My American Meltingpot
In Defense of Diversity with Lori L Tharps

In Defense of Diversity with Lori L Tharps

May 17, 2019

On episode 13 of My American Meltingpot, I’m doing my first solo show in defense of diversity. I felt I needed to take this opportunity to defend my favorite word, "diversity," because right now it seems like it's the word everybody loves to hate.  I want to drag diversity out of the mud and restore it to its rightful place in our social activism lexicon. Here's what I share in this episode:

• How I became diversity’s biggest fan,

• Who hates diversity and why?

• My personal definition of diversity.

• And finally, my two versions of the future; In version A, we continue to dismiss diversity and it doesn't end well. In version B, we learn to embrace diversity and live happily ever after. Or something like that.

To find the show notes for this episode and for all of our previous episodes, please visit My American Meltingpot.com/podcast

Raising Healthy Mixed-Race Kids

Raising Healthy Mixed-Race Kids

May 3, 2019

On episode 12 of My American Meltingpot, we’re having a conversation about how to raise healthy Mixed-Race children. That is, how do we make sure our children who are more than one race, and possibly more than one culture as well, grow up feeling confident with their sense of identity? How do we prepare them to confront a world that still only seems to see people in Black and white? Joining me for this diverse discussion are two mothers of Mixed-Race kids, who are also parenting experts. 

Sharon H. Chang is an award-winning author, photographer and activist with a lens on racism, social justice and the Asian-American diaspora. She is the author of the critically acclaimed academic book, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World.

Ridvan Foxhall is an occupational therapist and certified Positive Discipline parent educator and coach. In 2006, Ms. Foxhall  founded the Peekskill chapter of the Children’s Theatre Company which is dedicated to building character on stage by instilling in children a sense that they can be a voice of positive change in the world.

Have a listen if you're a parent raising a Mixed-Race child or you are part of a transracially adoptive family. And check out the show notes on the My American Meltingpot blog for even more resources. 

How We Fight White Supremacy

How We Fight White Supremacy

April 19, 2019

On episode 11 of the My American Meltingpot podcast, we're dissecting and deconstructing white supremacy with the brilliant authors of the new book, How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance. Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin, both editors at the news and culture website, Colorlines, join me for a profound discussion about the pervasiveness and pain of white supremacy in American society. We also talk about the myriad ways folks can resist and fight in every day life without losing their lives or their minds. Plus, we take time to imagine what the world would look like without white supremacy, a freedom dream indeed.

Without a doubt, this is the most powerful episode of the podcast to date. Prepare yourself for cheers, tears and an action plan to dismantle this most pressing problem. 

After listening, check out our show notes on the MAMP blog for resources for real life to help you fight white supremacy.

Interracial Friendships: Besties, BFFs and Bromances in Pop Culture and Real Life

Interracial Friendships: Besties, BFFs and Bromances in Pop Culture and Real Life

April 5, 2019

Welcome to Season 2 of the My American Meltingpot podcast!

On episode 10 we're talking about interracial friendships, not interracial romances, friendships. Besties, BFFs and Bromances. We're asking the questions; why are interracial friendships important in working towards racial justice and why don't we see more of them both in real life and in pop culture? You might be surprised to know just how few Americans claim they have a friend of a different race.

Joining me to dive into this discussion is one of my "interracial friends," Clarissa Cruz, a features editor at Entertainment Weekly who writes about movies, television and books for the magazine. We talk about some really great examples of interracial friendships depicted in pop culture, as well as what Hollywood is still getting wrong when it comes to showcasing friendships across the color line.

Do you have friends who don't look like you? Tell us about him or her on the My American Meltingpot blog so we can keep this conversation going. Also, check the show notes for more resources and stats about the importances of interracial or cross-cultural friendships. 

 

Bonus Episode: Lori’s Meltingpot Origin Story

Bonus Episode: Lori’s Meltingpot Origin Story

March 14, 2019

On this bonus episode of the podcast, I want you to get to know me, your host, a little bit better. Everybody has an origin story and this is mine. It's not my life story, it's my meltingpot story. You will hear how I met my husband in Spain, and then how together we built a multiracial, multicultural, bilingual, meltingpot family. Our story was told as part of a special podcast series in 2017 called, The Loving Project. I hope you enjoy it. 

#8 The Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

#8 The Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

March 1, 2019

On episode #8 of the podcast, we're discussing the challenges of traveling as a multiracial family. Thanks to Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, this issue recently made headlines when Mrs. McCain believed she was witnessing a case of child trafficking at an Arizona airport. What she really saw was a mother traveling with her mixed-race child, which according to McCain, looked suspicious and warranted police intervention. I'm joined by travel blogger and interracial justice worker, Carmen Sognonvi to talk about what it's really like to travel with a family that "doesn't match," and to discuss the benefits and joys of family travel.

#7 The “Beauty and Pain of Black hair” with Gillian Scott-Ward

#7 The “Beauty and Pain of Black hair” with Gillian Scott-Ward

February 15, 2019

On episode 7 of the My American Meltingpot podcast, I'm joined by Dr. Gillian Scott-Ward. In 2013, Gillian was a psychologist working at Barnard College. But when she decided to go natural, her whole world changed. On the show, we discuss how Gillian went from college psychologist to award-winning filmmaker with her debut film, Back to Natural. We talk about the "beauty and pain" of having Black hair in America and all around the world. It's a conversation that goes all the way to the roots of Black hair history and culture.

#6 Unapologetically Bold and Black: Diversity in Kids Lit with Zetta Elliott

#6 Unapologetically Bold and Black: Diversity in Kids Lit with Zetta Elliott

February 1, 2019

On episode #6 of the My American Meltingpot podcast, I am joined by author, activist and educator, Zetta Elliott, for a passionate conversation about diversity in children's literature. Zetta has written over 30 books for children, teens and young adults and is committed to telling stories featuring Black characters in the most unexpected places. From sci-fi, to speculative fiction, to haunted historical fiction, Zetta has written it all and shows no signs of stopping. She is on a mission to decolonize all of our imaginations when it comes to storytelling for young people.

#5 Behind the Music with Sumi Tonooka

#5 Behind the Music with Sumi Tonooka

January 18, 2019

On episode #5 of My American Meltingpot, we’re going behind the music with legendary jazz composer, Sumi Tonooka. You might recognize Sumi’s name because not only is she the woman who created our Meltingpot theme music, she’s also a world class composer, jazz pianist and educator.  I talk to Sumi about her decades-long career in the music industry, how her African-American and Japanese-American heritage influences her creative work, and how she used music to bring attention to the injustice of the Japanese internment camps. It's a riveting and inspiring conversation, plus Sumi plays an original composition for us, live in studio, at the end of the interview. 

#4 The One-Drop Rule Revisited

#4 The One-Drop Rule Revisited

January 4, 2019

On episode #4 of the MAMP podcast, we're revisiting the one-drop rule with two women who both believed they were white, until they discovered by accident, that they weren't. My guests are Gail Lukasik and Shannon Wink. Gail is the author of the new book, White Like Her: My Family's Story of Race and Racial Passing.  Shannon is a Philadelphia-based journalist and writer. In her late 40s, Gail discovered that her mother had been passing as white for her entire adult life. Shannon learned her maternal grandfather wasn't Native American as he'd claimed, he was actually Black. Listen in on a fascinating discussion about racial identity, passing, and what it really means to be Black or white in America.