Saturday, May 21, 2005

Normalcy - Charles

I'm finally starting to situate myself very nicely back in Seattle. After a sweet see-you-later of sorts to the rest of the crew members, I come home to an empty house and an uncertain future. After two months of a fast-paced life of activity fairs, speeches, interviews, and sightseeing, it all seems so surreal to see it finally at an end. I don't have any more obligations from this day forward; my life is now an empty slate. I have so many plans as what I want to do with my future, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to go through with any of them yet. I think my best bet now is to find a job here in Seattle and save enough to move wherever life takes me.

It's weird, not being around the rest of the crew. We were so quickly placed in a situation where we had to work, sleep, eat, and drive together for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and now, just as quickly, they're gone. I'm very impressed that we managed not to kill each other. As a matter of fact, I'd like to think that we became really good friends. I'm going to miss Ashley's laughter, Geetha's impeccable acumen, Aaron's dance moves, and Jamie's cooking. I mean, I'll still see them around -- we're planning on a little reunion of sorts in Boise this summer -- but to not be able to indulge in a random inside joke whenever we wanted is going to take some getting used to.

Like Geetha, I'm still going through the processing. While I sincerely believe that Generation MIX was a huge success in raising national attention and dialogue on mixed-race issues in America today, I don't think we'll be able to see any sort of quantifiable measurement of impact until months, years into the future. It will be interesting to observe what comes out on the national level because of programs like Generation MIX...

No Goodbyes...Just, I'll See Ya Later - Ashley

Well, back in normal everyday civilization for three days now, wierd. I already miss my crew members a ton. In fact as I was boarding the plane on Wednesday and took my seat next to the smelly man seated next to me, I tried calling Geetha to say one last goodbye. Being with these four other wonderful people everyday for two months straight can make you get attached.

Already I can see the changes in what this tour has done for me. I am definitely more comfortable speaking about the multi-racial experience and issues to other people. I am more confident in myself in that aspect about speaking with others, but also just in myself in general. I feel I have grown a lot as a person. I have learnt so much from the people I have met along the way, the places I have been, the MAVIN Foundation, my fellow crew members, and the experiences I had on this tour. I wouldn't have changed my decision to be a part of this tour for anything.

Some people would be skeptical on the fact if we made an impact or not for the greater public. I would respond to that saying, I think we did make an impact as small as it may be, I sincerely believe that we did our best and I know that we did impact others, and not just that but this tour made people think about the mixed race experience in general when they probably never would have thought about it before. I mean, thats how big things are started, right?, by the little things that set them off? So, therefore I am very proud to be apart of this experience and wouldn't have changed it for anything.

What I am excited to see is, is what happens with the five of us in the future. Will things change as far the multi-racial experience goes? What will each of us be doing? Will we still be envolved with or even as enthusiastic about the multi-racial movement as we are now? Who knows, but I can't wait to see.

So this is not a goodbye, but more like, I'll see ya later. I'll see ya later Mad Max, thanks for all the good times and the bad, for trucking all that way with only a few break downs. I'll see ya later MAVIN Foundation, thank you so much for what you have done for us, without you this wouldn't have been possible. I seriously appreciate all the hard work you guys did...being on call for us 24/7, making it possible to meet Barrack Obama, etc. My heartfelt thanks! I'll see ya later to all those amazing people we met along the way. And of course, I'll see ya later Jamie-whos hunger never seems to end:); Geetha-our forever long laughter sessions with each other; Charlie-your impeccable taste in fashion, decor, and music; and Aaron- whos dance moves I will carry with me and pass on to others so that they will live forever. I'll see ya later.

Friday, May 20, 2005

360° – Jamie

I’m the sort of person who needs little time to reflect back on an experience before I can really have much to say about it. Throughout this tour I didn’t say much on this blog but each time I did add to it it was something I had thought out.

It’s been a little over a day that I’ve been back home. I’ve had time to visit with my family, see a couple friends and I even made it to a Swirl Bay Area event last night, a performance by the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. Towards the last days of the tour we all started asking ourselves if we thought we made any sort of impact, if it had been a worthwhile project or not. While none of us could deny the ways in which the tour didn’t live up to our dreams (it was tiring, events had lower than expected turnouts) we all felt great about the attention we did raise and the spotlight we helped to focus on mixed populations and communities.

