tv Not the Cleaver Family CSPAN July 8, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
to set an example of a group where everybody is the same, everyone is treated alike. and that example will be so wonderful that the rest of the world will see it and adopt it, we'll finally have a world where race doesn't matter, where money doesn't matter. so they were getting into this because they thought, ultimately, for all the crap jim jones is doing on the side, he's still the one who's going to lead us to this great moment. they did it out of generosity and not selfishness. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> good morning. how is everybody doing? i'm danny winborn, and i am a planning commissioner in the city of gaithersburg as well ass a member of the book festival committee. this is our eighth annual book festival, and we are so happy to have everyone here. gaithersburg is a wonderful city that proudly supports the arts and humanities.
we are pleased to bring you this fabulous event thanks in part to the general support of our sponsors and volunteers. when you see them, please say thank you. a few announcements. for the consideration of everyone here, we'd like for you to silence all devices. and if you're tweeting today, use hashtag gbf. we also have a survey that we'de like your feedback so we can keep making this a better and better festival every year. and ms. olsen will be signing books immediately following her presentation. a quick word about buying books. i just bought about five myself, so i'm not just asking -- i'm not preaching to the choir, i'm part of the choir. [laughter] but it really helps book festival. so when you have an opportunity, please go over to the politics & prose tent and purchase some books. as you know, the city of gaithersburg is, has been cite
as one of the most diverse -- cited as one of the most to diverse cities in america for its cultural and racial mix. this is a new, contemporary life for citizens of gaithersburg, and we're hoping that it spreads throughout the nation. maria olsen has crafted a book that addresses real, contemporary life in america. ms. olsen herself has a multiracial family and lives that of which she writes. she said that she is often mistaken for the nanny for her biracial children, and i'm sure she'll talk to us about that. what is family in america? despite the current climate, the reality is that america is changing and and has changed. within the next 20-30 years, as ms. olsen points out in her book, less than half the population of america will be white. ms. olsen includes herself -- excuse me, has given hundreds of interviews and includes those in
the book that she's going to talk about. her families that she's talks to throughout america. a few weeks ago our own mayor, judd ashman, was on "united shades of america" to discuss what it's like to be the mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the country. i urge you to go look at that on cnn and see a what his response is. gaithersburg has experiences shift in what's coming in america, and now we're going to talk about that paradigm shift. the name of the book is "not the cleaver family," and i'd like to warmly welcome ms. maria leonard olsen to the dais. [applause] diane's. >> thank you so much for that. i'm so excited to be here. i grew up in montgomery county and i was the only dark skinned person in my entire white
parochial kensington classroom in the 1960s through 70s. my parents were forbidden by law to marry in the state of maryland in 1961. when i tell my children that or even strangers that they are incredulous that it was illegal in 16 states including maryland and virginia for people of other races to mary. that is crazy. likewise, when my children tell their children that dad and dad were not able to marry until 2015, they won't believe it. there are so made changes going on in our society right now with which the family paradigm is changing is quite remarkable that only in my childhood people couldn't get married who were up two different races and now it
is so common that no one would blink and i. although i still don't want my children going to school in the south because i have experienced racism in the south, so there are pockets of racism which we all know, but the tide is shifting and my book's examination of how the tide is changing and what we can do to support people whose families aren't like the cleaver family. , a people here remember the cleaver family show? while, i dreamed of becoming the cleaver family. i wanted my mom to vacuum in high heels and curls. i wanted my father seated in his armchair dispensing wisdom to my brother and me. i just thought that was the ultimate-- ultimate and that's how i had. kids can be cruel. we know that. i suspect every person here can
remember something mean someone said to them when they were a child because that's just the cruel nature of childhood. we are all trying to find out places and as a result some people can get nasty to others. my cross to bear at that time was i was raised catholic, went to catholic school my entire life and my parents got divorced they were at that time excommunicated from the catholic church. there were children that were not allowed to come to my house because my parents were divorced and excommunicated. my father got custody of my brother and me i believe partially because of racism here there was talky-- talk of having my mom deported to the philippines and i still don't understand what happened, but i am glad that is not the case today that that is not the basis from which child custody awards
are made. in any event, i as has-- as was mentioned i have two children and this is the first book ever wrote in the recent wrote it is because so many people assume because i am docked-- dark skinned and my children are light skinned that i was surely there nanny and not possibly their mother-- mother, so i start talking to people who i knew that had children that did not look like them whether they were adopted or of another race or mixed race and found i was not alone. the history of racism in our country has always been more vicious against african-americans than asians and latinos. however, there was no other dark skinned person in my all-white neighborhood when i was raising my children who was not a domestic worker.
