Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Essie Mae Washington-Williams

"I am every bit as white as I am black, and it is my full intention to drink from the nectar of both goblets."--from "Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond."  
 Learn about her on Wikipedia


Friday, June 18, 2010

Bill of Rights

One of the best resources I found as a young adult was Dr. Maria Root's bill of rights (below) for people of mixed heritage, which is now a permanent page on this blog.

Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

Not to justify my existence in this world.

Not to keep the races separate within me.

Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy.

Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify.

To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me.

To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters.

To identify myself differently in different situations.

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

To create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial or multiethnic.

To change my identity over my lifetime--and more than once.

To have loyalties and identification with more than one group of people.

To freely choose whom I befriend and love.

© Maria P. P. Root, PhD, 1993, 1994
 
There's far too much I could discuss about her list than I could ever encompass in one post. Because of my upbringing, I don't have many concerns in the second and third section, but in the first section, several have been important.

My existence, for example. When I was a child, people would ask me if I was adopted or ask me if I considered myself to be black or white (never accepting "both" as an answer). Later, more often people would ask questions such as "what are you?" and so on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Loving Day!

Mildred and Richard LovingImage via Wikipedia
On June 12, 1967, Mildred and Richard Loving won their Supreme Court battle, which legalized interracial marriage in America.

According to wikipeida, "Loving v. Virginia, was a landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court, by a 9-0 vote, declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States."


The young couple actually married in 1958, but had to do so in Washington D.C. When they came back to Virginia, they were arrested. The American Civil Liberties Union took up their case and fought it to the top.


Richard Loving was killed in an automobile accident in 1975, and Mildred died of pneumonia in May of 2008. Upon her mother's death, their daughter, Peggy Fortune, told the Associated Press: "I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble — and believed in love." (Wikipedia)

The final sentence in Mildred Loving's obituary in The New York Times makes note of the June 2007 statement noted above to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. Part of the Washington Post’s obituary read: “A modest homemaker, Loving never thought she had done anything extraordinary. ‘It wasn't my doing,’ Loving told the Associated Press in a rare interview a year ago. ‘It was God's work.’" (Wikipedia)

This case hasn't had much attention until recently. In fact, the founder of Lovingday.org stumbled upon the court case while looking for something else. He soon founded the website and it's mission statement is "to fight racial prejudice through education and to build multicultural community." Loving Day celebrations now occur all over the U.S. and it's time for Knoxville to have one too!

This year's celebrations list include Atlanta, GA as our closest location, however, over the next year, I will be busy planning Knoxville's first Loving Day celebration.

For those interested, their story was made into a film called  "Mr. & Mrs. Loving." Though my husband and I enjoyed the film, according to wikipedia, Mildred Loving disputed its accuracy. No surprise there!
Meanwhile, look over the Loving Day site. Notably, the incredible last laws to go. I will post more about the Lovings in the future.

Below image via lovingday.org from a Loving Day celebration:



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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Biracial Knoxville" google search

What finally pushed me to start this blog when I've always wanted to do this? Every so often, I type in a google search "biracial knoxville" or "interracial knoxville," or I scan the listing in Metro Pulse wondering if anyone has started a group or club devoted to these topics. Nothing is ever there. We are not in a place like Atlanta, Chicago, or California where groups have formed.

But, this last time I googled "biracial knoxville" an article popped up that intrigued me: "My Worst Fear as a Mother-to-be? A Burning Cross on our Front Lawn" by Colleen Oakley published here on LemonDrop.com.

In the article, the future mom wonders what life will be like in an Appalacian city like Knoxville. She worried about racists, diversity and her child's mental well-being. All valid concerns shared by me as well.

Immediately, I was reminded of why I needed to do this (start a place where biracial Knoxvillians can connect): we are here, we want to connect, but we can't just run around going up to strangers at the grocery store. As I look over Oakley's article again, I notice she writes, "Whenever I see another interracial couple, I resist the urge to run up to them and say, 'Will you be our friends?'"

I don't necessarily have anything original to say; I'm not a future novelist, nor am I an expert on the biracial identity, interracial relationshiops, but maybe, just maybe, I can instigate some small thing here in my town: a book club, a play group, a picnic or even a Loving Day celebration in 2011.

And to Colleen, let's schedule a playdate for the little ones!

No more glancing at each other from behind our shades, interracial Knoxvillians. Let's break down barriers, meet, discuss and connect.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lenny Kravitz


"Confusion makes people uncomfortable. They can't put their finger on me."
--Lenny Kravitz