Charlie Sheen has lost his job. But he lost his mind first. This comes as no surprise to anyone with Internet access or who has stood in a checkout line next to the tabloid rack in the last few weeks. Sheen’s drug and alcohol abuse, “goddesses,” and wild ravings are already legendary. In a world that also contains Lindsey Lohan, Sheen has managed to become the poster-boy for Hollywood excess. Yet even in the Land of Sheen, his recent defense to charges of anti-Semitism is outlandish and his (mis)use of his multiracial background is insulting to all multiracial people who are struggling to create public and private identities.
The Department of Education’s “two or more races” category may appeal to some people but this is a slippery slope towards ignoring race altogether. Race still matters. Combating racism still matters. Acknowledging multiracial identities or agreeing to be placed in a “two or more races” category does not remove our responsibility to fight against the ways race – and racism – have impacted our lives in many, and sometimes violent, ways.
What is the connection between Obama, the 2010 U.S. Census and multiracials? Not as much as some may think. While it is tempting to look to Obama as a mixed race icon and to see the Census as publicly acknowledging a multiracial “community,” we may need to rethink these ideas.
The most important aspect of teaching is to create opportunities and impart skills that will allow students to continue the learning process well after the classroom experience has ended. To that end, I believe that fostering discussion and critical thinking are essential. This approach requires that students actively engage in the material presented and critically examine a variety of perspectives. Students are thus asked to consider their own points of view, values and past knowledge while exploring the historical and contemporary issues presented. I have been fortunate to be able to hone my pedagogical and methodological perspectives in a variety of settings including private institutions, public institutions, undergraduate summer programs and private tutoring. These varied experiences have led me to develop innovative courses and workshops that help individuals engage meaningfully with the world.