oh happy (loving) day

I love surprising intersections of the things I love the most.  Such as Volkswagen and Loving Day.  I’m not sure if I am more passionate about any other subjects.  That may be an exaggeration, but anyway I am super into VW as well as the progression of our society toward a more loving, open way of living.  Without Loving v. Virginia it is likely that there would be no me nor so many others. This is inspiring and undeniable progress for which I am grateful.

b:w beetles

That being said, you can imagine my delight when the Volkswagen ad below hit the circuit just in time for Loving Day- commemoration of the day that the Supreme Court declared interracial marriage to be legal nation wide with their verdict in the Loving vs. Virginia case.  48 years ago.  That was basically yesterday folks.  And though we’ve come a long-ass way in the last 48 years, we still have a long-ass way to go before we’re free from the fears and limitations and separations of race.  And our addiction to perceived otherness.  Can you imagine how lovely things might be if we defaulted to perceived sameness? Le sigh ❤

So here’s the Volkswagen commercial and here’s to normalizing blackness on the road to normalizing togetherness. Baby steps.

VOLKSWAGEN USES HUMOROUS AD FEATURING YOUNG INTERRACIAL COUPLE TO MARKET ITS CARS

By 

What we regularly see depicted in the media is often what we subconsciously regard as being normal. It’s hard to deny the influence that television and movies has had on impacting the way that people of color are viewed by society. As inconsequential as it seemed when the popular television series 24 featured a black man as the president, this depiction did undoubtedly condition a segment of the public to the idea that it was not inconceivable that a black man could be the President of the United States.

Although inter-racial dating is widespread, television continues to shy away from featuring this reality. That’s why it’s interesting to see Volkswagens choosing to promote this ad. We will be watching to see if other major advertisers follow suit. As any step to normalize how black families are depicted is a welcomed development.

Richard & MIldred in checked skirt and top Loving

loving-kids

color-pic

Mildred and Richard Loving

(also pictured: their children Donald, Peggy, and Sidney.)

…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

now…

cheerios meme

Certainly you’ve heard of this, right?  The barrage of hateful comments left under the commercial featuring a mixed race family on Cheerios’ YouTube channel.  Comments so offensive that General Mills deleted and disabled them.  “It’s 2013!!!” is the gist of the typical response from “normal” people on the internet.  “I want to eat so many Cheerios right now,” was quite literally my response.  And I got a little choked up.  Not about the comment fiasco.  I stopped getting choked up about youtube comments years ago, thank God, and it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that hateful voices rose from the trollers. None.  So all I’m left with is this beautiful commercial, with this adorable child who makes some sincerely delightful faces depicted in a family that almost resembles mine in a way that I cannot recall having seen before.  Ever.  I am 36 years old.  I was in commercials as a kid.  I have never seen a commercial like this.  That is what is shocking.  That in 2013, this near-revolutionary advertising.  People took note, did double takes.  Heads were scratched.  Fears and tempers were flared.  Clearly this is long overdue.  So, thank you Cheerios!! Thank you for looking at your community and your consumers and seeing what is actually in front of you. And being “bold” enough to “endorse” it.  By endorsing reality, you make us face it and give us the opportunity to adjust to it.  Maybe even to like it You reflect me and all the others like me who had never experienced the normalization of our lives in a television commercial. This makes for a healthier society.  That makes for a healthier me.

And then there’s this! Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems after all.

Turns Out Americans Love ‘Controversial’ Cheerios Ad

Perhaps Racist YouTubers Not Representative of Country as a Whole

By: 
June 5, 2013

Last week, a new ad from Cheerios was deemed controversial when media outlets discovered that the racist contingent of the idiocracy known as the YouTube comment section trashed the ad for featuring a mixed-race couple and a biracial child.

But according to data from Ace Metrix, Americans like the ad. In fact, “Good for Your Heart” (called “Just Checking” on YouTube) tested the highest of six new Cheerios ads this year and garnered attention and likeability scores 9% and 11% “above the current 90-day norm for cereals.”

General Mills rightly decided not to be swayed by the rantings of deranged internet comments, telling USA Today that the supposed uproar would not affect future casting decisions.

According to Ace Metrix, the ad — created by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York — “appealed to all age/gender demographics with the exception of males over 50.” While that could be taken as a statement on racial attitudes, Ace Metrix noted that ads with babies tend to perform poorly with this demographic regardless of the race of the child.

The report, which surveyed over 500 consumers, went on to note: “The ad scored best with African-Americans, who collectively scored the ad a 721, followed by Asian Americans and Hispanics. While African Americans and Hispanics generally award advertising higher scores than their ethnic counterparts — the 721 score is 100 higher than average for African-Americans.”

And filtering verbatim commentary from those surveyed, those who specifically mentioned “couple” did so in a positive manner.

“I liked that the couple is mixed race,” wrote one respondent. “Good to see that on TV, but in a subtle manner.”

