By ZAZIL DAVIS-VAZQUEZ, age 16
Mixed is a book of portraits of multi-heritage children, from infants to teenagers. The author, Kip Fulbeck, is half Cantonese and half American-born English, Irish and Welsh. The book gives readers a look at the great variety of mixed heritage children in the United States today.
Mixed includes drawings and writings that the kids have composed that talk about who they are. One girl says, “I have many traditions in my blood,” while another writes, “I am me.”
In the introduction, Fulbeck points out that the United States used to prohibit interracial marriage and deny people the right to choose more than one race in official paperwork. Things have changed a lot since then, but not enough, according to Fulbeck. He also wonders why people are forced to “choose one parent over another, or one great-great grandparent over another, or one part of ourselves over another” when designating their race on forms. Race is not a barrier that can or can’t be crossed, and people should have the freedom to acknowledge every part of their heritage without bounds.
This book strives to give confidence to mixed heritage kids, like me, who at times feel like they don’t belong to any of their cultures or feel as though they are rejected from all of their communities because their heritage is not 100 percent of any one community. Another goal of the book is to show “the beauty of [the] children beyond their physical attributes.” Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, the half-sister of President Obama and a person of mixed descent, writes in the foreword of Mixed that the book achieves its goals by letting kids see themselves “reflected in others and knowing that there is some shared experience between us and others ‘out there’.”
Zazil Davis-Vazquez, age 16, is a student in Queens, New York. She is half European-American and half Mexican.