Wednesday, July 04, 2012

From Tragedy To Triumph: Tiffany Rae Reid

Bing! Bang! Boom! Hip Hapa Homeez! Your Hip Hapa hopes you’re enjoying the celebration of America’s birthday today. Surely, you’ve heard the recent news about mixed-race babies being the fastest growing segment of our population. That’s amazing considering that until 1967 and the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, marrying across colors lines was illegal in 16 states. Now, some 45 years later, a proliferation of multiethnic children sends the message that separation by culture, race or skin color matters less every day.

Remember to join our Hip Hapa Homeez group on Facebook where we post and discuss such topics often. And, since this blog was created to support our feature narrative film, Watermelon Sushi, please “like” our fan page. We also have one for Hapa*Teez, a line of t-shirts designed to raise awareness and funding for Watermelon Sushi. Buy a Hapa*Teez on Cafe Press and earn a rear crawl credit on the film.

Tiffany's book
This month’s featured Hip Hapa Homee is the bright, charming and gracious Tiffany Rae Reid. The CEO/Founder of Life Coaching with Tiffany Rae, she’s also the author of Color Blind: A Mixed Girl’s Perspective on Biracial Life and host of Mixed Race Radio. Tiffany’s rocky beginnings have endowed her with an overwhelming sense of compassion and she’s all about helping others. Check out her website and the phone number for Mixed Race Radio: 201-450-3210.

Q: Tiffany, how did your parents meet?

A: My mother, Barbara, is Hungarian and a fraternal twin born in Ashtabula Ohio. My birth father, Arthur Edwards, is African American and also a twin (identical). I’m told his mother (whom I’ve never met) was part Indian. I don't know where he was born, but I know his father was raised in Texas. My father passed away four years ago.

My mother was married to an Irishman (also an identical twin) who served in Vietnam and, together, they had my sister Julie who is seven years older than I am. My birth father was a friend of my father’s and also the husband of my mother's supervisor at her job. They all knew each other.

Tiffany with her family
To this day, my mother and I go back and forth about the day she told me how I came about. After years and years of being told that I was just a dark Hungarian, I had taken matters into my own hands and tried to find out whom my father really was. When I confronted my mother with all of the stuff I was doing behind her back to learn his identity, I remember standing in my dead grandmother's living room and my mother telling me that one night, when Arthur had taken my mom and all of her girlfriends out bowling, she was the last one he dropped off--at which time he raped her. Due to these circumstances, my mother asked me not to pursue looking for him any further because of the number of lives it would impact. But at least I knew who he was and how I came about. Now, this is how I remember it happening, yet my mother swears to this day that none of this is true and that conversation never took place. I continue to tell her that of all the things I wanted to hear about my father my entire life, it never would have been this story. And, the drama about my actual origins continue.

Q: How did you grow up?

A: I was raised in an all-white Hungarian household with my white sister and white mother and without knowledge of, or a connection to, my parent of color. I didn't learn that my father was black until I was 26-years old and only then, I believe, was I able to begin to embrace a true biracial identity.

We lived in a Puerto Rican neighborhood so I knew Spanish and English, and Hungarian words for things around the house, cooking, and food. I attended an integrated elementary school and middle school, and then found myself the only person of color in 6th grade at a private Christian school 20 minutes away from home.

While I was always aware of differences in physical appearances from my white counterparts and family members, I had no idea I was mixed and took the brunt of many jokes from ignorant neighbors and hateful kids who wanted explanations as to why I was so different from my mom. I just had no answers.

The words biracial, mixed, and mulatto were never used in my household, but the "n” word was in my consciousness from kids on the playground and neighbors. I knew they were directing it at me, but I didn't know why because I didn't identify as black.

Life Coach
Q: When did you begin working as a Life Coach?

A: I started Life Coaching with Tiffany Rae in 2007, but had been working with individuals long before then. 2007 is when I made it official, and I didn't find my niche and begin to build my brand as the "biracial coach" until 2010.

Q: How much of your practice is devoted to multicultural or mixed-race people?

A: 90% of what I do is based within the multiracial/multicultural community.

Q: What is your mixed-race radio show about?

A: Mixed Race Radio is a platform that allows me to take a needed dialogue to the masses. It's a way for me to have an organic conversation with many, many people and let others hear it, too. It brings real life experiences of parents raising biracial children, interracial couples, educators or business owners impacting a multicultural classroom or workforce, to the forefront and allows us to engage with people on a very real level as we discuss bullying, differences, obstacles, challenges, victories, situational hazards, hot topics, and book and movie reviews. By creating a dialogue, we hope to create a safe space in which people will gather to share and learn. Mixed Race Radio educates, inspires and encourages people of all colors, and from all cultures, to celebrate the similarities.

And, we are always looking for guests. So if anyone reading this post is passionate about their experiences, we want to share their empowering stories, life principles as well as community resources that can motivate and inspire our listeners. We would be honored and excited to be able to interview any of the readers while featuring their business profile, life experience, book, project or event.

Q: Do you have a favorite episode?

A: Every episode is my favorite because I realize just how special each guest is and I get to hear how they are impacting their families, communities and the world. Halfbreed Clothing Company owner and visionary, Rudy Tavares, may be on the top of my list because he found a way to turn a word—“halfbreed”, a word that used to sting--into a successful brand that now empowers people instead of a word that is filled with venom that hurts.
Q: What’s in your future?
A: I recently created a community group called S.I.M.P.L.L.L.E.--Supporting Interracial and Multicultural People Living, Loving, Learning Everywhere.

We are dedicated to providing a safe place and safe space for parents, family members and caregivers raising biracial children, and educators impacting the lives of multicultural children in the classroom.

We aim to provide a chance for mixed-race children and youth to interact with others, who look and feel like one another, and share similar experiences while, at the same time, creating a place for parents and educators to unite, dialogue, and communicate about issues, challenges and obstacles that exist when living, loving and learning in uncomfortable places. 

I’m a voiceover artist and after appearing several times on the Bill Cunningham Show as a race-relations expert, and hosting local community events in the greater Philadelphia area, I’m currently looking for an agent to help me locate opportunities to further my success in the entertainment industry. I see myself as a regular co-host on a type of show like The View or a host of my own television show where I get to discuss hot topics and relationships, but from the point of view of a biracial person that would allow me to unite diverse groups of people in a setting where we can learn about one another openly and honestly, and eventually put some myths to rest.

join our Hapa Nation
Well, thank you for sharing so much with us, Tiffany. Hip Hapa Homeez, our documentary project War Brides of Japan is gaining momentum. We have an Advisor, filmmaker Jessica Chen Drammeh (Anomaly), and are moving forward with editing footage and writing grants. We are, however, still searching for participants. If you know a Japanese war bride who’d like to be involved, please put us in touch through You can also support us by liking our fan page, War Brides of Japan.

Until we meet again, here’s to a HAPA Fourth!

Your Hip Hapa,

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