I went to an open-house yesterday for the t-shirt supplier I buy from for Like Minded People. It was a warm welcome, everyone in the office asking how my trip was. Some I had just told I was going away for a couple months and with others I had more deeply explained Generation MIX. I was surprised both by my newfound comfort in even mentioning the work I do within the mixed community as well as by everyone’s open reception of it. It was the same as on the tour. People were actually interested. There I also ran into a friend of mine, a t-shirt guy who would frequent the copy shop I used to work at. He congratulated me on what I and the rest of the crew and MAVIN had just accomplished and told me that my mother had brought in the San Francisco Chronicle article I was featured in and that she’d read it over with him and the rest of my old co-workers. And then later last night at that 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors performance, a young woman working the concessions table asked me, “Excuse me, but are you Jamie?” As it turned out she was a recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz, same as me, and had just that morning checked out the Generation MIX site and read up on the tour and all of us. I was definitely taken aback to know that someone out in the real world, someone who I would interact with through such indirect channels would be aware of what I just did.

I’m huge on the power of individual interaction and how a simple personal conversation can greatly impact a person and his or her perceptions. Or how an article in a paper, or a short segment on a news program can do something similar to open a person’s mind and frame of consciousness by exposing them to something they might not ever have heard of before, like a community and culture of mixed race people. Throughout the tour this is exactly the sort of thing we did. From random people at roadside stops to whom we had to explain ourselves and our wildly colorful RV, to television, radio and print media who featured Generation MIX and their audience members who met us and who shared their appreciation for what we were doing with us. Because of them I know we had an impact and for me it was a worthwhile effort to be a part of that. All of this tells me that people are open to engaging in issues of race and its effects in society, and towards that end goal of continued civil rights and social justice, it tells me that people are open to that too, hopefully willing to take a hand in it, because that’s what it’s going to take.

As I readjust to life off-tour and get back into a groove here at home, I return to my world with that confidence to comfortably speak about what I did and what I do in and for the mixed community knowing that people out there are receptive to this work. I return galvanized to explore what all we can do with this increase of interest and momentum present within the community. I know that a big next step that will prove this mixed “movement” as being more encompassing than individual self-identity expression will be true relationship building and collaborative work with other established cultural communities. It’s something that has not been seen much throughout the relatively short history of mixed race organizing, but it has been seen before and has been a positive bond. I think to Hapa Issues Forum and how and for what reasons the organization was founded, and the strides they helped make for multiracial Asian populations in relation to Asian American communities.

Lastly, I return home committed to the continued fostering of the mixed community. It is growing and growing and I can see it all around me. More mixed children, more interracial families, more students organizing and student orgs communicating, more families (like my own) more openly talking about being mixed, more organizations expanding, more attention and understanding. There is a true investment in the community that a great many people share and we can all work for the same cause in many different ways. Most important to me is to think globally, act locally. I will always keep my mind working on questions of the bigger picture, a vision for the mixed community as a whole, and all the while I will be doing work to foster it on a local level where it most directly affects me and my life.

Thank you everyone, thank you Generation MIX.
-Jamie Tibbetts

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back Home - Geetha

I have been writing in this blog from all over the country, from Seattle to Boston and back again. But now for the first time I am writing in it sitting on my own couch in my own house. It definitely feels surreal. It's strange to think that yesterday morning I was in Seattle. It didn't even feel like it was the last day of the tour or that we were leaving each other--it's not like it was the first day that we had to wake up early, pack, and head out for a day of travel. But then instead of loadng everything into the RV, we loaded it into cars and drove only a few minutes to our destination. Even at the airport it all felt like just another day. We broke out the video camera, loaded pictures onto Charlie's computer, and talked about nothing in particular. But then it was time to leave.

Charlie was the first to leave because he dropped us off at the airport. Then one by one we went to each person's gate and the group dwindled until it was just me. I held back my tears until I was by myself, but it definitely hit me that this experience was really over, and that we would never be together again under the same kind of circumstances. All of a sudden, after not having a moment of "alone time" for two months, I was completely by myself. So what did I do? I called Charlie, the only person who wasn't on a plane and would be able to answer the phone. And later I called Ashley during my layover in Chicago. It's wierd how fast the five of us bonded. I remember during the first weekend in Seattle we went to a party and every five minutes looked around to make sure we knew where each other were. Now I don't know what to do with myself knowing that I'm not just feet from the other crewmembers, but miles. At least I can take comfort in the fact that they're stil just an email or a phone call away. Though the tour itself is officially over, it's clear that the friendships I've made and the experiences I've had will continue to affect me for qute awhile.

