Sunday, July 29, 2012

Casey Doesn't Get It: The Multiracial Advocacy

We have received a response from the Annie E. Casey Foundation because of our complaint (see last blog post). Either they just don’t understand, or they are deliberately excluding multiracial children.

The rather chilling response indicates that they take their data “collected by birth and death certificates at the state level.” That is the absolutely worst way to collect data on multiracial children. Most often, the parent is not asked the race of the baby at birth, and it is written on the baby’s chart by an attending nurse or doctor at the birth. Thousands of women over the years have told me they were never asked the race of their multiracial child until they started school. The fact is that in most states, race of the child is not even on the birth certificate and other times it only has the race of the parents.

What about those death certificates? A dead person cannot self-identify their race. Funeral home employees “eyeball” the person and write down a race—usually only one race.

The next Casey Foundation problem is that if they asked the right questions, they would get the right and most accurate data. In other words, they have admitted to only allowing one choice for “the five largest racial categories.” So if they don’t allow people to mark two or more, they haven’t asked question the right way to begin with. They are using inaccurate data.

The response from The Casey Foundation baffles me because they can get better data from the US Census Bureau, The American Community Survey and schools. The federal government ordered federal agencies to comply with check two or more boxes in 1997. Casey is a private foundation and they do not have to do what the federal government does, but what ever happened to doing the right thing?

Their response concludes by saying they will “explore” revisiting the categories for the 2013 publication and then they abruptly dismiss us. Oh really? There will be more to this story.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Multiracial Children Excluded from Casey Foundation

THUMBS DOWN TO CASEY FOUNDATION! The annual 2012 Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation was released today. The data in this annual report are widely-used and quoted. Most of the rankings are by race. THE CASEY FOUNDATION DID NOT USE MULTIRACIAL DATA AT ALL, EVEN THOUGH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SUPPLY DATA ON THE MULTIRACIAL POPULATION and schools are required to allow students to check more than one race. SHAME ON THE CASEY FOUNDATION for perpetuating the invisibility of multiracial children in this country.

Annual Study Finds Child Education, Health Improving

Children's health and education are showing positive signs even in the midst of a dismal economic environment, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual ranking of child well-being, released this morning.

The 23rd-annual Kids Count Data Book represents an overhaul of the Baltimore-based group's historically health-dominated 10 benchmarks. This year the indicators have been expanded to "holistically measure" child well-being, incorporating 16 measures of health, education, economic well-being, and family and community support, according to Laura Speer, an associate director for advocacy reform and data at the foundation. The data from different indicators are not necessarily comparable, however, as they span different comparison years based on the most recent state and federal information available.

Researchers found education and health are on the upswing across all benchmarks, though gaps still exist between children of different racial groups, and Northeast and Midwestern states score well above states in the Deep South and Southwest.

Children with health insurance increased 2 percentage points to 92 percent, from 2008 to 2010, while child deaths dropped 16 percent between 2005 and 2009, from 32 to 27 deaths per 100,000 children. The number of babies born below healthy birth weight held steady.
Moreover, "Even in this time of economic decline, education got better," Speer said. Five percent more children—or 47 percent—attended preschool, and the percentage of 4th and 8th graders reading proficiently and the number graduating high school on time also rose.

"If I had to make one big bet, I'd ensure every child is reading proficiently by 3rd grade," said Patrick T. McCarthy, the foundation's president and CEO. "We know this is a pivot point, that up until 3rd grade children spend a lot of time learning to read, and after 3rd grade they basically are reading to learn, relying on their reading skills to do well. If a child is not reading well by the end of 3rd grade it becomes increasingly difficult for them to catch up to their peers."
He said that while there isn't a silver bullet to improve literacy, research does point to reading achievement gaps caused by differences in school readiness, general attendance, and summer learning loss. "You put those three things together and they are all things we can do something about."

Of little surprise, children's economic picture was bleaker. The study found 22 percent of children under age 18 living in poverty, up from the 19 percent in poverty in 2005, representing 2.4 million more children in families with $22,000 or less a year for a family of four. Likewise, 41 percent of children lived in homes with a high housing cost, up 4 percent since 2005. And since the economy plummeted in 2008, 27 percent more children—now one in three—has no parent with full-time, year-round employment.

Moreover, "Poor kids and kids of color continue to fall behind their more affluent and advantaged classmates," McCarthy said. "In 2010, American Indian and black children, both at 49 percent, were nearly twice as likely as white children to have no parent with secure employment. This is a very bad sign for those who care about opportunity for those children."
Casey researchers found several signs of improvement for families overall. Teen births continued to tick down, from 40 out of every thousand children born in 2005 to 39 births per thousand in 2009. And only 15 percent of children in 2010 lived in homes with a parent who has less than a high school diploma, 6 percent fewer than in 2005. Yet poor children increasingly live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.

