Tumblr of the Week: We Are the 15 Percent

Inspired by the Cheerios ad, a site shifts the lens from the commercial portrayal of an interracial family to actual mixed-race families across the country

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Michael David Murphy and Alyson West with their daughter, Alexandra

The controversial Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family that was released earlier this month has ignited a conversation about race that doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon: Now a new site aims to showcase the growing number of Americans who are a part of interracial families. We Are the 15 Percent features the submitted pictures of multiracial families from 29 different states and counting.

Started by photographer Michael David Murphy and his wife, Alyson West, on June 5th, the site’s name alludes to recent Census data from 2008 to 2010 showing that 15% of new marriages are interracial–more than double the 6.7% share in 1980. What’s more, a 2012 Pew survey found that more than 35% of Americans surveyed said that a member of their immediate family or a close relative is currently married to someone of a different race.

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The couple told TIME in an email, “The site is such a natural outgrowth of our lives together; we’re in both for the long haul. We hope the site can persist long beyond its initial inspiration, and create a consistent, ongoing resource for families like our own. We can imagine that someone who submitted a wedding photo yesterday might submit a family picture, with their children, years from now!” While the couple–who say they were “Cheerio-ing years before the ad”–have faced their own blacklash online and off, they’re just happy for the opportunity to scroll through pictures of families resembling their own with their young daughter, who “points at the screen and smiles.”

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While the Murphy-West family lives in Atlanta, Ga, interracial marriage is more prevalent in America’s west, where approximately one in five of all newlyweds married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010, according to the 2012 Pew survey. The trend is particularly strong in Hawaii where four out of every ten newlyweds were marrying someone of another race. That coupling drops by nearly half when you head to the South, Northeast, or Midwest, with the rates of interracial marriage at 14%, 13% and 11%, respectively.

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