Mixed Remixed Festival

I became part of a multi-racial family when my husband and I wed in 2001. We were normal newlyweds who had dreams and wishes to realize together, so friends, family and professional acquaintances often showered us with congratulatory well wishes for a long, happy and successful marriage. Sometimes, however, whenever we were out of our Metropolitan home that is the cultural melting pot of Los Angeles, I began to notice the side glances from strangers. There were curious people who were honest about their curiosity about our marriage — my particular Nationality (I’m American, by the way, but my ethnicity is that of a Filipino-Chinese person), and whether I consider myself Hawaiian (I don’t). I found myself dumbstruck when people would compliment me that my future children will definitely be a beautiful mix of the two of us. I was also lectured by elderly strangers that I should learn the language of my parents, learn how to prepare Filipino food, or befriend more people like me, so that I would not do my future children a disservice of confusion of where they’re really from.

Coincidentally, I live in an area where interracial marriages are common, and eventually found myself surrounded by people who respected where they came from and who they are now, interracial or otherwise. Now that I am a mother of two AmerAsian children, I am fully aware of my responsibility to educate them about their cultural heritage. Luckily, my parents and close family members live an hour away, so they have also helped in forging awareness and interest in that regard. My husband and his family are also active in introducing traditions of their Irish and Slovak cultures and have been instrumental in having open discussions about the diversity of American culture. More recently, my son’s elementary school orchestrated a class level-wide celebration of diversity during the holidays, paralleling the celebration with various school projects wherein students were asked to look into their personal cultural heritage by conducting interviews with their elders, researching more about one’s diverse culture, creating a family tree and enjoying a foreign meal.

When I learned that the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo will be hosting the Mixed Remixed Festival on Friday and Saturday to celebrate cultural awareness of racially mixed people, as well as the 49 year anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the historic 1967 Supreme Court decision that legalized mixed-race marriage in the U.S., I knew that my family had to attend.

My husband started a new writing job earlier in the week, so he was unable to attend. A close family friend and his son, however, joined us today as we explored Little Tokyo.

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After we scored street parking, our group walked through Little Tokyo’s Historic District, wherein we found a sprinkling of modern shops that sold wares of popular culture (high end t-shirts bearing graphics of icons — think Prince, Bowie, cats, etc.) — or niche Americana (such as Rockabilly apparel or classic toys from the 1980s) amidst the expected sushi restaurant, Japanese supermarket and gift shops.

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We took a quick snack break from the summer heat (it was 80 degrees today) by enjoying some mochi ice cream (delicious ice cream enveloped in a sweetened rice flour bread coating).

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Afterward, we crossed Central Avenue, paid our homage to the two-year old public art interactive Rubix Cube-like sculpture (formally known as the  OOMO Cube; check out a my video capture here) permanently housed in front of the Japanese American National Museum, and ultimately reached our destination at the nearby National Center for the Preservation of Democracy.

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The celebrated event of the mixed and multiracial experience consisted of a festival of books, performances and film. People shared their personal stories about what it was like to grow up multiracial, my friend and I included. My friend shared his personal story to us… had his own parents not married in Massachusetts in the 1950s, they would have been breaking the law by getting married to each other in his mother’s home state (his American mother of German heritage was from one of the Southern states and his Korean father was employed in the U.S. as a medical physician). My friend, himself, eventually met, married and created a family of three with a woman who is of Taiwanese descent, so even as an American raised Hapa, his son is of mixed-heritage by a different sort.

“I’m half Filipino and half Ohioan,” exclaimed my younger child. Yes, there’s more to talk about by way of their cultural heritage in our household in the years to come.

I was appreciative that Mixed Remixed took place and that we were able to attend. It helped me create an open forum for my children to discuss their heritage and for them to realize that while they are different, they are certainly not alone in sharing this experience of multi-cultural diversity with other Los Angeleans.

———-

Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-625-0414
janm.org/events

Mixed Remixed Festival
PO Box 66848
Los Angeles, CA 90066
213-293-7077
mixedremixed.org

Mikawaya (mochi ice cream shop)
118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-624-1681
mochiicecream.com

Monkey Pants (Toy and Children’s Clothing Store)
131 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-570-0980
monkeypantsla.com

Pop Tee Shop Flagship Store (T-Shirt Store)
349 East 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-613-9800
popkiller.us

Kool’s (Clothing Store)
110 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-680-1777
facebook.com/KoolsLittleTokyo

© Copyright 2012-2016 by Deborah Kuzma, californianativegirl.com and californianativeblog.wordpress.com. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah Kuzma, californianativegirl.com and californianativeblog.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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