In 2000, thirty-three years after the Supreme Court repealed all remaining laws banning interracial marriage, the United States census allowed respondents to identify themselves as more than one race for the first time in its history. In checking more than one box, 9 million Americans were granted the opportunity to finally “name their own reality,” yet mixed-race Americans still face a narrow-minded approach to race on a daily basis. The human need to categorize and sort is disrupted by mixed folk, who don’t fit neatly into preexisting boxes, and we oftentimes find ourselves being told what—not who—we are, being told we are not enough, and even self-identifying as the “Other.”
In this series, I explore my own experience as an American woman of mixed race through pop imagery, text, and vibrant color. At times cathartic and condemning, I aim to direct toward the viewer a spotlight so often pointed at myself; to challenge the viewer and incite her to question the way she interprets the words and sentiments that I have so many times been told or told myself.
Race is not black and white, nor has it ever been. As the face of America changes, how will we?
In memory of Mikiko Anzai Murakami
8 July 1932–17 April 2014