it got to a point where even a filipino nanny came up to me while i was pushing my son in the stroller and said he is so cute are you live in and i'm like yes. [laughter] >> i don't even know if i can say this on tv and i'm sleeping with the father and after that moment the various nannies in the town of chevy chase still point to me and say there she is , that harlot. i go probably with my children. my son actually has a blue eyes. it's a such a strange anomaly because you have to be back to generations in my family to find a gene for blue eyes, but it happened and he was blonde for his first year, so a lot of things happen along the lines of people mistaking me for the nanny like the dentist or the dentist would say well with the mom like in the gymboree teacher
would say, so moms and nannies let's gather and half circle time and i would look around at all the blonde moms and say this is not going to end well, so she asked if i ever had a birthing experience and i said yes, this is my second one, so it was kind of a cathartic experience to write this. i also wrote an article for the post that they bought, but did not print. is called being a parent isn't always a parent and that article was widely distributed to area preschools to raise consciousness about how parents don't always look like their children and some people have two female parents nowadays or two male parents. my father later in life married a younger woman and people
mistook him for the grandfather of my half-brother kirk i have a complicated family. i was dismayed because my half-brother thought my father is so old he will surely die soon, so when people let to their curiosity overwhelmed their manners and say insensitive things especially in the presence of children they are not always aware of the effects. i wished i had looked like everyone else when i was growing up. my half-brother wished his dad was younger and that he would not die and people would not assume he was the grandfather. things are changing now. school forms for instance now frequently say parent one and parent to rather than mother and father. that they huge change. i believe we will see more and more as time goes on, but even
in the last decade it's been a time a momentous change for the families in our country. i then started interviewing people after the success of this book in the article. i started interviewing people in five different groups. people who adopted their children, people who chose not to have children, child freed by choice is the fastest growing demographic of all of those i have studied. parents of singleton. when i was a child having no brothers or sisters was cause for pity. we felt sorry for those children, but now people choose to have one child because of family resources, time, careers, and a lot of reasons people choose that. let me just give a little bit about each chapter that i studied.
