EIRIC™ Talks About Race With Author Angela Dion

We’re so excited that Ms. Angela Dion, the counselor, successful author, professional writing coach and motivational speaker, recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with us and discuss her current book Let's Talk About Race (http://www.everythingiric.com/index.php?option=com_mtree&task=viewlink&link_id=1847&Itemid=2).

Below is the full interview. After reading the interview, please take a moment to visit her site (http://www.dioncommunications.com/) to learn more about her work.

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1. You touched upon growing up in a "voluntarily segregated" section of Maryland. Please share a little more about our childhood there.
I was raised in Loveville, MD, population 500. I don't think I knew that we were voluntarily segregated until I moved out of the state. Basically, the black people staying on one side, the whites on the other. No one questioned it or had a problem with it - maybe they didn't even notice it.

2. What impact did your father’s words – “never trust white people” – have on you growing up?
Fortunately my mother taught me to not look at color but character. I knew my father had a deep mistrust of white people, his stuff from his past, and he wanted to protect me. 

3. How did you learn to “trust white people” enough to marry one?
It was difficult for me to trust anyone fully - white or black, again my father's influence. Marc and I became friends first and over time I learned to trust him and love him.

4. Congratulations on being married for over twenty years. As a newlywed, I am in awe. What was your first impression of your husband Marc?
I thought he was a nice guy and a great listener. Neither of us was interested in dating the other. In fact, we were both dating other people when we met.

5. Did you date outside of your race/culture before getting together with him?

6. Did Marc?

7. What has been the most unusual reaction to your relationship?  
I think it's weird when people assume we're not together - happens a lot when we go to restaurants. Most unusual was in South Carolina when we basically stopped all conversation and everyone just stared at us.

8. Do you get "looks" from people because of the racial/cultural difference in your relationship?

9. Do you get more "looks" from black or white people? Young or Old?
Probably older, white men. I don't know for sure though.

10. Truthfully, how was meeting the family – on your end and his? 
My mother was the most supportive - she likes to tell people that she always knew I'd marry a white man. My father never really warmed up to Marc - he was out of my soon after we got married (not because of Marc, but his stuff), he died before our son was born. The rest of my family "tested" Marc with a poker game - he passed and won all their money! Marc's family is a lot quieter in general.

11. How did you feel when you first heard your mother-in-law refer to black people as “colored”?
I felt angry, felt like she was a racist, felt she was insulting, hurt that Marc didn't defend me.

12. How do you feel about it now?
She needed to be educated, she doesn't say "colored" anymore so I'm educating her about Puerto Ricans now - think I'll be correcting her racial slurs forever.

13. How did your in-laws react to your relationship?
My father-in-law is so reserved, I didn't know. When my son was born though, we got to see the proud Grandpa (Marcel is his first and only grandson). He and Marcel (now 19) have a wonderful relationship. My father-in-law is a great example of how children can soften any heart. My mother-in-law and I have a wonderful relationship now, it took some time but I think at the core she knows I love and respect her son.

14. Did you hold a race discussion with your in-laws or your family before or since getting married? Tell us about it. 
A million of them, with everyone. educating my mother-in-law, dispelling myths about white people with my family, showing how marriage words regardless of race, showing the love of God regardless of race, so many examples.

15. Why do you think so many people – especially those in close personal interracial relationships – seem uncomfortable discussing race?
I don't know if those in close interracial relationships are especially uncomfortable. People are afraid they'll offend, be offended, say the wrong thing, be perceived as a racist, lots of fears about being honest about race

16. Paint a picture of the first weekly discussion that prompted you to write "Let’s Talk About Race".  
No one knew quite what to expect. We asked why everyone came and what their fears/expectations were. That was a great ice breaker. We were in the honeymoon phase then (I discuss different group phases in my book) so no one wanted to rock the boat. We just got to know each other better and we each answered the question, "When did you first become aware of different races?"

17. Based on your experience, who tends to be the least receptive to discussing race?
I don't know that there is a type, but discussions are more difficult with those who are sensitive emotionally, have an agenda to push, or think they're right and have nothing to learn.

18. Based on your experience, who tends to be the most receptive to discussing race?  
It's easier when respect and rapport is established in the relationship, I encourage people to try to assume the best instead of the worse in other's motives. Also, those willing to listen and learn.

19. What are some actionable steps for starting a race conversation with friends or family?
Again, there so much, something as simple as watching the movie "Crash" and going to a meal for discussion after - I have sample questions in the book to spark discussions. Also something as simple as noticing how people sit at a business meeting of a news item can spark a discussion.