For now (of course this is me talking not even 24 hours after leaving Seattle), I'm readjusting to being back at home. It was wierd last night to fall asleep in a room by myself (and my own bed, no less), I woke up and didn't have to call the boys' room to make sure they're up, and I've been driving around without asking my passenger if it's safe to change lanes. I have a new appreciation for how smoothly and quietly my little Ford Focus drives. I'm thrilled to be home with my friends and family, but at the same time I'm missing the people and the experience I've just left.

Now is when the processing begins. It's hard to figure out what an experience mean when you're still in the middle of it. It's looking like we'll be keeping up this blog for awhile. It will be interesting to see how I feel about all this tomorrow, in a week, or in a month. I'm looking forward to seeing where this all takes me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Final Supper

Last night's dinner with the MAVIN staff was full of laughter, smiles, and a few tears (from the spicy Ethiopian cuisine that we had). More so than anyone working with Generation MIX, the people at MAVIN have spent more sleepless nights toiling away to get this project off the ground. I don't think people give enough credit to all the work that was done behind the scenes in making Generation MIX such a huge achievement.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Farewell, Mad Max

Before returning her to her proper owners, we gave Mad Max one last bath, thanking her for all of the good work that she's done for us. Frankly, she was a little dusty, but after we were through with her, she looked like she was ready to head for the road again. As the honorary sixth member of the Generation MIX crew, she will be dearly missed, forever fondly in our hearts.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Captain's Log - Aaron

Mad Max the Road Warrior has officially been retired. As she heads home across the Puget Sound to lick her wounds, I wonder if she'll miss us. I know we'll miss her. A fine and gallant ship she was, even if she did have a cruel sense of humor.

After today, our official obligations will be over. We still have a lot of obligatory stuff to do (accounting, thank yous, insurance) but there will be no more speaking engagements for the GenMix crew. We did our last keynotes at a couple of private schools yesterday here in Seattle. St.Therese Catholic school and Echo Glen Juvenile detention center were nice enough to host our final speaking gigs. Both of these diverse student bodies surprised me with their intelligence and had a myriad of though-provoking questions for us to answer.

What is in store for me next is pretty uncertain right now. I feel like I have totally uprooted myself from my secure bubble of a life at school. It's as if I have put everything in a jar and shook it all up, and I don't know where all the pieces are going to fall. Whenever you leave familiar surroundings behind like this, it is bound to put a few things into perspective. I know that I'm going to return to school at WVU and my job at the Pita Pit, but beyond that I'm not that sure. I have the feeling that no matter where I am heading, this experience has given me some useful tools, if only I can keep my feet strait on the good red road.

We're planning on taking the train to Vancouver for the weekend. This trip is different from all the rest in that it is purely for pleasure. Our first post-tour venture into civilian life. I'm looking forward to being in a city where we have no obligations to fulfill. It's going to be a whole different experience traveling a city incognito, without the blazon colors of Mad Max sticking out like a sore thumb. It's an ironic twist, to have the final destination of the Generation Mix National Awareness Tour be an unofficial vacation in Canada.

On a final note, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all of the great people I have met along the way. I have made acquaintance with some of the most unique, intelligent, thoughtful people during these five months on the road. I have made many friends along the way. I hope that I can keep in touch with these people, and that in future endeavors, our paths will once again cross. I want anyone to know that if they are ever in the Pittsburgh/Morgantown area, they have a friend to call.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Beginning of the End, or End of the Beginning? - Geetha

The tour has finally come full-circle, quite literally in fact. Somehow we made it back into Seattle without dying (although it was touch and go there for awhile, what with the food poisoning, overheating, and scary driving conditions on our last leg). We are now all settled back into our old digs at the wonderful Best Western and are running around Seattle like we never left. It feels rather surreal being in a city where I sort of know my way around and where the people are familiar. This morning we headed over to the MAVIN office like it was just another day of training. Did we really just spend the last five weeks sprinting around the country, or was it all a dream?

I have been flying through a whole range of emotions and I know it won’t slow down until long after I’m back home. Sometimes I can’t wait to get on that plane back to Michigan. I really miss my friends and family, not to mention the fact that I am ready to go back to having a normal life, or, at the very least, knowing what day it is and what state I’m in. On the other hand, I know that going home will mean leaving everything that has become a part of my life through this tour. When will the five of us crewmembers ever be together again? How will I stay involved in all this mixed race stuff? How can I keep in touch with all the people I’ve met along the way? I have had such an amazing experience and I don’t know if I’m ready for it to be over. I am constantly alternating between sadness, excitement, exhaustion, and laughing uncontrollably with my crewmates as we savor our last moments together.

