We Are the 15 Percent

I am excited to include a portion of The Multi-Families Project installation in a group show entitled Kin, opening at The Flight Deck this Friday, June 3rd. Each of the six artists in the show is exploring the concept of kin in very different ways, both conceptually and aesthetically. As this project unfolds, I am continuing to reflect on what kinship means for myself and honored to hear what it means for other multiracial and cross-cultural families.

I was recently looking through the photographs my collaborator Elizabeth Strong has taken for the project so far, and googled “multiracial families photography” to look for other examples and stumbled up the website wearethe15percent.com. The website was inspired by a Cheerios ad that featured a multiracial family and its subsequent backlash. I don’t want to dwell on the backlash because it’s yet another reminder of how many people in this country are behind the curve on exhibiting fundamental human decency…so I’ll stop there. But it is a reminder that while Loving Vs. Virginia happened almost a half-century ago, acceptance of interracial marriage and families remains mixed. In fact, one of the inspirations for undertaking The Multi-Families Project came from a conversation with my amazing and inspiring friend and former creative collaborator Lynn Johnson. Lynn told me that, between being in a same-sex marriage and and interracial one, the latter has a larger impact on how she moves through the world.

In any case, when I opened the link to We Are the 15 Percent, I had to take a deep breath in to keep from crying. It is a crowd-sourced archive of multiracial families all over the country, and the most simple, and beautiful, response to the backlash. I couldn’t stop looking. Sadly, many people can relate to the feeling of not seeing others like them represented in the mainstream media. So when an individual or family “like your own” shows up, it’s a profound feeling. And that’s exactly why I launched The Multi-Families Project–to showcase the beauty and diversity of families in our own community. Stay tuned to hear how the rest of the project unfolds!