Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go."
 William Feather
We have seen the demise of many other multiracial advocates. AMEA is gone, and MAVIN was not really an advocacy group, but it is not doing anything now.  Loving Day is one day, and too many advocates have just stopped being advocates. Academics, authors, and talk show hosts are not necessarily advocates. As I have said many times, "It's not just you or your child, it's also about the generations to come. "New groups" have come and gone, mostly gone. Project RACE not only hangs on--22 years now--but expands, influences, and remains the key national advocacy organization for multiracial children, teens, adults and our families. -Susan Graham

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Multiracial Advocacy Response

Response from the Multiracial Advocacy

United States Census Bureau Director Groves blogged yesterday about "big data" changes for the Census Bureau and how it will make it cheaper, faster, and potentially better for users to get statistical information. Here is my response, which now appears on the bureau blog:

One Response to And Now, for Something a Little Different . . .

Susan Graham says:
It doesn’t matter if you call it “big data” or “little data.” It’s not getting to the stakeholders. I am the CEO of a stakeholders’ group and I have been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to get data. I have contacted the person responsible for the data numerous times. Director Groves stated, “Finally, it allows us to more nimbly meet the needs of our stakeholders for timely, relevant and reliable data.” I would certainly like to see how that works because it’s not working currently.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What's in a NAME?

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What’s in a Name?

Today was Gay Pride Day in California, well at least in San Francisco where a Gay Pride Parade was held, as it is every year. I was listening to the radio after I read my Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and I was surprised at the two different take-away points each had from the same event.

The Chronicle gave me information. I learned that over 15,000 gay people were targeted during the Holocaust and made to wear pink triangles on their shirts. I had no idea. Many of them met the same fate as Jewish people during that terrible time. I learned that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has worked for gay rights. The Chronicle coverage was unbiased, informational, educational, and positive.

The KGO radio show host tried to be unbiased by repeatedly referring to gay pride like black pride and, of course, multiracial pride. I’m not sure that’s helpful to anyone and my feelings were echoed by several callers.  

I’m tired of people comparing the gay movement with the multiracial movement. The reason they are so often compared because both seek legitimacy and equality. They are two definitely different movements. But why are they so often compared?

I remember when I was at my son’s elementary school in the early 1990’s and was standing in the hallway waiting for school to get out for the day. His class happened to walk by and we waved at each other. A woman standing next to me said, “Is that your child?!” I said, “Yes,” and her reply was, “It must be so hard to be the mother of a son who likes other boys.” Huh?! Ohhhhhhhhh, I finally got it. She had confused “biracial” and “bisexual.” Oh boy.

But I keep hearing it and it makes me downright mad every time. I’m hardly homophobic, but I’m also not seeing the connection. Is it that both groups have been opposed? Are biracial and bisexual closer in language than in reality? Am I supposed to ask biracial kids if they are also bisexual? Of course not, and yet the comparison continues.

I am Jewish. The connection between being Jewish and the history of the Holocaust is obvious—in your face—obvious. But I had never heard the gay/Holocaust history before. I doubt many people have. They are intrinsically different, but still let’s never forget either one.

I also hear multicultural interchanged with multiracial. Nope. Culture and race are different things: multicultural is more about “how we do things around here” while multiracial is “the DNA I was born with.”

It’s all very different and should not be all that confusing if only we could all just get along.

Susan Graham

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Multiracial Advocacy Blog Rules and Regulations

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog is written primarily by Susan Graham, Executive Director of Project RACE. Its postings reflect the statements of Susan Graham and other members of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), Project RACE Teens, Project RACE Kids, and Project RACE Grandparents. Posts to the blog also reflect the day-to-day stories of the multiracial and monoracial communities as they relate to multiracial advocacy. 

Rules and Regulations for readers and posters PROHIBIT the following:
  1. Contributions, comments, pictures or videos that are likely to offend, provoke, or attack an individual or group of individuals.
  2. Foul or profane language.
  3. Sexually explicit or pornographic content.
  4. Contributions that advertise other blogs, products, or services.
  5. Contributions in any language other than English.
  6. Contributions that invite or instigate any unlawful activity.
  7. Any personal information, including phone numbers and addresses.
  8. Any comments of a defamatory or libelous nature.  
Any comments that violate the Rules and Regulations will be rejected.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Multiracial Jews

Multiracial Jews Moving Beyond Isolation

Multiracial Exercise?

Once again, we wonder how many of these white and black girls are actually multiracial.  Excluded from studies one more time.

Benefits of Exercise Show Racial Differences

While exercise may be beneficial in combating obesity in adolescents, a new study suggests physical activity may be less successful in preventing obesity in black girls than in their white counterparts.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, examines the levels of physical activity and obesity of more than 1,100 girls at ages 12 and 14. The racial split was 538 black girls and 610 white ones.

Measurements of obesity include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions of obesity, the International Obesity Task Force body mass index cut points, and the sums of skin-fold thickness. The study also compares participants' physical activity and food intake, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Based on the girls' level of physical activity, they were divided into lower and upper halves within their respective racial categories. Twelve-year-old white girls in the upper half were 85 percent less likely to become obese at age 14 than their white peers in the bottom half. However, black girls in the top half were only 15 percent less likely to be obese two years later than black girls in the lower half, reports the Times.

The study concludes by suggesting that obesity preventions aimed at black girls may need to be adapted to account for their decreased sensitivity to the effects of physical activity.
Authors James White of Cardiff University and Russell Jago of the University of Bristol write that their results "suggest that prompting adolescent girls to be active may be important to prevent obesity but that using different approaches ... may be necessary to prevent obesity in black girls."
Source: Education Week

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hispanic Girls face Barriers

Hispanic Girls Face Special Barriers on Road to College

Hispanic women are more likely than Hispanic men to complete high school and college, but they still trail white and African-American women

"I'm going to college," says the teenager after the visit organized by the Dallas center of Girls Inc., a national nonprofit group. "I want to be the first in my family."

But like many young Latinas, she faces a host of challenges in the coming years, as she works to graduate from high school, go on to community college, and then enroll in a four-year institution.

Sanchez moved from Mexico when she was 9 years old and enrolled in the 156,000-student Dallas Independent School District. After taking bilingual classes taught in Spanish and English, she found the transition to all-English classes in middle school difficult.

