Mixed Blessings: A Guide to Multicultural and Multiethnic Relationships

Is love really all you need? This book mines the complexity of romantic relationships that are a union of cultures as well as individuals, offering guidance and applied examples.
Berlin and Cannon are marriage and family therapists who wrote this book, their first, as a reflection of issues that continually arose during their counseling sessions. “We’ve had countless conversations about how multiculturalism affects us and our clients,” writes Berlin. “We train other professionals on this topic, too, so it feels natural to extend these conversations into book form.” The guide, which Berlin explains was “written from the gut,” begins with the authors’ own stories of their multicultural backgrounds and comprises three main sections: an introduction to the terms and concepts that will be used, including collectivist versus individualist paradigms, acculturation, ethnocentricity and code switching; fictionalized first-person narratives of twelve different couples that offer illustrations of these concepts; and a resource section with a glossary, worksheets and suggested reading list. The material is enlightening, effectively outlining how varied cultural perspectives affect worldviews. The authors argue that many of us aren’t aware of how our cultural responses may differ from those of our loved ones, inspiring aha moments from readers who may not even think of their primary relationship as a multicultural one. The writing is intelligent but not academic, ensuring that the book will be as accessible to clients as to therapists, and some of the narratives are riveting. Particularly poignant is the story of Angie, from Chicago, and Francois, from Haiti. Angie grappled with life as a strong and modern woman in a traditionally patriarchal culture; Francois, with being black in America without being African-American. Berlin and Cannon rely heavily on these personal anecdotes, and they form the bulk of the book, reflecting their assertion that they are “clinicians, not researchers.” This statement may serve, too, as a disclaimer for those who might question some of their definitions: Some readers, for instance, may raise an eyebrow at the idea of individualist cultures being more dependent on governmental structure than collectivist ones. But, ideologically pure or not, their concepts ring true through the examples, giving readers much to think about and apply to their own real-world experiences.
Required reading for anyone who counsels or is part of a multicultural relationship.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989522908

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Mixed Blessings LLC

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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