Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mixed Race Marriages Celebrated in Little Tokyo Festival

Somehow the upcoming festival celebrating interracial marriage in Little Tokyo has been totally off my radar (even though it is now in its fifth year), but I can think of few subjects that are not more appropriate for Downtown LA. The odd thing is I have likely not noticed it because just my lifetime mixed race marriages have gone from illegal to legal to so accepted, that most people I know (though not everyone, of course) pay little attention to it.

In my own family's experience, we have gone from a primarily WASP background (Jamestown, the Mayflower, many of the original 13 colonies and some Dutch in the early 1600's. Then some German was added in the late 19th Century and ... supposedly... there was also some American Indian in the 1700's. But up until the 1960's, apparently - no Catholics.

Today, however, my generation - and the two generations that have followed us, have kids that are part black, Latino, and Asian - most of whom also have ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, and were among the First Families of Virginia and Knickerbockers of early Manhattan. And yet when I hear the terms - mixed-race or interracial - they seem to hark back to some previous era back when a WASP and a Catholic marrying - or an Irish woman marrying a Jewish man (which was the subject of a hit play it was considered so extraordinary) were still controversial topics.

It is just not what I think of when I think of my large extended family.  They are all simply... family.

Here is the beginning of the Downtown News article article:

nterracial marriage

Published: Friday, June 08, 2012, at 11:17AM
Flickr via Stevendamron
The Mixed Roots festival will take place at the Japanese American National Museum in DTLA.
 A three-day film and literary festival that celebrates multiculturalism begins June 15 at the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown. The event coincides with "Loving Day" -- a national "grassroots celebration" of the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in 1967.
The Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival includes spoken word performances, comedy, music film, and family workshops.
"It is really about celebrating stories as a mixed experience," said Fanshen Cox, a co-producer and founder of the event.
Cox said this will be the fifth year that her and co-founder Heidi Durrow have been putting on the festival (the two together with Jennifer Frappier also put out the podcast Mixed Chicks Chat.). Cox began to formulate the idea for the event as she was struggling to find her niche as a multiracial actress. Before each audition, she would have to ask her agent if she was supposed to be "black" or "white," and would style her hair and hone her style accordingly, Cox said.
Cox moved from New York to Los Angeles and found a wealth of resources in the "amazing diversity of the community" and began the Mixed Roots festival in downtown L.A.
The weekend's events are "literally representative of every possible hue and ethnic background," Cox said.

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