The next week in Seattle will be spent exploring these feelings and figuring out where this will take us all. Processing this information and this experience is overwhelming, but it’s also very exciting. It’s definitely not the worst thing in the world to feel like I have too many options to choose from. And no matter what happens, even if I go back to my old life as if nothing ever happened, there is no question that this experience has changed me forever.

Homecoming- Ashley

Well the tour is now almost officially over. We did our last big event yesterday which I must say was an awesome success. We pulled up in front of Garfield community Center in Seattle to a large crowd cheering for us. Needless to say we were not prepared for that and shyly came out of the RV not knowing what to do, but we thank all of you that were there. It was a great turnout and we really appreciate all of your support. It was great to see all the support we had here in Seattle while we were gone. I even saw people at our last event that were at our very first one. So, I just wanted to say thank you.

Now we have a whole week before returning, homeward bound as some would say. A whole week of evaluations, a couple more speaking events, and one last week to spend with eachother before going home. Time will fly, maybe too fast as things are beginning to wrap up. What a great experience this has been, I would have done it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Home Sweet Home - Charles

We're back! After driving through the Cascade Mountains in the rain and fog, in pitch darkness and with one working headlight, I am more than euphoric to see the familiar Seattle skyline over the horizon. Even though it's pouring rain and a dense fog is covering much of the city, Seattle has never looked more beautiful in my eyes. It's good to finally be home.

Work is far from over, however! We have one more event Tuesday, May 10th at the Garfield Community Center, as well as a few more speaking engagements in the Seattle area. We also have an evaluation period with Mavin to hammer out any nicks so we can make potential subsequent Tours be even more successful. Maybe it's just me, but if I had to change one thing about this Tour it would be the opportunity to spend more time in all the cities that we visited.

It's hard for me right now to articulate all that I've learned and shared in the past five weeks, as I still haven't had the time to process all that has happened while embarking on this Tour. Questions about Generation MIX's influences, consequences, and aftereffects still linger in my head, and I don't think they can be answered until weeks, months into the future. I do hope that Generation MIX succeeded in their mission to jump start dialogue, in that people who came to our events would go back to their homes, sit around the dinner table, and begin the converation with, "Guess where I was today..." That will be totally worth it, to me.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Visit to B-Town- Ashley

After visiting my hometown and showing the crew around Boise, Idaho for the weekend, I realized I definitely take for granted what recreational activities (which I love!!!) I always have available to me 24/7. I have grown up with the outdoors, its like a second nature (no pun intended) to me (camping, hiking, mountain bike riding, skiing, rafting…..all of the above, I do it!). In a drive of a matter of minutes I am able to be at our local ski resort and tear it up on the mountain or hope on my bike and hit the trails in the foot hills behind my house. So I took the crew to one of our many natural hotsprings that was right outside of Boise. On the drive up there, they were telling me how lucky I was that I basically had this environment in back yard my whole life, and I really didn’t think about it until I saw how enthusiastic they were about it all. It just made me appreciate home even more.

I was so happy to see my friends and family this weekend. I missed them so much. I am very close to my mother and grandmother so it was good to see them also. During the stay, my mom took us out to dinner and made us a wonderful brunch. We had a great time. I was so glad the crew got to meet my mom. She is an amazing woman. She is like my best friend, the best mom ever, my mentor, and my hero all rolled up into one. In our household growing up, it was just my mother and I. Unlike some other parents of mixed children or multi-racial families, my mother and I talked about race, it wasn’t a hush-hush subject. She showed me the importance of diversity in our society and to celebrate it. My mom introduced me to all my cultures growing up (Irish/Swiss/African-American) and taught me to be proud of who I am. This abled me to be able to choose how ever I wanted to identify growing up and who I wanted to be. Since the options were available for me, at a very young age I started chose to identify with all of my heritages, and be proud of them all. So for that, I thank you Mom (love you:)).