Consequently, Sanchez was held back in the 8th grade last year at Edison Middle Learning Center here in Dallas. She now attends tutoring sessions after school in addition to programs provided by Girls Inc. that focus on career planning and pregnancy prevention.

The plight of Latino young men often dominates the discussion of graduation rates. But young Latinas also face cultural, economic, and educational barriers to finishing high school and entering and completing college.

"There's the assumption that girls are doing fine," says Lara Kaufmann, a senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center, in Washington. "It's true that within ethnic groups girls are doing better than boys. But they're not doing well."

Falling Behind

While Hispanic women are more likely to graduate from high school and college when compared with Hispanic men, some statistics suggest they trail behind African-American and white women on some such measures.

Postsecondary Engagement Lags for Latinas
Latinas ages 18 to 24 have lower postsecondary-engagement rates than Asian, white, and black women of the same age bracket. Asian women are twice as likely as Latinas to be either enrolled in higher education or to have a postsecondary credential.
According to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of 2011 Census survey data, about 17 percent of Hispanic females ages 25 to 29 have at least a bachelor's degree, compared with about 10 percent of Hispanic males, 43 percent of white females, and 23 percent of black females in that age span.

To delve into why such gaps persist, the National Women's Law Center collaborated with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on a 2009 study on educational outcomes for Latinas.

While the middle and high school girls interviewed in the report said they wanted to graduate from college, they also said they didn't expect to achieve that goal. The report also cited challenges for them in reaching educational goals, including such difficulties as immigration status, poverty, discrimination, low self-esteem, higher rates of depression and attempted suicide, gender stereotypes, and limited English proficiency.

A cultural emphasis on loyalty to family also can play a role. Latinas may be expected to take on additional duties as caregivers, such as helping to watch younger children or aid elderly family members. They may be expected to live with their parents until they are married, making it difficult to leave home to go away to college.

Ties That Bind

Celina Cardenas mentors Hispanic girls in the 37,000-student Richardson Independent School District in the Dallas suburbs. Cardenas, a district community-relations coordinator, is Mexican-American and feels she can relate to their experiences.

"It's kind of like you're born with responsibility—especially the girls," she says. "Doing something on your own may not sit very comfortably with them because they may not want to let anyone down. I talk to them a lot about not feeling selfish that they're disappointing their family by going away, and understanding there's nothing wrong with having those goals."

Family loyalty can cause Hispanic girls to choose less-competitive colleges than they are qualified to attend so they can keep living with their parents. They may also not be well informed about financial-aid opportunities to attend more expensive schools.

University of Texas at San Antonio education professor Anne-Marie Nuñez says that when girls live at home while in college, they may have a hard time focusing on their studies because of family obligations.

"They may be juggling multiple responsibilities that pull them away from being able to focus on their studies," Nuñez says. "Other family members may not understand the energy they need to focus on their studies."

In Texas, a nonprofit online magazine written by girls, called Latinitas, aims to empower young women. The organization also provides workshops, mentoring, and college tours. On the website, Saray Argumedo, 23, shares her own experiences about the tension with her family when she studied at the University of Texas at El Paso.

"All I can do is ask for forgiveness when my mom questions why I spend all my time outside of the house studying, working, and getting involved in my community," she writes. "I thought that they would be proud of me, but why are they so angry?"

Teenage Motherhood

Young Latinas also are more likely than most young women in the United States to have their own children as teenagers. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, in Washington, about 52 percent of Latinas become pregnant before age 20, nearly twice the national average. In Dallas, the nonprofit group Alley's House helps mothers complete their General Educational Development, or GED, studies and build their confidence.

Yesenya Consuelo, 19, dropped out of Spruce High School in Dallas her freshman year when she became pregnant with her now-4-year-old daughter. Consuelo wants to study at a community college to be a surgical technologist, but she needs to pass the math portion of the GED, which she has failed twice. She comes to Alley's House for math tutoring four days a week.

Consuelo says her daughter is her motivation to finish school. "I'm trying to be the best I can for her," she says.

Despite the challenges, says Nuñez, the education professor, "the truth is Latino families have as high aspirations as other groups. Sometimes, they just don't know how to translate those aspirations to reality."
Source: Education Week 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama

‘American Tapestry’ hangs on Michelle Obama’s roots

Imagine the revelation of Michelle Obama finally uncovering the mystery of her genealogy after becoming first lady: not only the discovery of an ancestral slave from Georgia, her great-great-great-grandmother, Melvinia, but also that she bore several children to a Caucasian man on a farm in the mid-1800s.

Thanks to the in-depth research of New York Times reporter Rachel Swarns, missing branches have been restored to the first lady's elusive family tree. Now her book further explores a multiracial bloodline that flows throughout the South during Reconstruction and beyond and more prominently through Chicago's South Side during the swinging jazz era of the 1920s.

American Tapestry is not only the remarkable story of the first lady's family, providing insight into some of the wonderful traits that have been passed down to her, but also a microcosm of this country's story as well. It's unfortunate that not enough documentation survives to answer so many more questions, but the anecdotal tales shed light on a history that's been long suppressed in the first lady's family and within many other African-American families. Namely, the pain and shame associated with slavery and mixed races.

The story of the first lady's genealogy, though sometimes hard to follow, is riveting as Swarns pieces together the family tree, branch by branch and generation by generation. It certainly helped having Obama's long-lost cousin Jewell Barclay consent to a DNA test in Cleveland in the search for the truth. It was news to Barclay that so many of her relatives settled in Chicago and that she was related to the first lady. But then, one of the side benefits of this research is how so many of Obama's relatives reconnected.

It turns out that Melvinia's oldest son, Dolphus Shields, moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he became a prosperous Baptist deacon, homeowner and businessman. Purnell Shields, his grandson, relocated to Chicago with his mother in the integrated South Side, but later became embittered about the Jim Crow South and the segregated North.

On the other side of the family, the Great Migration north to Chicago contains its share of hardships: Obama's great-grandmother Phoebe Moten struggled with middle-class aspirations during the Depression with her minister husband, James Johnson, when racial strife soared. In a way, the real-life saga of struggle, survival, triumph and tragedy serves as an uplifting companion to Alex Haley's Roots and Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

Eventually, chance encounters in South Chicago produce Obama's grandparents. At which point, Swarn's narrative retraces the family branches produced in the Old South and post-slavery. "A lot of the time these stories get buried, because sometimes the pain of them makes it hard to want to remember," Obama recounts.

