Mixed Blood is a photographic and narrative project portraying families based in NYC, Beijing, the DC Metro Area, and Miami that include children with “mixed” races, ethnicities, and cultures. Mixed Blood questions and diffuses the historical categorization process of race/ethnicity and focuses on connective, cross-cultural experiences. The portraits and their accompanying narratives illustrate the varying relationships family members have with their backgrounds, cultural context and citizenship. This unifying of race and culture within a family unit continues to influence the evolution of identity today.
"Globally minded, multi-cultural, multi-national scenes are home for me. Anyone who shares my values of decency, fairness, inclusion, sharing, unselfishness, community contribution, healthy and environmentally conscious living is at home in my home." Rebecca Levin, Egbuna Levin Family 2010
"My father comes from the North-West Frontier Province, which is between Afghanistan and Pakistan. My father was a Pathan, and my mother was a Rajput. The Rajputs are a tribal group descendent from the original white Huns who migrated from Central Asia about 2000 years ago. Historically this clan married within the tribal group. When my mom married my dad, it was the first time that anyone from her clan had married outside of her group. My parents' backgrounds were very different genetically and ethnically even though they lived in the same region. Coming from these two streams of consciousness marked the beginning of a far greater experience with cross-cultural relationships." Khalid Malik, Malik Family 2013
"I'm first American, and since I spend so much time with my Dad's side, I feel more Afro-Cuban American. My extended family on my dad's side is huge. My grandmother is 1 of 14 children. She had 7 children. My mom had 9 children. The women on my dad's side are very strong and the matriarchs of the family...I have a different view on Americanism. Although I love my country, I've been drawn to places outside of the US. I feel like the US can be a bit judgmental, where things can be categorized in a box. Maybe it's because I'm a black, American woman." Damasa Doyle, Doyle Family 2010
"My dad, with Irish, English and German blood, never felt like a mixed child. And most people today see him as a white American. However, my grandfather said that back then, having both the Irish and German blood in a person was definitely considered mixed race. Determining an individual as mixed really has to do with whatever the generations or cultural barriers at the moment are, and they're always changing." Matthew James, James Family 2010
"Being shaped by China's history, I'm interested in discovering modern China, everyday life, taxi culture, office culture, the huge generational differences and how people are addressing or not addressing these differences. I have faith in the Chinese people and am positive about its future." Rosa Huang, Huang Rierson Family 2013
"I felt these cultural pressures with marriage more so as I got older. It was a big deal to not be married in my twenties and thirties. I’ve had to navigate being raised in a conservative family where you do what you’re told; because I didn’t respond in this way. How to come up with a modern American way of having an arranged marriage was something I grappled with for a number of years. And then I met Jason, and we fell in love.
The phrase 'rough around the edges' comes to mind when thinking about American culture. Yes, we’re tough. Yes, we’re soft. There’s some clarity and solidarity to American culture. There are also a lot of frays around the edges. That understanding that it can potentially unravel or get stronger by bringing more pieces together is definitely there." Shazia Anwar, Walker Family 2016
"The most important person besides my wife and mother who really shaped me was my grandmother. She always told me, and she said this again very clearly in the last few stages of her life, 'Please make sure that when Max grows up (and this was before our daughter was born), make sure he understands that he’s Martin Luther King, AND he’s Bruce Lee.' The point she was trying to make was not for him to have a short-lived life and be a hero, but for Max to know he was an American of mixed blood. It’s important for him to know who he is and embrace both his African American and his Chinese heritage. And although he may be seen in this context as a Black American, my grandmother stressed the importance of how he should never forget his roots- that he’s also derived from China and that his parents met somewhere else on the planet that wasn’t America." Nikolis Smith, Smith Family 2016
"I can’t technically say I’m Jewish because the Jewish identity is traditionally handed down through the mother. And my mother was a shiksa (a women that wasn’t Jewish). At the same time, there is no denying the Jewish influences from my dad’s side with the usual family statements like 'What? You’re not marrying a Jewish girl? Why isn’t she Jewish?' This is why I feel like I’m everything. I’m part of the planet. I don’t want to attach myself to a particular race or heritage. I’d rather pick up the good things from all over the world instead and disregard the bad things." Iliya Afsisher, Afsisher Family 2017
"Unfortunately, my mother passed away at the age of 36. And because I was only 8 years old when she passed, my exposure to Chinese culture from her was limited to trips to Chinatown in San Francisco to enjoy dim sum and pastries. The Korean culture dominated in our family because even though my father was very cosmopolitan and worldly, he was very traditional at home. My father was very strict. At the dinner table he was the only one who usually spoke. And when he spoke, you didn’t say a word. You could NEVER talk back to our father…I was raised with Confucianism that had a rank and file type of social order filled with formalities and manners. And I’m grateful he taught me that. - Judy Lee, Lee Bergeot Family 2017