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Captain's Log: Idaho - Aaron

The trek from Minneapolis to Idaho was long and arduous. Twenty six hours of unending claustrophobia. The gentle hum of Mad Max the Road Warrior's engine always in the background. She did a good job on the day's journey, only having problems once when she over-heated in North Dakota. We were lucky enough to be at a BP station with a restaurant while we waited for her to cool down, an extra fortunate event since I've never seen one before. I had the Beer Cheese soup (watered down cheeze whiz) and one of the worst taco salads I've ever tasted.

We had the opportunity to view some very beautiful landscape scenery. The badlands of North Dakota, the majestic Rockies, the fringes of Yellowstone National Park, all awesome in their beauty. We saw wild elk, and deer, and I had the chance to see my first wild moose, just chillin in a river. Today we went to some natural thermal hot springs and went swimming in the coldest river ever.

Life on the road has been more trucker, less rock star than I would have expected (although I have found a few groupies along the way). The over-sensitive water nozzles that with a slight movement of a fraction of a millimeter turns the water from liquid ice to liquid magma spewing down the back of your neck. My body has turned into putty long ago, the only "exercise facilities" being available consisting of no more some busted bike machines. I've lost all but six pairs of underwear. I started the trip with over two dozen. Since there are so few laundromats within walking distance of our hotels, I'm ashamed to admit that I've had to resort to the inside-out rule more than once. One positive is that I've had the chance to overcome my phobia of public rest-rooms via necessity.

Last night we went out on the town in Boise. Ashley's mother treated us to dinner at a really nice restaurant. After dinner we went out on the town in Boise. It was a pretty good time. I got asked "what nationality" I was three times. I still get a kick out of answering "American" and confusing people. Its nice to know that this trip is still relevant.

After tomorrow we will be back in Seattle. Even though I know that I'm going to miss this trip and my fellow comrades, I am looking forward to going home and sleeping in my own bed. One of the things I have taken with me on this tour is an appreciation for social justice. I look forward to joining all of the clubs I can when I get back to Morgantown. Nihilism is dead.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mad Love From Mad City

Yesterday we made the drive from Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. There we were warmly welcomed (complete with a delicious cheese platter!) by Madison Area Technical College’s Social Change Collective. Social Change Collective is an amazing organization of students in the human services who address all sorts of issues related to social justice. They had been preparing for us for weeks, handing out over 10,000 fliers at schools, the farmer’s market, and around the city! We owe many thanks to Harold Gates, Kirsten Christianson, and the many volunteers who put so much time and effort into this pit stop.

All this hard work certainly paid off, we had a great turnout, and a very engaging discussion. This event differed from many of our others in that the audience was not just students, but a whole range of ages and backgrounds. There were students our ages, older adults, and even a group from the local Boys & Girls Club. We heard from a lot of parents about the challenges (and optimism) they found in raising their children to be proud of all aspects of their heritages. It sounds like the Madison community and schools work very hard to be inclusive and supportive of mixed people and families, which is so wonderful.

It was interesting to hear from people who are of older generations about the way they have seen changes in people’s ability or interest in identifying as mixed race. What kind of changes will we see throughout the rest of our lifetime? One woman commented that she would like to see the five of us in 15 years and see how we identify at that point in our lives. We will definitely be interested to see this as well. Generation MIX 2020 reunion tour, anyone?

No Such Thing as Bad PR - Geetha

I have to admit that I have been quite surprised at how little criticism there has been of this tour so far. Many people are unfamiliar with mixed race issues: what they are, why they are important, why we would have tour about it, etc. So from there I definitely expected that people would be critical of what we are doing and how we are doing it. Quite fortunately, everyone who we have met to so far has been very positive and supportive. People who come to our events are very enthusiastic, and even just random people who see our RV at gas stations have told us that they think it’s great what we’re doing. It’s so wonderful to meet people all over the country who support this tour!

But the criticism was bound to come, and a few days ago I found that a quick Google search of my name revealed that not everyone is happy with what I had to say in the New York Times article about us. Many of the comments I have to disregard because they authors made completely unsubstantiated assumptions about my personality, and even went so far as to make blanket statements about how all mixed race Asians feel about themselves. However, I think that there were some valid points that were raised, and because a small article cannot fully explain everything I have to say, I thought I would address those here.

