Daily Archives: March 10, 2015

This is Mixed Race Politics

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Edit: As of September 10, 2015, Maya Inamura has stepped away from Mixed Race Politics and is no longer involved with this organization.

My name is Maya and I am the founder and editor of MRP. I have too many hometowns, two passports from two countries, and none of my family looks like me: the easiest way to explain is to say that I’m mixed. “Mixed” describes anyone who is of more than one ethnicity. Among younger people it’s become a popular term for this identity. “Mixed” has eclipsed clunkier words (“multiracial,” “biracial”), outdated and often offensive terms (“mulatto,” “mutt”), and culturally appropriative words (like “Hapa”).

Mixed Race Politics publishes the opinions and ideas of mixed people.

I’m creating MRP because it’s the publication I wish I’d been able to read ten years ago. I was in high school and the lack of ethnic diversity among both students and teachers frustrated me. My friends who were Black used to joke that you could count the number of Black students there on one hand. It was a joke, but it wasn’t funny — to be simultaneously marginalized and tokenized as a student of color was just reality. For a few years I was the president of a group for mixed students, but it felt somewhat pointless to organize when there were so few of us who were mixed in the first place, or who wanted to acknowledge it anyway. It was easier not to talk about race.

I was frustrated by the ways I saw race conceptualized, discussed, and politicized. But I didn’t know how or who to ask the questions I wanted answers to. I wanted to discuss concepts I didn’t yet know the names for. I wanted to learn from people I didn’t know existed.

Ten years later, and I still feel this way. But today I’m in a place where I can do something about it.

I’ve only told a handful of people about my wild plans to create Mixed Race Politics, but a response I’ve gotten more than once from other mixed people is, I wish I’d had something like that when I was younger.

The demand for a space like this clearly exists. There is a need for a publication that prioritizes and celebrates the voices of mixed people, is unapologetically political, and fiercely intelligent. A space for writing that interrogates, exposes, deconstructs the mixed identity. A space that is cognizant of intersections with other aspects of identity. A space for writing by mixed people that mindfully engages with the politics of race.

I wanted to read Mixed Race Politics ten years ago, and still do today. So I decided to create it.


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I remember the taste coming sharply. Tears slid down my cheeks and past my lips as my mother raked a brush through my unruly hair in an attempt to tame it. It resisted, and the long mess of curls, tangles, and frizz seemed to wrap themselves tighter around the brush. I stifled a shout of pain. An hour passed.

This event occurred fairly often; I was a mess-prone child with little regard for the state of my clothes or my wild hair. So in the second grade, when faced with this multiple-choice question on a test about measurement —

How long does it take you to brush your hair every day?

a. one second

b. one hour

c. one minute

d. one week

I picked b.

I got the question wrong. And when I asked the teacher why, she said,

“Well for most kids, it only takes a minute!”

Dejected, and still holding a test with a big red X, I returned to my seat. My teacher ran her hand through her own smooth, straight hair and returned to her work.

I went home to my family quite upset. Upon retelling what had happened, they tried to soothe me with the fact that I had still done quite well on the test, that it was just the teacher’s ignorance and inexperience with ethnic hair that had caused her to respond how she did. Even so, I remained angry at what I perceived even then as an injustice.

When an educator presents a diverse classroom of children with a standardized curriculum-based worksheet that only some of them can answer truthfully and still be correct, we’ve got a problem.

This is only one experience, one example, but it’s indicative of a much greater issue in our world today: a shortage of voices speaking out against prejudice. Whether this injustice appears in the form of microaggression, outright racism, or sheer ignorance doesn’t matter. Something needs to be done about it.

In the case of Mixed people, the silent call to be heard is ever more urgent. We come from all places and all backgrounds, yet have no place to turn to when we seek community. No one experience to unite us in our struggles. And more often than not, we don’t know anyone like us who we can ask for help when things get difficult.

This is where Mixed Race Politics comes in.

All activism must start somewhere, and we chose to begin by creating a blog and releasing a publication written, produced, and run entirely by mixed people. We hope to increase awareness of problems that uniquely affect us, show the world through our perspective, create a community within this social identity, and someday down the line even forge our own path in the political sphere. But even if our only success is making someone feel like they weren’t alone in this world, our efforts will have been worth their salt.