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What it means to be multi-racial

What it means to be multi-racial

Emanuele Berry is off exploring the world and amassing new experiences. But before she left, she developed this podcast that explores what it means to be multi-racial.

Emanuele Berry is off exploring the world and amassing new experiences. But before she left, she developed this podcast that explores what it means to be multi-racial.

This week's We Live Here podcast is something a little different.

Recently, we've been looking at health and the way that toxic stress can impact someone's ability to succeed and even to be healthy. We'll be transitioning to a new area soon, but we wanted to take a step back this week to allow Emanuele Berry to produce her own, unique show.

Emanuele has left St. Louis Public Radio, as you may have heard. She took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to live and work abroad. But before she left, she wanted to do a podcast that explores what it means to be multi-racial.

Spoiler alert: She doesn't come to any concrete conclusions.

But she does interview three people who bring three different perspectives on how they move through the world.

Felia Davenport said she had a difficult time adapting when she moved to St. Louis because she felt people wanted to define her as a particular race. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Felia Davenport said she had a difficult time adapting when she moved to St. Louis because she felt people wanted to define her as a particular race. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Felia Davenport, is associate professor of theater at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and chairs that department. 

She grew up in northern Virginia, the daughter of a single mother from a military family. She said she never identified as any particular race. She wanted, instead, to just be known as Felia.

Robert Williams is a 30-year-old native St. Louisan.

Even though Williams has a chilling memory of his white grandfather summarily cutting him and his mother off, Williams said he moves comfortably between the white and black worlds. 

Robert Williams lives in Florissant with his wife and child. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Robert Williams lives in Florissant with his wife and child. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Williams also explaied that he doesn't have a problem with not fitting cleanly into one category or another. He said if he were an ice cream, he'd be a swirl.

Finally, Emanuele  Berry spoke to Alexa Brunsma.

Alexa Brunsma was surprised by how much people focus on race in St. Louis. She moved here from California where, she said, she knew a lot of people of color who weren't clearly black or white. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Alexa Brunsma was surprised by how much people focus on race in St. Louis. She moved here from California where, she said, she knew a lot of people of color who weren't clearly black or white. EMANUELE BERRY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Brunsma is 15 years old and recently moved to St. Louis from California. She now attends the Grand Center Arts Academy and wrote an essay for her school newspaper that was a finalist Missouri Journalism Education Association’s Opinion Story of the Year.

The essay is called "Blackish: Not black, not white but somewhere in between." Brunsma read a condensed version of the essay for us. She also talked with Emanuele about why it has been so difficult for her to adapt to living in St. Louis, a city that is much more segregated than where she came from.

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This report contains information gathered with the help of our Public Insight Network. To learn more about the network and how you can become a source, please click here.

 

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