Multiracial Movement Suicide? Part 2
Now that we know from Part 1 that I never had a picture of Newt Gingrich in my home, let’s move on to my politics instead of personal attacks about my home decorating savvy. Alicia Castagno in “’Founding Mothers:’ White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1979-2000)” calls me a conservative Republican.
Oy, where do I start? I’m actually a pretty liberal Democrat—always have been except for a short time when I was a registered Libertarian; hardly a radical moment. I do admit that I vote in every election, but I’m sure Alicia does too, along with all the academics.
The plain Jane truth is that before I came along, everyone in the multiracial movement was terrified of politics, especially the men for some reason. Alicia criticizes me endlessly about not having studied enough about multiracial politics before starting Project RACE. The following are just a few of the reasons for that:
1. There wasn’t much available about multiracial politics. The groundbreaking book Who is Black? By F. James Davis was published in 1991. I called him one day and we not only had a lovely chat, but he and his wife came to visit me and my family. On a lovely evening in Atlanta, we talked into the night and the academic and I actually spoke the same language.
2. The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport was in its 25th Anniversary Edition printing by the time I founded Project RACE, but it was an important classic. Most of today’s “multiracial academics” were probably still in diapers back then.
3. Shelby Steele and Cornel West were starting to put out more mainstream books for the academics and us poor advocates who had learned to read, spent some time with those publications. Yes, the “privileged white women” read books by black men.
4. I had to make some quick choices, and the first one was whether to spend precious time reading what there was to read about the history of race relations from the time of the cavemen or learn all I could very quickly about public policy and the concerns of the interracial community. I chose to put my time where I could do the most good for the most multiracial children. I was born in Detroit and spent my formative years there; I lived in Atlanta when I started Project RACE and hung out with an Abernathy, a Portier, a King, CNN folks, and a lot of other people who were as happy to take credit as I was to give it to them. I think I had a pretty good background in race relations, civil rights, and discrimination. We at Project RACE also took crash courses in demographics, data analysis, non-profit status, law, business, government (local, state, and federal) and so much more.
5. I think my political “wins” for the multiracial community came from the fact that I was fearless. People have asked me for years how I got Senator Abernathy to champion our bill in Georgia and I still reply, “I called him on the phone, explained what was needed and he said, ‘Let’s do it.” Tada. The stories about what came about in the next THREE years that we worked that bill in Georgia will be in the book I am writing.
6. You might want to keep in mind that this was well before we were all on the Internet, and it wasn’t as easy as googling information or taking an online class. Not many of us plain folk had email, but the academics were among the first to get it, and the first to abuse the public forum.
Alicia confesses on page 10 that “I focus specifically on the group Project RACE and its founder, Susan Graham, to illustrate the ways in which Graham’s racial identity informed her political decisions.” Wow. I bet she doesn’t even know my birthday or that I’m a redhead, but she does know how I was raised, my full racial and ethnic heritage, my religion, and my deepest private political thoughts. The girl is amazing! I happen to know that Alicia is part Asian, but I don’t think that says anything about her politics. I just can’t lump people of any racial or ethnic heritage into one box and I would never even think to make such assumptions.
Honestly, the rest of this disaster of a thesis is pretty boring same old shit, just re-quoted. It isn’t even well written. It’s more genuflecting to Rainier Spencer and his favorite mouthpiece and librarian, Steve Riley. Alicia even mixes in a little Eric Hameko, which is always good for a few laughs. There are more quotes <yawn> from academics I don’t recognize, and never spoke to, but who apparently had webcams on me for 23 years.
Also keep in mind that the lofty period of time this was supposed to cover was 1979-2000. I came on the scene in 1990 and the Census Bureau/Office of Management and Budget (OMB) fiasco was pretty much a done deal by 1997. So Alicia didn’t cover 21 years, she actually tried to delve into 7 years, and never did write a word about Project RACE’s huge victories in many states and other venues. And by the way, we’re not done yet. I recently received a letter from OMB advising me of their plans for race and ethnicity up to and including the 2020 Decennial Census. Did you get yours?
My recommendation is that you skip the next 80 pages or so and go right to the absurd conclusions that start on page 99 titled, “CONCLUSION: THE THWARTED UTOPIAN POTENTIAL OF MULTIRACIAL POLITICS.” Yeah, that’s where I’ll be for Part 3, just as soon as I can get to it.