WordCloudCheerios

word cloud from Ace Metrix survey comments

confessions

1) This one’s a confession of sorts because since the Adam Lambert debacle I have not really watched any reality contestant type t.v.  And by “really” I mean never seen a full episode.  One can’t avoid bits and pieces.  Therefore, I am surprised to find myself sitting here on pins and needles so hopeful that Zendaya will win Dancing with the Stars.  The first time I watched an episode of DWTS was last night.  It happened because my mom told me about this biracial girl Zendaya who is just fantastic and a judge favorite, but may need extra votes because her parents were shown on camera and that could cost her the support of… well… “certain” viewers.  The only sad thing about that statement is that the concern is not invalid.  So I turned the show on and lo and behold… I think that if I had more time in my life I would become slightly obsessed with this girl because I just think she is spectacular and her parents are so adoring and even if it cost her votes I’m so glad that that reality is being televised!  In such a mainstream way.  So awesome! Makes me happy and brings me peace!  I kinda want to be her when I was 16.

7137-zendaya-coleman-dwts-dancing-with-the-stars-video-photos-tango-perfect

zendaya-parents-pic-nov-22

Zendaya-Coleman-Mother

zendaya_coleman_zendaya_and_val_dwts_season_16_cast_first_look_WoVb4RGt.sized

2) As in second confession…. In addition to Mental Health Awareness Month, May is also National Hamburger month.  Apparently I’m not one to discriminate because in the last 2 weeks I have had 3 cheeseburgers.  That’s 1/4 of my yearly burger intake!  In the last 2 weeks!  Clearly I am celebrating National Burger Month as well as MHAM and just thought you should be aware.  If burgers were alive they would probably be depressed because there is really no hope for a burger.  It will be eaten.  That would be beyond sad.

nation burger month may

SadBurger

joneses

Disclaimer: I’m having one of those crazy stressful work weeks which during which i can only steal about five minutes to blog, so things are pretty sparse around here.

Luckily for me people have been finding there way to the blog by searching the web for Rashida Jones and/or Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton.  I’ve been sitting on this photo for a few days, and figure all signs point to “it’s time to post it” even though I don’t have much to go with it.

I simply love the photograph.

The article below is brief, yet relevant.

The article below that I have posted before, but think the interview is brilliant enough to repost

kenya, rahida, kidada, q

Kenya, Quincy, Rashida, and Kidada Jones

Rashida Jones on Being Biracial: “I Have No Issues With My Identity”

The actress talks about the challenges of finding her place in Hollywood.

By Evelyn Diaz
Posted: 07/10/2012
The actress and screenwriter, whose film Celeste and Jesse Forever is due in theaters next month, opens up to EurWeb.com about being biracial in Hollywood (she’s Black and Jewish).

“It’s more of a challenge for other people than it is for me,” she says. “I have no issues with my identity.”

The daughter of media mogul Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton does admit that her Hollywood handlers had trouble categorizing her at first. “Other people think I should be settling into one thing or another, but I don’t want to be limited,” she says.

“I spent so much time when I was younger being limited,” she goes on. “I wasn’t dark enough for some parts, or I was too light, or I wasn’t quirky enough.”

Now, the 36-year-old Harvard grad is one of the most promising talents in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera. After a breakthrough role in I Love You, Man, she landed a part in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation and created the comic book series Frenemy of the State, which is currently being adapted for the big screen with her as the star.

Jones was also nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Influential Multiracial Public Figure.

Rashida Jones’ Sister Kidada Agrees “She Passed For White” But Did The Mean Girls At Harvard Scare Her Away From Dating Black Men Forever?

jones-sisters

RASHIDA: I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. My mother shocked her Jewish parents by marrying out of her religion and race. And my father: growing up poor and black, buckling the odds and becoming so successful, having the attitude of “I love this woman! We’re going to have babies and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!”

KIDADA: We had a sweet, encapsulated family. We were our own little world. But there’s the warmth of love inside a family, and then there’s the outside world. When I was born in 1974, there were almost no other biracial families–or black families–in our neighborhood. I was brown-skinned with short, curly hair. Mommy would take me out in my stroller and people would say, “What a beautiful baby…whose is it?” Rashida came along in 1976. She had straight hair and lighter skin. My eyes were brown; hers were green. IN preschool, our mother enrolled us in the Buckley School, an exclusive private school. It was almost all white.

RASHIDA: In reaction to all that differentess, Kidada tried hard to define herself as a unique person by becoming a real tomboy.

KIDADA: While Rashida wore girly dresses, I loved my Mr. T dolls and my Jaws T-shirt. But seeing the straight hair like the other girls had, like my sister had…I felt: “It’s not fair! I want that hair!”

PEGGY: I was the besotted mother of two beautiful daughters I’d had with the man I loved–I saw Kidada through those eyes. I thought she had the most gorgeous hair–those curly, curly ringlets. I still think so!

KIDADA: One day a little blond classmate just out and called me “Chocolate bar.” I shot back: “Vanilla!”

QUINCY: I felt deeply for Kidada; I thought racism would be over by the eighties. My role was to put things in perspective for her, project optimism, imply that things were better than they’d been for me growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s.