20. Choose an audience and describe a typical "Let's Talk About Race" seminar. *Audience examples: Small Business, Local Church, Recently merged interracial stepfamily...   
For any group, I share my story and how I got here. Then I start with some ground rules for discussion: agree to disagree, assume the best, no agendas, confidentiality, respect (I have an entire chapter of rules in the book). Then we have a discussion - for a business we can talk about perceptions of management, what's working/not working for an organization, etc. For church - the stats on church segregation, practical steps to integrate, what's the fear. For stepfamily - expectations of blendedness, any hidden feelings that need to be expressed (I have experience with family counseling so the issues might center on more than race). Of course I'd let them all know that one discussion is not the solution, but many discussions over a period of several months (maybe even years in the case of the family) work best.

21. What other projects are you working on that will be of interest to our audience? 
Available to speak about race/diversity specifically concentrating on colleges - how to cope with race on campus for students and professors, living with your "different" roommate, unlearning what your parents taught you about race and churches No More Segregated Sunday program for churches who want help becoming more racially diverse. 


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S-W-O-O-N-Worthy Men!!!!

We were laughing as we took a mental roll call of all the celebrities (of a different racial background) that we've had crushes on over the years.

Here's the list of my favorite celebrity crushes who are white.

Mark Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell: How can you not love a mischievous cutie with a brick for a cell phone?

Luke Perry as Dylan McKay from 90210: As a card-carrying member of Team Brenda and Dylan my loyalties shifted when Dylan became a "hoe" and hooked up with Kelly. I'm still trying to get over the heartbreak.

John Stamos as Uncle Jesse from Full House: Pretty much melted like butter when he would sing - especially the wedding song he wrote for Becky. *Swoon*

Leonardo DiCaprio as Luke on Growing Pains: A runway with a playful disposition.

George Clooney as Falconer on Sisters: Sexiest man in law enforcement I've ever encountered.

Rider Strong as Shawn from Boy Meets World: We're not immune to the "bad boy with a heart of gold" phenomenon. We also like that he was part of one of our all time favorite IR black/white couple.

Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys: I was convinced that I was going to marry this man. Just fine beyond words! This is the ultimate manifestation of the dark hair/green/hazel eyes combo that just drives me nuts.

Jakob Dylan from the Wallflowers: Dark hair/light eyes and the "I don't give a damn" bushy eyebrows. Ooooh just s-e-x-y!

Antonio Sabato Jr. in the Calvin Klein ads: Nothing more needed to say.

Matthew McConaughey: Was in love with this man until he knocked up that chick and built a family with her. How can you break my heart like that, Matthew? How? *Tears*

Clive Owen in that close-up shot of the movie Inside Man: W-O-W!

Hugh Grant: This man will always hold a special place in my heart. There's just a twinkle in his eyes that gets me every single time.

Your turn...


Dear Ms. Schlussel...

This is my response to a very aggravating blog post by Debbie Schlussel:


Since I kept getting an error message when I tried to post my response on her site, I thought I'd just share it here.

Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Dear Ms. Schlussel,

Thank you for your ever factual report outing the ties between Miss USA Rima Fakih and Islamist fundamentalist groups in the US and abroad. I appreciate your fact-finding mission that clearly outlines the ties between Ms. Fakih, her family and Hezbollah.

It was great to see the dated bank deposits from Hezbollah into Ms. Fakih’s account. How eye opening to see the memo on one of the checks: “Rima, the trigger button goes on the inside of your bikini.” If that wasn’t convincing enough, the picture of the Fakih Michigan family reunion with everyone smiling brightly, raising their trigger finger and wearing their Team Hezbollah shirts obviously proves your point.

Oh wait, you did not provide anything resembling proof to support your intelligent rant.

What would you suggest that we do with the Arab-Americans in the US? Do you like the hyphenated American? I added it just for you. Are we to deny citizenship rights to the more than 80 percent of Arab Americans who are U.S. citizens? Deny the estimated three and a half million Americans who trace their heritage to the Arab world the right to:

a. Celebrate Thanksgiving
b. Spend time with family and friends at the beach during Memorial day weekend
c. Watch 4th of July fireworks
d. Stand up and be counted as part of the American landscape

Or are we to deny them those rights only if they dare to:

a. Embrace rather than denounce their heritage
b. Proclaim themselves Islamic instead of Christian
c. Have an opinion other than yours

I made the mistake of having common sense which, of course, feeds my annoying habit of asking for proof when I read statements such as this one made by you: “…her family is chock full of top Hezbollah terrorists and she supports the group (not to mention that her Miss USA bid was financed by an Palestinian terrorist and immigration fraud perpetrator)…”

I am very open to holding a conversation and welcome the chance to review your myriad of proof that you weren’t able to provide in this post.


A Curious CHRISTian Haitian-American

*Source: http://aai.3cdn.net/9298c231f3a79e30c6_g7m6bx9hs.pdf ♦ http://www.aaiusa.org/arab-americans/22/demographics

Random TV Interracial and Intercultural Friendships We Love

After 18 years of participating in and leading the band on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Kevin Eubanks announced last month that his last day with the show is May 28th. We here at EIRIC are saddened to see one of our all time favorite TV friendships come to an end - at least on television. In honor of this friendship, we'd like to share some of our other favorite TV friendships that we've appreciated over the years. These are mostly friendships from TV shows that are no longer airing new episodes. We'll be doing a few other editions with friendships from current shows.

