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A feature in National Geographic‘s October 125th anniversary issue looks at the changing face of America in an article by Lise Funderburg, with portraits of multiracial families by Martin Schoeller, that celebrates the beauty of multiracial diversity and shows the limitations around our current categories when talking about race.
In many ways race is about difference and how those differences are codified through language, categories, boxes, segmentation, and even the implicit sorting that goes on in our heads in terms of the way we label others and even ourselves. Appearance and identity are most certainly linked when it comes to racial categories, but there is another important ingredient in that stew: Experience.
For three years now I have been collecting stories about race and cultural identity on the Race Card Project, and it has provided a window into society like no other I’ve ever experienced in more than three decades of working as a journalist.
More amazing is how the exercise, over time, has opened a window for people to share much more than just their six words about who they are and what they are feeling. The Pew study found that among newlyweds in 2010, 36 percent of Asian women married outside their race, compared with 17 percent of Asian men. The six-word tales that have poured into the Race Card Project create a portal that allows us to dive beyond the surface into the deeply nuanced issues of racial ambiguity and cultural identity. There are also those who don various identities based on convenience, advantage, or comfort.
Blue-eyed teenagers who grow outsize afros to win easy (or at least easier) acceptance on the basketball court. Asians with Irish last names who delight at seeing the faces of potential employers when they show up for job interviews. I’ve been in journalism long enough to know that people who are exceedingly happy with their lot in life are less likely to share their stories if given the chance. I think of the six words submitted by Phyllis Kedl, of Minneapolis, who could not be more proud of her multiethnic brood that includes fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to Phyllis and her husband. If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about the phrase “post-racial,” with its suggestion that we could take some kind of express elevator up to the top floor where the view was great, the air was clear, and no one would make you feel icky or uncomfortable.
In any case, Ali Berlinski says she uses prickly humor to talk about her eclectic upbringing.
Navigating cultures is something that National Geographic and the Race Card Project have in common, and we want to include you in our journey to better understand the changing face of America.
Michele Norris is a host and special correspondent for NPR and the curator of the Race Card Project.
What I don’t understand is how someone can cry over what box to tick about their race, get over yourself. I alwas thought for the longest time that I was purely black, as I knew superficially that both my mom and dad were black.
I am glade that the census show that blacks are still marrying blacks but interacial marriages is on the rise .Men care less than women when it come to the race mixing it is rising with females to. As much as I like this piece, and I really do think that it along with The Race Card Project really hit the nail on its head when discussing how nuanced race is, I wish there was more emphasis on ethnic identification and how that in itself is a manifestation of race. I’ve been considered Rwandan (I am currently in Rwandan), Burundian (because I speak French), Congolese (again because I speak French), Ugandan (because I speak English in a non-Anglophone country), Kenyan, even French Guyanese (because I was black), Surinamese (because I spoke English and was black), Guyaneses (because I was a black anglophone), Brazilian, and last but not least Trinidadian. Like I said, I bring this up just to illustrate that it is not only people who are visibily racially ambiguous who feel the identity struggle.
I am white meaning Scottish, Irish, German, American Indian…and other things I am sure. Yet, people tend to think I’m Persian, or Lebanese, or Syrian, Middle Eastern in general.
Here in the US people are like i am irish, i am cuban, i am jewish, i am strong black woman, i am puerto rican, i am white. Race; each of the major divisions of mankind, each having distinct physical characteristics.
I hate it when people say mixed is better, when you’re more likely to be fetishized and pushed away by your own culture(s), not to mention you experience racism from more than one race in different ways. A great man, but we should never forget his descendants, one of whom was a successful businessman and did well during the US Civil War – Colonel John Wayles Jefferson. My mother was an award winning Siberian husky, and my father was a flea bitten Labrador mix, I was adopted from a pound to a family who adores my mixes heritage.
