Mavin Foundation Warns That Racist Backlash To Sept. 11 Attacks Expose Need to Redefine Race…

MAVIN Foundation
Press Release – 11 October 2001

NEWS RELEASE

 

11 October 2001

 

Contact: Matt Kelley, President & CEO, mattk@mavinfoundation.org
Yasmine Tarhouni, Director of Public Relations, yasmine@mavinfoundation.org
Ph: 206.622.7101, Fx: 206.622.2231;

MAVIN FOUNDATION WARNS THAT RACIST BACKLASH TO SEPT. 11 ATTACKS EXPOSE NEED TO REDEFINE RACE AND DIVERSITY

(Seattle, WA) As we solemnly observe the one-month anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001 attacks on New York, Washington, D.C.. and rural Pennsylvania, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by the shocking and brutal terrorist acts on our country. We grieve with the victims and their families.

The Mavin Foundation, a leading national organization committed to redefining diversity by celebrating mixed-race and transracially adopted people, also extends our concern and sympathy to the U.S. citizens who have experienced terror in the forms of suspicion, slander, assault and murder at the hands of fellow Americans.

The aftermath of September 11 has demonstrated the alarming scope of who is excluded from the racial dialogue in America. Although most of the victims of anti-Arab or anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. have indeed been Muslims and Arab-Americans themselves, people of many ethnic and religious backgrounds have also been targeted. The Arizona man suspected of murdering a Sikh Indian immigrant shortly after the September 11th attacks told police, “I’m an American. Arrest me and let those terrorists run wild.” Recent media has reported assaults on South Asians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders and multiracial Americans who were also singled out as “terrorists” or terrorist sympathizers.

The Mavin Foundation condemns the racial profiling that has led to four homicides and more than 300 acts of violence perpetrated against Americans perceived to be of Arab heritage or of the Muslim faith since September 11. Bigotry, in all of its subtle and overt forms, proliferates in an atmosphere of silence, fear and ignorance. More than ever, these acts reveal that we are a society that desperately needs to redefine race and diversity.

Our current racial system makes virtually every racial, ethnic, religious or cultural group outside of the narrow black-white, Judeo-Christian scope of diversity vulnerable because it perpetuates a climate of cultural ignorance. No matter how diverse, a society that perpetuates a limited black-white racial paradigm will exclude its citizens whose color, ethnicity, religion or language falls outside these restricted groups. This over-simplified system unfairly, incompletely and incorrectly classifies people-and as we have seen, can inflict deadly consequences.

This climate also discourages people from exploring diversity outside of simple, conflict-based dichotomies that foster an “us” versus “them” model. Instead, we must expand the dialogue by increasing our tolerance about complex issues like race and culture, reform the model to include all groups, and educate people about these diverse cultures. In so doing, we will redefine diversity and repair our fractured society.

Finally, The Mavin Foundation urges people of racially and culturally mixed backgrounds to draw upon their multiple heritages and intimate connections to different, sometimes historically opposing, cultures to initiate a more comprehensive and complex dialogue about race in America. As the “melting pot” vision of our nation becomes a reality, we have an obligation to objectively use our experience and opportunity to assist our communities towards dialogue. As mixed-race and transracially adopted people, many of us possess the unmixed blessing of knowing the inherent complexities of race. In this way, we can offer valuable tools on how to embrace the complex matrix of diversity, thereby contributing to the making of a cohesive, multicultural society.

Over the next several months, The Mavin Foundation will continue dedicating itself to redefining race and diversity through the creation of educational resources, diversity training and by hosting community forums across the nation. We encourage your active participation. For more information about how you can become involved, please call 888-77-MAVIN (888-776-2846) or visit www.mavinfoundation.org.

The Mavin Foundation is a 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization that is redefining diversity by celebrating mixed-race people and families. In 2000, nearly seven million Americans were able to check multiple races on their census forms for the first time. In cities like Seattle, WA, San Antonio, TX and Sacramento, CA, nearly one in six babies born is multiracial. Mavin is committed to creating exciting projects that raise awareness of this rapidly emerging community. Our innovative projects like MAVIN magazine are providing a unique forum to increase awareness of the changing face of our multicultural society.

For more information, please visit www.mavinfoundation.org.

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