Thus, in the end, American Tapestry is about the crucial ties that bind the first lady.
Bill Desowitz is the author of James Bond Unmasked.
Source: USA Today

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Obama became black

How Obama became black

By David Maraniss

He was too dark in Indonesia. A “hapa” child — half and half — in Hawaii. Multicultural in Los Angeles. An “invisible man” in New York. And finally, Barack Obama was black on the South Side of Chicago. This journey of racial self-discovery and reinvention is chronicled in David Maraniss’s biography, “Barack Obama: The Story,” to be published Tuesday. These excerpts trace the young Obama’s arc toward black identity, through his words and experiences, and through the eyes of those who knew him well.

“How come his mother’s skin is bright while her son’s is way darker?”
Everything about Barry seemed different to his classmates and first-grade teacher, Israela Pareira, at S.D. Katolik Santo Fransiskus in Jakarta, Indonesia. He came in wearing shoes and socks, with long pants, a black belt and a white shirt neatly tucked in. The other boys wore short pants above the knee, and they often left their flip-flops or sandals outside the classroom and studied in bare feet. Barry was the only one who could not speak Bahasa Indonesia that first year. Ms. Pareira was the only one who understood his English. He was a fast learner, but in the meantime some boys communicated with him in a sign language they jokingly called
“Bahasa tarzan.”

When [his mother] Ann accompanied him to school the first day, Ms. Pareira was confused. He looked like he was from Ambon, one of the thousands of islands comprising Indonesia. It was nearly 1,500 miles east of Jakarta, and the people there were known for having darker skin. In itself, this was no big deal; the classroom was heterogeneous: Javanese, Betawanese, Bataknese, Padangnese, Ambonese, Christian and Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. But he did not look like his mother.

“She introduced herself as a foreigner, coming from Hawaii, and she pointed at Barry — ‘This is my son.’ We — me and the students who saw them for the first time — only asked ourselves, ‘How come his mother’s skin is bright while her son’s is way darker?’ It was a big question for us. But watching her drop him off at school [day after day], we became used to the idea that Barry is her son.” To the other students, Barry’s young mother was even more exotic than he was, with her pale skin and long hair and sharp dresses.

“Whether you’re a Tamura or a Ching or an Obama, we share the same world.”
In Jakarta, many local kids looked at all Westerners as members of the wealthy class. But in Honolulu, many native Hawaiian boys displayed a prove-yourself-or-else hostility toward people with roots on the mainland. Where did this leave a hapa boy who lived with white relatives but had just returned from Indonesia and was half-African in a place where there were precious few blacks? His grandfather had told strangers that the boy was a descendent of native Hawaiian royalty. Some classmates remembered it differently, that Obama claimed his father was an Indonesian prince.

In retrospect, he would say that his name alone separated him, starting with the first day of fifth grade when his teacher introduced him fully — first, middle and last, Barack Hussein Obama. But in polyglot Hawaii, even his prep school was more than a collection of Johns and Susans and Binghams and Cookes. From a list of contemporaries, Barack mingled with the first names Nunu, Kaui, Sigfried, Malia, Lutz, Manu, Linnea, Saichi, Wada, Kalele and Nini. And for last names, Obama was there with Oba, Ochoa, Ogata, Ohama, Oishi, Okada, Oshiro, Osuna and Ota.

A few years later, Barry’s seventh-grade teacher, Miss Kang, posed eight members of her class for a yearbook photo in front of a blackboard that had the white-chalk message “MIXED RACES OF AMERICA” and a caption that read: “Whether you’re a Tamura or a Ching or an Obama, we share the same world.” Barry, looking pudgy-faced, sporting a paisley shirt and the beginnings of an afro, flashed the peace sign.

“I go by Barry so I don’t have to explain myself to the world.”
Obama’s friends and acquaintances at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he spent his first two years of college, sometimes heard him say that his father was from Kenya. On occasion he would lament that he did not know the old man, that he was gone from the family when Barry was a baby. Once in a rare while, the bitterness came out, or expressions of regret. Sometimes that part of the story was left unsaid, and the emphasis was placed on his family connection to the continent. To have an African father could be seen as a badge of distinction in the jockeying for place among the blacks at Oxy.

But the blood tie was all that Obama had then, along with a few letters from his father, the memory of his dad’s lone visit to Honolulu when Barry was in fifth grade and the stories he had heard from his mother and grandfather. He had never been to Kenya, never walked the earth around Lake Victoria, and his friend Eric Moore had.

Barry and Eric had much in common. They were tall, athletic, smooth, outwardly confident. Moore had grown up in Boulder, Colo., attended predominantly white schools, and like Obama had survived and thrived in an environment where there were few people who looked like him. He came to Los Angeles looking for “a more urban African American experience” where he, like Obama, could sort out his identity.

Together they listened to music and spent hours in the dorms dissecting the lyrics to Bob Marley’s 1979 album, “Survival.” It was among Marley’s most overtly political albums — a haunting, pounding expression of the black condition. The jacket featured the flags of 47 African nations, with Kenya in the top left corner. The song titles evoked the struggle of Africa and people in the New World with African blood: “So Much Trouble in the World,” “Africa Unite,” “One Drop,” “Ride Natty Ride,” “Ambush in the Night,” “Survival.” Obama, Moore and a few other friends broke down the songs and debated what they meant.

Barry Obama could take or leave much of the music that he heard most often in the freshman dormitory at Oxy, from new wave to punk, but it was the musical language of Bob Marley — and Stevie Wonder — that stirred him. “Obama’s consciousness, much like mine, was influenced by music, influenced by a recognition, an understanding, of the world through music,” Moore said. “Obama’s sense of social justice ultimately comes from Bob, or comes from Stevie Wonder. You can’t learn all that from a book.”

It was through their connection to music and Africa that Moore started calling Obama the name by which the world would come to know him. One day, as Moore recalled the scene, he and Obama were “sitting around, discussing the world . . . and I said, ‘Barry Obama? What is that derivative of?’ And he told me the story of how his mom had met his father. And I had been to Kenya. . . . It was a bit of serendipity in our lives. We were just kind of chatting. I was heckling a bit. . . . ‘Barry Obama, what kind of name is that for a brother?’ And he said, ‘Well, my real name is Buh-ROCK. Barack Obama.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s a strong name. Rock, Buh-ROCK.’ And we laughed about it. . . .

