SEASON 2: EPISODE 8
Mixed: Being Multiracial in America
National Loving Day happens on June 12, and celebrates the anniversary of the historic 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia. This was the ruling that struck down all state laws against interracial marriage in the United States. Until that time, it remained illegal for one person to marry another person if they were of a different race in 17 States across America.
Today multiracial Americans are growing at a rate of three times faster than the population as a whole, according to the Pew Research Center.
In this episode of Breaking the Bias, Holly Corbett, director of Content for Consciously Unbiased, spoke to some multiracial Americans on their experiences of growing up “mixed,” and their hopes for the next generation. What you’ll hear is a snapshot of a personal story, and, while not representative of all people of mixed race backgrounds, is a small collection of first-person accounts of growing up multiracial in America. The stories you’ll hear include:
• One woman on her experiences growing up in South Carolina with parents in an interracial marriage.
• A mixed race, Native American founder, who shares how she learned to deny her heritage a sa child, and her journey to finally embracing it.
• An African Filipino American man on digging into the history of who you are.
• A mother of two and Chinese-German first generation American on her hopes for her children as we’ve seen a rise in anti-Asian discrimination during Covid.
You can listen to the full episode here, and read below for answers from our guests on what belonging means to them
BELONGING BEGINS WITH SELF ACCEPTANCE
“At the core of belonging is this notion of acceptance and access. Are we able to truly experience one another without judgment and with a level of deep connection so that we are able to be comfortable in our own skin, and are able to experience all that the world has to offer? I think when you feel like you belong, you are more able to make others feel like they belong. It’s a beautiful domino effect that we can only give to ourselves. It took me a really long time to understand that once you can truly belong in your own skin, you can extend that offering to others.”
~Willow Hill, Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder, Scout Lab
BELONGING IS A FEELING
“The best way I could describe it is feeling like I’m welcome and not feeling off or out of sorts. Having people want to get to know important things about me is part of it. You’ll know it when it happens. I talk a lot about how we have these words, such as allyship and empathy and belonging. We talk a lot about it as a world and as an industry. But when I see someone supporting one another, that’s when I feel it in my bones. If I had to put it into words, it is this notion of feeling welcomed and not feeling like I am on the sidelines.”
~Jennifer Kohl, Executive Director Integrated Media, VMLY&R
BELONGING MEANS BEING ALLOWED TO BE IMPERFECT
“Belonging means that I can say something really stupid and not get fired for it all the time [laughs]. I haven’t had the benefit of the doubt that many of my cis-gender white heterosexual male friends have had when they say stupid stuff. I think belonging is allowing people to be as imperfect as they are as humans, and still advocating and still believing that they are smart and brilliant and do amazing work. If we’re talking specifically about the workplace, it’s being able to come into a room as yourself, and not have your color or your identity proceed you.”
~Mandy Bynum McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder, The Race Equ(al)ity Project
BELONGING IS COMFORT
“Belonging is being comfortable in a space, totally being who you are. What comes to mind is the kitchen table at my parents’ house where, on Saturdays, we’d invite friends over. There’s the kitchen table where all the food is, but people weren’t just sitting there—they’d grab the food and then go to different corners of the house. People were taking naps in the living room, playing games in the back, or talking on the couches. They were challenging each others’ ideas, having conversations, being who they are, being accepted, and being celebrated for all the intersections of who they are.”
~David Ryan Castro-Harris, Founder, Amplify RJ
Learn more about the history of National Loving Day here
For more on restorative justice, check out Amplify RJ
Pew Research Center: Multiracial in America: Proud, Diverse & Growing in Numbers
Find more on The Race Equ(al)ity Project here
Book: “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY),” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz