Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Why - Jamie



It's been a while since I've posted anything. Generally internet based forums haven't been my trip. But as this thing goes along I'm understanding how this tour can be most effective in terms of reaching people and engaging them in dialogue. The media attention we've been getting has been surprising and seeing the counter on this blog grow tells me that people are watching us.

At today's event in Arizona a young woman spoke up about the fact that because of the ambitious, mainstream-geared approach MAVIN is taking with this project, for many we are spokes-people for this so-called movement. I don't think any of the five of us quite had that in our heads when we signed on to this and as we go along, having media interviews, having parents look to us for answers on ways to raise their children, I'm seeing just how much of a responsibility this tour has. This single project may spur some of the biggest attention our community has ever received at one time and for a great many individuals news of Generation MIX may be those peoples' first exposure to mixed people as a recognizable sector of society. It's of the hugest importance that we be as explicit as possible about the characteristics of what life as a mixed person can be like and what place within the broader social frame-work we see mixed people holding.

There is constantly that nagging question behind all of this - "Why?"
What's the point? Why organize around mixed race issues? What are those issues? What is the point of this tour?

I'm someone who has been doing work around and within the mixed community for nearly 8 years and I'm still working through those questions. It feels like the sort of thing where many of us who are in it are doing it because it feels right, we know it's work that needs to be done. But when it comes to explaining ourselves, that's when it gets sticky. What I have settled on is a need engage people in issues of civil rights and social justice.

Geetha wears her Michigan Justice shirt from the recent affirmative action battle. On the back it reads "Race is a factor because racism is a factor", and really that hits the nail right on the head. Racism is still present, period. As people of color we have experienced various forms of oppression because our society is still stacked against us, even if many of us are part white (which is a whole other issue we can address). If one can understand that there are still a great number of inequalities present in everyday life, be they based on race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status or issues of the environment, then that person can begin to understand the value of our work. By vocalizing the mixed experience and fostering and mobilizing the mixed community I see that we are allowing for ourselves to (i) reconnect with many of the ethnic communities of our heritage we at times feel distanced from and (ii) are establishing the mixed community as a wholly distinct sector of society with its own investments in social equality.

The messed up things in society don't ever just affect specific groups, they effect all of society because there ought not be anything that divides us when it comes to rights and privileges. Things are supposed to be fair, right? Well we all know they aren't and so with that it's like "pick a cause and do something."

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People will definitely look to you all for answers, adults and children. The fact is that you have all become leaders with wanting to do and with doing this tour. The world doesn't have many leaders within the socio-political realm of activism, but when you become one, as with any other type of leader, you have to remember to stay strong and positive with yourself and in your dealings. I believe that all of you can and will. Good luck with the rest of the tour. Please continue to ask "why" because without questions no one answers.

April 13, 2005 12:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I just wanted to respond to your comment about posting on the internet. I'm writing from Manhattan, Kansas - the "Little Apple." The tour is not really coming close to our area, so the internet is a great medium for people like me. I'm glad you all are doing this. I feel like I can really identify with many of you -- my mother is Japanese, and my father is half German and half Egyptian. I'll be graduating from Kansas State in 1 year (hopefully).

Good luck with your tour! We'll be keeping tabs on you in the Midwest!

April 13, 2005 12:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked this post.. my favorite part was when you said it feels right, although it is tough to explain to others.. really appreciated that.

miXed'll be seeing you guys on May 10(I think). Good job and good luck on the tour guys!

sheri (miXed at UW)..

April 13, 2005 1:55 PM

 
Blogger Erica said...

I've heard through the grape vine about what you guys are doing and I think it's fantastic!! I'm mixed (German, Native American, Italian, and African American) much like most who have posted comments on here and due to being a military brat have lived all over the world, with all sorts of different views about being mixed. From experience I know that many people have not ever given "mixed people" a thought and have continuously labled us whatever dominant race we are (be it- black, white, asian, hispanic etc). Stay strong out there as you travel, b/c as I'm sure you already know, you'll come across more opinions/ideas, perceptions/stereo-types than you thought possible, but as you said it's all been around for a long time. See you all soon on the National Mall!

April 14, 2005 12:08 PM

 
Anonymous Jamie said...

I want to thank everyone for responding to this post. It feels so incredibly reassuring to know that people out there are feeling me and my thoughts on this whole mixed race movement deal and that you see the tour as adding something positive to the wealth of work that has come before this. I’m always trying to improve upon my abilities to do this work and right now I’m trying hard to find that level of comfort I need to be able to communicate my own and our shared experiences as mixed people, both to each other and to others outside of the community. Sometimes it’s hard engaging in those nervous conversations about race, but without the dialogue the understanding doesn’t spread and doesn’t grow. You all give me inspiration and confidence to speak.
Thank you..
Jamie

April 15, 2005 2:10 AM

 
Anonymous Kami said...

hi jamie,
thanks so much for sharing your thoughts after our conversation here in AZ. thanks also for suggesting that social justice be the spark that keeps our fires lit. our goal needs to be emancipation from racism.

as leaders, the best thing you can do is to lead by example, and letting us know that you aren't sure is powerful and important. dr. christopher edley, dean of boalt hall-- uc berkeley's law school suggests that race is not rocket science... it's harder than rocket science. good leaders are aware of the difficulty and still bravely ask the questions.

stay curious!

to the rest of you reading-- start engaging your friends and family about these issues-- the more of us tinkering with the problem, the closer we might be to perfecting the science.

be well, kami

April 20, 2005 7:35 PM

 

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