Archives for : Multicultural Families

Yo, Is That Colorist?: Australian Newscaster Praises Light Skin Twin

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

Lucy and Maria, more than just colors.

Lucy and Maria, more than just colors.

I think you all know I’m working on a book called Same Family, Different Colors where I’m looking at skin color variations in nuclear families and how those skin color differences affect family dynamics. Often times I’m hearing stories about minute variations between brown and browner, but every now and again there are extreme skin color differences that are impossible to ignore, both inside and outside the home.

Recently, a set of twins in the UK have made headlines because one twin has brown skin, brown curly hair and for all intents and purposes presents as Black. Her twin sister, on the other hand, is very pale with red hair and presents as White. While it is never okay to make anyone feel like a circus side show, it would be naive to suggest that the way the DNA was at play in these two girls is anything less than amazing. And as such, they’ve been in the news a lot lately, not to mention all over Facebook and other forms of social media.

Most recently however, they appeared on an Australian news program and the host made what seemed to be a remark that implied that the lighter twin was the lucky one. You can watch the video clip here and read more about the ensuing outrage.

What do you think dear readers? Was news host Samantha Armytage out of line? Was she being racist or colorist? Maybe she’s just stupid and insensitive? Or perhaps all of the above? Will we ever know? Do we even care? What I care about is that sisters, Maria and Lucy, get out of the spotlight and go on and live their lives in peace. Of course, I’d also like to talk to their parents for my book. I’m sure they have many stories to tell. But of course, I’ll be good and leave them alone. Funny thing is, the UK is chock full of Black/White twins so there’s probably somebody who’d like to talk to me. And more than likely, another set of twins will be born there soon enough supplanting Maria and Lucy’s fame, allowing them to happily become yesterday’s news.


#LinkLove: Fresh, Hot and Tasty New Meltingpot Links

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Mater Mea is one of the new links over there on the blogroll. Trust me, it's worth the click.

Mater Mea is one of the new links over there on the blogroll. Trust me, it’s worth the click.

Please notice over there on the right, that I’ve added some new links to my “Tastes Like the Meltingpot” blogroll; HapaMama, Mater Mea, and Multiracial Sky. These are websites/blogs I love and I’m sure you will too. I’m always trying to keep it fresh for my loyal (and new) readers who, like me, are always looking for new voices and new resources on the multiculti/ pop culture/ parenting beat. So, take a look and enjoy the new offerings. And please note, that while Afro-Viking author, Heidi Durrow’s blog, Light-Skinned-ed Girl isn’t new, she’s just come back to regular blogging after a prolonged break. I’m excited to hear from her again.

And, one more link before I go; check out this 2012 story in the Washington Post about the almost extinct Punjabi-Sikh-Mexican American community in the Southwest United States. I know, what? Yes, there once was a thriving East Indian-Mexican American community in states like California and Arizona that are only now getting attention as they face extinction. Think chicken curry enchiladas and let your imagination run wild. Yum and Yummy! By the way, before this community fades into extinction, there is a kickstarter campaign meant to preserve the culture through dance. Yep, the story of the Punjabi-Mexican community has been recreated in a show called “Half and Halves: A Dance Exploration of the Punjabi-Mexican Communities of California.” I can’t make this stuff up. America’s meltingpot is just this delicious.


My Cup Runneth Over …with Books!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I am so lucky to be on the mailing list of some great publishers. Look what books showed up on my doorstep last week. Thank you Beacon Press and Algonquin!

On My TBR list

On My TBR list

That’s Prison Baby by Deborah Jiang Stein and My Accidental Jihad by Krista Bremer. Prison Baby I know is going to make me cry and cheer as Stein recounts her coming-of-age tale as a multiracial adoptee who discovered she was born in a prison to a drug-addicted mother. And My Accidental Jihad tickles all of my multicultural romance fantasies as it’s the story of a White American woman who falls in love with and marries a devout Muslim from a tiny fishing village in Libya.

I’ve just started My Accidental Jihad. I’ll let you know how it goes. What are you reading these days?


Asian Baby Dolls: Where Are They?

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Where has she been hiding?

Where has she been hiding?

Consider this an open thread. In other words, I don’t have any answers, but I’d love to hear what you have to say on this subject. So, now that I have my very own babygirl, I’ve started paying attention to dolls again. As a child, I loved my baby dolls and stuffed animals, but with two sons, my doll obsession went dormant and was replaced with an affection for cool cars, trains and Lego’s.

