In 2011, you would think dating anyone you want would be a non-issue. We don’t live in an era of pervasive hatred anymore, where a black man could get riot mob justice for merely looking at or saying “hi” to a white woman. Emmett Till was only fourteen years old when he was lynched in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The murderers were acquitted.
During the Jim Crow days, some people would say interracial mixing was completely unnatural—like two disparate species engaging in the highest order of sin. A straight-up abomination. But that isn’t the consensus today, right? A recent poll indicated most people approve of interracial marriage. And our president is the product of an interracial pairing. We don’t really bat an eyelash much anymore when we see “disparate species” on TV, either. More than once I’ve seen people of all races bump and grind against each other on the show So You Think You Can Dance, many of the dance moves R-rated.
So as Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney sang, ebony and ivory are finally living in perfect harmony, right? Well…
According to the good ol’ boys from Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Kentucky, any couple who isn’t the same shade ain’t welcome. It definitely ain’t all harmony in that particular House of God.
I’m sure you’ve heard this story already, but keep in mind this happened in 2011-almost-2012, 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement. What happened in Kentucky is similar to a case in New Orleans just a year before, where a judge refused to marry an interracial couple. Some people still try as hard as they can to safeguard the “status quo” of the good ol’ days.
To justify their racist beliefs, they claim the sinful actions of any mismatched couple will eventually produce a child who will suffer greatly (all biracial children are tragic sufferers, right? Just ask Obama or my nephew, a biracial twenty-five-year-old who’s a nuclear engineer). Or they throw bible scripture around, using the Tower of Babel as proof. I’m not going to get into biblical rant, but it seems to me if God created us in his likeness, that would include ALL the races. We all bleed the same, right?
When I wrote SELLOUT (a story about the struggles of interracial dating), some readers were surprised that people are still so caught up in race. After all, race is a minor thing when considering other qualities that would make a person a suitable partner, right? Like whether he or she is a good person, hard-working, has a job, takes care of his or her kids, shares the same religious beliefs, etc. It’s clear the banned couple in Kentucky–an African gentleman and his Caucasian bride–are on the same page, but that didn’t matter.
People still get heated over the topic of interracial dating, especially between blacks and whites. It’s double trouble if the black man takes a taste of forbidden fruit–a blond haired white woman. Yeah, I live in the Bay Area, probably the top melting pot of the country–as of this writing, I’m in a college library where I regularly see people of all races mingling with each other, including black guys and white gals–but it’s not all Cumbaya in other parts of the country. Just ask the people in Kentucky.
Update: The church overturned the ban, but it reminds you we still have a loooooong way to go.