Review: Mixed – Portraits of Multiracial Kids at the Japanese American National Museum

Alden Habacon, Schema Magazine

July 2010

A couple of weeks ago I attended a webinar by futurist David Houle. Now that I have a five-week year old, I found it extremely interesting. But there’s more to the future than technology and market trends, there’s the future face of Canada and the U.S. as seen in Kip Fulbeck’s new book, MIXED: Portraits of Multiracial Kids.

I have admired Kip Fulbeck as an influential artist, academic, filmmaker and speaker since my days in art school. He is well-known for photography, writing and performances that have been focused on the mixed-race hapa experience in America.

If it’s not obvious already, I too have been obsessed with the complex identity of our generation, having been raised in a multicultural, multi-racial and transcultural reality. Like Kip, I have been very interested in mixed-race experiences, because I’ve always believed the idea of “pure race” is a myth. In fact, as a Filipino, I especially know this to be true. Despite the prevalent “mestisso” culture in the Philippines (that privileges Filipinos with mixed-Spanish ancestry) I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “pure Filipino.”

All Filipinos, at this point, are “mixed.”

Vancouver – where I am from now – is known internationally as one of the mixed-race capitals of the world. It boasts as having one of the highest rates of mixed-race marriage in Canada (8.5% of couples are mixed-race), making it a breeding ground (literally) for mixed-race children. It’s one of the places where the statement, “The colour of the future is beige” is actually noticeable on the street, in high schools and in day cares.

If beige and other blends really is the future (considering that 14.6 percent of Americans married someone of a different race or from a different ethnic group in 2008), then MIXED: Portraits of Multiracial Kids, is more than just a heart-warming collection of portraits. It makes Kip a futurist, not about technological or business trends, but about a future identity.