My paternal grandmother was said to have really dark parents, both of whom were part Jewish and part African. The New York Times had an article some years back about doctors treating patients and subscribing medication based on race. My nine yrs old son is mix of Turkish ( Georgian, Russian, Turkish) and Italian (Jewish, Portugese, Italian) he has light skin but not fair and getting tanned very easy, has high cheek bones and slightly slant eyes but looks like a one line when he smiles :)) also tall for his age. I have brown skin, type 4 hair, and was born in America so automatically people will call me African-American though I in no way identify with or hold the same cultural values from any group of people belonging to one of the countries in Africa. I can’t believe it’s been five years since the publication of the fifth edition of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America!
The NatGeo guide follows the now-usual plan of illustrations on the right-hand page, with text and range map on the facing page. A good amount of variation within species is illustrated, including sex, age, seasonal, and regional differences, as appropriate. The identification information is extensive, but not exhaustive, as the authors focus on the most important characteristics. All but a few introduced or rarely occurring birds have a range map, including many that did not in the fifth edition. The extra detail on migration is very helpful, but it is the subspecies information that excites me the most. In most cases, if I were to say that the range maps are the best thing about a field guide, it would be a sign that I was struggling to find something good to say about it. National Geographic includes all the birds that have been recorded in North America north of Mexico – 990 in all.
An eight-page introduction describes the plan of the book, gives some tips for better birding, and presents diagrams illustrating the parts of a bird, among other things. The only issue I have with this guide is not specific to this particular guide, but rather with field guides as a whole – slavery to taxonomic order. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition is a great guide.
Disclosure: The item reviewed here was a complementary review copy provided by the publisher.
I’d actually prefer a slightly smaller book that would be possible without the no longer helpful thumbtabs.


I’m from France, I’m very passionate by ornithology and I bought this guide because I wanna going to Central Park , NYC ! Plus , North America has a lot of Bio-climatic zones , many birds are coming fom both and tropical zones mostly during their migration steps , It would very fun ! Plus , North America has a lot of Bio-climatic zones , many birds are coming from both Boreal and Tropical zones mostly during their migration steps , it’s awesome !
They are a little bit smaller, which could make a difference if carrying it into the field.
Meaning one day in the very far future, if our species can survive that long, we will all become woman . But who knows blue eyes and hazel eyes have occurred due to genetic mutation so anything is possible in our journey to evolution. There is no room for that on those official census forms, but when a person picks up a writing instrument to choose which box they check, experience most certainly helps guide their hand. Mary’s City, Maryland, wrestled for years with what box to check when confronted with official forms. The submissions that arrive via snail mail, the Internet, and Twitter are often accompanied by comments, essays, pictures, and artwork.
Pew also found that 26 percent of Hispanics married outside their race, compared with 9 percent of whites and 17 percent of blacks. Identity is not always a concrete concept but rather something that is situational, or shifting, based on time, place, growth, or circumstance. Erica Shindler Fuller Briggs of North Charleston, South Carolina, is asked the question “What are you?” so often she has started charging people for the answer. In either case she has made her point, prompting those who seek information about her identity to ask themselves a question: Why is it important?
Those who have something to get off their chest are more likely to sidle up to the keyboard.
In matters of romance, I have also repeatedly heard the phrase that “the heart perhaps is the last frontier,” with the idea that a rainbow generation would lead us to a promised land where race was at least less prickly than it’s been in the past. We want to see and hear how you identify yourself in terms of culture, race, or even region. Please read the book Working Toward Whiteness – How America’s Immigrants Became White – The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs by David R.