“He said, ‘I go by Barry so I don’t have to explain myself to the world. You’re my bro, I can give you the background on it.’ But it was basically an accommodation to the Anglo world, Anglo society. You don’t want to be singled out, necessarily.”

Obama carefully structured his persona at Oxy to avoid “being mistaken for a sellout,” he said in his memoir. But at Oxy, for the first time, though not the last, there were blacks who questioned how black Obama really was. Louis Hook, a senior when Barry was a freshman, was a leader of UJIMA, a black student group on campus. He had grown up in a housing project outside Los Angeles, was the first member of his family to get through college. Some of the African Americans at Oxy, Hook said, “just couldn’t tolerate the multicultural style of Obama. They called him an Oreo. . . . We’d get into some discussions about the Oreos.”

Hook said he understood the various African American groups at Oxy — the black separatists, the multiculturalists, everyone in between — and tried to act as a bridge to all of them. “Obama was a multicultural mainstream Oxy guy,” Hook said. “He fit right in with anybody. As long as you accepted him, he was good.”

“If America is ready for a black president, you can make it.”
During his days at Columbia University, where he transferred from Occidental, Obama discussed his struggle for identity not only with Alex McNear, an acquaintance from Oxy who became his girlfriend briefly in New York, but with a few Pakistani friends. One of his acquaintances in that group of friends was Mir Mahboob Mahmood, a student at Columbia Law School. An intellectual with a black belt in karate, he enjoyed discussing political theory and literature with Obama. They were never the closest of friends, yet their conversations seemed to bring out Barack’s innermost thoughts.

Mahmood remembered that “for a period of two or three months” when Obama was living at 94th and 1st, he “carried, and at every opportunity, read and reread a fraying copy of Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man.’ It was a period during which Barack was struggling deeply within himself to attain his o

There was a riff in that book that Mahmood thought struck close with Obama. The narrator, an intelligent black man whose skills were invisible to white society, wrote: “America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain. It’s ‘winner take nothing’ that is the great truth of our country or of any country. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat.” His friend Barack, Mahmood thought, “took very, very seriously the lifelong challenge of continuing to play in face of certain defeat."

By Mahmood’s account, they had known each other only a few months when Obama posed this question to him: “Do you think I will be president of the United States? ”What did this mean? “I think it was a very serious question, and clearly at least in my mind this was where he was headed,” Mahmood recalled. His answer then: “If America is ready for a black president, you can make it.”

“I’m treated with a mixture of puzzlement, deference, and scorn.”
In one letter to Alex, he told her that it seemed all his Pakistani friends were headed toward the business world, and his old high school buddies from Hono­lulu were “moving toward the mainstream.” Where did that leave him? “I must admit large dollops of envy for both groups,” he wrote. “Caught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support me, in a sense the choice to take a different path is made for me . . . the only way to assuage my feelings of isolation are to absorb all the traditions [of all the] classes; make them mine, me theirs.”

Here, at age 22, was an idea that would become a key to understanding Obama the politician and public figure. Without a class meant that he was entering his adult life without financial security. Without a structure meant he had grown up lacking a solid family foundation, his father gone from the start, his mother often elsewhere, all leading to a sense of being a rootless outsider. Without a tradition was a reference to his lack of religious grounding and his hapa status, white and black, feeling completely at home in neither race. The different path he saw for himself was to rise above the divisions. To make a particular choice would limit him, he wrote to Alex, because “taken separately, they are unacceptable and untenable.”

In another letter, Obama informed Alex that after graduating he planned to spend several months in Indonesia and Hawaii. He was lonely, searching for connections wherever he could find them. “I don’t distinguish between struggling with the world and struggling with myself. . . . I enter a pact with other people, other forces in the world, that their problems are mine and mine theirs.”

When he arrived in Indonesia, this place, once so familiar, now seemed alien as well. He had lived there for four years as a boy and had been visiting dutifully since his Hawaii days. But in a letter to Alex, he confessed that he felt disconnected. “I can’t speak the language well anymore. I’m treated with a mixture of puzzlement, deference, and scorn, because I’m an American. My money and my plane ticket back to the U.S. overriding my blackness.”

When he returned to New York, he spent one week supervising a group of temp workers who moved the files of the Fire Department of New York from one building to another. It was, he reported, “a fascinating experience affording me a taste of the grinding toil of a low white collar job, as well as the ambivalent relationship” between bosses and workers. Just one week, yet that job gave him a boost in his search for self-identity. He had been living in the rarified environment of Oxy and Columbia, self-absorbed with his choices, contemplating life on an intellectual plane, and here were people talking about sports and life and family in ways that were not fraught with meanings and symbols. “I felt a greater affinity to the blacks and Latinos there (who predictably comprised about three fourths of the work force . . .) than I had felt in a long time,” he told Alex.

“He felt like an imposter. Because he was so white.”
If Barack and Genevieve Cook, his girlfriend in New York after he graduated from Columbia, were in social occasions as a couple, it was almost always with the Pakistanis. “Me and the Paki mob and that was it pretty much,” Genevieve said later, recounting Obama’s circle. It was a moveable feast of bounty and excess, friends losing themselves in food and conversation. But he was politely pushing away from the Pakistanis, she thought. He wanted something more.
Mahmood also saw a shift. For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective. He was one of them, in that sense. But that is not what he wanted for his future, and to get to where he wanted to go he had to change — not cut off the Pakistanis as friends, but push away enough to establish a clear and separate identity. As a result, Mahmood recalled, “the first shift I saw him undertaking was to view himself as an American in a much more fundamental way.”
Trying to embrace his blackness, Mahmood thought, was “the second and probably the biggest shift I saw [in Obama during the New York years].

To be honest, he had never had many black friends. Not that he had anything against that, just that he was part of that other set, the international set. So for him this was a big thing. . . . Barack was the most deliberate person I ever met in terms of constructing his own identity, and . . . that was an important period for him, first the shift from not international but American, number one, and then not white, but black.”

