We’ve extended the submission deadline for our forthcoming book, THE BEIGING OF AMERICA: PERSONAL NARRATIVES ABOUT BEING MIXED RACE IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, edited by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials and Tara Betts, from September 15, 2016 to October 3, 2016.
As long as race and racism are hot topics in our culture, biracial/mixed race people will continue to be a source of curiosity and fascination. Since biracial/mixed race people make up a large part of America’s population, we wanted to provide a platform to shed light on this growing community. Why? We believe the perspective of the biracial/mixed race population is an important component for any and all dialogues on race – and on the whole nature of identity itself – because racial identity has become far more fluid than it used to be. So we decided to call this book, THE BEIGING OF AMERICA, because as the biracial/mixed race population grows, it is slowly eroding the black/white paradigm that has engulfed our country since its inception. The “beige” figuratively represents the combination of black and white that’s emerging and pushing the boundaries of how we perceive race. If you are a biracial/mixed race person, we’re looking for hard hitting personal narratives that explore the socio-political issues that impact you as a biracial/mixed race individual. Here are a few ideas/questions you may want to address:
- Is being biracial/mixed race strictly about skin color, or does it mean more than that? Why and how?
- America is trapped in a black/white paradigm. If you have a racial identity that does not neatly fit into this reality, how do you experience the world? How do others see you? How do you see yourself?
- What personal stories (beyond the fact that you look different) can you share with readers that will give them insight on the biracial/mixed race community?
- As the biracial/mixed race community grows, should this identity be validated as a separate race category? And if so, why?
- Do you find that monoracial friends and family members can be insensitive to your unique experiences, and if so, how and in your opinion, why?
- In 2003, the University of North Carolina released study results from survey research conducted with over 90,000 adolescents in the United States. The study indicated that the experience of being “mixed race” led to higher risk of developing depression, substance abuse and other mental health issues as well as physical complaints. Did you find growing up as a biracial/mixed race person was a significant stressor that led to mental and health problems? If so, how did you deal with it?
- What are the political stakes for biracial/mixed race communities? Throughout this election, no one has mentioned or identified this community as potential voters. Should politicians recognize biracial/mixed race as a voting bloc, and do you think this will change in politics in general, and in future elections?
- Have you made a conscious choice to give up one identity for another? Do you encompass both socially accepted racial categorizations of your “biracial-ness,” or do you engage in multiple identities and personas that can be called up in appropriate contexts, and if so, how and why? For example, do you aggressively manipulate your racial identity by changing your physical characteristics (e.g., tanning and treating their hair to appear more black), align yourself with cultural markers like clothing, language, food, dating choices and organized socializing that distances you from your other culture.
- Biracial/mixed race identity is not something we as a society talk about with a great deal of comfort, and one might even argue with the terms and phrases that are used for a segment of the population. What terms and phrases do you like the least and why?
- What is the difference between the interracial experience and the biracial experience, and how would those differences pertain to you?
- With generations of interracial mixing between blacks, whites and others, and the broad definition of blackness as defined by the “one-drop rule,” would you agree that most Americans cannot tell the difference between biracial and black? And using that as an example, could the same be said about other mixtures of race, such as biracial and Asian, or biracial and white?
- According to Pew Research Center biracial/mixed race adults with a black background, experiences with discrimination closely mirror those of single-race blacks. Biracial/mixed race adults with an Asian background are about as likely to report being discriminated against as are single-race Asians, while multiracial adults with a white background are more likely than single-race whites to say they have experienced racial discrimination. What levels of discrimination do you experience and how do you deal with it?
The goal of THE BEIGING OF AMERICA is to explore these and many other questions that are based on each individual’s unique experiences. While every biracial/mixed race person may experience feelings of isolation or confusion, we acknowledge that being biracial/mixed race can be frustrating when one is searching for his or her identity, or painful when one compares him or herself to others and notices differences in appearance. Because of these situations, others should be more understanding and mindful of the issues that biracial/mixed race people may face, but in reality, they get tied up in knots when people identify in ways that don’t square with their own worldviews or racial math. We believe your stories will provide fodder for people to grapple with biracial/mixed race issues as well as challenge the nuances of their own identities that hopefully pushes the limits of how we talk about race in this country. So yes, we’ve created this platform for you, to share your feelings and ideas so that we can learn and grow and advance our dialogue about race in our society. We hope you will participate in this conversation.
You can submit your personal narrative for review and possible inclusion, along with a short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 3, 2016. The collection is slated for a Spring 2017 publication date.
Look forward to hearing from you.