June 01, 1998
From The Editor
The Multiracial Activist
On Saturday, May 30th, I attended the plenary session of the National MultiCultural Institute's 13th Annual Conference. The plenary session was entitled "A Multiracial Identity for Year 2000 Census: Its Implications and Potential Impact", moderated by columnist Clarence Page. One of the participants was Dr. Harold McDougall, a professor of law at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Many of us will remember him as the former director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP. Dr. McDougall claimed to be representing himself, but sounded like Mfume's puppet again.
The Conference went well. Susan Graham, Executive Director of Project RACE represented the interracial/multiracial community quite well. The Justice Department had a representative who seemed to have no idea what the panel was about. All I could get from his presentation was that black men have trouble getting cabs. Dr. Jeffrey S. Passel, Director of the Urban Institute's Program for Research on Immigration Policy talked about the computational challenges of check-all-that-apply and appeared to not take sides on the issue of racial identity. Dr. McDougall however was his usual racist self. He attacked interracial marriages, multiracials, parents of multiracials and also seemed to think this discussion was about his inability to get a cab. He also seemed to think that multiracial identity had something to do with the couple that left their child unattended outside a New York City restaurant in the cold of winter. He seemed to feel that leaving a child exposed to pedophiles, kidnappers and the like was not illegal and was somehow linked to a person acknowledging their total identity. Okay. I'm confused. Apparently the former director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Oppression of Multiracial People, I mean for the Advancement of Colored People seems to think that irresponsible parenting is okay if the child is of mixed heritage.
After the discussion, an audience question and answer period took place. Nathan Douglas got to ask Dr. McDougall about his campaign of misinformation about self-identifying multiracials and the activists involved in the multiracial movement. Dr. McDougall proceeded to tie multiracial activists to right-wing white supremacy groups. He went even further to say that websites dealing with multiracial issues had printed some kind of article or essay favoring the "colored" classification in South Africa and offered this as his proof that the interracial/multiracial community was a front for right-wing white supremacists. When Nathan challenged him on this bold-faced lie, McDougall couldn't give any specifics. I know why. He had just made it up and hadn't had a chance to elaborate on his fantasy. Dr. McDougall is a racist and the fact the NAACP had employed him as their Washington Bureau Director speaks volumes about the current President and CEO, Kweisi Mfume.
I would like to acknowledge Nathan Douglas for the incredible courage it took to debate the racist McDougall in a meeting room filled with people who take the NAACP's word on race as absolute truth. I also salute Susan Graham for her courage and willingness to participate in a panel that was intentionally stacked against her. I would also like to thank Julie Kershaw, a parent of multiracial children who attended as a representative of the newly formed Project RACE of the National Capitol Area. I hope that this movement can someday move past the name-calling and innuendos, but certain members of the "recognized" civil rights community does not appear to want that to happen.
Yours in Struggle,
James A. Landrith, Jr.
Director, Project RACE of the National Capitol Area