Check out the human genome project and genetic research which have scientifically proven that races do not exist. Also, remember “whiteness,” like “race,” is a human invention created and perpetuated by society. I want to live and associate with my own tribe and have my children and grandchildren look like me as well as have them be self-sufficient, hard-working individuals that grow up with values and a sense of tradition. Homo sapien is one species (out of other homo groups now extinct) with varying geographical adaptations and even more cultural (group rules) variations. Despite that, I have more of the filipino features (I can get as tan as my mother, but if I don’t tan im very white, while my sister stays a pretty light shade even if she does tan) And also I have an asian nose. Ninety-nine percent of the time, our outward physical appearance provides neither a benefit nor disadvantage in nature. European Jews, Ashkenazi, are first and foremost European or white, so mixing that title in with nationalities and ethnicities is incorrect! Notice how out of all the things I mentioned, no one ever seemed to consider the fact that I could possibly be American. I wrestle with that every day of my life although I consider myself black, but my mixed heritage places me all over our global map.
Also, some doctors also zoom in on certain afflictions that might affect black people ,but in the process miss the proper diagnosis. The descriptions are largely the same as in the prior edition, but the voice and range sections have, on average, been expanded. The maps of 59 birds with multiple subspecies are marked to show the ranges of the constituent subspecies. Well, I have no shortage of good things to say about this edition of the National Geographic guide, and the range maps just may be the best thing about it. 92 of these are found in an illustrated list of accidental and extinct species at the end of the book. Most North American field guides follow the species order prescribed by the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) rather closely, at least to the level of family and genus. Dunne and Alderfer have done much more than incorporate the latest AOU updates, add a new species or two, and slightly change the cover.
In my review of the fifth edition I qualified my recommendation, especially for owners of a prior edition. I also deplore these often slavic changes in sequence that not only don’t help in the field, but more often even complicate the matter. I hope that this guide will bring to me great informations about the magnificent species of North America !
This field guide should be very useful to you, and I hope you have a wonderful time birding here! She needs a bone marrow transplant but a shortage of African-American and multiracial donors has kept her waiting for two years, because matches rely on shared ancestry.
But to understand race—and more specifically racial ambiguity—it helps to understand those whose lives are defined by it.
And of the more than 30,000 submissions I have archived, a large percentage, in some way, touch upon multiracial experiences—most specifically marriage, parenting, and the questions of identity for the resulting offspring. At age 42, she’s developed a hard edge around the constant questioning of her identity over time, and for understandable reasons.
Our diversity is the marvel of the world and represents one of our greatest strengths as a nation. But for a subject as historically and emotionally fraught as this, I am honored that anyone chooses to share their story and that the Race Card Project has become a forum where people can emote but also absorb a bit of life as lived by someone else.
But I have seen enough other stories come through the site to know that grandchildren have also had a way of melting away generational bias, or even fear of the unknown, and replacing it with love and pride and fierce protectiveness. So my sister usually just goes under the term white, but I usually have to say I’m mixed? The real issue with humans and their prejudices stems from ethnicity – the social traits that bind groups together. America is a country made of immigrants from all over the world, and everyone just wants to know where they fit in! I love it when people ask me where my family comes from and I go listing off everything I’ve ever learned of my family heritage. This venerable guide, first published in 1983, has long been considered one of this continent’s best field guides.
So if you’re already familiar with this guide’s previous incarnations, you may want to first check out this list of changes from the 5th edition, and then skim ahead to the evaluation.


Additionally, the illustrations are annotated with field marks, a la the Sibley and Collins guides.
Many non-passerines, such as shorebirds and gulls, have a voice description for the first time. Many also continue well south into Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, showing much more of the bird’s entire range than most other field guides.
And if this weren’t enough, there is a separate section in the back of the book with larger and even more detailed maps for 37 additional species.
Along with a single illustration, details of the species’ occurrence and a brief description of appearance is included.
A “quick find index” on the inside-front cover flap lists birds’ “last name” in alphabetical order. NatGeo6 is no exception, incorporating the latest changes from the AOU at the time of publication.
The extra size they require doesn’t seem important, but it is a very big deal if that means it no longer fits in your pocket!
Here in France , we have absolutely wonderful birding bearings , and across the world , this incredibly passion should be shared through essentials and awesome field-guides such this one ! To put that in context, one of out of every seven new marriages is among people of different racial backgrounds.