Of course, babygirl seems equally smitten with cool cars, trains and Lego’s because of the influence of her older brothers, but still, I imagine the day when I’ll go to a toy store and she’ll want me to buy her a doll. And I will comply because, as I just mentioned, I love dolls. So, I’ve been scoping out the options and I find myself wondering do I get babygirl a Black baby doll because that’s what I grew up with and that’s how I see my daughter, even though she is still as white as snow, or do I look for a doll with ambiguous racial features that somewhat mirror her own? Sadly, the decision may not be mine to make as I’ve come to discover that if the doll isn’t Black or White, there are very little in-between options on the store shelves.

And dear readers, I was about to get indignant for all of us moms of Mixie kids because I couldn’t find a doll that looks even a little bit like my child. But then I saw an Asian woman in a store with her daughter carrying a White baby doll with blonde hair and big blue eyes and I smacked myself. Here I am complaining about not being able to find the right shade of beige baby for my kid, when the last time I checked at the typical toy stores, I didn’t see a single Asian baby doll. And I’m not talking about a “sit on the shelf” collectible. I just mean a nice baby doll with Asian features.

Is there an online resource that sells “ethnic” baby dolls? Is there a growth market here? How do you instill positive self-esteem in a young child of color if you give her a White baby to see herself in? I worry about this stuff. What about you?

Chime in and let me know what you think. I’m listening.


Nothing Says ‘Spanish Thanksgiving’ Like Pumpkin Flan!

Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Flan. Will Mine Look This Good?

Hola Meltingpot Readers,

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Thanksgiving. I mean what’s not to like? It’s all about food and family, two of my favorite things in life. And ever since we moved to Philadelphia, Ms. Meltingpot always hosts the family feast. That doesn’t mean I cook the whole entire meal, but for the last five years, I’ve made the turkey. My cousin is a trained chef, and between the two of us, we create Thanksgiving dinner.

Every year we try to introduce a new dish. This year I’m going to try to make the sausage and three-pepper stuffing that was featured in last week’s New York Times magazine. And my cousin is making the turkey, so I’m going to grill a giant fish. I think. I’m a little freaked out about it, but I already promised and made a big deal about it, so I’m forging ahead with that. Wish me luck. Another tradition we have is that everyone has to make something for the feast. My boys will be making cranberry sauce. El esposo is working with me on the fish and will probably make his homemade mayonnaise (it’s a Spanish thing, to eat fish with mayo.) And then even though my cousin is baking pies and cakes, I wanted to create a naturally gluten-free dessert that had both Spanish and American qualities. My older son suggested flan, and then I thought, how about a pumpkin flan. Genius! I hurried home and found quite a few recipes for pumpkin flan, so I know I’m not crazy for thinking of it. Believe it or not, Martha Stewart’s recipe looks like the easiest out of all the recipes I came across, so that might be the one I use.

Dear readers, are any of you flan experts? Because truth be told, I’ve never made one and I’m worried about the caramel sauce and the baking in a bath of water. I’ve never baked anything in a bath. Send me your best recipes or suggestions on how to make the perfect flan and I’ll love you forever. And send me your holiday menus and make me drool, especially if you go a little meltingpot for your Thanksgiving festivities. I’m so totally listening.


Wednesday Round-Up: Multicultural Familia Gets an Update, One More Opinion About Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye’s Message About Hurricane Sandy

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I hope all of you living on the East Coast are okay post Sandy. We were very lucky here in our Kinky Gazpacho family. We survived with nothing more than a little trickle of water in our basement. My sister and brother, who also live in Philadelphia, also made it through with very little incident. But, dear readers, when I see Sandy’s destruction around the world, specifically in my former home of New York City, I am truly in shock.

Denene Millner, editor and writer, at penned this excellent post linking Marvin Gaye, hurricane Sandy and the obvious abuse of our planet. She expressed the exact same emotions I’m feeling right now. Thanks, Denene!

And even though for the last 48 hours my mind has mostly been on surviving a hurricane, I have to admit being trapped indoors for much of those 48 hours gave me plenty of time to troll around the internet. While trolling I came across an exciting announcement. The online magazine for multicultural families, Multicultural Familia got an update and an upgrade. It’s easier to read and navigate now and there’s some great new features. If you like MyAmericanMeltingpot, you’ll love Multicultural Familia and  probably find some like-minded bloggers to follow. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Finally, I know I’ve already posted about Zoe Saldana being cast to play Nina Simone in the upcoming unauthorized biopic. But after spending Saturday in Washington, DC at a conference on colorism in the Black community, I just can’t stop thinking about this. This issue of casting a lighter skinned actress, darkening her skin and making her wear a prosthetic nose, has all kinds of implications. Akiba Solomon offers her opinion on with lots of links that include pictures of Saldana in full Nina transformation.

