Mixed race and autism go hand in hand again
Happy Independence Day for all you American readers out there!
I began the holiday weekend by going on the mic. The Mixed Chicks Chat podcast had an opening yesterday and I had approached them about appearing to talk about my mixed race documentary that was released in February. We set up the chat earlier in the week and the show went without a hitch.
Fortunately, I also went without a major hitch. I never ask anyone to submit their questions to me ahead of time because it runs the risk of coming off as fake or rehearsed, but my hunch about what I would get asked was right. Most of the episode focused on my documentary, including what got me interested in the subject and why I feel so strongly about sharing the stories of the mixed race community. This was the first show where I really didn’t pay much attention to the chat window, in part because I would have been distracted trying to talk and read what others were saying simultaneously (which probably cut the chat conversation in half; I’m one of their chattier listeners).
The other subject I expected to talk about came somewhat unexpectedly. I had mentioned my exploits with autism before on the show, but didn’t know how much the hosts really got into it. About midway through the show, they hinted me on what they wanted to get out of me, which meant I shared my autism diagnosis with listeners. We didn’t talk about it for too long, but as I’ve discussed before, autism is one reason why I feel a connection with other aspects of social justice. Even though I’m not mixed and didn’t understand multiracial identity well until college, both of our communities share the struggle of feeling exploited at times because we have a characteristic that easily separates us from others. I can’t speak for them, but after attending a social justice retreat a couple years ago, I found myself exploring social justic topics more often to hopefully get past surface questions. Whether it’s “What Are You?” for multiracial people or “What do you think?” for autistics, you can only get so far by asking the obvious questions. It helps to have hosts know exactly what you’re going through.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I developed a good repertoire with the hosts and listeners. Some people love to hate journalists like me because we occasionally do things to make others uncomfortable (otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs), but they liked that I tackled the topic of mixed race and autism before that without any personal agenda attached. It’s hard to learn much if you don’t let your subjects tell the story. I think my interview also gave the hosts and listeners who I’ve connected with a chance to learn about me. I’d definitely go on again if I get the chance.
If you haven’t listened to Mixed Chicks Chat before, I’d recommend doing so. Fanshen and Heidi are fluid hosts who love what they do for social justice and aren’t afraid to listen to anyone who’s willing to listen back. I can’t guarantee they’ll make you look good if that’s your cup of tea, but if you want to learn something, listen to their podcasts.