As a student in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at the U. of Hawaii in the early 80's I became very much aware of the possibilities of ethnic and racial integration. In Hawaii, it seems, almost everyone was of "mixed" heritage (Asian, Pacific Islander, Caucasion, Portugese, you name it). People would drone on, "I'm 1/16 Hawaiian, 1/16 Philipino, 1/16 Norwegian, " and so on. I wondered if this was the solution to racial prejudice (Mash-up as the solution to ethnic division). A piece in the NY Times about Obama's heritage brings this to the fore:
WASHINGTON — The president’s elderly stepgrandmother brought him an oxtail fly whisk, a mark of power at home in Kenya. Cousins journeyed from the South Carolina town where the first lady’s great-great-grandfather was born into slavery, while the rabbi in the family came from the synagogue where he had been commemorating Martin Luther King’s Birthday. The president and first lady’s siblings were there, too, of course: his Indonesian-American half-sister, who brought her Chinese-Canadian husband, and her brother, a black man with a white wife.
And so many of us can relate to the ethnic mash-up. My daughter Annika has a Norwegian mother whose parents are from Southern (Conservative) Norway, and an Eastern European Jewish father from New York City. My grandmother's brother moved to Puerto Rico as a young man resulting in a gaggle of half Jewish/half Puerto Rican children who, in turn, did the mash-up again.
This is cool but it can be even better when we now embrace neurodiversity as the new frontier. People with frontal lobe differences mashing with those with Caudate Nucleus abnormalities, and so on. We're a world of funny brains, as my colleague Lawrence Thomas, Ph.D., likes to call them. Neuroscience will help us to understand and appreciate the new mix.