As always, we welcome your feedback.


Show: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Friends: Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks
Ethnicity and/or Race: White AND Black

Source: www.ew.com

Show: Full House
Friends: Stephanie Tanner and Harry Takayama
Ethnicity and/or Race: White AND Asian
5 episodes, 1988-1989
- Nerd for a Day (1989)
- Pal Joey (1989)
- Middle Age Crazy (1989)
- Jingle Hell (1988)
- D.J.'s Very First Horse (1988)

Source: IMDB

Show: Rob and Big
Friends: Rob Dyrdek and Christopher "Big Black" Boykin
Ethnicity and/or Race: White AND Black
Reality buddy comedy aired on MTV featuring professional street skater Rob Dyrdek and his best friend and bodyguard, Christopher "Big Black" Boykin.

Show: The Nanny
Friends: Fran Fine and Niles
Ethnicity and/or Race: White Jewish American AND White English
She was the nanny. He was the butler. Together they were Ethel and Lucy with a little twist.

Image source: Mean Street Kids

Show: Scrubs
Friends: Carla Espinosa Turk and Elliot Reid
Ethnicity and/or Race: Latina And White
Hated each other at first because Carla thought Elliot was a stuck up princess. They eventually became best friends.

Show: Designing Women
Friends: Anthony, Susan, Julia, Charlene and Mary Jo
Ethnicity and/or Race: Black And White
After surviving his unfortunate incarceration, Anthony Bouvier took a job as a delivery man for the Sugarbaker Design company.
Probably our favorite group of interracial friends - especially the friendship between Anthony, Susan and Susan's pig. We'll follow up with a special series dedicated to them.

Show: Full House
Friends: Teddy and Michelle
Ethnicity and/or Race: Black AND White
12 episodes, 1991-1995
1. Double Trouble (17 September 1991)
2. The Legend of Ranger Joe (22 October 1991)
3. The Volunteer (29 October 1991)
4. Happy Birthday, Babies: Part 2 (12 November 1991)
5. Bachelor of the Month (26 November 1991)
6. The Devil Made Me Do It (18 February 1992)
7. Girls Will Be Boys (28 April 1992)
8. Be Your Own Best Friend (5 April 1994)
9. A House Divided (17 May 1994)
10. To Joey, with Love (25 October 1994)
11. Super Bowl Fun Day (25 January 1995)
12. Dateless in San Francisco (14 February 1995)

Source: IMDB and www.fanpop.com

Show: Ally McBeal
Friends: Ally and Renee
Ethnicity and/or Race: White AND Black
Roommates. Co-workers. Original BFFs.

Show: Scrubs
Friends: J.D. and Turk
Ethnicity and/or Race: White AND Black
Probably our absolute favorite interracial male friendship.

Show: Any Day Now
Friends: Rene and Mary Elizabeth (M.E.)
Ethnicity and/or Race: Black AND White
Mary Elizabeth, an outgoing white girl, and Rene, a shy black girl, become close friends as they grow up in 1960's Alabama. Their friendship comes to an end, however, when Mary Elizabeth (M.E.) gets pregnant and Rene doesn't support her decision to keep the child and marry her boyfriend.
Thirty years later, the pair resume their old friendship, they reminisce on old times and the events that occurred after splitting up.

*Source: Lifetime

Show: Ghostwriter
Friends: Mixed Cast
Ethnicity and/or Race: Asian, Black, Hispanic AND White
The show is about a very special team that goes around solving mysteries in New York with the help of a very secretive friend: Ghostwriter! Ghostwriter cannot hear, talk, smell, or feel. He can only read and write. He only sees words. No one else can see him but the Ghostwriter team!

We're pretty sure that we're the only geeks who followed this PBS show religiously while it was on. We'd love to hear from you if you have heard of this show. We kinda feel like losers here :).

*Source: Retrojunk



EIRIC™ has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to help achieve a complete and accurate count of our nation's growing population during the Census 2010.We have launched the "You are the US Census. Stand up and be counted!" nationwide campaign. With the help of photographer Mike Tauber, we are creating a multitude of marketing materials to capture cross-cultural individuals in their daily lives.

Our latest and last photo shoot took place in the middle of Grand Central Station *we had to elbow a few folks out of the way ;)* with one of our favorite couple – Priscilla and Chris.

We need your help to choose the top three (3) pictures - in order of preference - that will be used for the campaign. When choosing please keep in mind that these pictures will be made into large posters.

Thanks so much for your help.


You are the U.S. Census!

Happy New Year!!! We're very happy to celebrate the start of 2010 with our Census campaign. These are our first two posters. Enjoy!

In March of 2010, census forms will be delivered to every residence in the United States and Puerto Rico. When you receive yours, just answer the 10 short questions and then mail the form back in the postage-paid envelope provided.