Tag Archives: multiracial

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?

Missing Link Found!

In May, with much media fanfare, a 95% complete fossil of a 47-million-year-old human ancestor, a lemur, was revealed to the world after two years of secret study by an international team of scientists. The scientists say that the fossil’s significant state of preservation gives an unprecedented glimpse into early human evolution.

Scientists are divided on the interpretation of this discovery. One approach to this is that this is no missing link, rather it is a twig on the uncertain number of missing branches in our tree of evolution.

tree of life

leaping_lemurLeaping lemurs! This discovery gave me cause to think deeper about our instinct to belong, to know our roots.

Heck, I’d be happy to just know one generation back, maybe even two. Not that I don’t identify with human race, but don’t we all like to know where we come from?

For most of my life, I lived with unknown genetics. That’s the case with many adopted people, or anyone else with a missing never-met parent, like a divorced parent they never knew. I eventually found the link to my birth mother’s side, but my birth father…who knows. Maybe I’m in the sponge category? I’ve soaked up pools and puddles of every color…and I like it.

I’ve come to believe that even when we know our genetics, it’s up to each of us to build our sense of identity and belonging.  No one else can do it for us, even if we are branded with an identity at birth, like race or gender. We still have to define how and where we belong in our worlds, what fits and what doesn’t fit.

Bella Abzug (1920-1988), the former U.S. Congresswoman and civil rights activist from the Bronx, made an insightful comment on why she wore hats, for which she was known. “I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee.”

Thought for the day: Best said by Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player (1943-1993):: My potential is more than can be expressed within the bounds of my race or ethnic identity.

I’ll add to that — gender and any other category of identity, personal or professional.

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

2 Comments

Humor, the Economy, and Resilience

This is a repost from an earlier page on this blog.

MUTTS LIKE ME BLOG is  your ongoing guide for mutthood and for mutt wannabes alike! We can all learn from one another about how to make it in the world as, yes, a proud and productive mutt. Mutt being a warm catch-all for anyone multiracial, which is most everyone. We’re all a mix, and this blog is my place to play with a serious topic while at the same time drawing attention to “life as a mutt.”

Since when is race a topic for humor? And is now really the time to poke fun and play around with race, or with anything else, for that matter? After all, the world economy tanked. Who can laugh?

I, for one And you should, too. We all need it once in a while. Many onces, actually.

Especially now, we all need hope, and humor. Gloomy headlines, relentless and everywhere. In September 2008, the American Psychological Association reported that eighty percent of Americans felt irritable due to stress in the economy. (Just irritable? What about devastation, fear, and ruin? And what about that other twenty percent? What foxhole, I mean mutthole are they hiding in?)

A number of researchers have studied humor and it’s impact on hope and resilience. Science News Review (June 2008) cites a study that underscores how humor is a legitimate strategy for relieving stress and maintaining a general sense of well being while increasing a person’s hope. Not a cure, but a vital component for resilience.

2 Comments

2 responses so far ↓

  • janebretl // March 25, 2009 at 10:26 pm (edit)I love your sense of humor and hope!
  • muttslikeme // March 25, 2009 at 10:31 pm (edit)Hey, considering where I came from, it was hope and resilience, or not. Better go with the hope, right? The “or not” I already tried. Life without hope, well, what’s the fun in that?

Secret Letter Reveals Prison Birth

A partial repost from Huffington Post

In honor of my mothers.

Mothers, mother-mutts and mentors, they all helped make me.

As a girl growing up in Seattle, I always sensed something amiss about me and often snooped around the house looking for clues to my differences, especially my racially ambiguous looks — caramel colored skin more Latina than anything but my eyes suggesting Asia in me somewhere, and some called me biracial: black/white. I never knew until later what races I could claim.

Altogether, my features differed from my parents’ Eastern European looks.

One day I went on a snooping adventure in my parents’ room that would change my life forever. I’d been grounded, banished to my room, a common enough event even though I don’t remember why. The thrill of digging around in prohibited terrain relieved my boredom.

The house was still except for the quick tick-tick of the second hand on my mother’s alarm clock on her nightstand. The smell of forbidden space hung in the air.

Check the dresser, I thought. Lodged under silky slips and parchment-wrapped bars of French soaps at the bottom of my mother’s drawer, I unveiled a copy of a typed letter, only a few sentences long.

envelope

The Letter provided facts that would distort my life forever.

While I don’t recall the exact words, I stood alone at the dresser and soaked in more than a little girl could ever understand, that I:

  • Was born in prison
  • Heroin addicted at birth
  • Had foster family(s)
  • Was multiracial and no one knew what

There’s more to the story, but isn’t this enough for now?

I don’t recall much in the moments after I found the letter, other than my guts sunk into my socks.

Prison? Heroin and foster care took the back seat to the startling prison news.  I didn’t have any recollection about foster care and only knew I was adopted.

I don’t remember the walk from the dresser into my parents’ bathroom, where I faced the mirror over their sink.  My body in overload, my eyes gritty, a sour taste in my mouth, I tried to wash the sensation away.  The skin itched on my arms as if tiny ants crawled along the bones in my forearms.

What does this make me now? I wondered.  The prison-born offspring of a heroin addict and convict, or the daughter of two Jewish professors?  Right then and there, I felt compelled to choose which girl to be.  The contrasts were so extreme, my world spun out of control. I never told a soul I found that letter until years later.  Its truth stirred an inner agitation and restlessness, a sensation that took me over like a hunger.