"Where a child grows up can make a huge difference" McCarthy said. "A low income child growing up in a flourishing community is more likely to thrive and succeed. That same child in poverty who lives in a community with a high concentration of poverty where most of the neighbors are also poor is far more likely to get off-track in school become involved gangs and fail to gain successful employment. So, investments that focus on improving neighborhoods can help provide a foundation for children's future."

Speer agreed in a briefing with reporters on Monday: "This is especially troubling because growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development and it can really affect everything from their cognitive development and their ability to learn to their social and emotional development and their overall health."

The study comes on the heels of similar new child well-being data released last week by the the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics; it also found that fewer children are the victims of violent crimes.
Source: Education Week 

The Census Form

Did you Know?

In 1840 the Census grew to more than 70 questions, including the number of "insane and idiotic" in each household.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Man sentenced in hate crime against biracial man

Man sentenced in hate crime against biracial man

A Missouri man who admitted to vandalizing and burning a biracial man's home has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Twenty-three-year-old Charles Wilhelm, of Independence, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for conspiracy and violating the Fair Housing Act.

Prosecutors said Wilhelm conspired with David Martin and Teresa Witthar to intimidate Nathaniel Reed into moving out of his mobile home in Independence, in part because he is biracial. 

The three all admitted they entered Reed's mobile home in June 2006 and wrote racial slurs on the walls. Two days later, the mobile home was destroyed by fire.

Witthar was sentenced to more than five years in prison. Martin is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2.

Read more here:
Source:The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2012 

Monday, July 23, 2012

FBI Joins Probe into Threats to Interracial Family

Springfield, Missouri police have handed over to the FBI an investigation into reported threats against a biracial Springfield family.Springfield fire officials reported a fire at the family’s home July 8 did some damage to the home’s exterior.

Assistant Fire Chief Randy Villines said fire marshals have determined the blaze was intentionally set. Days later, on July 13, police responded to the house again after a 28-year-old man reported his car had been vandalized.

A tire had been punctured and scratched into the side of the vehicle, the word “Die” was preceded by the N-word, said Cpl. Matt Brown, police spokesman. A police report shows officers confiscated a knife on the scene and logged it as evidence.

FBI supervisor in Springfield, Josh Nixon, confirmed his office has been in contact with police about the reported threats and said his office would investigate allegations of civil rights violations.Multiple attempts to contact the family have failed.
Source: Springfield, MO

Multiethnic Beauty Consumers on the Rise

As the ethnic makeup of the U.S. consumer continues to become more multiracial, cosmetics companies are looking to address a more nuanced audience. This past year, brands like Dior, L’OrĂ©al Paris and Burberry Beauty have expanded their shade offerings to meet increasing demand for a spectrum of skin tones. In addition, retailers like Target Corp. have risen to the challenge, stocking their shelves with ethnically oriented indie brands once relegated to the salon channel.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Multiracial Children Struggle to find Donor Matches

Multiracial Children Struggle to find Donor Matches

Seattle Children’s patients are often the most critically ill kids in the region, and some of them require life-saving transplants, such as an organ or bone marrow transplant. This is a daunting procedure for any family, but it can be even more so if that child is of mixed-race.

Multi-ethnic and multi-racial children have extremely diverse genetic makeup, so the odds of finding a donor who matches that genetic makeup lowers dramatically. With the growing community of racially and ethnically diverse people, it’s important that more people become donors so that the chance of a mixed-race child finding a match increases. At this time, the number of mixed-race donors falls far below those in need of a bone marrow transplant.

In fact, only 3 percent of the 16.5 million potential bone marrow donors in the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match Registry identify themselves as mixed-race.¹ And unfortunately, this is a big problem that very few people know about. However, with the help of Japanese-Canadian documentary producer, Jeff Chiba Stearns, this could begin shifting in the very near future.

Jeff is raising awareness of this subset of patients in need of donors through his compelling documentary, Mixed Match, which highlights the lives of young mixed-race patients who are awaiting a match in order to undergo a life-saving procedure that is their only medical option.

Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem, a part Native American, Caucasian and Ecuadorean

15-year-old, is one of the patients profiled in Jeff’s documentary. Maga spent seven months at Seattle Children’s Hospital in 2011 waiting and hoping for a donor match to be found.

“Waiting for a donor is a terribly trying and draining period of time for both the patient and the patient’s family,” said Dr. Douglas Hawkins who leads the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  “Identifying a match is something entirely out of a family’s control, and all they can do is hope for the best.”

