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."