One of the best ways to keep our multiethnic agenda alive and on the table is by joining and supporting organizations that represent us. Unlike a biweekly blog with its limited reach, these specialized groups can often spotlight our particular issues and educate people en mass. In the Q&A below, one of the founders of BPA (Blended People of America)—Chris--discusses how that group nurtures and upholds our multicultural and mixed-race existences.
Q: What was the motivation for creating the BPA website?
A: BPA was founded by a group of five people. We initially created the site to fulfill a gap in informative news directed towards the mixed-race and/or multiracial, multicultural audience in the United States. Later on, we added a blogging section where everyday people can share their own experiences or discuss topics of any kind related to the mixed-race and/or multiracial, multicultural experience. This blogging section, which we now call Chameleon, serves to connect people with a more realistic approach from opinion writers throughout the community.
Q: Please share the ethnic backgrounds of your staff.
A: The main founders of the site are Jenn, Joe, Shaka, Chris and Reisling. Jenn and Shaka are both a mixture of black and white. Jenn has strong family roots in the United States with her ancestry being based here from way back in the Colonial period. Shaka's father is African American and his mother is of white German descent. Joe is Eurasian (white and Asian mix) with roots from here as well as in China. Reisling is blasian (black and Asian mix) with strong cultural roots here, but also elsewhere. Her father is of Caribbean descent while her mother is of Chinese/Mongolian descent. Chris is a tri-racial mix of white, Asian, and black with roots not only here but also that of the Caribbean, Philippines, China, England, Spain and Scotland.
Q: What have you discovered about your contributors and readers that has really surprised you, disappointed you, or moved you in some way?
A: I'm sure your readers are accustomed to reading about surprises. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case for us. When we created the site, we knew there could be reactions of all sorts due to the nature of it. After all, topics centering on mixed-race matters are still considered somewhat sensitive by the general public. With that said, we've received all sorts of reactions from our readers and contributors--some more "elegant" than others. Overall, the reaction to the site since we launched in late 2009 has been fantastic. We continue to make gains in our readers, traffic, and overall support. There isn't anything like having an email forwarded to you from a high school freshman thanking your organization for creating a website that not only informs and allows people of mixed races and multicultural backgrounds to interact, but is also there to support and enrich their own personal experience.
Q: Your site says "...of America", but it appears you have a broader audience. Are mixed-race issues fundamentally different or the same worldwide?
A: Though there are similarities globally, ultimately mixed-race issues are unique in each country. Of course, some countries are more similar than others in the issues they face. Take for example, the United States and the U.K. In this example, it's no surprise that BPA gets a lot of contributors and readers from the U.K. On the other hand, there are many cases where situations are very different--the U.S. and Brazil, for example.
Q: In your opinion, are things changing for blended people? Is humanity evolving to the point where we will no longer need to identify ourselves by ethnic group some day?
A: Overall, yes they are positively changing for blended people. Just a while back in the 1990's, it was almost taboo for some people to discuss or share their experiences as a mixed-race person in America, especially those mixed with black to some degree. These days, it's like a walk in the park in many places. Regardless, there are still many obstacles that mixed-race Americans need to overcome--much of which is highly attributed to the uniqueness we face.
Q: What are some future plans for the site?
A: At this time, we are satisfied with how things continue to unfold. At some point, however, we would like to expand upon it in many different ways beyond informative news content or opinion blogs. We continue to create partnerships with others in the community adept in a number of skills, from radio to podcasting and so on. It's our goal to, hopefully, be a premier provider of rich content and media to the mixed-race and multicultural community in the United States.
Thank you, Chris and Blended People of America!
Remember, dear readers, when you buy a Hapa Teez t-shirt, you support our Watermelon Sushi film. You also get a rear crawl credit, so please drop us an email after your purchase so that we can spell your name right. You can also follow Watermelon Sushi on Twitter and “like” our Watermelon Sushi fan page on Facebook to stay updated about the latest on the film. And, join our Hip Hapa Homeez group page for more blended and mixed news. Finally, Watermelon Sushi producer Robert Taylor and Your Hip Hapa have recently launched a new YouTube show called Sexy Voices Of Hollywood. Check us out: http://www.youtube.com/sexyvoiceshollywood#p/a/u/1/gjTZvPkPBh8
‘til we touch in cyberspace again, please stay hip, my hapa homeez!
Your Hip Hapa,