Finally, after months of anticipation, a donor was identified as a match for Maga and she was able to undergo the bone marrow transplant necessary to save her life. In the documentary, she tells Jeff, “My genes are very unique, and to find someone that matched nine out of 10 of them … it just fascinates me.”

In order for more success stories like this to unfold, a more diverse donor registry needs to be created. This will allow for more matches and subsequently more lives saved.


  • Every year, over 30,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with life threatening blood diseases like leukemia. For many patients, a bone marrow transplant is their only chance at survival. Only 30% of patients find matching donors within their families. The remaining 70% must search for an unrelated donor.²
  • The number of people who identify themselves as multiracial in the U.S. has grown from 3.9 million in 2000, the first year the census included the category, to 5.2 million in 2008.
  • About 6,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting a bone marrow match.¹
  • According to the World Donor Marrow Association, while two out of three Caucasians find a match, the chances of a patient from another ethnic background can be as low as one in four.³
  • Despite rapid improvements in marrow registries around the world, the global registry is still disproportionately represented by the U.S., U.K. and Germany — all predominantly Caucasian countries.³
  • According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 41% of the mixed-race population is under 18, meaning much of the mixed-race population is too young to donate marrow, which requires donors to be at least 18.³


  1. National Marrow Donor Program
  2. Mixed Marrow
  3. World Marrow Donor Association
  4. Seattle Children’s Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
Article Source: Seattle Children's Hospital-Published in Global Health, Patient Care.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Felony Hate Crime vs Playing Football?!

The source for this story is the Smoky Mountain News in North Carolina. A cross burning is a felony hate crime and has serious consequences in most place. This is wrong on so many levels. -Susan  

A Tuscola football player charged with a felony cross burning targeting a biracial classmate will remain on the team, at least for now.

Ben Greene, a rising junior and running back on the varsity football team, will have to sit out two games and do 25 hours of community service, according to school board policy. He can continue to practice and train with the team and is free to take the field again after sitting out the requisite number of games.“We are following our policy exactly,” said Haywood County Schools Superintendent Anne Garrett.
While Garrett can’t talk about specific disciplinary action taken against individual students, she could discuss in generic terms what the school board’s policy is.

In particular, school policy says that student athletes charged with a crime have to sit out 20 percent of the games in a season and do 25 hours of community service but can continue practicing and training. If it’s a student’s second offense, they have to sit out a whole season and can’t practice with their team. On the third strike, they are permanently barred from playing on any school sports team.

Garret said the school has received a few phone calls from the public expressing concern over the football player remaining on the team after news of the charges came out in the past week.
“Schools would have an obligation to take this seriously,” said Janine Murphy, assistant legal counsel for the North Carolina School Boards Association. “You might disagree with whether it is enough games or not enough games, but at least they are taking a stand that this is not acceptable conduct for someone representing our school.”

Therein lies the conundrum: was it an ignorant, albeit mean-spirited, stunt? Or did the perpetrators realize the gravity of what they were doing?

Regardless, “The unintended consequences can be very powerful and very damaging,” said Mary McGlaufin, a member of a discussion and advocacy group in Haywood County called Changemakers for Racial Understanding. “When something happens, like a cross burning, in a community, it tears the fabric of the whole community. It is a form of domestic terrorism.”
While the Civil Rights era may seem like ancient history to today’s teens, they surely would realize that cross-burning is not in the same vein as graffiti or rolling someone’s yard with toilet paper, Murphy said.

“It is clearly something that is done to intimidate,” Murphy said. “The Supreme Court has determined this is a true threat, with intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, not just trash talk.”

Bullying and harassment in school settings — and the severe and lasting emotional scarring it can inflict on victims — has been in the national spotlight in recent years. It can’t be easy for the student targeted by a weekend cross-burning to come back to school the following Monday.
“Does it take away her feeling of acceptance in the community?” Murphy posed.

That’s certainly not something that escapes Garrett. Garrett is the author of a book Bullying in American Schools. The book defines bullying as a form of violence among children, one that can begin with put-downs and teasing but has the dangerous capactiy to escalate and sets the stage for a lifetime of rule-breaking and antisocial behavior.

“Such violence has become one of the most serious problems in America today, and both bullies and their victims need help,” according to the publisher’s synopsis of Garrett’s book, which came out in 2003.

The Changemakers for Racial Understanding, a group that has been meeting for a year to discuss strategies for dismantling racism, hopes to work with the school system.“Certainly from the administration there is a desire to make sure there is a zero tolerance. We as a group want to be a back up that says we as a community support that,” McGlaufin said. If a student is convicted of a felony, other policies would kick in. But for now, the school board is beholden to follow the policy on its books, Garrett said.

