More Americans embracing multiracial heritage with shift in demographics

Minister Shane Perry met his wife Latoiya while visiting a church in Alabama.

"I was in a service and in that service, I saw the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life," Dr. Perry asked her out.

The Douglasville couple said dating someone of a different race wasn't an issue for them. They'll celebrate eleven years of marriage in March, and are the parents of four young children.

Latoiya Perry recently started the blog My Family Mix in which she posts about being a mom of four biracial children.

"My kids are very young," Latoiya Perry explained. "They are 9, twin 7-year-olds and a three-year-old, so I have to speak to them on their level. As they get older, we go into more and more detail. I want them to understand dad is white, mom is black, you are biracial."

But the couple said they are wise enough to understand that society will still view their children as black as a whole, so the Perrys make a conscious effort to teach their kids about their African-American heritage, knowing that as bi-racial children with one black parent, many in society, as it's been for generations, will still identify them solely as African-American.

"It is important that they understand the African American experience, that they understand certain things about life that come with being an African-American you know especially in America so that's important to us," said Dr. Perry.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 1970 just one percent of American babies were of mixed race. That number rose to 10 percent in 2013, and with interracial marriages also on the rise, demographers expect this rapid growth to continue in coming decades.

Sous Chef Michael Walker's father is black and his mother is Korean. He loves preparing fusion food. But mixing his two culinary cultures have been easier than growing up mixed.

Walker said, "It was hard to fit in with one particular race."

With a shift in demographics the past decade, Walker has gone from feeling forced to "pick a side," to embracing his mixed heritage. Walker said his father's family, who he spent a great deal of time with as a child after his father's death, was a great help.

"They made it a point to let us know ‘Hey you guys are different. You guys are Korean, you are African-American and that makes you special. That makes you two cultures, so you guys have two different cultures to relate your ancestry back to,’" he said.

Since moving to Atlanta, Walker has connected with the Red Bridge Society, a support group for members of the Blasian community to embrace all parts of their identity.

"I don't feel like I should be forced to pick one side or the other because that's not who I am. I am a mixture of both, and when I eventually have kids one day, I want them to know this is who your dad is. He comes from this side and this side, and there's more to it than the world would think just by looking at a person," he said.

That's what Dr. Perry wants for all our children.

"If we are going to change society, if we are going to change the way things are, if we are going to have an impact, at some point there has to be a generation that stands up and says look we are all people," said Perry.

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