After being inactive for the past few years, the Multiethnic Interracial X-Cultural (MIX) Club has been revived by a group of students, gathering for its first meeting of the school year on Monday, Oct. 5.
Alexandra Ricks ’16, Adriana Brau-Diaz ’16, and Lucy De Souza ’16 brought back the club they participated in as first-year students.
“Our freshman year…we participated in one meeting of MIX Club that was really fun and an exciting opportunity to meet people who have some similar experience,” Ricks said. “In our senior year, we thought it’d be an exciting thing to bring back.”
The meeting began with the senior leaders sharing what their vision for the group looked like.
“We want to start low-key so we can build community,” Ricks said. “Sometimes when there’s too much going on, too many ideas, it doesn’t always happen.”
The organizers shared stories of some of the MIX Club events they enjoyed as freshmen, including a potluck as well as a “Mixed Mixer.” The students also mentioned a project that was created years before them: a book with pictures and stories about different mixed-identity experiences. Many of those at the meeting expressed interest in recreating this project.
Everyone was invited to introduce themselves to the group. Although participants came from diverse backgrounds, everyone expressed enthusiasm for the newly created space of unity.
After the brief introductions, the group leaders opened up the discussion by inviting participants to share their visions of what MIX Club could potentially become, and the projects its members should strive to accomplish. One of the proposals was to organize a discussion group to talk about issues surrounding mixed identity. A student suggested that the topic of this discussion should be the articles that students post on Facebook and other social media, because they are easy to find and connect mixed identity with pop culture.
The participants also talked about some of the University classes taught on multiracial identity. The classes of interest included “Mixed in America,” taught by Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Religion Elizabeth McAlister, and “Crossing the Color Line: Racial Passing in American Literature,” a class that will be taught next semester by Assistant Professor of American Studies and English Amy Tang.
The organizers stressed that they didn’t want the club to require a heavy time commitment, and they suggested that the club host one event per month.
“We want it to be a time where people actually get together, and sometimes weekly commitments are hard,” Ricks said.
All three organizers returned to the themes of unity and togetherness as the basis for the group.
Many students at the meeting expressed excitement for the creation of this new space in the University community. This space has special significance to many of the multiracial students on campus.
“[MIX Club is] a space to talk about all the racial things that are going on,” said Rachel Waugh ’17.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the group decided to host their first event this month. The MIX Potluck will be held next Saturday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.
After the meeting ended, the organizers and some participants stayed behind and shared stories and experiences about their mixed identities. They laughed about awkward encounters with people abroad and strange situations they were put into growing up.
The laughter, however, came with the recognition that while the stories may be funny, they also expose many issues that mixed-identity people struggle with. Most people in the room agreed that these stories were “funny but at the same time not funny”—they were comical while also highlighting societal ignorance on mixed-race issues.
On a more serious note, the organizers offered insight into what it means to be of mixed identity.
“[It’s like] having access to two different groups,” said Brau-Diaz.
De Souza expressed similar sentiments.
“Being the only person of color within my immediate family, I knew I was different from them,” De Souza said. “That gave me a very different experience.”
Ricks furthered De Souza’s sentiment by pointing out the confusion that mixed identity often causes.
“You don’t align with your family,” Ricks said.
All three organizers also agreed that this group wasn’t meant to replace single-race identity groups that many of the University’s mixed-identity students participate in. On the contrary, MIX’s purpose is to create an additional space for these students.
Brau-Diaz stressed the importance of the existence of identity-specific spaces at the university level.
“College is a time when we’re forced to question our identities,” she said.