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Science as Leisure

Liz Marchio

I am a trained ichthyologist interested in what gets people interested in natural history, biological sciences, and science careers. My passion is to find out what fuels curiosity for the natural world.

Biology-related serious leisure activities can impact people's interest in ecology, biology, and natural history. Do these activities promote biological understanding? If so, how does that progress and to what level does it progress to? 

If you're interested in a starting a dialogue, please feel free to contact me. If you're curious about how I got here, my story can be found on the About Me page.


TransRacial Families on the American Race Debate

Are there race issues in America right now? Taking a look at social media outlets...

The majority of African Americans say YES. White people are either ambivalent or they take a side. Many say NO.

If one group of American citizens almost all say the same thing, doesn't this alone tell you that there is a problem? If you still need persuading, perhaps another perspective on the issue will help shed some light on the "problem".

After Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice and the almost racially dichotomous side-taking, I want to hear from people who bridge the gap.

I want to hear from One race of Americans who have adopted another race into their homes.

This tiny section of the American society is almost never heard from, and yes, they do exist! 

I have had the privilege to speak to a white woman, Amanda Scott, who has fostered and then adopted several non-white children into her home. Amanda and her husband Jacob have many fears for their children as they grow up in our current American society. But first, what do we call these kinds of families? Mixed? Or what?

Amanda said: "I tend to prefer transracial, but that gets confusing, so mixed is fine. It's also totally fine to call us biracial, since I really believe once one member of your family is not white, you are a non white family." So, since Amanda self-identifies as transracial, let's take a look at a transracial parent's feelings toward the race issues going on in American society today:

The main question I asked her was: What do you worry most about your children and growing up black in America? 

The long answer is:  "I'm scared that I won't be able to properly prepare them to live in a country that's steeped in institutional racism. There are some things I can do - like telling my sons to raise their hands and never move them and to not talk back to officers and only respond politely. But, as Tamir Rice demonstrates, they might not even get the chance to do anything that could help them survive an encounter."

"I'm also afraid I can't protect them from the other realities they will face. Like the fact that my older son will be less likely to be called in for a job interview because he has a less traditionally White sounding name. Or the fact that accounting for SES and education, my non-White kids will (statistically) have worse health outcomes, a fact that many researchers are beginning to attribute to the multitude of large and small interactions people of color have with a racist society that increases their stress and is linked to things like premature infant birth (and higher mortality), higher blood pressure, more risk of diabetes, etc. Those are the two things that scare me the most."

"I worry about what happens to them when my privilege no longer transfers. When my being white doesn't protect them."

So, with that short interview, I think it's evident that social media, and all media, could do a heck of a lot better by asking transracial families, of either variety, what they think of the issue.

Amanda and Jacob's beautiful family photo! These are families we need to hear from on these racially-charged issues.  

Amanda and Jacob's beautiful family photo! These are families we need to hear from on these racially-charged issues.  

These are the only people that bridge that gap and their voices should be, and deserve to be, heard.

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