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“they can be whoever they want to be”

April 8th, 2005 · No Comments

From Jerry Large’s March 31 column in the Seattle Times.

The Mavin Foundation in Seattle has picked five 20-somethings to travel around the country stirring up conversations about mixed-race people, raising awareness of a mixed-race baby boom and connecting people with resources relevant to mixed-race people and anyone who has contact with them.

Of course, it isn’t as if there were no mixed-race people in America before these young people were born, but there is more freedom now to make that mean something positive.

According to the 2000 Census, which was the first to count multiracial persons, 7 million people, 2.4 percent of the population, said they were of two or more races. For comparison, there were 5.2 million Jewish Americans in a 2000-01 survey of that community. So 7 million is a noticeable chunk of people. In Seattle, 5 percent of the population claims two or more races.

Mavin picked the crew for what it’s calling the Generation MIX tour to reflect this new generation, people who’ve grown up since the civil-rights era, who have been told they can be whoever they want to be.

I particularly liked this quote from Mavin founder and president Matt Kelley:

He thinks they’ll be able to play a role in tearing down walls. The way we talk about identity in this country is far too polarized, he said — gay/straight, Democrat/Republican, black/white and so on.

“We have the exciting potential to move away from conflict-based dichotomies,” he said.

Multiracial people defy the limiting black-and-white lines of the world. They are and not either/or. They belong to both sides of the story. I join Matt Kelley in hoping that conversations and connections can help break the pattern of polarization prevalent in our culture today. I’m also grateful my children live in a time of freedom and choice. I hope they never have to deny half of their heritage, feel they have to fit into a box or live within a label. They are who they are. I hope they celebrate the beauty of being biracial and the gifts it gives them.

I appreciated what Ponzi shared in a post describing her hair color:

One of the great things about being of interacial heritage is the chameleon like qualities one acquires from such a loving union.

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