One person raised the question as to why I was quoted as saying that I don’t like being asked about my race when I am on this tour where I do nothing but talk about my race. The article did not have the opportunity to fully explore this quote, and it is unfortunate that people understood it to mean that I do not like talking about my race or that I don’t want to reveal my race to anyone. Race is a fascinating subject to me, and I enjoy talking about it, including my own personal stories, with anyone who will listen. What I don’t like is when people—like many of the men I talk to in bars—ask my race as if that is the only thing worth knowing about me. Many people ask me the “What are you?” question, as if once they know, they will have me all figured out. There is no question that my race has played a part in forming my fully identity, but there is a lot more to me than the boxes I checked on the census. The question “What are you?” implies, whether intentional or not, that the only thing I “am” is my race. If you are asking my background because you are genuinely interested in hearing what I have to say about it, great. But I don’t appreciate inquiries that are purely to dispel someone’s discomfort with my racial ambiguity.

Many of my friends and family were worried that I was taking this criticism too personally, but it’s actually not bothering me too much. As one friend pointed out, one of our goals for this tour is to engage people in dialogue and get people thinking about the issues that come along with being mixed race. If people who have never met me and who have not come to any of our events are talking about us on their blogs, isn’t that just the kind of dialogue we want to start? Maybe some people got the wrong impression about the messages I was trying to convey in my quotes, but at least now they are thinking about these issues and getting other people to think about them as well. There’s no such thing as bad press, right?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

DePaul University

Thanks to the wonderful help of Josh Singh and his crew of volunteers, the Generation MIX crew took Chicago by storm. Since our activity fair was located in the student center of the university, we were able to get a lot of foot traffic from people already involved with the host organization and from curious onlookers.

It is interesting to note that there aren't any student groups at DePaul that focus on multiracial students, and yet there is still a huge amount of support coming from the student body.

We also had the highest number of bone marrow donors out of any pit stop so far, and that has been quite the morale booster. We have one more bone marrow drive to go, in Seattle. Can Seattlites beat this record?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Spring Cleaning

While in Ann Arbor we took advantage of our down time to finally (FINALLY!) clean up the RV. From the mildewed carpet, broken blinds, scattered clothes, the pork tamales leftover from Texas, and the occasional wafts of odor coming from the toilet, this place was in dire need of a makeover. We vacuumed, organized, scrubbed, fixed, polished, wiped, sprayed, and dusted. Now the RV is clean again, and all is right with the world.

Driving through the Ace Deuce - Geetha

After a long and intense week of four back-to-back events, and an eight-hour drive for a ten-minute meeting (the most incredible ten-minute meeting of my life), we were able to unwind a little with some hometown visits. First we stopped in Pittsburgh to meet Aaron’s family and then moved on to Ann Arbor to see mine. It was so great not just to be at home (and sleep in my own bed instead of a hotel), but also to introduce the crew to my friends and family. Everyone at home said they felt like they already knew the crew from reading the blog and whatnot, but I’m glad that everyone got to spend time together.

On Sunday we were honored to have dinner with Wally Tsuha from Saturn Engineering and Electronics and his wife Kim. They have been so amazingly supportive of the tour, so it was a pleasure to meet them and learn more about what got them interested in the tour and the experiences they have had. Many thanks for a wonderful diner and for making this tour possible!

I really enjoyed having the crew in my hometown because hopefully it gives them a better idea of where I’m coming from and the experiences I’ve had. We all talk about our stories of growing up, and I like seeing where it all happened because I think it provides a more complete context. Interestingly, I have found that while the rest of the crew can understand me better after meeting my friends and family, it seems as though my friends and family can now understand me better after meeting the crew. Being a part of this tour has really opened up lines of communication with my friends and family to talk about race. Race is a very frightening thing in our country; there is no question that racism is very much prevalent, but nobody wants to talk about it. Since I am spending two months doing nothing but talk about race, it only follows that those close to me end up doing the same. I don’t remember talking about race or being biracial with my family very often, but now I have gotten to talk a lot about it with my parents and sister. I have even had some conversations with my cousins that I never expected to have.

I hope that this tour spurs dialogue in other families besides my own. I think that a lot of parents are afraid to talk about race with their children because they don’t want to admit to their children how scary and prejudiced the world really is. I can’t imagine telling a child that there are going to be people who not only will judge you, but will possibly hate you, because of your heritage. But at the same time, I think it’s better to tell children the reality of the situation while educating them about why this is an unfair view. What better way to stop them from being prejudiced themselves at they grow up?

