Lori Tharps of My American Meltingpot

Your guide to a more multicultural life

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

I discovered author Lori Tharps through author Carleen Brice, who thought I might like to feature Lori’s multicultural blog, My American Meltingpot, on my blog from pre-Facebook days, BEYOND Understanding. As the mom of three kids (now adults) of multiracial heritage, I’d begun my blog to highlight resources that celebrated diversity — and taught this very Caucasian mom a thing or two about the challenges and realities of living a multicultural life.

Lori founded My American Meltingpot in 2006. As Lori puts it, her goal is to highlight “the sweet spots of American diversity, as well as the hot spots, so you can be in the know about all things that matter to a multicultural lifestyle enthusiast.” I especially enjoy the insights she provides into her own family, which consists of her, her Spanish husband, and their three kiddos, all of whom have made her life “a meltingpot of melanin, curls, accents and attitudes.”

From Food and Family to Identity Politics and Black Hair

A journalism professor at Temple University (Go, Owls!) in Philadelphia, Lori infuses diversity into her blog — and popular podcasts — through the wide variety of topics she covers. My American Meltingpot categories range from identity politics to family and parenting, from books to food (or both! I loved this post on Denver author Adrian Miller’s Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time) to movies, and from authors to all there is to know about black hair.

As co-author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair, Lori considers herself a hairstorian. Her recent post “Positive Black Hair Headlines from Black-ish, Afro-Sheen and the NAACP” explores the media’s changing approach to this topic and includes details about the March debut of the Netflix series Self Made. Produced by and starring Octavia Butler, the biopic tells the story of famous haircare entrepreneur — and one of our country’s first self-made female millionaires — Madam C.J. Walker.

Racism vs. Colorism and Other Hot Topics

Lori doesn’t hesitate to tackle tough topics on her blog or in her podcasts, articles, and books. Her op-eds and articles include “Black People Deserve a Capital B” in The New York Times and “For Colored Girls Who Were Mistaken for the Nanny When the Public Didn’t Know Enough” in Beacon Broadside.

Lori’s 2016 book, Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families, explores the politics of skin color, how they impact families in the U.S., and how parents can help lead their children through what can be a maze of questions and emotions. Her Time.com article “The Difference Between Racism and Colorism” includes these excerpts:

“That is not to say that the solution to solving our color problem as a country lies in the home, but that is precisely where the conversation should begin.”

“From day one, parents of every color should begin to celebrate color differences in the human spectrum instead of praising one over the other or even worse, pretending we’re all the same. Then, we could have a more public facing, cross-cultural dialogue about the more global problem of colorism and plot its necessary demise.”

Listen to an insightful interview with Lori Tharps by podcasting specialist Harry Duran of Podcast Junkies here.

Author of the novel One Sister’s Song, I also write poetry, short stories, articles, and essays when I’m not working at my day job — or reading.

Written by

Bylines in Publishers Weekly, the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, others. One Sister’s Song (novel). Not Nearly Everything You Need to Know About Writing (ebook).

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