The Blend Conference
at Cornell University
The Blend Conference hosted by MiXed at Cornell is a two day conference focused on the awareness of the multiracial experience and the community’s marginalization of identity planned for Friday, April 15 - Saturday April, 16, 2016. The Blend Conference supports two core principles: engagement and inclusion.
The conference will feature keynote speeches by professionals, personalities, and students, as well as interactive group activities, panels, and discussions. A key message of the conference is that identity is individualized; because of this, inclusion for all participants free of bias is of the utmost importance during the conference. Activities will focus on small group dynamics that allow participants to feel comfortable and engage with people of all identities and backgrounds. Participants will be able to feel included regardless of their racial identity and actively learn from others throughout the conference. Despite the highly individualized nature of identity, interactions between participants will result in increased self-awareness as well as identity comprehension.
The Blend Conference will mark the first time that Cornell will host an event geared towards the education of multiracialism, self-identity, and mixed-race discrimination. In the past, Cornell has offered a class on mixed-race politics but it ceased to exist after Professor David Harris left in 2012. Since then, the home for mixed race students has changed hands until finally being established in MiXed in 2014. MiXed is housed within the Asian and Asian American Center but is open to people of all racial blends. The Blend Conference will further the education of the Cornell community.
It is our hope that attendees of the Blend Conference will leave with an increased awareness of self and the expanding multiracial world.
More information to come!
Friday April 15, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dr. Sarah E. Gaither
"Mixed” Perceptions: Fluidity in Categorization, Racial identity and Behavior
Multiracial individuals are projected to be the fastest growing demographic in America over the next 40 years. This population challenges traditional either-or perceptions of race, and we still lack a complete understanding of the factors that predict the treatment and behavior of multiracial people. Research shows that multiracials report the social pressure of having to “choose” one of their racial groups, which serves as a primary source of psychological conflict. While other work suggests, that because of their ability to maneuver among their multiple racial identities, multiracials also adopt flexible strategies in dealing with their social environments—a benefit to having multiple racial identities. With little empirical work to date, the outcomes of having flexible racial identities are still inconclusive. In this talk, I will discuss what we know about what affects how mixed-race people are categorized and the role that having multiple racial identities can play in diverse settings. Through this research, we will explore some of the positive benefits stemming from having multiple racial identities in addition to some of the specific contexts that may shape how mixed-race people are treated.
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Opening Cocktail Reception
Business Casual Attire
Saturday April 16, 2016
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Mixed Matches: How Your Heritage Can Save a Life
Mixed Marrow Founder & Director, Athena Mari Asklipiadis shares about her advocacy work with mixed and minority patients who have life-threatening blood diseases and in need of a bone marrow match. Asklipiadis, also Associate Producer of documentary, Mixed Match, will be sharing clips of the forthcoming film. @mixedmarrow @mixedmatchmovie
Followed by BeTheMatch Marrow Registration Drive.
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Multiracial Family Man: Notes from a White Dad Raising a Biracial Son in a Broken Economy
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
Lunch Break (food provided)
1:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Katerina Durant (Cornell ILR '16)
Research on Multiracial and Multiethnic Women in the Workplace
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Screening of Little White Lie
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Sophie Sidhu (Associate Dean of Students)
Interactive Discussion Session
3:15 pm - 3:30 pm
Elizabeth Sowers (Cornell BA '14, MPS '15, Co-founder of Mixed)
"What Am I?" Campaign
The question "What are you?" often pervades the lives of people of multiracial identity. Brought up as an unwelcome topic of conversation, awkward icebreaker, or sometimes honest inquiry, the question is one of the singular experiences that defines an otherwise diverse community. I will discuss my own personal experience with the question and encourage an interactive discussion about how it plays a part in yours. I will also discuss what MiXed at Cornell attempted to do to change the discussed with The Cornell Hapa Book: Faces of MiXed at Cornell and at the end, encourage the audience to do the same with a photo or illustration of their own.
3:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Meet the Speakers
Dr. Sarah Gaither
Professor at University of Chicago
Sarah Gaither earned her Ph.D in March 2014 from Tufts University for her dissertation entitled, "Mixed" Biracial Experiences from the Target's and Perceiver's viewpoint. In September 2011 she earned her M.S. from Tufts University for her thesis entitled "Having an Outgroup College Roommate Affects Future Interracial Interactions." Prior to coming to Tufts University, she received her B.A. in Social Welfare with a concentration in Psychology in addition to a minor in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2007.
Sarah is currently a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago in the Psychology Department with a joint appointment in the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.
Growing up in a biracial Black/White family has directly affected Sarah's growing research interests, and is one of the main reasons why she has chosen to study race, prejudice and stereotypes with an emphasis on how contact with diversity shapes our behavior, attitudes and perceptions of others. She grew up in Sacramento, CA in a family of four with her mother Kathy, father Clifford, and younger brother Adam.
Sarah currently resides in Chicago, IL with her husband Matt. In her free time she enjoys cooking, adventurous food outings, wine tasting, traveling, movies, college football, and anything else new that comes her way.
Founder and Director of Mixed Marrow
Athena Mari Asklipiadis, Japanese, Greek, Armenian, Italian, and Egyptian, was born and raised in South Los Angeles, California. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from Pepperdine University and is an alumni member of Kappa Alpha Theta’s Zeta Phi Chapter. While working in LA market radio, Athena began her work in the multiethnic community working with web community sites Eurasian Nation, Addicted to Race and We Are Hapa. After recognizing a lack of multiethnic and minority marrow donors, she started Mixed Marrow in 2009 as an outreach through A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches) and Be The Match, the US national registry.
Athena currently works in social media management and as a freelance voice over actor. She operates Mixed Marrow in her spare time and recently completed production on forthcoming documentary film, Mixed Match with filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns (One Big Hapa Family, Yellow Sticky Notes).
@athenamari @mixedmarrow @mixedmatchmovie
Comedian, Writer, and Social Commentator
Alex’s comedy is about family, specifically my family. As the White, Jewish husband of a Black woman (who converted to Judaism) and the father of a 4 year-old, Biracial son, he focuses his attention on the challenges of being a parent in a bad economy and the issues that confront interracial families (including the dynamics between members of the same family who are of different races). In the Age of Obama, his material is very timely, relevant, and very funny.
He’s performed at clubs, colleges and venues throughout the country. He’s appeared on the Katie Couric Show, been featured on Sirius/XM Radio’s “Raw Dog Comedy,” NBC’s EVB Live, Bloomberg Law TV, ComedyTime TV, RT TV America and NYC-TV and in VH1.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and CNN.com. He has also appeared on the live comedy show Comedy Juice, and, he won the 12th Annual Gilda’s Club (Northern NJ) Laugh-Off.
He is the co-founder and co-producer of The Dads of Comedy, the Jewish Fathers Comedy Tour, The Diversity Show, Glass Half Full Comedy, The Manhattan Show, and Post-Grad Comedy, all of which are regularly-occurring shows at NYC’s Gotham Comedy Club.
Alex is also a writer. He wrote a series of columns about his comedy career in a regularly-occurring column in The New York Daily News “Money” section. He wrote a monthly humor column for the online webzine, The Coil Review (www.thecoilreview.com), and he is a regular contributor to The Comic Bible. In addition, his comedic short story “Lola’s Christmas Gift” was published in the 2008 issue of the literary journal, The Westchester Review.