This discussion-based workshop is intended as a “Mixed Identity 101,” exploring participants’ sense of racial and ethnic identity while acknowledging the various ways that someone can experience being “mixed.” Topics will include the ways in which people ascribe various identities on to others, the ways in which racial identity is influenced by internal and external factors, a brief history of mixed race in America, and common myths about the mixed race experience. The workshop will open with participants discussing the first time they became aware of race, and whether this experience was a positive or negative one. Then, participants will be shown a series of photographs, and classify the individuals as Asian American or not – first based solely on physical appearance, and then again after more identifying information is provided. The results from the activity will provide the basis for a discussion of the various factors that influence an individual’s racial identity. The workshop will then focus more on mixed race individuals, from the conflicts that can arise in mixed race identity formation to the history of racial categorization in America and common myths about the mixed race experience. The goal of the workshop is to provide a safe space for participants to share their experiences, and allow them to recognize that they have the right to choose their own identity.
With the election of the first multiracial president and the ability to check more than one box on the 2000 Census, the multiracial movement in America is growing. Yet the way race and ethnicity are perceived in our society ignores the complexities of racial classifications that are exposed by the multiracial experience. Participants will explore their own sense of racial/ethnic identity, examine the issues involved in racial identity formation, learn about the history of racial categorization and mixed race in America, and focus on the unique experience of multiracial and multiethnic Asian Pacific Americans. The workshops aims to help participants realize that they have the right to choose and claim their own sense of identity.
Christine Munteanu, Ford Fellow
5415 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640