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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

'Mixed' anthology to feature College alumni

Twelve recent multiracial graduates share their personal experiences in the anthology “Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories,” which examines the identity development of mixed-race students.

The book, to be released Dec. 1, was co-edited by education professor emeritus Andrew Garrod, Northeastern Illinois University sociology professor and former Dartmouth professor Christina Gomez and Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention executive director Robert Kilkenny.

The anthology aims to portray how racial and ethnic stereotypes of multiracial individuals can often negate other important parts of individual identities.

“One of the challenges of being mixed race in this culture is the tendency of others to identify you only as a representative of the non-Caucasian component of your racial mix,” Kilkenny said.

Garrod described the compilation process as lengthy, as it focused on helping writers “find their voice.” Writers completed a seven or eight-page draft each week during the term and then discussed their writing with Garrod, who assisted authors in constructing a full portrait of their identity.

Some of the guiding questions that the editors posed were, “How do you self-identify?”, “Why did you come to Dartmouth?” and “What relationships are most important to you?”

“It’s a very privileged and intimate form of teaching, working with students on their autobiographies,” Garrod said. “They’re sharing their stories, and I’m helping them shape them into something coherent.”

The majority of the writers were former students of Garrod or Gomez, while others were recommended. All but two of the essays were written in the past four years.

Garrod said “Mixed” is a trade paperback rather than a textbook, but he expects the bulk of sales will come from university sociology departments. He hopes that readers will connect with each writer’s experiences, while also gaining a fresh perspective on race.

“Most of us aren’t Native American or mixed-race,” Garrod said. “So what is it like, living for 20 pages in another’s person’s skin, trying to understand the phenomenology of their experience?”

Garrod suggested that readers could glean a deeper awareness of their own life circumstances.

“If you come from a privileged white background and generally chum around with privileged white people, to read about an urban mixed-race student from Dartmouth who has had a difficult start, that should illuminate you — that should encourage you to think about things more complexly and encourage you to be more aware of your own privilege and luck,” he said.

The authors focus on the influences of culture, class, gender, sexual orientation and nationalities on identity. “Mixed” was recently featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, alongside pictures of contributing authors Ana Sofia De Brito ’12, Yuki Kondo-Shah ’07 and Shannon Prince ’09.

De Brito, now a graduate student at the University of Vermont, is white, Asian and black but identifies as black. Over her sophomore summer, she took a race and identity class with Gomez, which she said was particularly influential. At first, she viewed her collaboration with Garrod as a “private project” and only recently decided to publish.

Although there are many parts of the world where multiracialism is common, De Brito said it is not as widely understood in America. The writing process allowed her to confront the racial dynamics in her family and explore why she chose to identify as black.

“You don’t have to be confused — it’s whatever mixture you choose to bring out,” De Brito said. “The perception of yourself is most important.”

In 2007, Garrod, Gomez and Kilkenny published the anthology “Mi Voz, Mi Vida: Latino College Students Tell Their Stories,” a collection of memoirs by Dartmouth graduates about growing up Latino in the United States.