Monday, May 02, 2005

HELLO!!!! - Ashley

Time has passed by soooo fast. Already its been almost 5 weeks on the road and 7 weeks that the five of us have been together 24/7. I know that this might be a little to early to write this but...oh well. It's just crazy to me how the five of us have gotten along so well, so quickly. The last couple of weeks are creeping up very fast and it will hard to say goodbye to these people who I have gotten to know so well, maybe a little to well:o) I have learned so much from them in only a matter of time. Since this is basically my second year of being involved in a multi-racial organization/project, doing this tour I will be able to take back so much information that I have learnt from my other crew members, whom some have been doing this kind of work for years. It was great to meet their families also. To see where they grew, the enivironment in which they were raised, and what kind of background they had growing up multi-racial. Yet, not only have I learned from the experiences of my fellow mates but I will also be able to take back all the interesting observations I have made and discussions I have had with others from all over the country.

It is interesting to see what other mixed race communities are like in the very distinctive different areas of the country. California for example has a more larger Asian population then say Arizona or Georgia. Or that in New Orleans the Creole population has been around for years. It is just so interesting for to be able to see how the U.S. is broken up in all its multi-racial glory;)

Well, 13 down and 4 more events to go. Wish us luck as we try to make our way back home (I'm surprised we've even made it this far considering the RV and such). I know we are excited to wind down but sad to say goodbye at the same time to everything we have known in the past 2 months. But no goodbyes yet, we still have a week and a half to go!

Pittsburgh Kid - Aaron

Friday we spent the day in Pittsburgh. Finally I had to drive on roads that I was already familiar with. The crew got a chance to meet the characters that make up my family. We went to dinner at Bocca with my mom , dad, and cousin Brian. After dinner I took my cousin and I took Jamie out with us to hang out with some of my boys, and treated him to the view on Mount Washington.

Being at home was just what I needed after a stressful week. I got to see my parents and sister and sleep in my own bed. I realized when at home that this trip is going to be over soon. The next three days in a row we have events. After that its all open road until we return to Seattle. I feel mixed sentiments about going back. I have no idea how I will readjust to the civilian world.

One thing that I have gained from this tour is a growing interest in civil rights. I plan on at least attempting to create a mixed race/ crossing cultures group at West Virginia University when I get back, as well as joining some of the African-American groups as well. Better late than never I guess.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Maintaining Perspective - Jamie

With the three pronged mission of Generation MIX being to raise awareness of the mixed race baby-boom, shed light on the growing body of resources for the mixed community and to jump start a national dialogue on mixed race issues, what we’ve been encountering so far has been a variety of intimate discussion oriented gatherings and an interesting series of meetings with various media outlets, including the New York Times, National Public Radio and local television, print and broadcast news groups. I’ve found that the most potential this tour has is as a media-attractive way of introducing this current wave of a multiracial identified population to greater popular society.

While an original goal of the tour may have been to attract a great number of newcomers to our events so that they could directly engage the resources we have to offer, the reality of a project of this kind is that drawing such numbers is far more difficult than one might assume or wish for. The applicable value of this tour, I hope, lies in its proven ability to attract the attention of the media, making our cause seem “news-worthy” in the eyes of the pop-culture media, the main channels through which most of America is exposed to its varied regions. While no news article highlighting the group, the tour or our burgeoning community has been entirely accurate or as true to sentiment as we all would have liked, the sheer fact that this project has garnered such attention has meant that our community and many of the considerations that come along with a mixed identity are just now entering the frames of consciousness of a great many previously unexposed individuals, mixed and mono-racial alike.

The heightened visibility of our community and our place within the general US racialized social system that Generation MIX is giving rise to has only been possible because of the great amounts of recent work other groups have toiled at long and hard. There would be no opportunity for Gen MIX to tour without the established dialogue and levels of awareness community based groups like Swirl and other student organizations have brought about. And on the same token, a project like Generation MIX can only do so much in terms of offering content and discussion. Much of the work we’re doing now would be empty without the community support of groups continuing these discussions on the ground level and amongst the people.

It has been an eye opening and revelatory experience being a part of this tour. I have new perspective on how our movement can be a powerful step in the continued struggle to dismantle racism. I also have new perspective on how much of a bubble my home, the Bay Area, is. But if we in the Bay and those in other similar progressive-yet-isolated areas can recognize our whole-hearted belief in the work we are doing and how we are so motivated to continue it, and also recognize that we may at times be very much disconnected from the rest of the US’s communities, be they differences due to geography or ideology, I think that we will feel impassioned to better our abilities of communication and understanding so that this movement of awareness, consciousness and regard will spread. We have incredible momentum supporting our efforts and I am excited to explore all that we can do with it…