I was a wild child in the making, transformed into a raging, rebellious, violent and rule-breaking adolescent, attracted to everything against the norm. At least, I thought, now I belong somewhere.

I started to resent the whole idea of white families and their interracial adoptions.  In time, though, I came to understand the complexity of human nature as reflected in my parents and accepted that they truly did love me from the start. It is their support, love, and encouragement all along — even when I estranged myself from them — that led me to where I am today.

Since I’m attracted to brevity, the six-word (or less) memoir idea led me to distill my life into:

Secret letter reveals prison birth.

But it’s the miniscule spaces in-between the letters, the pauses between words, that make all the difference as to why I’m not right now in prison myself.

It’s what you don’t see before those six words, and what follows, that give me my ultra-creative energy to innovate, invent, and build. Whether it’s with writing, or in marketing or business and program development, my passion to create is how I’ve taken what was given me and made the most of it. That, and at my side, the strength of all the people who have believed in me.

It’s all about the attitude. I  look at what I want to turn around, what feels like a setback, and then give it a new twist. I find a glimmer of positive, and watch it begin to glow once my outlook changes. Pretty simple.

What do you do that pulls you through adversity?

Mutt-ossary expanded: more new mutt-words in Urban Dictionary

muttoss

New words this week accepted by urbandict-logo

My special vocabulary continues to expand and find its place in the world, and Urban Dictionary agrees.

muttitude Keep a positive muttitude and your life will feel better.

muttcellent That’s muttcellent! I’m glad you can go out tonight.

muttnificient Isn’t life just muttnificent?

muttnormous What kind of gas mileage do those muttnormous SUV’s even get in the city, 5 mpg?

muttsy That’s one muttsy woman.

Now it’s your turn. Show the world you know your mott-ossary! Post a comment using any of these words.

The complete mutt-ossary to date:

6-muttwords2

Thought for the day: People may doubt what we say but they often believe what we do.

More about words: Kind words take seconds to speak and they last forever. Let Thank You be two of your favorite words, and try to be thankful for you have, rather than resentful about what you don’t have.


Urban Dictionary: It’s Official … Mutt-ossary!

At last, the English language will benefit from my muttilicious (http://tinyurl.com/urban-muttilicious) love of language.muttic-screenshot3

Gawd, imagine my parents, my father a scholar of 17th century English literature, and my mother, her thesis on James Joyce’s Ulysses, thinking, “…and we sent this girl to college for this?”

Yep, that’s what happens when nature vs. nurture embattles inside, from prison to poetry, so to speak. But it was my family — parents, brother, uncles and aunts, cousins and all the rest (it’s a huge family,  you don’t need the whole list here!) — that helped my nature settle with the nuture. That’ll be a post all on it’s own, so keep an eye out.

Thanks to all that stirs within, I’ll soon have a survival guidebook for Musings for Mutts, to include a full mutt-ossary.

muttos-screenshot3http://tinyurl.com/mutt-ossary

Thought for the day: Ideas are as important as words, but why use a gallon of words to express a teaspoon of thought? Sometimes one word says alot.

Sprake? Mixed race or mixed rakes.

Now I’ve just heard of the sprake, an invention in the U.K. Talk about innovation!

Is this a new take on mixed race, I mean mixed rakes?

Sprake. Quality garden tool

£55.00sprake

Described at http://www.complete-gardens.co.uk

“The cutting rake. Unique all in one cut & rake action. For close to the ground removal of saplings & large weeds like nettles & brambles. Weed cutting on gravel paths. Easy clearance of overgrown areas. Perfect for clearing ponds.

Carbon steel blade.”

Now this is what every good  urban mutt  needs! Good for the street…who’d mess with you if you wielded a sprake? Don’t tell anyone you have a spork in your back pocket,though. You might really get busted. Too much cross-over action.

Think about it: here you are, multiracial or multi-anything (religion, professions, you name it) with a sprake in one hand, a spork hidden in a pocket, and you think you’ll be left for innocent?

Talk about profiling!

The sprake and gardening bring me to think about mud, and mot just the dirt/soil kind. There’s the trashy talk, gossip, and the put-downs that some people do to elevate themselves. My response to that? Just stop it! It’s best to first look at  how we can clean our own houses before we try to clean up other people’s.

Thought for the day: Put-downs are just like flinging mud on a clean wall. Even if it doesn’t stick, it leaves a dirty smudge on the wall.

It all started with Obama…sort of

obama-sunglasses1Publicly, it all started with President Obama’s opening act, his racial quip that sliced tension when he announced his Mutt Club membership during his first press conference after his election.

That makes his girls, Sasha and Malia, part of the same Club.

obamagirls1By saying so, he joined my Mutt Squad. Little did he know I’d been concocting edgy micro-essays for my own personal multiracial/Jewish muttness for years. Stayed tuned for further announcements from the Mutt Pride Movement, not only for the multiracial experience in America because remember, there’re hybrids of other ingredients also. Browse this blog and you’ll learn more. I’m all about learning and curiosity — the big adventures. It’s want flips my trigger, and I highly recommend this way of life.

Thought for the day:  The more we learn, the more we’ll want to learn, and the more curious we get, the more we need to know.