Mixed in the Six pop-up events created to support multiracial Torontonians

Another example of multiculturalism at work:

“At our first coffee date, Haan mentioned that he has wanted to host a dinner bringing together mixed people,” says Oades, who identifies at Filipino and Canadian (her father was adopted), “It wasn’t until we ran into one another with our sisters at a concert that we all became mixed Asian best friends for life and realized that we should do this. It’s a perfect platonic marriage.”

The two got to work on a $25 ticketed event that would showcase live music by local multiracial musicians like Bray, and Charlene Dorland, while guests dined over Palcu-Chang’s fusion-style feasts.

“I think for most people, but particularly those in mixed families, food is a very important element to their stories. It’s a reference point we use to ground us, give us perspective and make us happy,” says Palcu-Chang, who identifies as Chinese-Romanian. “For me, the food element is more than just feeding people. It’s a symbol for what we are trying to do with Mixed in the Six: generosity, community, family, nourishment.”

As the former president of the Mixed Students Association of York, Oades was reunited with members she hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years. And although the 2006 census indicated that 7.1 per cent of GTA marriages were interracial (a number that is expected by Statistics Canada to grow), the sold-out dinner showed Oades that there is still a need for mixed-race spaces in Toronto.

“People have shared with us that they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at MIT6,” says Oades. “That feeling of not being, for example, ‘black enough or white enough’ seems to dissolve when you get to connect with other people who have had similar experiences as you.”

Professor G. Reginald Daniel, who edits the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies, both based out of the University of California, Santa Barbara, understands mixed-race events are naturally fun and exciting but he hopes young attendees recognize the legal, physical and psychological struggles and trauma older multiracial generations have gone through. For example, the U.S. law against interracial marriage was only outlawed in 1967.

And while MIT6 guests often cheekily gush over one another’s attractiveness (many attendees happen to work as models, actors and performers), Daniel hopes mixed-race millennials don’t get caught up in a strictly superficial multiracial discourse.

He notes how the mainstream media has latched onto the “happy hapa,” “magical mixie,” “happy hybrid,” “racial ambassador,” and “post-racial messiah” stereotypes of multiracial individuals that are dangerous because they portray “overenthusiastic images, including notions that multiracial individuals in the post-Civil rights era no longer experience any racial trauma and conflict about their identity.”

MIT6 attendees know too well that a post-racial world free of racial prejudice and discrimination does not actually exist.

“The key is to ground that enthusiasm and capture it in a way that is meaningful so you can work with other groups. So you aren’t seen as so self-centred and seem solely focused on your ‘mixie’ concerns,” Daniel stresses. “This would mean moving beyond the specific concerns of multiracial individuals and see the link with the concerns of other communities relating to anti-immigrant sentiments, Islamophobia, native American land rights, and even the concerns of women, or the LGBT community, etcetera.”

MIT6 is going beyond bringing people together for food, taking on an advocacy role, with a donation drive for Syrian refugees as well as highlighting the difficulty of those with a mixed-race background to find bone marrow transplants. Oades met 11-year-old Aaryan Dinh-Ali, who is Vietnamese and Afghani and is suffering from aplastic anemia and desperately needs a bone-marrow transplant. MIT6 invited U of T’s Stem Cell Club and Canadian Blood Services to set up a clinic at the dinner, successfully registering 17 new mixed-race donors.

Source: Mixed in the Six pop-up events created to support multiracial Torontonians | Toronto Star

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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