Episode 10: What It Means to be Mixed-Race

Mixed-race U.S. Americans are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, according to The Pew Research Center. In 2017, 10% of all children in the U.S. were mixed-race, up from just 1% in the 1970s. Evidence from The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicates that this number will only go up: In 2016, they reported that “47% of white teens, 60% of black teens, and 90% of Hispanic teens said they had dated someone of another race.”

It is for these reasons that interviewees Justyn Melrose’s and Danielle Douez’s experiences are becoming more common. Justyn is Costa Rican and Irish, while Danielle is African American, Colombian, and white. Both of them are mixed-race, and both of them have lived in several states up and down the east coast. Danielle, especially, has traveled back and forth from the U.S. to France, where her father, who is white and African American, lives.

Justyn Melrose is a mixed Latinx writer and journalist. A product of a queer, interfaith, and multi-racial family, he came into news writing to share the common stories that are uncommon to the spotlight. Melrose was born in Tampa, Florida, grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, and now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Here, he discusses his own experiences being mixed and from a mixed-race family:

Danielle Douez spent three years as a politics editor for The Conversation, where she focused on covering immigration policy, the criminal justice system, and race. Douez, the daughter of immigrants, is originally from Washington D.C.

This episode was produced by Julián Esteban Torres LópezAïcha Martine Thiam, and Nicole Zelniker.

The Nasiona Podcast shares stories that explore the spectrum of human experience and glimpse into foreign worlds. We focus on stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.

Our theme song is “Into the West,” courtesy of Tan Vampires.

You can also find our podcast episodes on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play Music, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.


Founder, Executive Director, Editor-in-Chief

Julián Esteban Torres López is a Colombian-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, and editor. Before founding the nonfiction storytelling organization The Nasionahe ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.

Twitter: je_torres_lopez


Managing Editor, Producer

Aïcha Martine Thiam is a trilingual writer, musician, and artist who goes where the waves take her, and an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press. She will quote obscure film facts at you, unprovoked. Her collection of poems, “AT SEA” was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize. Some words found or forthcoming in: BerfroisThe RumpusBright Wall/Dark RoomMetaphorosisSouth Broadway Ghost SocietyRIC JournalLamplight, TERSE. Journal, Gone LawnTruancy MagCrack the SpineConfessionalist ZineGhost City ReviewRogue AgentBoston Accent LitDéraciné.

Twitter: @Maelllstrom



Producer, Managing Editor

NICOLE ZELNIKER is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and an editorial researcher with The Conversation US. Her work has appeared on The Pulitzer Prizes website and in USAToday and Yes! Weekly, among other places. A creative writer as well as a journalist, Nicole has had several pieces of poetry published including “Cracks in the Sidewalk” (Quail Bell Magazine) and “Surge” (The Greenleaf Review), as well as three short stories, “Last Dance” (The Hungry Chimera), “Dress Rehearsal” (littledeathlit), and “Lucky” (Fixional). Zelniker’s book, Mixed, is a work of non-fiction about race and mixed-race families.

Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.



Justyn L. J. Melrose is a mixed Latinx writer and journalist from North Carolina. A product of a queer, interfaith and multi-racial family, he came into newswriting to share the common stories that are uncommon to the spotlight. Melrose was born in Tampa, Florida, near to his abuelita, who immigrated from Costa Rica, and his grandma, who took fierce pride in her Irish blood. At a young age, he moved with his mother and brother across the country to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he grew up, before heading back south to study writing at Guilford College in the entirely foreign-to-him Bible belt. He’s had multiple award-winning features published, though he is also proud of the stories he tells with friends through pen-and-paper roleplaying games.

Twitter: @JustynLJMelrose

Danielle Douez is a freelance writer and editor. Previously, she was an editor at The Conversation, where she taught academic scholars how to share their knowledge with the public through explanatory journalism. There, she focused on covering immigration policy, the criminal justice system, and race. Douez holds a BA in psychology and is an alum of Emory University’s Community Building and Social Change Fellowship. In her free time she loves consuming narrative non-fiction, theater, podcasts, and chocolate chip cookies. Most of all, though, she loves traveling and horseback riding.


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