first, i would like to say as was alluded to, in 2013 the census bureau reported within a year white children under the age of five will be a minority and by 2043 less than 50% of the us population will be white. that's an incredible statistic that our country will go to a state where whites are not the majority. i never thought i would live to see that, but the beijing of america is under way. i am happy for my children that they no longer have to check white or asian pacific islander because if they have to choose than they are saying no to one side of their family. i always had to choose
asian-pacific islander because if i chose white, which my father is white no one accept that. teachers would even say i think you did this wrong, so they don't have to face that anymore. mixed race is a box on almost every demographic keeping paper. while laws and social services are slow to keep up with some changes the point in my book is that there is no normal that we are beijing country, a country where a lot of different families are accepted now in the paradigm has shifted. i spoke to hundreds of people across the country about their experiences which differs as we saw from the last election. the coast is their own political country and middle america is so much different, slower to accepting changes, but changes
nonetheless are under way. the first chapter is about child freed by choice. our culture seems to equate womanhood with motherhood, people who choose not to have children are often shamed by their colleagues or friends were not having children. the minute i got married my grandmother started asking me when i was going to have children because kraut-- procreation and couple hood is just assumed. i would like to debunk that assumption took many people are fulfilled without being parents. it's not for everyone and contrary to the notion may be selfish to not have children, i think it is selfish to have children if you are not ready for it and you don't have the time or resources to give that child what they deserve. the women in midnight interviewed cited financial issues, career concerns, lack of maternal and paternal instincts,
negative childhood experiences, overpopulation and the desire not to bring children into a violent world as their major reasons for not procreating and every one of the interviewees was aware of our kid centric culture and battled negative comments about their decision not have children. i'm trying to do my part to dispel those assumptions and to help people be honored with whatever choice they make. mixed race families, according to the 2008 senses, 15% of new marriages are interracial and get are you all familiar with the cheerios ad that was so controversial? people started boycotting cheerios, one of our most popular cereals because they featured on tv a commercial featuring a white mother and black father and a mixed race kid and there is a huge uproar
which floored me. there is a very interesting website called we are the 15% where mixed race families send him pictures of their families to show that we are normal also. now, i see mixed race in print media often especially in new york, the billboards. as i said, almost every multiracial person i have met has been faced with the question what are you. sometimes when i'm in a bad mood i say human, but why should i have to face that? i face that almost every day, but if i say i'm american they look at me with puzzlement and often will not accept that for an answer. if i say filipino then they will let me pass. it's crazy.
in foreign countries as well i have had that experience, but i don't want to be compelled to choose. i went to honor my father's irish american heritage as well as my mother's filipino heritage because of the assumptions made i have also been mistaken at a waitress at a country club. my friend is a prosecutor and was mistaken for a criminal trying to steal his white girl from a playground in montgomery county because they are so fair skinned and he is sewed dark skinned. twice someone called the police saying this man is trying to steal the kids from the playground, so we have a ways to go in these assumptions are ingrained in childhood, but together people like you who are interested in this topic can make changes through your conversations, your actions,
through not making assumptions, and people out when they make assumptions and i am getting better and better at that every day. my children are both in college and they are at pretty liberal universities and the first day of class the professor asked, what is your name and by what pronoun would you like to be called. the gender binary is slowly eroding. i walk on eggshells around my kids because if i assume a pronoun they get very upset. single parents, many of the women i interviewed focused on their careers during their childbearing years and then they found they were older and didn't have time to get married. now, science enables us to have children without a parent. you can have a sperm donor.
i had to colleagues from law firms i worked at-- i'm a lawyer as well or from law school who chose to have children by themselves from sperm donors and that is a valid choice nowadays. there is a huge network online of women who have chosen this. parents of singleton, the one child household is the fastest growing family unit. singleton children often fare better than kids in large families or even the two children because the parents treat them as adults earlier and their vocabularies are extended as a result. they have higher iqs by some measures. families to adopt. when i was growing up you were adopted! arcade is that one of your friends. why is being adopted-- why was it seen in my neighborhood as
something negative? it's a beautiful thing and when people address my friends who have adopted children with questions such as where did you get hurt as if she were a commodity, that's a harmful thing. so, what can we do? education is the primary way i believe to raise consciousness on these efforts. i attend their makes remakes festival every year in los angeles, which is the largest gathering of mixed race people in the us and it's the first time i ever felt truly understood. i exist somewhere in the middle. i have never felt truly american and certainly have never felt filipino because my mother wanted me to be so american and didn't teach me the language. that was a loss of a great gift,
