Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blended Nation: Portraits and Interviews of Mixed-Race America

Photographs and Interviews by Mike Tauber
Co-produced by Pamela Singh
Introduction by Rebecca Walker
Foreword by Ann Curry
Essay by Allan H. Goodman, Ph.D.
Channel Photographics
Hardcover, $34.95
140 pages, illustrated
ISBN: 978-0-9773399-2-1

Book Review by Kam Williams

“America’s children of mixed race are evidence that love is overcoming even racism, which once seemed insurmountable. ‘We come from open-minded lovers,’ I like to tell people about my siblings, to maybe get a laugh and ease the feeling that we are different from everyone else.
It can be lonely sometimes to see people stare and struggle to figure out your ancestry. Since I was a child I have been asked, ‘What are you anyway?’ The question used to hurt, but as you can see in Mike Tauber’s photos, we are the new face of America and its noble ideas of equality and freedom.”
 NBC News Anchor Ann Curry in the Foreword (page 3)

It’s not exactly a fluke that America elected Barack Obama in a landside in last year’s election. After all, according to the last census, people identifying themselves as of mixed heritage happen to be “the fastest growing demographic in the United States.” Perhaps, historians one will day look back on Obama not as the first African-American President, but at Bush as the last lily-white one.
For while some bigots certainly still cling desperately to outmoded notions about racial purity, most of the country has come around to an understanding that there’s only one race, the human race, and that we come in an infinite array of beautiful hues and features. Black folks have certainly known this for generations, being blessed with family trees reflecting the full spectrum of the rainbow. Meanwhile, Caucasians have sealed their fate as an ever-dwindling minority with their narrow self-definition of who gets to be white.
If you’d like to see tangible proof of how the U.S. is actually evolving into the proverbial ethnic melting pot of lore, may I suggest you check out Blended Nation: Portraits and Interviews of Mixed-Race America. This attractive, oversized, coffee table book is comprised of dozens of snapshots of the offspring of intermarriage, a wonderfully-motley mosaic representing the emerging face of a fully-integrated American population. Each headshot is accompanied by a personal essay in which the subject intimately reflects upon what it’s like to walk a mile in his or her moccasins.
A groundbreaking book which makes a persuasive case “that race is primarily a social construct that helps us categorize people.”

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