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preFace: FroM Biracial To MulTiracial
This​preface​is​an​extended​version​of​the​keynote​address​I​gave​at​the​Multiracial​
Heritage​Week​at​Brown​University​in​2009.​Five​years​earlier,​as​a​graduate​student​
finishing​up​my​dissertation,​I​had​also​given​the​keynote,​a​speech​where​I​flexed​my​
almost-​ Ph.D.​muscles.​My​talk​in​2004​was​purely​academic,​as​I​“impartially”​thought​
through​what​it​meant​to​assert​a​multiracial​identity​in​the​shadow​of​the​2000​U.S.​
Census,​particularly​with​regards​to​the​contentious​history​of​naming​and​claiming​
mixed-​ race.​But​for​the​fifteenth​anniversary​of​Multiracial​Heritage​Week​I​felt​com-
fortable,​even​compelled,​to​reveal​my​own​multiracial​journey.​This​was​no​small​feat​
for​me.​Although​I​had​not​let​the​dismissal​of​scholarship​on​mixed-​ race​as​“sellout​
work”​(by​some​academics​from​my​own​graduate​field​of​ethnic​studies,​or​the​accusa-
tion​of​it​as​“me-​ study”​by​anti–ethnic​studies,​anti–feminist​studies,​and​anti–​ critical​
studies​scholars)​scare​me​away​from​writing​about​the​topic,​I​had​only​wanted​to​en-
gage​in​the​scholarly​and​political,​and​not​the​personal​and​emotional,​implications​
of​my​work.​As​I​prepared​for​my​talk​in​2009,​with​four​years​as​an​assistant​profes-
sor​under​my​belt,​I​realized​that​my​previous​refusal​to​talk​personally​was​not​just​a​
desire​not​to​be​self-​ indulgent,​as​I​had​told​myself​previously.​Rather,​my​silence​oper-
ated​as​a​way​to​extricate​myself​from​the​identity-​ politics​fire​that​surrounds​work​on​
mixed-​ race,​just​like​work​on​other​so-​ called​inauthentic​racialized,​gendered,​sexu-
alized,​or​classed​experiences.​In​this​personal​and​emotional​opening​prologue​to​my​
scholarly,​political​book​on​mixed-​ race,​I​revisit​those​ideas.​This​preface​is​inspired​by​
the​works​of​Mark​Anthony​Neal,​especially​New Black Man.​Neal’s​work​gave​me​per-
mission​to​take​the​voice​I​do​here​(Mark​Anthony​Neal,​New Black Man).
1.​Hall,​“Minimal​Selves,”​116.
2.​I​am​grateful​to​Mike​Hurt,​one​of​the​founders​of​BomBs​and​my​peer​mentor,​
for​keeping​these​documents​for​all​of​these​years​and​sharing​them​with​me.
3.​Spickard,​“Obama​Nation?”
4.​Sachi​is​now​a​professional​documentarian​working​for​the​Los Angeles Times.​She​
continues​to​make​pieces​about​multiraciality,​among​many​other​topics.
5.​Maria​Root,​“Bill​of​Rights​for​People​of​Mixed​Heritage,”​1993–1994,​http://www​
.drmariaroot.com/doc/BillOfRights.pdf​(accessed​December​10,​2008).
6.​Hall,​“Cultural​Identity​and​Diaspora.”
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