…and then

It happens to be Loving Day which is what prompted me to finally get around to posting about the Cheerios.  Happy Loving Day! Interracial Marriage (black/white) has been legal for a grand total of….46 years!  That’s only ten more years than I have existed!  So in the grand scheme, if there is still a small to medium segment of the population who simply has not taken advantage of any opportunity to grow out of this debilitating mindset, well, that’s only to be expected… and it’s too bad for them… and absolutely ok with me actually.  Love people where they are, right?

4-up on 6-12-13 at 7.32 PM #5 (compiled)

4-up on 6-12-13 at 7.26 PM #5 (compiled)

Here’s a nice article that brings together the Cheerios and the Lovings.

Opinion: The importance of ‘Loving’ in the face of racism

Editor’s note: June 12 is the 46th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia,  which made interracial marriage legal in the United States.  Thousands of people nationwide celebrate that anniversary as “Loving Day’.  Ken Tanabe is the founder and president of Loving Day, an international, annual celebration that aims to build multicultural community and fight racial prejudice through education. He is a speaker on multiracial identity, community organizing and social change through design. 

By Ken Tanabe, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Racism is alive and well in 2013, and what’s striking is the recent notable examples aimed at interracial couples – or one of their children.

Even breakfast cereal commercials aren’t safe. A recent Cheerios ad depicting an interracial couple and their multiracial child got so many racist remarks on YouTube that the company had to disable the comments.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about the commercial, except that the parents happen to be an interracial couple.

But the truth is, racially blended families are becoming more ordinary every day, due to the 1967 Supreme Court decision that declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional. 

Opinion: Two different marriage bans, both wrong.

Today is the 46th anniversary of that decision, and one in seven new marriages in the United States is interracial or interethnic.  Multiracial Americans are the fastest-growing youth demographic.

Number of interracial couples in U.S. reaches all-time high:

While the negative comments about the Cheerios commercial made it newsworthy, there were also many others who showed their support for the Cheerios brand.

Multiracial Americans of Southern California, a multiethnic community group, started a Facebook album for people to post photos of themselves holding a box of Cheerios. And in articles and in social media, supporters expressed gratitude to General Mills for depicting a multiracial family.

The weddings of two multiracial couples from high-profile families also prompted racist comments online. Lindsay Marie Boehner, daughter of House Speaker John Boehner, married Dominic Lakhan, a black Jamaican man. And Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, married Renee Swift, a woman of color.

The reaction to these marriages is reminiscent of the response to the marriage of Peggy Rusk – the daughter of then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk – and Guy Smith, a black man. In 1967, interracial marriage was a cover story, several months after laws against interracial marriage were struck down.

Things have changed since then, but not enough.

In a 2011 Gallup poll, 86% of Americans approved of “marriage between blacks and whites.”  In 1958, the approval rating was 4%. But it makes me wonder: What do the other 14% of Americans think? Apparently, many of them spend a lot of time leaving comments online.

The election of Barack Obama inspired many of us to hope that widespread racism was a relic of the past.

And while he was elected to a second term, we must not be complacent when it comes to racism in our daily lives. We must seek out opportunities to educate others about the history of our civil rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wished that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  I wonder what he would think of our collective progress as the 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech approaches.

On June 15th, the 10th annual Loving Day Flagship Celebration in New York City will draw an expected 1,500 guests. And while many participants are multiracial, anyone can host a Loving Day Celebration for friends and family, and make it a part of their annual traditions.

We need to work collectively to fight prejudice through education and build a strong sense of multiethnic community. If we do, one day we might live in a nation where the racial identities of politicians’ children’s spouses are no longer national news, and cereal commercials are more about cereal than race.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ken Tanabe.

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Mildred and Richard Loving

Peggy, Sidney, and Donald Loving playing, April, 1965

 Peggy, Sidney, and Donald Loving playing April 1965

The message is simple: Don’t give up

I really love everything about this story.  Except the part where Maurice was taken from his family.  But, then again, without that part there wouldn’t be a heartwarming story of perseverance and triumph and love and connection to inspire and reinforce the message: Don’t give up.

