So…what are you? The notorious mixie question… I am read as being anything from Southern European to East Indian to North African and back again. However, most infer that I am either “Middle Eastern”, a group that is in fact quite ethnically diverse, or the all-encompassing “Spanish” (usually referring to South American), which is another historically mixed group. Due to the historical-social-political nature of identity, “what are you” is not an easy (nor at times appropriate) question to answer, however here is what I understand about my heritage: my father is from Jamaica and is of (presumably) West African & Sephardi Jewish decent and identifies as “brown” in the Jamaican sense (ie mixed). My mother identifies as Irish Canadian but also acknowledges her Italian and English heritages. Having said all that, I currently identify as Black mixed.
I grew up in rural Ontario, Canada with very few people of colour, let alone mixed people to relate to, and even less of a vocabulary to help develop a framework of what exactly it means to be “mixed-race” in this country. I often felt isolated and insecure as I tried to understand the racialization that I experienced in my very homogeneous environment. However, it was equally difficult when I later was immersed into a more diverse setting, which totally took me by surprise. As an adult, this continues to be a subject I spend a lot of time thinking about and I believe that it will be a life-long journey. I intend to share what I learn along the way here with the hopes of providing support for others who are also interested in investigating their identity. I am also 1/3rd of the 3MW Collective and a huge fan of decolonization.
I have always dreamed of creating a space where mixed people from across Canada could come together and form a community. Unlike other groups who may appear to have more evident identifying markers, it’s not always easy to find one another, as we come in every colour of the human rainbow. Additionally, Canada is a very big country with a mixed-identified population that is growing exponentially and thus ought to have a voice. Having said that, Canada is generally not comfortable with talking about race, so I hoped that it could potentially provide a catalyst to highlight the experiences of people of colour/ Indigenous groups. Along those lines, I feel that it’s important for me to acknowledge the privileges that I experience by having been born in Canada with light skin, an able-body, identifying as straight/cis, and speaking English (more on mixed privilege). For these reasons, it is my desire & intention to leverage these privileges to help create an inclusive platform for all mixed-identified people. So, whether you are thriving, developing, or struggling with your mixed identity, I hope that Canadian mixed people of all kinds can find a home here.
Past interviews & speaking engagements:
- Jul 20, 2011: Interview on CJMQ 88.9 FM
- Jul 20, 2011: Interview in The Record
- Sep 7, 2011: Hip, Hapa, Palooza!!, Watermelon Sushi World
- Mar 11, 2012: 100% Mixed Show (see below)
- Mar 17, 2012: Mixed Up Mixed Up, CIUT Radio Panel
- Mar 20, 2012: Spaces of Multiraciality: Critical Mixed Race Theory, University of Toronto
- Apr 26, 2012: Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program, Ontario Public Services
- Jun 4, 2012: Girls Club, Westcreek Public School
- Jun 8, 2012: Defining Moments Toronto opening (video)
- Jun 22, 2012: Serving ‘Realness’: A Dialogue on Privilege & Passing with The People Project
- Aug 24, 2012: Questioning Being Black and White in Canada, Canadian Dimensions
- Jan 31, 2013: National Projections panel on Canadian identity
- Feb 1, 2013: CBC Radio 1 (99.1 Toronto) Here & Now interview
- Feb 12, 2013: Jenny Donkey “Faces in Between: A 3MW Collective Exhibition“
- Feb 12, 2013: Toronto Life “Mixie Me“
- Feb 14, 2013: Carruther’s Creek Public School
- Feb 26, 2013: Spaces of Multiraciality: Critical Mixed Race Theory, University of Toronto
- Mar 4, 2013: Interview on Rogers TV Toronto “daytime”
- Mar 9, 2013: “Black Exoticism: The Fetishization of the Black Female Body” panel at the Feminist Art Conference
- Mar 21, 2013: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “Citizenship & Canadian Identity” Lincoln Alexander Public School
- Apr 2, 2013: CHRY 105.5fm re 3MW Collective & the mixed experience in Canada.