Genevieve encouraged Barack’s search for identity. He was a double outsider, racial and cross-cultural. He looked black, but was he? At times he confessed to her that “he felt like an imposter. Because he was so white. There was hardly a black bone in his body.” She realized that “in his own quest to resolve his ambivalence about black and white, it became very, very clear to me that he needed to go black. I told him that. I think he felt very encouraged by my absolute conviction that his future lay down the road with a black woman. He doubted there were any black women he would feel truly comfortable with. I would tell him, ‘No, she is out there.’ ”

“He could have been purple for all we cared.”
In came young Barack Obama for an interview with the Developing Communities Project board in a downstairs conference room at St. Helens of the Cross Church, in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago’s sprawling South Side. There sat Yvonne Lloyd, Loretta Augustine-Herron and Deacon Dan Lee, three community members on the board, along with a handful of priests. Obama arrived neat and fresh, wearing slacks, a sport coat, and shirt and tie.

“He’s six months older than my oldest child,” Augustine-Herron recalled thinking. “I looked at him and said, ‘He’s not going to make it.’ That was my first opinion. But as we got into the interview, he was so interesting. His comfort level. He was just very at ease. . . . The other thing is he was honest, and you can’t buy honesty. . . . We’d say, ‘What do you do in this case or that case?’ He was honest about his knowledge of the area, his knowledge about the situations. He would give us examples of things he could do, things he couldn’t do. He would say, ‘I’m not familiar with that, but things like that are things we will learn together.’ ”

Her concerns had dissolved by the end of the interview. “He could have been purple for all we cared. We wanted someone who was sensitive to our needs, which he was.”
The black women in the room that day, Augustine-Herron and Lloyd, along with their friend Margaret Bagby, quickly ushered Obama into their world. The three women were a generation or more older and treated Obama with protective concern as they would a favorite nephew, but were disarmed by his quiet confidence and generally followed his lead. They instructed him on the mores and idiosyncrasies of the South Side, accompanied him to endless meetings, warned him about what neighborhoods to steer clear of at night, pointed him toward other people who could be part of the network, and worried about his “health and welfare.” (Loretta: “We’d take him to lunch and we’d have sandwiches and burgers and he’d have a spinach salad. We’d say, SPINACH salad? What’s that?”)

Obama maintained some of his characteristic reserve, yet they drew him in with the warmth and noise and immediacy of their lives. Here was the day-to-day world of urban black America, a place that for all of his travels he had never really experienced before. He had driven through the streets of South-Central Los Angeles and walked up and down Lenox Avenue in Harlem, but this was different. In Chicago, Obama was finding — and being found.

“We do do that!”
Even as he was insinuating himself into the South Side culture and finding comfort in the black world there, Obama remained the participant observer. His perspective was universal, removed, not racial. He had reservations about people of every race when it came to tribal thinking. In private conversations with his assistant Johnnie Owens, a streetwise product of the South Side, he did not hesitate to point out what he saw as hypocritical aspects of prevalent black attitudes.

“He was very clear about the unreasonable aspects of how blacks saw things in the community,” Owens said. “For example, when African Americans would complain about ‘They always show us when somebody kills somebody . . . they show a picture of a black person on TV,’ people would say, ‘They always do that!’ Barack would say, ‘We do do that!’ Or oftentimes folks would be angry about the school system. He would say, ‘Well some folks didn’t prepare their kids well for school!’ He believed there was a lot more accountability that needed to take place in the African American community. He sounded like an outsider.”

Source: The Washington Post
David Maraniss is an associate editor of The Washington Post.

Interracial families and Korean Language

40% of multiracial children have difficulty with Korean
By Kim Bo-eun

If your mother isn’t Korean then the Korean language may not be your mother tongue. Forty percent of children from biracial families are having trouble speaking Korean as most of their mothers have the same problem, a study showed Wednesday.

The study by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education was based on a survey of 534 multiracial families with children aged two to seven from June to September last year. It found that 40 percent of the children had Korean language difficulties.

The number of biracial children reached 151,154 last year, comprising 11.9 percent of the total number of foreign residents.

More and more Korean men have married foreign brides, especially from China and Southeast Asian countries.

Children who scored highest on the test had Chinese-Korean mothers; while those who had mothers from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan showed similar levels of language development.

“The greatest factor behind the children’s delayed language development is that the mothers are not able to speak Korean very well,” said Choi Yoon-kyung, a researcher at the institute.

“However, despite their mothers’ inability to speak the language, children in families in which their fathers or grandparents participate in childcare do not have difficulty in speaking Korean.”

Another problem with interracial marriages is that they occur in rural parts of the nation, in which there is a lack of young women to marry men who work on farms.

“The problem is that rural areas do not have adequate educational centers the children can attend to acquire the language,” said Choi. “And fathers are usually busy working on farms so they are unable to take part in childrearing.”

The study also showed that children who attend childcare support centers or are using public services scored higher on the test, suggesting that a Korean speaking environment and interaction with other Koreans help in learning the language.

A positive development is that the government has started to take up the full cost of attending daycare centers since last year for children from multiracial families.

However, the authorities need to take additional measures.

“The government needs to identify the families in which the children experience difficulty in acquiring Korean, usually the ones with low incomes, to provide adequate support for them,” said Choi.

“Attention also needs to be paid to the parents, ensuring that both the fathers and their foreign spouses are ready and willing to participate in raising their children,” she added. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Multiracial Chidren and Poverty Data

Recession Impact: Minorities' Net Worth Falls By a Third

People of color lose about same share of wealth as whites, but they have much less to lose, Fed numbers show.

 June 13, 2012 | 10:46 a.m.
During the Great Recession, working hard had little effect. Median household net worth for Hispanic households was $29,700 in 2007, dropping to $20,400 in 2010. 
Racial and ethnic minorities were hit hard by the Great Recession, losing about a third of their net worth between 2007 and 2010, according to Federal Reserve Board numbers analyzing the years 2007 to 2010.

The nation's median household income fell to 1992 levels, losing 39 percent, largely because of the decrease in home values, especially among the middle class, USA Today reports. While fewer minorities owned homes, their median value dropped significantly during a time when people of all income levels encountered hardship on the job and property front.

When considering share of net worth lost, households headed by nonwhites or Hispanics fared about as bad as their white counterparts: white households' median net worth dropped 27.2 percent; nonwhite or Hispanic households lost 31.31 percent.

But nonwhite and Hispanic households had much less to lose.

In 2007, the median household net worth for a nonwhite or Hispanic households was $29,700. It dropped to $20,400 in 2010. By comparison, white households were worth $179,400 in 2007. In 2010, their value was $130,600.

