Tag Archives: genetic diversity

Welcome to the New World, China

There’s a color war going on in China.

It’s the kind of race battle we’re still trying to wrap our hands around in parts of the U.S. (consider the mixed race couple that was denied a marriage license in Louisiana…and that’s in 2009! Who forgot to tell that judge that we have a multiracial President?)

Lou Jing is Mandarin-speaking 20-year-old who competed in Shanghai’s version of American Idol. She’s the focus of a passionate public debate: what does it mean to be Chinese. And it’s all about the color of her skin. Lou Jing’s mother is Chinese, her father an African-American whom she’s never met.

For sure, it’s a controversy that boosts ratings. Wouldn’t Simon Cowell be all over  this?

China doesn’t easily accept mixed-race children as Chinese. When a child is born the  parents have to register the child as belonging to one of the fifty-six government-approved ethnic groups. There are no mixed-race categories. We have that same battle here in the U.S., only we have four groups: Black, White, Asian, Hispanic. Sometimes Native American and Pacific Islander are bunched in with Asian. There’s always the Other box – that’s me. You can read my brief bio here about what I used to write on race forms: 100-yard dash.

On rare occasion, a form lists Multiracial. We need that on EVERY form.

While the U.S. is just now rising out of its shame about race-crossing, what happened here to the Chinese pride about MADE IN CHINA?

Got mutt?

Who’s a mutt?

Say it loud, you’re a mutt and …what?

Here’s a partial  list of well know multi-raced people. Source: web, library, and word-on-the-street research.

Drop a comment here to add what and whom you know.

Before we start: President Barack Obama, father  from Kenya, mother has Irish roots

1. Aleksandr Pushkin, Russian poet, 7/8 Russian, 1/8 Ethiopian

2. Alexander Hamilton, mixed-race mother, Scottish father

3. Alicia Keyssinger, biracial

4. Amerie Rogers, singer/actress Korean, African American

5. Ann Curry, newscaster Japanese, Irish

6. Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic speed skater, Japanese, Caucasian

7. Ben Kingsley, actor, Russian, Jewish and Indian descent

8. Ben Leber, NFL player (Minnesota Vikings), Japanese, Caucasian

9. Brandon Lee, martial artist/actor, Chinese, German, Swedish

10. Brian Ching, MLS player (San Jose Earthquakes), Chinese, Caucasian

11. Bruce Lee, martial artist/actor/philosopher, Chinese, German

12. Chad Morton NFL player (NY Giants), Japanese, African-American

13. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, part black Moorish through the Portuguese royal family

14. Chuck Norris, actor, Caucasian mother and Cherokee father.

15. Cindy Burbridge, Miss Thailand 1996 Thai, British, Indian

16. Cree Summer, voice actress, Cree mother and Canadian father

17. Danny Graves, MLB player, Vietnamese, Caucasian

18. Dave Bautista, wrestler, Filipino, Greek

19. Dave Roberts, MLB player, Japanese, African-American

20. Dean Cain, actor, Japanese, French and Welsh

21. Derek Jeterbaseball star, black father and white mother

22. Devon Aoki, actress/model, Japanese, British, German

23. Dorothy Dandridge, actress, Jamaican, Mexican, Native American, Black, Caucasian

24. Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”) actorprofessional wrestlerSamoan mother, black father

25. Eartha Kitt, singer, black Cherokee mother and white father

26. Eddie Van Halen, musician, Dutch, Indonesian

27. Enrique Iglesias, singer, Filipino, Spanish

28. Essie Mae Washington-Williams, oldest daughter of the late United States Senator Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler, an African-American household servant of the Thurmond family.

