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Most of the research has been about monoracial people, however you define that, because of course that's a mythology too: We're all mixed in some way, but we tend to forget that.

How do mixed-race families and their children feel about it, in their communities and in their schools?

Mahtani was the keynote speaker at last month's Hapa-palooza, an annual festival celebrating mixed heritage in Vancouver, and she will present at the next Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference in California in February.

For people who are not racialized on a day-to-day basis – people who are white – they see how the person of colour experiences race every single day. Having that window is really interesting and it's key for the white person.

They get to experience a whole different dimension of how race is lived out in Canadian society.

She spoke with The Globe and Mail about the daily realities of mixed-race families.

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How tolerant are Canadians of interracial relationships today?Let's turn to mixed-race Canadians: What type of decision-making goes into how they choose to partner up in this country?We have very little information about how people who are mixed – like myself, I'm Indian and Iranian – approach dating.While interracial relationships are on the rise in Canada (we had 360,000 mixed-race couples in 2011, more than double the total from 20 years earlier), the numbers remain slim.Just 5 per cent of all unions in Canada were between people of different ethnic origins, religions, languages and birthplaces in 2011, the last year Statistics Canada collected such data.It's something I call "cocooning": These parents wanted to create a little, happy home for their kids, the progeny of the interracial relationship.This silence had a huge impact on the way mixed-race children felt growing up.That figure rises only marginally in urban areas: Just 8 per cent of couples were in mixed-race relationships in Toronto, 10 per cent in Vancouver.How do people in interracial relationships experience that multiculturalism on the ground, when they introduce their boyfriends and girlfriends to family, or hold hands on a date?Minelle Mahtani, an associate professor in human geography and journalism at the University of Toronto Scarborough, wrote the book Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality in Canada.Jennifer Van Houten Is love the last frontier of racial bigotry in Canada?

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