As the nation becomes more diverse, the economic well-being of all Americans has and will become increasingly tied to the financial well-being of racial and ethnic minorities.
In 2010, whites made up 63.7 percent of the nation’s population, down from 69.1 percent in 2000, according to census numbers. The Census Bureau suggests that the white population will fall just under 51 percent by 2040 and that whites will be a plurality by 2050.

Historically, racial and ethnic minorities have earned less than their white peers. In 2010, the median income for non-Hispanic white households was $54,620; it was $32,068 for black households, and $37,759 for Hispanics. The median income for Asians was $64,308.

In 2010, Afraican-American households, on average, earned 59 percent of what their white counterparts did, according to the census. That rate has not changed significantly since 1972, when the census first tracked median income by race and ethnicity.

The gap has closed slightly between whites and Hispanics. In 1972, the median income for Hispanics was 59 percent that of whites. In 2010, they earned 69 percent. The median household income for Asians was nearly 20 percent more than for whites.

The income disparities along racial and ethnic lines are indicative of broader socioeconomic divisions within American society.

“Low socioeconomic status and its correlates, such as lower education, poverty, and poor health, ultimately affect our society as a whole,” according to the American Psychological Society.
In 2010, 38.2 percent of African-American children lived in poverty. Among Hispanic children, 32.3 percent did. And 22.7 percent of children who identified as being two or more races were considered poor by federal standards.

White and Asian children had poverty rates below the U.S. average of 21.6 percent. Children who live in poverty, especially young children, are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, to complete fewer years of education, and--as they grow up--to experience more years of unemployment, according to the census.

Source: The Next America, June 13, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy-Guest Blog by Cherrye Vasquez, Ph.D

Comfortable in Your Skin Whether You Are Biracial or Monoracial

I was once engaged in, what I thought at first, was a friendly conversation with a group of ladies at my place of employment. As mothers, we often talked back and forth about daily activities that our children were involved in. We did this often to amuse ourselves, and generally ended with much laughter among the group until one person said something that I hadn’t expected.

When I ended my story for the day on the subject of my daughter’s latest activity, one of the ladies turned to me and said, “Well, she’s going to have psychological problems anyway.” I looked at her and asked, “What?!” She went on to say, “She’s biracial, and all biracial children end up with psychological problems.”

This woman was the first person who’d ever made a statement like this to ME. While I’ve heard about and read stories of biracial children and adults alleging that they’ve encountered problems because they are biracial, I truly hadn’t spent any time at all pondering over this subject where my child is concerned.
What this woman claimed never crossed my mind before. Why? My daughter is a charming, well-rounded, culturally balanced, beautiful biracial girl who feels very comfortable in her skin. She affirms who she is and loves her self. In fact, if someone ever refers to my daughter as one ethnicity over the other (and this does happen on occasion), she will quickly inform them that she is no more one than the other, but both. She loves all of who she is, and is very proud of both her heritages.

Positive self-identity is an important virtue and character to behold. Our children must love who they are, and they must feel comfortable telling people who they are. Regardless of a child’s race, they are the ones who should tell a person who they are. They do not have to assimilate into someone else’s culture, or accept someone else’s label for them.

As a parent, the topic of my daughter having psychological problems didn’t and still does not faze me because I have ensured that I’ve done my part in balancing out my child’s life to include knowledge of both heritages, and pointedly building her character and self-esteem. I strongly believe that issues, good or bad, have to do with parenting and environmental situations in totality. If my daughter encounters problems, they will be no different from the problems of any child regardless of their racial make-up.

Because there may be those that declare that just because a child is biracial they will automatically have psychological problems, I needed to set my writing and platform topics in motion. This stereotypical myth has no merit and should be denounced.

I have made efforts to help children build character, self-worth, and empowerment. In addition, I believe that we must teach our children positive self-talk so that they can and will affirm who they are and what they want to become. We must also use self-fulfilling prophecy techniques with our children. If we do this, we will see them blossom and evolve into whatever their hearts desire.
Whether monoculture, biracial, or multiracial all children are very unique and important, and they should armor these feelings at all times. Each child possesses rich qualities to regard.

Source: Printed with permission from Cherrye Vasquez, PhD.

Author Cherrye Vasquez has a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction; a MS.Ed. in Special Education; and a BA in Speech Pathology/Audiology. She specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog-Update on Bayo Fashion Campaign

 The Multiracial Advocacy Blog-Update on Bayo Fashion Campaign

Comment from Susan Graham: On behalf of the multiracial community, I am so pleased to see that our advocates spoke out against this fashion advertising campaign and made a difference! GREAT JOB!

 Bayo drops controversial mixed-race campaign

Women’s fashion brand Bayo will pull its new “What’s Your Mix?” advertising campaign after drawing flak for appearing to promote the superiority of mixed-race models, the company announced yesterday.

ABS-CBN News reports that Bayo vice president for product research and development Lyn Agustin apologized for the campaign after the backlash from ads that featured mixed-race models and a manifesto that claimed that the “mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.”
“We are very sorry that the campaign unintentionally offended people,” Agustin said. “We are going to prepare a better and more sensitive campaign, more sensitive to the big issues.”
The advertising campaign drew indignation from numerous internet outlets, with the majority of the discussion appearing on Facebook and on blogs. Rappler notes that the campaign seemed to imply that one must be mixed-race in order to be “ideal”.

The breakdown of the percentage of the models’ races (60% African, 40% Filipino; 80% Chinese, 20% Filipino; 30% Indian, 70% Filipino) drew disdain from bloggers, with Marcelle Fabie questioning the mathematics involved.

Numerous image macros were created to mock the ad, featuring Kris Aquino (99% Mouth, 1% Sense), German Moreno (50% German, 50% Moreno, 0% Tulugan), Bernardo Bernardo (50% Bernardo, 50% Bernardo), an explicit illustration of a manananggal (50% Filipino), as well as pop culture characters such as Captain Planet, Robocop, and Joffrey Baratheon.


Source: POC: Philippino Online Chronicles

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog-Hate Crime Update

Activists stage rally against hate crimes in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Community activists have rallied against hate crimes after authorities accused four young white people of threatening a biracial teenager on Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, police arrested a fifth person and investigated spray-painted swastikas and racist messages in a neighborhood where one suspect lives, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Thursday.

At the gathering of about 50 people outside City Hall on Wednesday afternoon, Springfield City Councilor Sheri Moore told the rally participants she has an adopted son who is black, and her family has experienced discrimination. But, she said, only a minority of local residents have racist attitudes.