sought i'm on a personal quest if any of you speak another language or have another culture in your heritage, please share that with your children or they will grow up like me, resentful that their parents did not allow that in the house. celebrate these differences from a young age. i also host a lg bt radio show called inside out. it's the only lg bt radio show on the fm dial in washington dc. that's pretty stunning to me because we have a huge lgb t community in washington, so i do my part to eradicate prejudices and assumptions the other radio waves as well, so i want to leave a couple minutes for questions and answers. someone has a microphone to buy. if you have a comment about your story i love facebook page where i encourage people to share
their stories about their nontraditional families as well and i would love to hear from you. i would like to expand this project in the future to have a place for people with nontraditional families to meet and confer and share strategies for dealing with some of the indignities that we deal with, so who would like to ask a question? or to make a comment. >> i don't know how to make this a question because i already know little about you, but isn't it important to think less in terms how do we fight the bad evil races and more how can we
open peoples minds and and hearts? >> that is true. >> in other words, every time we meet someone who has a lifetime prejudice because their parents and everyone taught them and that's all they know. they don't know-- don't even know they are prejudice, frankly. it's more important in my mind to introduce them cordially to someone that doesn't fit their stereotype. >> i believe that is the truth and perhaps i spoke to vehemently about certain topics, but what i want to say is for instance everyone here knows someone who is gay, but before you you knew someone who is gay wasn't there a bit of misunderstanding, possibly fear because people are afraid of what is not familiar to them, so
there are lgb t groups who go door-to-door because they want to show that they are normal and like anyone else. they are kind, concerned about the environment, so interaction, yes, interaction with kindness helps to increase understanding. you are absolutely correct. thank you for that comment. would anyone else like to make a comment or a question? >> thank you for your story. i'm intrigued, but i would like for you to talk a bit about your children. how did it affect them and when were they aware they were different? >> children are very good observers, but for interpreters of what's happening, so at a certain point my daughter was about five and she said mommy,
why is your skin so brown? why do people keep asking if you are our babysitter, so i think it had a bit of a negative affect on her. she did not like that we did not look the same because people have this tribal desire to fit in and be part of and it made her uncomfortable. my son less so, less so, but my daughter is pretty sensitive and it took her time to come to terms with the fact that our skin colors are different. now i'm prior to say she's a huge advocate became very involved in her college for anyone of mixed raced. there was nothing like that for me when i was in college i would have loved that. my best friend from high school texted me on the way in here and said you are mixed race? i didn't know that.
i think that's because-- well, i tried really hard to be the cheerleader, the american. i just wanted to be like everyone else and now i revel in my uniqueness. now i am proud on bicultural. i'm going to the philippines and bring my kids therefore the first time this summer and i'm so excited and my daughter once to stay there and learn the dialogue and i'm hoping she does people speak to me in spanish almost every day and luckily i learned it in high school and college and i enjoy practicing it, but i just kind of want to say i'm actually filipino every sign-- every time to bring some attention to the fact that one shouldn't make these kinds of assumptions and there are fewer probably filipinos then people that come into contact with
here, so i understand why assumptions are sometimes made, but i'm more apt to talk about it now than i was, so i was thinking that since i have how many minutes left? three minutes left i will tell you about my next project, which i'm writing a book called 50 after 50 and its 50 new things i tried after turning 50 and what i learned it from them and it's kind of a transformation of going from someone wanting to fit into someone who was so happy to be difference and to show the world my uniqueness. when i turned 50 i actually got my motorcycle license much to the horror of my children, but it will eat was quite freeing. i had no experience with motorcycles. i'm pretty small so it's hard to find a motorcycle i can hold up,
but it was a testament to myself that i no longer care what other people think of me. it's free in that way to age that we care less and less about what other people think and more about how we feel about ourselves. at least this person does and i'm really excited, so keep it look out for after 50 and i will sign books at area letter a and also in the politics and prose tent. i work for politics and prose for well-- as well for an off-site bookseller because i love books and i know i'm preaching to the choir, but politics and prose is the most amazing bookstore in the country and i hope you will come by and visit us their. thank you so much.
>> booktv recently visited capitol hill to ask members of congress what they're reading this season. >> ways and means chairman kevin brady, what's on your summer reading lists? >> a lot of tax reform issues, but i love to read. stephen ambrose's book about custer and crazy horse, which is fascinating. he's a great writer and brings history to life, so i love that. ..