So that’s what I got for you. What’s been keeping you engaged on the world-wide web?

I’m listening. And Happy Halloween, by the way.


Queen of Sheba and King Solomon:Interracial Romance Goes Biblical

A Depiction of Sheba and Solomon by the artist Ana Maria Pacheco. I love this!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

My mother has a close friend who loves the Lord. A lot. And she wants to ensure that friends and family enjoy a similar kind of love. As such, she worries about me and mine, given that my search for a religion I can call my own has taken me down some pretty obscure paths. So, every now and then, she sends me little gifts, like a giant blanket with the Lord’s Prayer printed on one side. Last week, she sent my children this book about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

I admit, when I saw the book, I kind of rolled my eyes and prepared to add it to my giveaway pile. But then I decided to read it, because dear readers, I can’t just give up on a book without leafing through its pages. And guess what? I loved it.

I’ve been to a lot of church services over the years and have studied many world religions, but I never knew the legend of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. In the book, the queen is portrayed as an incredibly wise, young Black woman (The kingdom of Sheba later becomes Ethiopia) with long braids and a kind heart. She travels to meet King Solomon of Israel because she has heard of his great wisdom. I’m summarizing here, but they end up having a total meeting of the minds because they’re both so smart. Then they fall in love and get married. Unfortunately, the Queen has to leave Israel and go back to Sheba to lead her people, but she manages to get pregnant before she leaves, raises their son, Menelik, alone in Sheba and when he’s of age he goes to meet and spend time with his dad in Israel. The offspring of Menelik become the Ethiopian Jews of legend.

Isn’t that an amazing story? I love the children’s versions of Biblical stories. They are so much easier to understand and appreciate. Now, I’m all excited to research more about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. They’re like the original interracial, multicultural couple with a mixed kid in a long-distance relationship. Of course, what is really known about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon is much more vague than this sanitized love story, but it is still fascinating and makes me wonder why their legend isn’t more celebrated like other biblical stories, like Noah and the Ark? Could it be because Sheba and Solomon were an interracial couple? Or because the Queen of Sheba is perceived as a wise and powerful woman of color? Note, I did find this one movie starring Vivica Fox as the Queen of Sheba, but the film is really about Solomon.

Tell me dear readers, did you know the story of Sheba and Solomon? What did you know about it? Where did you learn it? Apparently the story is told in several different religious traditions. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Well I am now.


True Confessions from Ms. Meltingpot

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Since the theme of the week is transparency and coming clean, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some things about Ms. Meltingpot that you might not know, but that you might find fascinating. Or not. This is pretty much an exercise for me to start ‘sharing’ some of my more personal information here on the Meltingpot. For your benefit, dear readers, I will try to highlight some of the more interesting aspects of my secret life.

So, without further ado, five things you didn’t know about me.

1. I secretly (although it’s not a secret anymore, since I’m sharing on the World Wide Web) want to be a stand-up comedian. When I was in high school, I seriously wanted to be a professional clown but all the make-up kind of scared me. I have since realized that what really drew me to ‘circus performance’ was making people laugh. So, I could be a stand-up comedian and make people laugh, but still get to wear my regular clothes and no make-up. My brand of comedy would be like W. Kamu Bell crossed with Elmo. I think.

2. I have really horrible stretch marks on my stomach and after three kids I also have horribly stretched out stomach muscles which makes me look three four months pregnant ALL THE TIME. And that really bothers me. But I’m working with a physical therapist now, and it’s getting better. But my stomach will never be flat and smooth again. (sigh)

3. I have epilepsy. I have never shared that with anyone publicly, but it’s really time to come out of the shadows with that one. I am amazed at how much discrimination those with epilepsy still face all over the world. (PSA coming now.) If you want to know more about this condition, check out the Epilepsy Foundation website.

4. My father and my husband have the same birthday, which means I seriously married my dad.

5. I am a middle child and an Aquarius and if you look up personality types, I am a classic example of both. I problem solve and talk too much and I have an explosive temper, but I don’t hold a grudge.

So, there you have it. Feel free to comment or confess yourself, so I don’t feel so naked.

Please and thank you!