Happy Mixed Race Day!

At least, to all you Brazilians out there. June 27th is Mixed Race Day, a holiday celebrated in Brazil, perhaps the most racially diverse nation in the world. More info (unfortunately in choppy English) from the Brazilian Multiethnic Movement:

The date, June 27, is a reference to the twenty-seven mixed-race (“mestiço”, in Portuguese) representatives elect during the 1st Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality, occurred in the City of Manaus, State of Amazon, Brazil, from April 7 to 9, 2005, and also to the month of June, in which a mixed-race woman, after systematic opposition from anti-multiracial Black groups, was registered as the only Multiracial representative in the 1st National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality, occurred in Brasilia, from June 30 to July 2, 2005, promoted by Government of Brazil. The Mixed-Race Day (“Dia do Mestiço”, in Portuguese) was made a official date of the City of Manaus on January 6, 2006. On March 21, 2006, in the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Mixed-Race Day became an official date of the State of Amazon; on October 6, 2006, of the City of Boa Vista, in the State of Roraima and on October 9, 2007, became an official date of this State. The Mixed-Race Day pays homage all those who possess multiracial or multiethnic origin. It occurs three days after the Day of the Caboclo, the first mixed-race Brazilian.

Even though we don’t officially celebrate it in any way, this year’s Mixed Race Day is particularly important for us in the United States. For the first time in our nation’s history, a man born from parents of two different recognized ethnic groups (according to our US Census) is the front-runner to become our next president. Regardless of one’s politics, everyone should recognize that this represents the progress we’ve made on racial issues from the days when such an individual would be widely referred to as a “half-breed” or a product of “miscegenation” or “amalgamation”. If that’s not convincing enough, consider that when Barack Obama was born, his parents would not have been allowed to marry legally in several states; it wasn’t until 1967’s Supreme Court Case Loving v. Virginia that the final anti-miscegenation laws were overturned.

I strongly encourage any Brandeis student of a mixed racial background or who is interested in issues surrounding mixed heries to check out Brandeis’s Mixed Herie Club (disclosure: I’m the treasurer of the MHC).