29. Françoise Yip, actress/model, Chinese, French-Canadian

30. Giancarlo Esposito, actor, black mother and Italian father

31. Gloria Reuben, actress, black mother and white father

32. Greg Louganis, athlete, Samoan biological father and Swedish biological mother

33. Halle Berry, actress, has a Caucasian Mother and a black Father.

34. Hines Ward, NFL player, Korean, African-American

35. Iain Duncan Smith, British politician, 7/8 European, 1/8 Japanese

36. Jaime Ong, actress/model Chinese, Australian

37. Jane March , actress/model Chinese, British, Spanish

38. Jasmine Guy, actress, black father and white mother

39. Jaye Davidson, actor, English mother and Ghanian father

40. Jennifer Bealsactress, black father and white mother

41. Jennifer Tilly and Meg Tilly, actresses, Chinese and Caucasian Canadian

42. Jerome Williams MLB player, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Hawaiian, Spanish, African-American, British

43. Jodie Ann Patterson, Playboy Playmate, Indonesian, British, Swiss

44. Johnny Damon, MLB player, Thai, British

45. Karen Mok, actress/singer, Chinese, German, Persian, Welsh

46. Kate Beckinsale, actress, BurmeseEnglish

47. Keanu Reeves, actor, Chinese, Hawaiian, British

48. Keisha Castle-HughesMaori and Pakeha

49. Kelly Hu, actress/model, Chinese, Hawaiian, British

50. Kiana Tom, fitness trainer/model, Chinese, Hawaiian, Irish

51. Kristen Kruek, actress, Indonesian-Chinese, Dutch

52. Lenny KravitzsingerJewish father, black mother

53. Lisa Bonet, actress, Half Jewish, half black

54. Lola Corwin, Playboy playmate/model, Korean, Irish

55. Lou Diamond Phillips, actor, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Cherokee, Scottish, Irish, Spanish

56. Maggie Quigley, actress/model, Vietnamese, Irish

57. Malcolm Gladwell, writer, Half English, half Jamaican

58. Marc Dasacos, martial artist/actor, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, Irish

59. Mariah Carey, singer, black Venezuelan father, Irish mother

60. Mario Van Peebles, actor, black father and German mother

61. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, actor, Dutch, Indonesian

62. Maya Rudolph, comedian, black mother and white father daughter of the soul singer Minnie Riperton and Jewish/American composer/songwriter Richard Rudolph

63. Michelle Branch, musician, IndonesianDutchFrench and Irish

64. Mike Shinoda, musician (Linkin Park), Japanese, Russian

65. Namie Amuro, singer, Japanese, Italian

66. Naomi Campbell, model, Chinese, Jamaican

67. Noel Jones, first British ambassador from an ethnic minority, Anglo-Indian

68. Norah Jones, musician, Indian father, white mother

69. Olivia Lufkin, singer, Japanese, Caucasian

70. Patrick JohnsonAustralian sprinter, white father, Australian Aborigine mother

71. Paul Kariyaice hockey star, Japanese, Caucasian Canadian

72. Phoebe Cates, actress, Filipina, Russian-Jewish

73. Rachael Yamagata, singer, Japanese, Italian, German

74. Rae Dawn Chong, actress, Chinese, Caucasian Canadian, black

75. Rain Pryor, actress, daughter of Richard Pryor and Jewish mother

76. Rashida Jones and Kidida Jones, daughters of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton

77. Rob Schneider, comedian/actor, Filipino, German

78. Ron Darling, baseball player, Chinese, Hawaiian, Caucasian

79. Rosario Dawson, actress, Puerto Rican, Black, Cuban, Irish and Native American

80. Russell Wong, actor, Chinese, Dutch

81. Sandrine Holt, actress/model, Chinese, French

82. Sean Lennon, musician, English, Japanese

83. Shannon Lee, martial artist/actress, Chinese, German, Swedish

84. Slash (aka Saul Hudson), Guns and Roses musician, Black American and white

85. Soledad O’Brien, television personality, Irish/Australian father, Black/Cuban mother

86. Suzanne Malveaux, news reporter, AfricanSpanish, and French descent

87. Tata Young, singer, Thai, Caucasian

88. Thandie Newton, actress, British father and Zimbabwean mother

89. Tia and Tamara Mowry, actresses, black mother and white father

90. Tia Carrere, actress, FilipinoChinese and Spanish

91. Tiger Woods, professional golferAfricanAsianNative American, and Caucasian (mother is Thai, father is Black American)