“There is a big difference between charged and being convicted,” Garrett said.
The Haywood County School Board policy doesn’t take into account the severity of the crime a student is charged with. Under the current policy, a student athlete charged with underage drinking theoretically would have the same punishment as a student charged with murder.
Garrett said that is something the school board may chose to revisit and reconsider going forward.

The policy currently on the books was revised in the fall of 2011 and matches that recommended by the N.C. High School Athletics Association and the N.C. Association of School Boards, Garrett said Previously, Tuscola and Pisgah high schools weren’t handling infractions by student athletes consistently. Repercussions could even vary from coach to coach, who may have decided on a case-by-case basis whether to make a particular student run 10 miles or sit out a couple of games depending on what they did.

“We wanted the two high schools to be consistent,” Garrett said of the policy revision in 2011. “We are grateful we had a board that was proactive in looking at it.”

Schools ultimately have a lot of latitude in deciding whether to kick student athletes off a team. Playing sports is a privilege, not an entitlement. Students have to have minimum GPAs and attendance records, for example. Principals do have discretion to bar a student from playing for their conduct.

“Generally the rule for athletes is you represent the school, and therefore, you are held to a higher standard as a representative of the school,” said Murphy. “You can’t anticipate every possible misbehavior, so you have to have some leeway to deal with specific incidents.”

News for Multiracial Kids! Multiracial Advocacy

PROJECT RACE KIDS FOR MULTIRACIAL CHILDREN AGES 8 TO 12 HAS LAUNCHED! You can view the video of our great party at:  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Multiracial by the numbers? The Multiracial Advocacy

Multiracial by the Numbers?

Every Friday, C-Span runs a segment called “America by the Numbers.” It’s a way for government agencies to show the public that their statisticians are hard at work, bringing us the latest, truest, most reliable data.

I watched the July 13 segment. How interesting!  Two government people (a health statistics agency director and a “senior scholar”) discussed a new report on Children’s Well-Being, the result of 22 federal agencies’ work. Wow. Oh, wait a minute.

They were explaining a new study on Children’s Well-Being. But something was very wrong. Whenever they showed a slide or talked about a children’s health issue, every race appeared accounted for EXCEPT multiracial children. How could that be? They used Census data, which accounted for “two or more race people,” yet somehow they lost us. These are some of the things they talked about while citing and used racial statistics:
  • Teen Birth Rate
  • Obesity in Children
  • Issues of General Disparity in Health and Health Statistics
  • Smoking
  • Second Hand Smoke
  • Low Birth Rates
  • Emotional and Behavioral problems
  • Achievement gaps
  • Health Insurance and on and on….

Important issues! I still could not believe that they collected the data but then dropped multiracial people OUT, so I went to the website to read the actual report. I wish I had not done that. The introduction was written by Katherine Wallman, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Wallman never did get the “multiracial thing.” My young son, Ryan, and I had a meeting with Wallman in the early 1990s. When we walked into her office, she said, “Hi! My son has one parent who is Jewish and one who is Catholic and we celebrate Hanukah and Christmas, so we understand!” Oh boy. She sent one of her aides to get “packs for Ryan.”   

We tried to make her understand that race is not the same thing as religion. Forms in the United States do not ask people to report their religion, and certainly not to make a choice between their mother and their father. She could not get it, but an aide came back with two packages of M&M’s with the White House imprint. When Ryan and I got into the elevator to leave, he turned to me and said, “Mom, it looks like all we came away with is some M&M’s.” He was right. He was 10-years-old.

I looked at the report online and sure enough, they had gathered multiracial data, but then dropped it on every statistical report. They even had a chart of deaths with all races accounted for, but not our group. A government statistician might declare from that information that multiracial people don’t die! Sorry, but we have to be realistic.

I expect that they will say that the multiracial numbers were insignificant, but they are actually higher than American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations that DO appear in the data!

There is no doubt that health disparities exist. There is no doubt that multiracial children exist. There is no doubt that multiracial children have been totally disregarded in studies of well-being among all racial and ethnic groups.

Aren’t you mad enough to take action yet?!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Memo to Census Bureau

Memo to Census Bureau: The answers you get depend on the questions you ask.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT! Multiracial Advocacy News!


We are very pleased to announce the launch of Project RACE Kids with President Karson Baldwin! We will dearly miss Project RACE Teens current President, Kendall Baldwin, and wish her the best as she leaves us to attend Harvard. We are equally as excited about the new Teens President, Olivia Mukendi!

Launch parties are taking place on the East Coast and the West Coast today--so let's get started and check here soon and often for more news!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Multiracial Tissue Typing

Did you know?

Tissue typing for cord blood follows ethnic and racial background. Cord blood donations can be particularly important for patients from minority groups who need a transplant but often have a difficult time finding a bone marrow match. White adult patients have a 60 percent chance of finding an unrelated match among potential bone marrow donors, compared to a 5 percent to 15 percent chance among some minority groups.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Announcing Project RACE Kids!

