For Your Information
I have recently come under scrutiny by two members of the “mixed race” community. They verbally attacked me on social media because I do not use the term “mixed.” I prefer the term “multiracial.” That is my personal preference. I feel that everyone should use the terminology with which they are most comfortable.
I was recently speaking with the mother of one of our Project RACE Teen members who told me her son used “multiracial” and “mixed” interchangeably and was that OK? I assured her that was absolutely fine and that he should use the terms in his comfort zone. I am hardly the mixed police.
However, I would like to clear up any misconceptions about terminology. I prefer “multiracial” for the following reasons:
- In 1993 the federal government asked that the multiracial community choose one term that they could consider for the 2000 Census and federal forms. They could not accommodate more than one word. All of the multiracial organizations chose the term multiracial. Project RACE polled every one of our members to find out their preference. Multiracial was the preference with biracial second.
- “Mixed” never felt right to me and to many other members of the multiracial community. When I thought about it, I realized that mixed was the opposite of “pure.” I did not want to go backwards historically into a division of pure and un-pure people. It would be wrong, I felt, for me to use that terminology, especially in today’s world.
- Hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines, and online, have titled their articles about multiracial children “Mixed Up” or some negative use of the word “mixed.” They were called “mixed nuts” in at least one movie. Why make it easy for them to do that?
- When Barack Obama was President, if a news outlet referred to him as multiracial, they used the term “multiracial.” Did you ever ask yourselves why? Because it’s a respectable term and everyone deserves to be identified with respectable terminology.
- Words are important and it is important to give multiracial children appropriate and respectable terminology to use, especially when asked the question, “What are you?” Whether this is multiracial, biracial, mixed, or something else is up to you and your family and remember that it’s about the children.
The two individuals who attacked me and Project RACE are somewhat known in the “mixed race” community. One is a librarian of other people’s writing and the other is a member of a local group, yet they felt the need to verbalize their apparent upset with us. I am not sure why they are attempting to discredit us. I am extremely proud of the work of the members of Project RACE, the only national organization advocating for the multiracial community for over three decades.