When it comes to conferences, sometimes you want to split yourself into four beings and attend every talk, roundtable, and workshop. It can’t be done. The best you can do is attend the workshops that interest you and hope for the best. I got all of that and more at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference in Chicago. Sure, I wish I could have attended everything, but I learned enough to keep me busy until the conference is held again in 2014. With that, here is my list of the 10 Things I learned at the CMRS. If you were there, feel free to add your own.
10. That only one phone call stands between an Armenian man learning that he is also a black man.
9. That race was first codified in 1789 when the first Census was conducted.
8. That one of the bests comebacks to “What are you?” is “Have you ever heard of Loving Day?”
7. That a growing number of people transcend race, meaning they deny any racial identity whatsoever.
6. That male curlies have as much trouble getting a decent haircut as female curlies.
5. That researchers who sought information about Mulungeons described them with many of the same racist terms used to describe blacks.
4. That the U.S. got in the identity business when it began issuing passports in 1915.
3. That the U.S. Census has not been conducted the same way twice.
2. That another good comeback to “What are you?” is “Have you read Marcia Dawkins?”
1. That blogs like Honeysmoke.com are an example of Neoliberal Multiculturalism. (No word yet on whether that’s a good or bad thing.)