Announcing Project RACE Kids!

Project RACE Kids is almost ready to go! The official launch is July 15, 2012. We have a surprise for you! Karson Baldwin has been named president of Project RACE Kids. Karson and his mother, Kelly, will be on Mixed Race Radio at WEDNESDAY, JULY 11th at noon until 12:45 EST. Below is Karson’s very professional bio:

Karson Baldwin has grown up with Project RACE (his oldest sister became President of Teen Project RACE when Karson was just 4 years old) and starting PR Kids was his great idea! “I wanted to be a part of Project RACE Teens, but I’m not a teen yet. So, I asked if we could start an organization and website for all us multiracial kids,” he said. Karson is a great student and loves to research all kinds of things. He has worked as an actor and model appearing in catalogs, commercials, movies and t.v. shows. He plays basketball every day and is a NBA and NCAA hoops fanatic. One of his proudest moments came earlier this year when he shot the game winning buzzer beater from half court!

We are very excited about Karson and Project RACE Kids! Kids ages 8 to 12 now have a safe place to talk about everything multiracial! Join us.

Multiracial Youth and Peer Pressure - The Multiracial Advocacy

Multiracial youths show similar vulnerability to peer pressure as whites

Researchers who studied a large sample of middle- and high-school students in Washington state found that mixed-race adolescents are more similar to their white counterparts than previously believed.

Experts have thought that multiracial adolescents, the fastest growing youth group in the United States, use drugs and engage in violence more than their single-race peers. Racial discrimination and greater vulnerability to peer pressure have been blamed for these problems, due to the belief that as mixed-race youngsters struggle to fit in they become more likely to fall in with bad crowds.

Multiracial youth in the new study, by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Chicago, reported fewer behavioral problems than seen in previous studies. The findings are published in the July issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
Youth who reported greater use of alcohol and instances of violent fights also reported having friends with similar problem behaviors. But when asked how likely they would be to cave to peer pressure, multi- and single-race participants did not differ.

Family background, including income level and parental marital status, also had a role. Multiracial youths who reported higher rates of problem behaviors were more likely to come from poor families.

"People usually portray multiracial children as facing greater challenges growing up than single-race children," said Yoonsun Choi, lead author and associate professor at the UChicago's School of Social Service Administration.

"What we're finding is that they do have an increased risk for problems with drugs and violence, but those problems aren't as extensive as what has been found before. Maybe there's a trend going on, where problems are declining for multiracial youth," she said.

The study suggests that prevention programs aimed to reduce the negative influences of peers will likely have a universal effect across adolescents.

"We consistently find a strong connection between negative social influences of peers and problem behaviors," said co-author Todd Herrenkohl, professor in UW's School of Social Work. "Intervention programs need to recognize the strong social and environmental influences that reinforce those behaviors."

About 1,800 seventh and ninth graders attending public and private schools completed a survey twice – one year apart – that included questions about violence, yielding to peer pressure, drug use, and whether their friends used drugs.

For alcohol use, for instance, 55 percent of multiracial youths compared with 47 percent of whites indicated that they had tried alcohol during the first year that they completed the survey.
At that same time-point, 11 percent of multiracial youths compared with 5 percent of white youths reported violent behavior, measured by a question about whether participants had ever beat up anyone so badly that the person had to see a doctor or nurse.

The participants comprised an even mix of boys and girls at different socioeconomic levels. About 13 percent of the students were from various multiracial backgrounds, including Latino and white, Native American and white, Asian-American and white, and others. Of the single-race students, most – 71 percent – were white. The rest of the single-race participants were Latino or Asian-American. Native Americans and African-Americans were left out because too few were in the sample.

The survey is part of the International Youth Development Study, which investigates predictors of alcohol use and other behavior problems and is led by UW's Social Development Research Group.
Richard Catalano, co-author and director of the UW's Social Development Research Group, leads the larger study. Other co-authors of the new paper are Michael He of the University of Chicago and John Toumbourou of Deakin University in Australia.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded the newly published study, with additional funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.
Source: University of Washington

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unhealthy Multiracial Politics and Sick Children

Sick Children and Unhealthy Multiracial Politics

Project RACE began in Atlanta 22 years ago and the worst part of the day-to-day work comes with the realization that some very unhealthy politics are going on with sick children. I reached my limit today when I realized the politics crosses not only racial and ethnic lines, but in ways we never imagined.

A meaningful explanation means a look back. In the 1990s, we became aware of children suffering and dying with diseases of the blood such as leukemia. A well-known baseball player, Rod Carew, had three daughters and one of them, Michelle, was very sick. Rod was black, specifically of Panamanian descent and his wife was white, specifically of Polish and Jewish heritage. Their three daughters were multiracial.