I was especially moved by this: “I didn’t let anybody get close to me again…I hurt a lot of people…”  I think we’ve all encountered painful experiences that have left us tempted, or perhaps determined, not to let anyone get close enough to hurt us again.  And then we consciously or unconsciously start a cycle of hurting ourselves and each other out of fear of being hurt.  Seems silly when you look at it like that.  Seems serious if you’re stuck in it.

After years of separation from foster mom, 32-year-old man finally adopted

From Paul Vercammen and Michael MartinezCNN

San Diego, California (CNN) — A boyhood wish finally came true. But Maurice Griffin had to wait until he was a man for it to happen.

At age 32, the California man was adopted Friday.

adoption18n-2-web

“It was the best day in my life,” Griffin said after the proceeding in San Diego Juvenile Court. “I fought for 10 years and finally the day came.”

Adopting the burly, muscular, mohawk-sporting man is Lisa Godbold, his one-time foster mother.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotion,” Godbold added.

With a few pen strokes by Griffin, Godbold and Judge Richard Monroy, the adoption became official.

“This is going to be quite quick,” the judge told mom and son, all seated at a table. “If you blink, you miss it.”

Then son hugged mom. Mom cried.

“Congratulations to you both,” the judge declared.

Then a deputy took a photograph of three of them, a tradition that the judge noted is always done with small children and their adoptive parents.

Good time

The story dates to the early 1980s, when Godbold and her husband saw Griffin at an orphanage near their Sacramento home.

The smiling child seemed to fit perfectly with their family: Godbold is white. Her late previous husband was black, and the couple had two children who were, like Griffin, biracial.

The couple took Griffin in as a foster child. He quickly bonded with their sons, Gideon and Spencer.

“We were best friends,” Griffin said. “We’d run around, we did mischievous things and fun things. It was a good time.”

He lived with the family as a foster child for four years, until he was 13. Then, just two months shy of being adopted by them, it all fell apart.

Griffin said he wanted to be treated like a “real” son: He wanted to be disciplined like the couple’s other sons. He wanted to be spanked, he said.

So he innocently told a social worker that was what was going to happen.

The social worker then told her superiors, and soon Griffin was about to be removed from the household, he said.

Family ripped apart

One day, foster care officials took Griffin away, saying he could not live with Godbold’s family anymore.

“You can’t spank foster children. Maurice very much wanted that,” Godbold said. “We wanted him to feel like the rest of our kids. And there was a difference of opinion with some of the (child welfare) supervisors.”

Godbold said she fought to keep Griffin and was told she could lose her biological children, too.

CNN contacted the state agency responsible for the case, but its officials would not comment because it’s still considered a juvenile matter.

So Godbold had to let go. And as time moved on, Griffin says, he lost touch with what he felt was his only family.

“It was just an emptiness,” he said. “I couldn’t talk to anybody about it because nobody was there. I couldn’t call somebody; there was just a void in me.”

Griffin said that he acted out every chance he got in hopes the state would reunite him with the people he considered to be family.

He bounced from one foster home to another, never finding what he lost.

“I didn’t let anybody get close to me again,” Griffin said, holding back tears. “I hurt a lot of people. It was a rough road.”

Searching for each other

Despite several obstacles, Griffin and Godbold never stopped searching for one another.

Godbold’s husband died in 1998. She remarried and changed her last name, and moved.

But six years ago, Godbold found Griffin on social media. They communicated online and then one day she called him.

“She said, ‘hey baby,’ and I said I got to call you back,” Griffin said, trying to explain how overwhelmed he was by the reunion.

As she entered the courtroom Friday, Godbold harbored fear that a surprise would halt the proceeding.

“I was actually really nervous before walking in, even though signing on the line was a formality,” Godbold said. “I thought something might happen to keep it from becoming official today.”

Griffin is an example of triumph in foster care.

“I’m a living example of it, that I have been through it,” Griffin said. “I just never stopped. It will all work out.”

Godbold says the message is simple: don’t give up.

“Don’t give up – persevere. Keep looking for that love, that family connection, whether it’s with an infant or your 32-year-old child,” she added.

Griffin lives in San Diego and Godbold lives in San Jose, Calif., but now that they’re mother and son, they’ll be getting together often.

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“She’s my mother,” said Griffin. “She has always been my mother.”

anger is best controlled

It’s amazing to me how this incident has really opened up a dialogue on the race issues in this country.  I feel like I keep posting about Crowley-Gate(s), but at this point it’s not about them anymore.  It’s about institutionalized racism.  Looking at it honestly and hopefully breaking it down til it doesn’t exist anymore.  Hopefully.

