children’s experience growing up both Filipino and Irish.  In the letter she writes about her children’s interaction with a surveyor from Nielsen who, due to company policy, was unable to legitimize all aspects of their background.

The surveyor asked what Flippish meant and I told her they are half Filipino and half Irish. Another long pause. I repeated that they are fifty percent Filipino and fifty percent Caucasian. I thought that a well regarded survey company such as Nielsen would have thought of the growing number of multiracial families all over America and changed their survey. I never expected the answer we got.

“Ma’am, you can only choose one ethnicity,” replied the surveyor.

It’s an issue we’ve written about before, and as soon as we saw Leslie’s letter we knew we had to bring it to your attention.  Her experience is a reminder that these issues aren’t just abstractions, and that mixed race children are more than just an ever-increasing number on the census.  They’re real people, and policies like Nielsen’s affect actual children.  That’s why it’s unfortunate that even in 2013, when nine million Americans identify as being of two or more races, many organizations refuse to recognize that fact, forcing respondents to choose one aspect of their heritage over another, or to mark themselves as “Other.” Some groups, including the United States Census, have updated their policies to reflect America’s changing face, acknowledging the existence of people like Leslie’s children and this author by allowing us to mark more than one race when filling out forms or responding to surveys. Still, the experience Leslie’s Flippish children had with Nielsen shows that there’s a long way to go before everyone is ready to make that jump. She puts it best:

So Nielsen, why did you make my children choose one ethnic background when you were told they have two? Is this what you do when you call up multicultural families and make them choose one category? Your website states “Nielsen Knows People” — do you really? Don’t you know that there are millions of multicultural families in the US? A company like Nielsen should be aware of this and change with the times.

We want to thank Leslie for sharing her and her children’s experience.  It’s a story that’s going to be more and more familiar, and more and more important as the number of mixed race children in the United States grows. At MMXLII we believe that those children deserve to have their heritage acknowledged in its entirety, and their existence recognized by everyone – from Nielsen to the Standardized Tests given in public schools. Read Leslie’s letter and let us, and Nielsen, know what you think.

‘Mixed Kids Are the Cutest’ Isn’t Cute? via The Root

We’ve seen shirts that say things like “Stop Racism, Make Mixed Babies” or heard comments like “oh, mixed children are THE cutest “. It sounds great from a superficial point of view, but look deeper and the meaning behind it may not be as flattering. Like the story we posted about a woman not being flattered by men attempting to court her with lines like “you must be mixed”, this is a very similar issue. It sounds great at first but when you think about it it’s like saying a child is better looking because you’re not truly one ethnicity over the other. A mother of a biracial child inquires how should she take remarks like this and how to respond. Jenée Desmond-Harris responds for her first installment of “Race Manners”. Hit the break to read. Read More