“Springfield, as you can see, is a community of caring people,” Moore said. “We outnumber the others, and will work together to eliminate hate.”

That came hours after police announced they had booked Brandon James Ricker, 19, on charges of attempted intimidation, hindering prosecution and evidence tampering.
Police said they interviewed him while trying to track down the other suspects and told him to keep quiet. Instead, police said, he told 22-year-old Eugene resident Matthew Booster to flee and then deleted a series of text messages that he and Booster had exchanged.
Prosecutors later decided not to press the charges as long as Ricker cooperates as a witness in the case, said Police Capt. Rich Harrison.

Police said Booster was driving a yellow pickup truck flying a Confederate flag on Memorial Day in downtown Springfield. Booster and three teens inside yelled racial slurs and got out of the truck to chase the 15-year-old, who had been walking and escaped by hiding in bushes until his mother arrived, police said.

All four were charged with intimidation. Prosecutors made Booster’s charge a felony. The other three are to be prosecuted in juvenile court on misdemeanor charges.

Harrison said investigators are still trying to identify the people responsible for spray-painting swastikas and racist messages throughout a neighborhood in which one of the suspects resides. The graffiti was reported Sunday and Monday at several locations.

After the rally, participants asked downtown business owners to post “Hate Free Zone” leaflets.
Marion Malcolm, who coordinates a Community Alliance of Lane County program called Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect, commended police and city officials for their response.

“They have stayed on the case,” Malcolm said.

Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2011
By The Associated Press
Published: June 08. 2012 4:00AM PST

Multiracial Couple Claims Harassment

Multiracial Couple Claims Harassment

OTSEGO, Minn.  --  First time homeowners come with big expectations."Laying our foundation, excited to get out of school and start a journey just me and her you know," Demetrius Baker Jr. said of buying a townhome in Otsego with his fiancée, Michelle Cardinal, just a few months ago.

Demetrius and Michelle welcomed it all, but after five months in their new home they say they were put on notice that they were unwelcome on Lachman Avenue. "As soon as the sun goes down that's when my heart sinks, I don't want to be here," Cardinal said Thursday night.
The couple said the trouble started in April.

"All the wires under the hood of my car had been cut, the brake line, the parking light, the AC it was a hack job," Michelle said of one of the early incidents.

That same month they say a neighbor came over, a white man, and tried to start a physical fight with Demetrius. Demetrius is black; Michelle is white.

"He called me the n-word, a nigger," Baker Jr. said.

Two weeks later the couple says they let their black lab out on his leash in the front yard for just a moment until they heard him crying."I went over there and saw a hole, really deep and I knew he had been stabbed," Baker Jr. said. The dog had been stabbed and had to be rushed to a 24-hour vetrenarian for care.

The couple at that point had filed three reports with police about the harassing neighbor.
After the stabbing they got a restraining order, installed security cameras and put in an alarm system.It didn't stop a burglary three weeks ago or what happened Thursday morning.
"Today when we woke up and I went to the garage, I was about to go to work, and all our tires were flat. Somebody just took a knife and stabbed them," Baker Jr. said.

Thursday was police report number seven since April. The couple says they believe the same neighbor is the prime suspect and his motive they say is simple."There is nothing I can do to change the situation or alter his feelings. He doesn't like me because I am black, it's black and white and that's what it is," Baker Jr. said.

The couple is working with deputies from the Wright County Sheriff's Department on these issues.A deputy with that department said he could not comment on this specific case.

Source: KARE and Jana Shortal

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Next Poet Laureate is Multiracial

Next Poet Laureate is Multiracial

The Library of Congress is to announce Thursday that the next poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. Ms. Trethewey, 46, was born in Gulfport, Miss., and is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993. 

“I’m still a little in disbelief,” Ms. Trethewey said on Monday. 

Unlike the recent laureates W. S. Merwin and her immediate predecessor, Philip Levine, both in their 80s when appointed, Ms. Trethewey, who will officially take up her duties in September, is still in midcareer and not well-known outside poetry circles. Her work combines free verse with more traditional forms like the sonnet and the villanelle to explore memory and the racial legacy of America. Her fourth collection, “Thrall,” is scheduled to appear in the fall. She is also the author of a 2010 nonfiction book, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
In a phone interview from her home in Decatur, Ga., where she lives with her husband, Brett Gadsden, a history professor at Emory, Ms. Trethewey explained that the Civil War has fascinated her since childhood, and that she eventually came to feel that she embodied some of its contradictions. “My birthday is April 26th, Confederate Memorial Day,” she said. “I was born 100 years to the day after that holiday was invented. I don’t think I could have escaped learning about the Civil War and what it represented.” 

As one of her poems explains, Ms. Trethewey is the product of a union that was still a crime in Mississippi when her parents married: her mother was black and her father was white. Years later, after her mother’s death, she came across her own birth certificate and saw that the line for the race of her mother says, “colored,” the race of her father, “Canadian.”
“That’s how language works — how we change and rewrite ourselves,” she said. 

Source: NY Times, Charles McGrath



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Multiracial Fashionista Flap

Multiracial Fashionista Flap

MANILA, Philippines –Several Filipino Internet users were not pleased with the newest campaign of women’s fashion brand Bayo, which directly promotes mixed-race models.

Bayo’s “What’s Your Mix?” campaign, launched early this month, features Filipino-Australian actress Jasmine Curtis-Smith with the text “50% Australian and 50% Filipino.”

Other models were given labels such as “80% Chinese and 20% Filipino,” “40% British and 60% Filipino,” and 30% Indian and 70% Filipino.”

“Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world-class. We always have the fighting chance to make it in the world arena of almost all aspects,” Bayo said in the ad which, according to independent social news website Mashable, has been taken down.

Although Bayo stressed that the new ad aims to highlight a person’s uniqueness, several Filipinos turned to blogs and social networking sites to say that the “What’s Your Mix?” campaign was “demeaning,” while some said it was “poorly executed.”

“Bayo had a good idea. They just presented it in a terrible way. Sad,” Klave Answorth said.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

Source: ABS-CBN

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Biracial Teen and Hate Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A felony hate crime charge has been filed against a Eugene man accused along with three teenagers of shouting racial slurs from a pickup truck flying a Confederate flag and chasing a biracial teenager in a downtown Springfield parking lot.
The suspect, 22-year-old Matthew Robert Dean Booster, was arrested last week after the incident on Memorial Day, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Tuesday.