Here’s what former Secretary of State Colin Powell had to say about it on Larry King Live…

KING: Were you ever racially profiled?

POWELL: Yes, many times.

KING: And didn’t you ever bring anger to it?

POWELL: Of course. But, you know, anger is best controlled. And sure I got mad.

I got mad when I, as a national security adviser to the president of the United States, I went down to meet somebody at Reagan National Airport and nobody recognized — nobody thought I could possibly be the national security adviser to the president. I was just a black guy at Reagan National Airport.

And it was only when I went up to the counter and said, “Is my guest here who’s waiting for me?” did somebody say, “Oh, you’re General Powell.” It was inconceivable to him that a black guy could be the national security adviser.

KING: How do you deal with things like that?

POWELL: You just suck it up. What are you going to do? It was a teaching point for him. Yes, I’m the national security adviser, I’m black. And watch, I can do the job. So, you have this kind of — there is no African-American in this country who has not been exposed to this kind of situation.

Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? You protest, you try to get things fixed, but it’s kind of a better course of action to take it easy and don’t let your anger make the current situation worse.

via

Greeting Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in 1976.

carol channing

channing1

 

In her autobiography, Just Lucky I Guess, the 81-year-old performer told the story of the day she learned that she is biracial.

She recalled that she was 16 years old and heading to college when her mother told her that she was “part Negro.”

“I’m only telling you this,” Channing recalls her mother, Peggy, saying, “because the Darwinian law shows that you could easily have a Black baby.”

Her mother continued by explaining Carol’s unique look. She told the doe-eyed performer that because of her heritage that was “why my eyes were bigger than hers (I wasn’t aware of this) and why I danced with such elasticity and why I had so many of the qualities that made me me.”

The revelation didn’t bother Channing, who said, “I thought I had the greatest genes in showbiz.”

George Channing, Carol’s father, was the son of a German American father and a Black mother. While still very young, his mother, who worked as a domestic, moved him and his sister from his birthplace of Augusta, GA, to Providence, RI, where she thought people would never recognize his “full features.”

Channing’s paternal grandmother didn’t raise her father and his sister because she “didn’t want anyone to see her around her children” because she was “colored,” the performer surmised.

 

 

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TRANSCRIPTS

CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Carol Channing

Aired November 27, 2002 – 21:00 ET

…….

KING: Lets start early in that truth. Your father was black. 

CHANNING: No, he was not black. I wish I had his picture. He was — he was a — his skin was the color of mine. I don’t know maybe. Yes, it’s all right. Well any, no. My father — you read the tabloids, don’t you? 

KING: No, it says in my notes your beloved father, George Channing, a newspaper editor, renowned Christian Science lecturer listed as colored on his birth certificate.

CHANNING: Yes, and the place burned down, but nobody ever knew that. But I know it. Every time I start to sing or dance, I know it, and I’m proud of it.

KING: So he was black?

CHANNING: No, He had in — there was a picture in our family album and my grandmother said — I never saw them. My grandfather was Nordic German and my grandmother was in the dark. And they said no that was — she was — and I’m so proud of it I can’t tell you. When our champion gave me that last third (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on “Hello Dolly!” Again. No white woman can do it like I did. KING: So you’re proud of your mixed heritage?

CHANNING: Very, when I found out. I was 16-years-old and my mother told me. And you know, only the reaction on me was, Gee, I got the greatest genes in show business.

KING: Some people years ago discovering that might have been disturbed by it?

CHANNING: Yes, years ago because when I found out about it, you don’t want to do that.

KING: You don’t say it.

CHANNING: You don’t say it. There’s a lot of it down South.

KING: People are ashamed of it.

CHANNING: I’d proud of it.

KING: I’m glad to hear it. 

CHANNING: I really am. I mean look, what makes you, you? You don’t know. None of us knows our heritage. Not in the United States. 

KING: We’re all immigrants. 

CHANNING: Exactly, this is the changing face of America. I’m part of it. Isn’t it wonderful? 

KING: You damn right. 

CHANNING: I’m young again.

………

Tiffany: She’s proud, but she can’t name “it”….