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Chapter 15: Mixed-race Asians, surviving and thriving

Did you know that mixed race people represent the most significant shift in Nevada’s population? The number of Nevadans who identify as two or more races more than tripled over the past decade. 

In this episode of our award-winning Asian American and Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain, we’re examining the impact of this change beyond Black and white.  

Besides the experts in this field of research, we’re also talking with new Las Vegas Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan, the first Black female NFL team president … who’s also mixed race. 

“The struggle is real being Blasian … or mixed ... because no matter where I go… nobody knows what I am."

Comedian Michael Yo calls himself a bonafide Blasian, using his standup to speak up about life as a multiracial person. 

“That’s when they call me what they want … I go to Miami. They’re like, ‘Hey, you’re Puerto Rican.’ I go to New York, they’re like, ‘You’re Dominican.’ I go to Hawaii. They’re like, ‘Welcome home!’" he said.

Home for Elle Jules is where the ohana is, the Hawaiian islands. And questions about her mixed race background come up daily.  

"I'm a mixed plate, that's what we call it in Hawaii, which means we're just a bunch of different things. And so I think it's hard to identify as just one thing," she said.

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For Morgan, representation matters ... as a Black and Korean American woman. She’s made history multiple times in her career, breaking through barriers with resiliency. 

"To be someone though of mixed race, I do identify as Black," Morgan said. "I'm incredibly proud of my Korean heritage. My mother definitely raised me to be a very strong woman who is, you know, respectful and understands my history and my culture."

Professor Myra Washington examines Black and Asian culture and wrote a book on the limitations of racial binaries. 

"Because we've had such a constrictive and oppressive racial regime of categorizing people, and then treating people according to those categories, nuance has been missing," Washington said.


You can listen to the full conversation with Morgan, as well as model Elle Jules, Professor Myra Washington and Professor Jess Bensen, in this episode of Exit Spring Mountain, Nevada Public Radio's Asian American Pacific Islander podcast.


The Exit Spring Mountain team includes senior producer Nessa Concepcion, academic research consultant Mark Padoongpatt and assistant producer and social media manager Isabelle Chen Rice. Our sound editing, mixing and mastering is by Christopher Alvarez.

Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host and executive producer. 

Like and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and leave us a review. Also, follow us on Instagram @ExitSpringMountain.

Guests

Sandra Douglass Morgan, president, Las Vegas Raiders; Elle Jules, model; Myra Washington, associate professor of ethnic studies, University of Utah; Jess Bensen, assistant professor of psychology, St. Olaf College

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