The felony intimidation charge was filed Monday, the district attorney's office said.

All four suspects are white.

Police said the youth reported that he was waiting on street corner for his mother about 8:30 p.m. when the yellow pickup drove by and circled the block, the flag flying from a pole behind the cab.

When the truck returned, police said, the people inside yelled slurs and threatened the teenager, who tried to walk away. The truck pursued him into a gravel parking lot, and the four got out and began running after him.

He was able to hide in a bush until his mother arrived and took him to the police station, police said.
"I can't imagine going through something like this, especially as a 15-year-old," Springfield police Capt. Rich Harrison said Monday.
He said police identified Booster's 1993 Ford pickup as the vehicle and arrested two boys, ages 16 and 17, on Thursday, and Booster and a 17-year-old girl on Saturday.

The youths were charged with a lesser count, second-degree intimidation, and released to their parents. They are to be prosecuted in juvenile court.Booster appeared in court Monday on the felony count but didn't enter a plea. He's due back in court next week. A call to his lawyer Tuesday was not returned immediately.

Mayor Christine Lundberg called it an "ugly and offensive crime."

"We will continue to make life difficult for people who commit crimes of hatred in Springfield," she said in a statement.
Information from: The Register-Guard,
Sources: AP and The Eugene Register-Guard

Monday, June 4, 2012

The M Word and Multiracial Advocacy

The M Word and Multiracial Advocacy

Many changes happen all around us all through our lifetimes, so why doesn’t the government think sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will never hurt us? Multiracial, mixed, multiracial, half-breed, multiracial, multiethnic, mixie, multicultural, other, multiracial, multiracial, multiracial! So many words to choose from, but which is the right one?

The worlds of psychiatry and psychology are not ones I know much about, but I am going to try to explain why words are always important. Try to stick with me.

President Barack Obama signed “Rosa’s Law,” which mandates that the term “mental retardation” be replaced by “intellectual disability” in federal education, health, and labor laws.

Now the American Psychiatric Association is considering making the same change. The International Classification of Diseases, which is published by the World Health Organization, has already made the change.

So what does this have to do with the multiracial population? Plenty. We’re talking about nine million people and what they are called. Does this sound familiar? The government calls the multiracial community “people who check more than one race,” “the combination population” and more silly terms. Some people refer to themselves or other multiracial people as “mixies, half-breeds, mutts, etc.”

This is what Rosa’s 14-year-old brother said in state testimony about the term “mental retardation” and why it needed to be changed:

“What you call people is how you treat them. What you call my sister is how you will treat her. If you believe she’s ‘retarded’, it invites taunting, stigma. It invites bullying and it also invites the slammed doors of being treated with respect and dignity.”

What Rosa advocated for was a more positive change in wording. It has to do with what society labels a person. It has to do with respectful terminology. This seems to be an ongoing debate because of many other factors in the psychiatric community, but they are headed in the right direction. The term “multiracial” is also a respectful term. Advocate for “multiracial.” You and our kids deserve that same respect.

Susan Graham
Project RACE

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Multiracial, Race, Ethnicity and Drugs: Major Health News

Comment from Susan Graham: This is very big news that shows black adults with diabetes benefit specifically from a drug. However, it also leaves the question of what about the multiracial population?

AACE: The First Study to Show That an Ethnic Group Can Gain Benefits from a DPP-4 Compound

The dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor linagliptin (Tradjenta, Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly) is associated with significant improvements in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in black patients with type 2 diabetes.... 
"We found that this drug had clinically significant and clinically relevant reductions in all measures of hyperglycemia that we looked at," said lead researcher James Thrasher, MD, from the Arkansas Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in Little Rock. The study was sponsored by the drug's manufacturers.

The multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial -- the first study of a DPP-4 inhibitor specifically conducted in black adults -- showed that linagliptin 5 mg once daily reduced HbA1c by 0.88% over 24 weeks, compared with 0.24% with placebo (P = .0002).

Black adults tend to suffer from diabetes at a higher rate than white non-Hispanic adults, and "they have higher rates of complications," said Dr. Thrasher during a press conference.

"In most clinical trials, the majority of participants are white non-Hispanic patients. We wanted to do this first-of-a-kind study of a DPP-4 inhibitor to look at a minority group, specifically blacks," he said. "This is...something relatively new for us to do, to look at ethnic groups specifically with a clinical trial and a drug."

The study involved 226 patients who were randomized to linagliptin 5 mg (n = 106) or placebo (n = 120) once daily for 24 weeks. Slightly more than half (54%) of the patients were men, mean age was 54 years, and mean body mass index was 32.7 kg/m².
Almost three quarters (72%) of the patients had hypertension, and most patients were on metformin or a sulfonylurea, which they continued throughout the study period. The remaining 12% were treatment-naïve.

HbA1c levels were similar in the linagliptin and placebo groups at baseline (8.63% vs 8.70%), and were measured every 6 weeks during the study.Patients who had a baseline HbA1c measurement and at least 1 post-baseline measurement (n = 200) were included in the efficacy analysis; those who received at least 1 dose of the study drug were included in the safety analysis.In terms of efficacy, HbA1c levels were significantly different at 6 weeks, and remained so for the rest of the study.

Patients in the linagliptin group were significantly more likely than those in the placebo group to see an HbA1c reduction of 0.5% by week 24 (55.3% vs 28.3%; P < .0001). In addition, significantly more patients in the linagliptin group than in the placebo group achieved an HbA1c level below 7.0% (28.0% vs 8.7%; = .001), a target recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

The rates of adverse events were similar in the 2 groups, were mostly mild or moderate, and were considered to be unrelated to the study drug.

The most common adverse events were hyperglycemia (2.8% with linagliptin and 9.2% with placebo) and nasopharyngitis (3.8% with linagliptin and 5.0% with placebo). Researcher-defined hypoglycemia occurred in 3 patients in the linagliptin group and in 1 patient in the placebo group; none of the events required external assistance. "In this high-risk group, this is a drug that's efficacious, has a similar side-effect profile to placebo, and is a treatment option for patients who have inadequate control of their type 2 diabetes," concluded Dr. Thrasher.

Presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist (AACE) May 24, 2012. Abstract 206.