A person who has a blood-related illness, such as cancer of the blood, lymphoma, or sickle cell anemia and who does not respond to treatments like chemotherapy,  must have a bone marrow transplant to survive, or utilize cord blood, which is normally discarded after childbirth. In the 1990s, cord blood was just becoming a viable option. To find a donor of Michelle’s specific combined background would not be easy. The usual first attempt is to find a donor who is  related to the patient. Michelle’s two sisters were found to be ideal matches for each other, but neither matched their sister. Strike one for Michelle. A search for an unrelated donor began.

We knew little at Project RACE about donor matching at the time. Always an advocate, I spoke with people who did know and was directed to call UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing. UNOS is by its own definition “the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation's organ transplant system under contract with the federal government.” They handle the database that manages all types of organ donation: hearts, lungs, bone marrow, tissue, livers, etc.

Of all donations, bone marrow is the only one that crosses racial and ethnic lines. In other words, you can get a kidney, blood transfusion, and other organs from anyone who matches the usual criteria, but for bone marrow, you must have a racial and ethnic match. The exact medical explanation is simple and I try to stay out of technical discussions of HLA (human leukocyte antigen) tissue typing and science. Yes, on a conscious, emotional level, we are all the same, yet there is a genetically undeniable difference when it comes to marrow matching.

Close contact between UNOS and the multiracial community should be important. However, we were not well-received by them. They would not even help us by allowing multiracial people to check a multiracial box on their donor forms. I did not understand it at the time, but the directors of UNOS told us they did not wish to deal with our specific community and we were shut out. Strike two for Michelle.

We thought if we held our own bone marrow donor drives and put the results into the UNOS database, all would be well. We found out that it’s not easy to just hold a donor drive. You must get trained medical personnel, a venue to hold it, sanitary conditions, and lots and lots of paperwork. It all would take time and Michelle’s body did not have the time. Strike three. Michelle died.

We held 17 bone marrow donor drives throughout the United States in one year. There is no telling how many lives we helped save, if any. We do know that we enlarged the pool of multiracial donors. UNOS still shut us out. Never-the-less, we continued.

Then, in the early 2000s, things began to change. We stopped hearing about UNOS and began hearing about an organization called “Be the Match,” which someone told us was a part of UNOS. Be the Match seemed more willing to work with us. Meanwhile, UNOS still refused to work with us or answer any questions. It turned out that “Be the Match” was a part of NMDP, the National Marrow Donor Program, not UNOS. NMDP claims to be the global leader in the world of donor politics.

We are not investigative journalists at Project RACE and all that really mattered to us then, as now, is that multiracial children are being best served by the medical community and as many lives as possible are saved. We held bone marrow donor drives with organizations like The American Red Cross and City of Hope, and Community Blood Banks. We do what we can.

Then in 2009, a little girl by the name of Shannon Tavarez became very ill. Her story received national attention because she played the role of Nala in The Lion King on Broadway. We were asked by a friend of the family to help find a donor. Enter yet another transplant organization, DKMS in New York. When I called them to offer help, they informed me that they were “in charge” of Shannon’s donor search and they would be the ones to help. The upper management people I spoke to at DKMS informed me that they were exclusive representatives for Shannon, appointed as such by her family. I was shocked and started to wonder why any potential life-saving help would be turned away. It didn’t make any sense.

DKMS bills itself as “the world’s largest bone marrow donor center.” We did some checking and found out they are based in Germany. They also state in the fine print that if you register and donate through them, you are added to the NMDP registry, which is basically Be the Match. But, Be the Match carefully makes it clear that they are not affiliated with DKMS. All of this is very unclear. Shannon’s mother’s heritage was African American, and her father was Hispanic, from the Dominican Republic. A cord blood donation was found, the transplant was successful, but Shannon died on November 1, 2010 from other complications. She was 11 years old.

The worst part of my job as executive director of Project RACE is hearing that a child has died. The business of saving lives and the apparent politics that have developed with organizations wanting exclusive rights to any child’s life is just wrong. Every time a new search is started, we begin the fight all over again. Every time, I wonder about the politics and tell myself it can’t continue.

At one point, I tried to understand why organizations like Be the Match don’t go to the place of birth as the starting point for a possible donor, especially if it would be another country. Why didn’t they try to have donor drives in the Dominican Republic for Shannon? Answers were hard to come by and included that most third world countries don’t have sanitary conditions that would allow for the necessary cheek-swabs. Language barriers and international politics also came to the forefront.

