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Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids Paperback – March 31, 2010
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About the Author
Kip Fulbeck, professor and artist, lives in Santa Barbara.
Cher is an internationally adored music and film star.
Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng is a multiracial identity specialist and educator.
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The book is, as the title implies, primarily photos of kids from mixed backgrounds. Each portrait includes the child's background, so you can see that Kieli is Chinese, Scottish and Irish. (You don't need to be told that she's a cutie.) The children are all under the age of 12; as the author said in the museum show, that is young enough that the children don't yet define themselves primarily in terms of race. For example, he asked each of them to write or draw answers to "Who are you?" and most said things like, "I like baseball" rather than "I'm Chinese."
The book would be worth it simply as a cool collection of kids' portraits, and as inspiration for anyone who wanted to see how to take better pictures of their kids. But where it transcends "interesting" and approaches "magical" is in the text that accompanies many of the photos, and in the essays at the beginning of the book. Many of the photos include the "who are you?" essay or drawing ("I play soccer. I am amazing."...) or notes written by one of the kids' parents, nearly all of which are upbeat ("....I have struggled for years to come to terms with my racial identity, but I don't believe my children will have that problem").
There's an engaging essay by the author, who pointed out that until the U.S. Census of 2000 he had to "choose one" when it came to identifying his race, and that such choices could make someone feel as though he's rejecting one of his parents. (Plenty of forms still have "check one," I've since noticed.) I was also inspired by the long forward by Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, the sister of President Obama, in which she wrote about the self-perceptions of those who grow up as mixed race. "The newly visible and active presence of mixed-race youth offers interesting opportunities for discussions about identity," she writes, and she explains the importance of "appreciation for complex identities and [the need to] thereby usher in a more truly inclusive understanding of 'diversity.'" The afterward by Cher is nice but it's only a page -- just one step above a book blurb.
This is a wonderful book, and it will cheer you up immensely. Recommended.
Well if some of you somehow missed this news flash, I am mixed. And I am married to a man who does not share the same racial heritage as me. So our kids will be even more mixed. Mexican, Native American, German, Caucasian, Irish, Austrian, Czech and Prussian to be exact.
Growing up mixed was interesting for me. While most of my life was spent in areas predominated by white culture, at 17 I moved into a household that primarily spoke Spanish and ate Mexican food everyday. In both areas I felt as many of the parents and Kip expressed in Mixed, that I was always pressured to chose one culture over the other. "Choose one" on the demographic forms.
So what I loved about this book is how it embraces a new generation of mixed kids and paves the way for them that they don't have to choose one race over the other. They won't have to choose to identify with one race but can embrace their Heinz 57 of cultures and be proud and beautiful.
If I had to pick one complaint with this book, it's that is wasn't as diversified as I'd like to see. A few mix combinations were displayed over and over again with some not pictured at all (Where are the strictly Latino/Caucasian kids?).
Overall this is a book I am so happy to have as part of my permanent bookshelf and definitely plan to share it with my children in the years to come.
Most recent customer reviews
Nothing substantive--basically a coffee table book.Read more