Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 22: Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?

When Irma Herrera gives her name its correct Spanish pronunciation, some assume she’s not a real American. Her play, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?, is one woman’s journey from a small segregated South Texas town to California’s multicultural mecca. In this wide-ranging interview, we explore her Chicana identity, colorism, linguistic isolation, cultural hybridity, class migration, her social justice work, how her play is relevant to current events, and her transition into becoming a playwright. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 21: Education and Race

Even after Brown v. Board of Education, race is still a contentious topic in education. In fact, we’re more segregated today than we were in the late 1960s, but most people wouldn’t know that from their high school history classes. Race is still something we don’t teach in school unless it’s firmly placed in the past. Going against the grain is historian James Shields from Guilford College, a sought-after educator and speaker on anti-racism, community engagement, and Underground Railroad history. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 20: Brown White Black Family

Most TV and movies portray adoption as a white parent adopting a child. This is true in such mainstream shows as Friends, Glee, 90210, Modern Family, Sex and The City, Grey’s Anatomy, and Parenthood. This representation is often how people think of adoption, something that can get frustrating for Nishta J. Mehra, an Indian woman with a white wife and black adopted child. […]

Inside Look Series

Episode 19: Minimalism and the 6-Month-to-Live List

Minimalism is intentionally living with only the things you really need. Minimalists maintain that there are benefits to minimalist living, like reduced anxiety, lower expenses, increased productivity, and living a more fulfilling life. But not all minimalists go so far as to reduce their possessions to live out of a van … for years … intentionally. My guest today is author David Soto Jr. and he is (or maybe was) one of these van life minimalists. Listen to glimpse into van life minimalism. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Foreword to ‘Mixed,’ a Journalism Book about Mixed-Race Families in the US

In this Foreword for Nicole Zelniker’s journalism book about mixed-race families, Julián Esteban Torres López centers Mixed as evidence of one of The Nasiona’s strongest pillars: the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts cannot discover. Mixed takes us on a journey and helps us glimpse into overlooked worlds and engage the spectrum of human experience. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 18: Parenting a Mixed-Race Child

In addition to being multiracial, many mixed-race Americans are also multicultural. Naomi Raquel Enright is one such person, and she writes about her own experience with race and racism in her book, Strength of Soul. Interwoven with her own story of being born to a Jewish American father and an Ecuadorian mother in La Paz, Bolivia, Naomi also proposes her own strategies for how to fight racism and introduces readers to what it is that exacerbates systemic racism in the US. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 17: Writing from Experience

Publishing has a race problem. Entertainment Weekly reported that only 7.8% of romance authors using a traditional publisher were people of color in 2016. For that same year, NPR found that only 22% of all characters in children’s books were characters of color. This, in a country where people of color are expected to make up more than half of the population by 2044 according to The Center for American Progress. For this reason, writers like Anika Fajardo, who is Colombian and white, and F. Douglas Brown, who is African American and Filipino, are more important than ever. Both were contributors to The Beiging of America, mentioned in our last episode. […]

Being Mixed-Race

Episode 16: The Beiging of America

In 2017, editors Sean Frederick Forbes and Tara Betts, along with co-editor Cathy Schlund-Vials, published a volume of essays entitled The Beiging of America: Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century. This collection joins others such as Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time and A Race Anthology, edited by Dan Moulthrop and R.A. Washington. Still, books about race, especially about being mixed-race, are few and far between. In this collection, nearly 40 authors told their stories about being mixed-race in the U.S. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 15: Memoir as a Political Act

How can memoir be a political act? When living under oppressive systems, the simple act of standing up and sharing personal stories that go against the mainstream is a political act. Mireya S. Vela and Julián Esteban Torres López meditate on this issue. Vela speaks from the perspective of an author, while Torres López forwards his experience as a publisher. They both explore inequities and injustice and use memoir to challenge, expose, and defiantly try to break down systems of oppression. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 14: Disability Inclusion, Intersectionality, and Activism

Much of the already small disability representation in the media focuses on white people, and often men. Although we would never know it from TV and movies, the CDC reports that 19.67% of people of color have a disability compared with 20% of white people. In many spaces, people with disabilities aren’t welcome regardless of race, often unintentionally. Mia Ives-Rublee, a transracial adoptee and the founder and coordinator for the Women’s March Disability Caucus, is working to change the norm. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 13: Passing as White

Since European settlers brought enslaved Africans to the United States, there has been passing. In terms of race, passing means presenting as a race you don’t identify as, such as when former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal made headlines when it came out she was a white woman passing as black for many years. Not all passing is intentional, however. Sam Manas is white and Panamanian, although because he is much lighter-skinned than most people from Panama, people tend to think he’s only white. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 12: Mixed-Race Relationships

In 1958, married couple Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter were jailed because they violated the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. In 1964, the couple sued the state of Virginia. Their case reached the Supreme Court in 1967, and the court struck down all state laws forbidding mixed-race marriages. Several decades later, this ruling allowed people like Zyda Culpepper Mellon, who is African American, to marry her white husband, and for Ricardee Franks, who is mixed, to also marry a white man. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 10: What It Means to be Mixed-Race

Mixed-race U.S. Americans are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States. In 2017, 10% of all children in the U.S. were mixed-race, up from just 1% in the 1970s. Evidence indicates that this number will only go up: In 2016, it was reported that “47% of white teens, 60% of black teens, and 90% of Hispanic teens said they had dated someone of another race.” It is for these reasons that interviewees Justyn Melrose’s and Danielle Douez’s experiences are becoming more common. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 9: Daughterhood

Four daughters lose and find their mothers, engage and disengage with them, learn and unlearn who these women are and who they were before they came along. These daughters, intentionally and unintentionally, look for meaning and identity in the women who gave them birth; because whether we like or barely tolerate them, whether they put us together fragment by careful fragment, or whether they undo us with the tug of an errant string, who they were tells us everything about who we will become. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 8: The Elusive Burmese from Liminal Space

We take you into the world of a Burmese woman’s quest to piece together the fragments of her identity as Su Su Maung. We also learn about how that quest led her to found the Myanmar-based psychological consulting firm, Citta Consultancy. Citta helps empower the people of Myanmar with social and emotional intelligence so they can heal, transform, and grow to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the development of their country. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 7: Motherhood

Motherhood has often been considered a pinnacle of wisdom and serenity, a sort of joining together of all those parts of ourselves in lesser focus. But in truth, motherhood opens more doors than it closes. It is an endless series of complications and ambiguities that are put into sharper relief by the arrival of a daughter. What emerges from the following four stories is this precise push and pull, pondered through the lens of devotion and loss, of privilege and resentment, of injustice and forgiveness. […]

Interviews

Episode 6: The Imperfect Art of Medicine

Why is it so hard to change people’s minds and behaviors with new facts? We explore this question through pediatrics. In 2015, after a landmark medical study proved that the early inclusion of peanut in the diet of infants prevents peanut allergy, Ron Sunog, MD, set out to develop a great first peanut food for infants. When most physicians and parents did not embrace this important new information, Dr. Sunog was determined to understand why. Dr. Sunog joins me to discuss his new book, Eat The Eight. […]

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.
Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina. We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 4: Systemic Abuse of Women

We share four essays included in Mireya S. Vela’s forthcoming book, Vestiges of Courage, Collected Essays—a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Ms. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. […]