92. Tommy Chong, comedian, Chinese, Caucasian Canadian

93. Tyson Beckford, model, Chinese, Jamaican

94. Vin Diesel, actor, black, Italian

95. Yul Brenner, actor, Mongolian, Russian, Swiss

96. Christina Aguilera: singer, Ecuadorian and Irish

97. Jessica Alba: actress, French Canadian, Danish and Mexican American

98. Taylor Lautner: actor, French, Dutch, German,and Native American (specifically Odawa and Potawatomi)

99. Benjamin Bratt: actor, Peruvian, English and German


More about the Spork

spork-4Who was thinking what when they invented the spork? I know there’s the true story of how it happened, but inventions also come with lore. And isn’t imagining it better then truth? Isn’t imagination often a bunch of notches above reality?

Did the spork start with the pitchfork? Maybe a farmer wanted to pitch hay one second and then dig a hole to plant potatoes the next. Potatoes do grow in the ground, don’t they? Or do they grow on bushes? Too much city girl here.

Let’s say the origins of the spork is rooted in agriculture. Because every second counts, and who has time to fling hay then set down your pitchfork, grab the shovel, flurry away at the soil and then back with the pitchfork. So one day this farmer duct tapes her shovel handle onto her pitchfork handle and there it is! The first spork! Like everything else, it got downsized into the white  mini-spork as we know it today.

And somehow this kooky invention migrated from the farm to fast food, the spork as we know it wrapped in clear plastic ready to scoop/stab some vegetable stew, then off to its destiny as it clogs our landfills. How many plastic sporks are buried below? There’s probably even bird nests with spork tine splinters woven in with natural nest weavings.

Thought for the day: A sense of humor feeds the imagination, and laughter can help smooth some of life’s edges. As for imagination…use it! Let it be your teacher, to stretch you into new territories. Our brain will starve if we don’t constantly feed it. Laugh. Imagine. Nourish your brain.

Hands Off My Genetics

Obama aspired to a place which America is still striving to reach. In the 2004 Democractic Convention, he said, “there is not a black America and a white America…there’s the United States of America.”  In truth, there is a color coded America, as he acknowledged in his remarkable speech on race http://preview.tinyurl.com/nyt-obama-on-race.

We’re each a sum our parts, as Obama said, and so is this country. But can we choose which part we want to dominate, as a nation or as individuals? What’s with the controversy and chatter about which race biracial or multiracial persons choose to claim as race? Is it only about perception, what others see? What if Tiger wanted to say he’s Thai, why not? Would others “allow” that? What if Obama referred to himself as biracial instead of Black? Why does it matter to anyone but the “self?”

To those who have some stake in what others call themselves, I say, leave our genetic make-up alone! genesjpg

And meanwhile, though the U.S is still color coded, we’re on our way to a better day.

Thought for the day: The future comes in steps, and never all at once. But every step of the way, keep in mind that freedom ends when we take it from others.

Goldilocks, look out

Thought for the day: Self-Image. Self-What? Everyone is a hybrid. When you feel alone, remember that pretty much everyone is a mix of something. Maybe it’s just not always obvious to the outside world.

Just because you are different does not mean that you have to be rejected. — Eartha Kitt, singer, Cherokee, Black, White.


Our multiracial blends also reach beyond these American shores. The Independent newspaper in the UK (January 2006) cites that the number of mixed race people in Britain grew by seventy-five percent during the 1990’s and by 2001, roughly one and a half percent of the population identified as mixed race. The study also cites research that claims mixed race peoples have evolutionary advantages, that genetic diversity can decrease chances of contracting diseases. Goldilocks, look out!