So what about DKMS, a German organization? Someone finally told me that Germany has the highest percentage of registered potential bone marrow donors than any other country. Why? Apparently, children are very well educated in Germany about the importance of signing up as donors. The schools teach the basic principals and reasons for them to become donors. I have been told that when German schoolchildren turn 18, they register to become donors on their birthdays, much the same as American children getting their drivers’ license! Why are we not following the German model?

Today I read about a 12 year old Vietnamese boy who lives in Georgia, not far from where Project RACE started. Noah has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was adopted by a white family, so it is known that a match won’t come from his adoptive family. I decided that even though Noah is not known to be multiracial, maybe we could help just by virtue of the fact that we have national members in locations where there could be large Vietnamese populations.

I’m a pretty good researcher, but after several hours, I could not find any contact information for this boy or his family. I sent an email to every email address in every article I could find to try to reach Noah’s family. Yet, every single time, the email came back as undeliverable.. Perhaps the family became leery of organizations that tried to contact them. Maybe they were told that an “exclusive” arrangement was best for Noah. I honestly have no idea. I only know that unhealthy politics must stop.

Susan Graham for Project RACE

Friday, July 6, 2012

Multiracial Students Ignored by National Education Association (NEA)

Multiracial Students ignored by National Education Association (NEA)  

National Education Association's John Stocks delivered his first speech as executive director of the nation's largest professional organization yesterday. He called the members "social justice patriots."

Stocks honored the members for the "glorious diversity" of the NEA. He commented extensively on the how the progressive educators and members of the NEA helped with social justice for the following groups:
African American Children
Native American Children
Japanese-American Children
Children with Discabilities
Spanish-Speaking Children
Same-sex couples
Children in Poverty
Homeless Children
Foster Children 
Muslim Children and Adults

There was no mention of multiracial children. During the long speech Mr. Stocks said "Be the activists for social justice and equal opportunity in America!" Calls to the NEA have not been returned.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What about us? Part One.

 The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What about us? Part One.

The following story is another example of the types of research being done for racial and ethnic groups other than multiracial. Dawn Mackety , the director of research and policy that conducted the study admits, “The students knowing themselves is so important to doing well in school,” Educators should note the same is true for multiracial students, as well, yet these kinds of studies are not being funded or conducted for the multiracial student population, which is larger than the Native American population.

NAEP Scores Still Stalled for Native American Students

In a year of growth for many student groups on national tests, students of American Indian and Alaskan native descent are in an academic rut, according to a new study of the National Assessment of Education Progress.

But the study also identifies progress for those students in Oklahoma and a few other states that researchers say may point to ways states can better support students of Native Alaskan or American Indian heritage.

Achievement gaps on the test dubbed the “Nation’s Report Card” have remained stagnant for Native American students in reading since 2005, and in mathematics they have actually increased, according to the 2011 National Indian Education Study, released this morning by the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP. American Indian and Alaskan native students make up about 1 percent of all American students.

A 10-point increase on the NAEP is equal to about one grade level of improvement, and the study found Native American 4th graders trail two grade levels behind non-Indian peers on average reading scores, 202 scale-score points versus 221, and one grade behind their peers in 8th grade, 252 versus 265. A majority of 4th grade Indian students performed below the basic achievement level in that subject. They would not be able, for example, to recognize conversation directly stated in a story or use a character’s statement to interpret a character trait.

In 8th grade, 61 percent of Native American students performed at the basic or proficient level, meaning they could recognize an essay narrator’s motivation or describe the main purpose of an information article, but on average could not form an opinion about the central issue in a persuasive essay.

Growing Gaps

In mathematics, the achievement gap between American Indian and other students has become more pronounced since 2005. The math gap has grown by roughly half an academic year’s progress from 2005 to 2011: For 4th graders, the gap increased from 12 to 16 scale-score points on average, and for 8th graders it grew from 15 to 19 points on average during that time. Two-thirds of American Indian students performed at or above basic achievement in 2011, meaning they could find the difference between two four-digit numbers but on average could not put fractions with different denominators in order from largest to smallest. Of 8th grade Native American students, more than half also performed at the basic level. On average, these students could identify congruent angles on a triangle, but likely could not convert different units to solve a problem.

Dawn Mackety, the director of research, data, and policy for the Washington-based National Indian Education Association, said she wasn’t surprised at the findings, but added there are some signs of improvement. Bureau of Indian Education schools, for example, have improved 8th grade reading scores from 228 to 234 since 2007. “We’re always happy when we see any kind of positive thing,” she said. “It’s not all negative across the board; there are some successes out there.”

