Friday, May 06, 2011

May is Mixed Experience History Month!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Despite how you feel about Black history month (February), Hispanic Heritage Month (October-ish) or any other race specific memorial month, I think it's uber important to recognize Mixed Experience History month? Why? Because for so many people the idea of a Mixed-Race identity is foreign at best, or non-existant at worst. Many people believe there is no culture or community of Mixed-Race people, that the Mixed-Race experience can simply be lumped together with other 'colored' folk.

I can honestly admit that until I had my own mixie kids AND began to plug into the Mixed-Race community, I thought the same way. I just assumed because my kids had brown skin, their experience in this world would mirror my own. But it doesn't. Not exactly. My boys know they are the sum of two very distinct parts. They see it every day. They want to know about others like them. They need to know the history and culture of both of their parents' disparate backgrounds. And of course they need to know two languages to successfully navigate those two cultures and to belong. It's not the same. There is a beauty and a power in being able to lay claim to two different cultures and it truly does make for a unique outlook on life.

Heidi Durrow, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky and co-founder of the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival is the one who started Mixed Experience History Month. In her own words, here's why:

" Mixed Experience History Month is my effort to counteract the idea that our society has only become truly multiracial in the Obama age. Truth is, it's been going on forever--the stories have just been silenced."

On her website, Durrow posts a new profile every day in May about a different Mixie. It's great reading and very illuminating.

If you'd like to do your own "celebrating" of the Mixed-Race experience, consider reading some of the following books.

Caucasia: A Novel by Danzy Senna

Danzy Senna's memoir about her biracial family: Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow

Passing by Nella Larsen

The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

The Color of Water by James McBride

What books would you add to this list? I'm listening.



Heidi Durrow said...

Thank you so much for spreading the word Lori!

Lisa MB said...

I would add a hilarious memoir by Angela Nissel, "Mixed: My Life in Black and White." Angela was a producer of the TV shows "Til Death," and "Scrubs" which I still adore.

From a more serious perspective, I would add "Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race and Identity" by Lise Funderburg. It's a diverse collection of oral histories by adults who had white and black parents. I read it a long time ago, but it's still available on

Anonymous said...

Check out Fran Ross's "Oreo" and Emily Raboteau's "The Professor's Daughter".

The Lady Dee said...

"Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany," autobiographical book by Afro-German journalist Hans J. Massaquoi.

Jay said...

thank you for listing all the book.. I am super excited to look up all the books and the books other people listed

Anonymous said...

Just read your book today called Kinky Gazpacho and loved it! Thanks for the list of books. I will pursue reading them. I am a retired elementary teacher and have more time now to read. Sheila Garrow

Amy said...

Also Black, White, and Jewish by Rebecca Walker!