But the six-word stories present a broad mosaic that informs us in these times and will serve as an amazing archive in the future as we try to understand the years when America was steaming toward a majority-minority status. Nina Boyd Krebs, whose book of the same title explores how people form diffuse cultural boundaries in the new Global Frontier.
At one point, a shoe store manager assumed she was Hispanic and fussed at her for not knowing her own language.
It heralds progress but not without pain for those who live on the knife-edge of multiple cultures. To insist otherwise is to dismiss the observations, views, and experiences of the thousands of people who have shared their stories with me.
Differences in these [abstract] concepts can manifest as a simple slur all the way to genocide.
What I don’t understand is why people keep referring to me and my children as looking Asian because my eyes are slightly almond shape. Jewish tribes of Asher and Levi, Russian Jew, Hungarian, Romanian, French, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Norwegian, Choctaw, Cherokee and Iroquois. Us South Africans, should be a united country but still today you get a young generation that judges you because of your race. I love this feature, as it clearly draws attention to the most important characteristics to look for on a bird, and is a great use of space.
Distinct colors illustrate permanent, breeding, winter, and migration ranges, with dotted lines showing the extent of irregular occurrence. Additionally, a visual index to bird families is printed on the inside of the front and back covers. Most of these changes are to a species’ scientific name, which of course should be kept up-to-date in field guides. This guide is clearly an improvement over the previous edition, even more so than the fifth was better than the fourth. The thumbtabs are probably the most subjective feature of the guide – how you feel about them will likely be determined by how you use the guide. The one exception is the annotated arrows, the regional guides were the first NatGeo’s to include those.
His last name speaks of his heritage but it is hard to easily slot him into a single category based on his outward appearance. That will become evident if you spend any time scrolling through the stories that my project, the Race Card, has received.
Do you have siblings who identify themselves in different ways, even though your biracial background is the same? People will find ANY characteristic to divide – when what we should be doing is uniting as the human race that we are all a part of. Combine those with his first wife, my grandmother, and then add more English and Scottish to it with some German and you get me.
All of this is good, but it is two features unique among current North American field guides that make these maps stand out: distinct colors for spring, fall, and both-way migration, and subspecies names and boundaries. When he had to fill out those forms, sometimes he would check multiple boxes and let someone else figure out how to handle the confusion. He grew up around kids of all races, and I had friends of different races, but it wasn’t a deliberate thing. When I was in Greece they thought I was Greek, when in Hawaii they thought Hawaiian, in Mexico they think I’m Mexican. As Anglo-Saxons migrated from the German Angles and Saxon tribes west to the British Isles.
Everyone is made up of the various people their families have married and produced children with over the entire history of this planet. Many of the illustrations are updated or completely redone with each new edition, and those redone for this sixth edition are a clear improvement. If you want to check out a longspur, for example, you would no longer look after the sparrows (their usual place in field guides since before I’ve been birding), but before the warblers. I did learn one thing the stats show even though white men do not marry black a lot but when they do it last the most than any other race they never talk about that race mix ,that when they do it last not so much with black men and white women are divorcing the most Asainsbmix race couples divorce a lot check the stats I did . I have light tan skin (that can get really dark in the summer)long brown hair, brown almond shaped eyes with a slender muscular build. And unlike my six siblings (Maria, Jude, David, Michelle, and Elizabeth), I have the only identifiably Nigerian name (Oluseyi Segun), which has baffled many, even Americans, when I say that I am American.
More and more, I think field guides should stick to a standard sequence designed to help birders identify birds.
I love it because every race is beautiful and I wouldn’t change my melting pot blood for nothing. There are still some plates that need work (like the vireos), but I suppose they have to leave something for the inevitable seventh edition! When the census forms changed, allowing individuals to choose more than one category, David Kung tore into the envelope, checked multiple boxes, and then sat down and cried.



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