Achievement Gaps
The overall trends for Native American students are at odds with other recent NAEP studies, which have found black studentsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader narrowing achievement gaps with white students on the NAEP and Hispanic students increasing in achievement while holding gaps steady. NCES Commissioner Sean P. “Jack” Buckley said there aren’t any statistics that point to a particular reason American Indian and Alaskan Native students should be so far behind their peers.
The study did, however, note that a majority of American Indian and Alaskan native students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, considered a mark of low family income. In Bureau of Indian Education schools and district schools with a high concentration of Native American students, the percentage of students identified as low-income exceeded 80 percent in 4th grade and ranged to as high as 90 percent in 8th grade in 2011.

A majority of the students also attended rural schools, which may have fewer resources to support the needs of special student groups. The study found schools with low concentrations of Native American students tended to have better-performing students in those groups, but variations in individual states’ Native population concentrations did not necessarily mean better or worse achievement for their students.

Ms. Mackety noted that schools with high concentrations of Native students are more likely to be in areas of high poverty, fewer out-of-school resources, and lower teacher salaries. Even so, she and other researchers have also found that these schools are more likely to have other characteristics shown to support American Indian students’ learning: “The higher the population of native students, the more likely it is they are getting some sort of language and culture instruction in the classroom and teachers who are from the native community,” she said.

Oklahoma Bucks Trend

Performance varied widely among the dozen states with individual reports in the study. A handful of states exceeded the national average in limited areas. Minnesota’s American Indian students outperformed the nation in 4th grade mathematics and 8th grade reading. In Oregon, such students outperformed the national average in reading at both grades. Also in reading, North Dakota’s American Indian students surpassed their national peers, on average, in 4th grade and Montana’s did so in 8th grade.

Yet Oklahoma was the only state in which Native American students outperformed the national average in both grades in reading and math.

Nearly four out of five American Indian 4th graders in the Sooner State met at least the basic benchmark in math, and 59 percent did so in reading. That’s compared with 67 percent of American Indian 4th graders who achieved at least at the basic level in mathematics and 47 percent in reading.

Similarly, Oklahoma, where average scores have grown significantly, from 267 in 2005 to 272 in 2011, was the only state above the national average for American Indian students on 8th grade mathematics.

“This is not new for Oklahoma. If we look back at previous years, Oklahoma has for several years been an outlier,” Mr. Buckley said in a phone briefing with reporters on Tuesday. “That suggests to a policymaker that maybe there’s something they should take a look at, but nothing has jumped out as to how the state has cracked the code,” he said.

Since the first National Indian Education Study was released in 2005, Ms. Mackety said, “I think there have been intensive efforts to work with Native American students, to get them more engaged with school, to involve them in the school culture and improve attendance.”
For example, more school districts now work with students to make up work missed during culturally related absences, such as seasonal activities or the ceremonies related to the death of a loved one, each of which may take several days.

“More schools are aware of activities that may pull students out of school and some of them are able to work with the tribes to help the students make up the work,” she said. “These are not just students skipping to skip; these are students skipping for a valid cultural purpose.”

Cultural Knowledge Lost

This is the fourth special report since 2005 on American Indian and Alaskan Native students attending public, private, Bureau of Indian Education, and Department of Defense schools throughout the country. Because these students make up a small sliver of total school enrollment, regular NAEP assessments typically only have national samples. For the 2011 special study, federal researchers tested about 10,900 4th grade and 8,300 8th grade students from 12 states in reading or mathematics. The study did not include high school students.
The researchers also surveyed 10,200 4th graders, 10,300 8th graders, 7,600 teachers, and nearly 4,000 school administrators about instructional practices and the ways that schools connect students to their native cultures.

A majority of American Indian and Alaskan native 4th graders reported having “some” or “a lot” of knowledge about their own tribe’s history, traditions and culture, an increase from when the question was first posed in 2009. However, 8th grade students reported no increase in cultural knowledge, and fewer reported knowing “a lot” about issues important to their tribes, 14 percent compared to 16 percent in 2009. Students in Bureau of Indian Education schools were significantly more likely to know about their tribe’s history, traditions and important issues than students in district-run schools.

Some states have also begun working to shore up students’ cultural knowledge. Montana, for example, has developed an “Indian Education for All” curriculum to teach tribal history and culture to all elementary and secondary students in the state.

“The students knowing themselves is so important to doing well in school,” Ms. Mackety said.

Source: Published Online: July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Multiracial Kids are merely Data in our Schools!

Multiracial kid are Data!
Comment of the Day
Doesn't anyone shudder at the way our children have become 'data'?

Source: EDWEEK Updte: July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Multiracial Advocacy Census Facts

Multiracial Advocacy FACTS About the US Census

The very first United States census was conducted in 1790. The population of the country was 3,900,00. In 2010, it surpassed 308,000,000. In 1790 650 Census Takers were employed by the Census Bureau. That number grew to 650,000 in 2010.