KIDADA: I had another hurdle as a kid: I was dyslexic. I was held back in second grade. I flunked algebra three times. The hair, the skin, the frustration with schoolwork: It was all part of the shake. I was a strong-willed, quirky child–mischievous.

RASHIDA: Kidada was cool. I was a dork. I had a serious case of worship for my big sister. She was so strong, so popular, so rebellious. Here’s the difference in our charisma: When I was 8 and Kidada was 10, we tried to get invited into the audience of our favorite TV shows. Mine was Not Necessarily the News, a mock news show, and hers was Punky Brewster, about a spunky orphan. I went by the book, writing a fan letter–and I got back a form letter. Kidada called the show, used her charm, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Within a week she was invited to the set!

KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.

RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.

KIDADA: Let me make this clear: My feelings about my looks were never “in comparison to” Rashida. It was the white girls in class that I compared myself to. Racial issues didn’t exist at home. Our parents weren’t black and white; they were Mommy and Daddy.

RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.

KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.

While Rashida stayed and excelled at Buckley, Kidada bumped from school to school; she got expelled from 10 in all because of behavior problems, which turned out to be related to her dyslexia.

KIDADA: We had a nanny, Anna, from El Salvador. I couldn’t get away with stuff with her. Mommy knew Anna could give her the backup she needed in the discipline department because she was my color. Anna was my “ethnic mama.”

PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little…twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”

KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.

RASHIDA: Yes, I do. And I get: “But you look so white!” “You’re not black!” I want to say: “Do you know how hurtful that is to somebody who identifies so strongly with half of who she is?” Still, that’s not as bad as when people don’t know. A year ago a taxi driver said to me, That Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman. Thank God she left that disgusting black man, Puffy.” I said, “I’m black.” He tried to smooth it over. IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything. When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.

KIDADA: Rashida has it harder than I do: She can feel rejection from both parties.

RASHIDA: When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.

PEGGY: As Kidada grew older, it became clear that she wouldn’t be comfortable unless she was around kids who looked more like her. So I searched for a private school that had a good proportion of black students, and when she was 12, I found one.

KIDADA: That changed everything. I’d go to my black girlfriends’ houses and–I wanted their life! I lived in a gated house in a gated neighborhood, where playdates were: “My security will call your security.” Going to my black friends’ houses, I saw a world that was warm and real, where families sat down for dinner together. At our house, Rashida and I often ate dinner on trays, watching TV in Anna’s room, because our dada was composing and performing at night and Mom sat in on his sessions.

RASHIDA: But any family, from any background, can have that coziness too.

KIDADA: I’m sure that’s true, but I experienced all that heart and soul in black families. I started putting pressure on Mommy to let me go to a mostly black public school. I was on her and on her and on her. I wouldn’t let up until she said yes.

PEGGY: So one day when Kidada was 14, we drove to Fairfax High, where I gave a fake address and enrolled her.

KIDADA: All those kids! A deejay in the quad at lunch! Bus passes! All those cute black boys; no offense, but I thought white boys were boring. I fit in right away; the kids had my outgoing vibe. My skin and hair had been inconveniences at my other schools–I could never get those Madonna spiked bangs that all the white girls were wearing–but my girlfriends at Fairfax thought my skin was beautiful, and they loved to put their hands in my hair and braid it. The kids knew who my dad was an my stock went up. I felt secure. I was home.

RASHIDA: Our parents divorced when I was 10; Kidada went to live with Dad in his new house in Bel Air, and I moved with Mom to a house in Brentwood. Mom was very depressed after the divorce, and I made it my business to keep her company.

KIDADA: I wanted to live with Dad not because he was the black parent, but because he traveled. I could get away with more.

RASHIDA: At this time, anyone looking at Kidada and me would have seen two very different girls. I wore my navy blue jumper and crisp white blouse; K wore baggy Adidas sweatsuits and door-knocker earrings. My life was school, school, school. I’m with Bill Cosby: It’s every bit as black as it is white to be a nerd with a book in your hand.

KIDADA: The fact that Rashida was good at school while I was dyslexic intimidated me and pushed me more into my defiant role. I was ditching classes and going to clubs.

RASHIDA: About this time, Kidada was replacing me with younger girls from Fairfax who she could lead and be friends with.

KIDADA: They were my little sisters, as far as I was concerned.

RASHIDA: When I’d go to our dad’s house on weekends, eager to see Kidada, the new “little sisters” would be there. She’d be dressing them up like dolls. It hurt! I was jealous!

KIDADA: You felt that? I always thought you’d rejected me.

RASHIDA: Still, our love for the same music–Prince, Bobby Brown, Bell Biv DeVoe–would bring us together on weekends.
Read more at http://bossip.com/623483/rashida-jones-sister-kidada-agrees-she-passed-for-white-but-did-the-mean-girls-at-harvard-scare-her-away-from-dating-black-men-forever/#tGvOXe6QHreb2M0W.99

 

love is many things

…but it shouldn’t be a secret.  That really hit home for me.

I wish that this young woman could talk to Nia.  I hope that she at least reads the essay.  Not that Nia touched on the topic of having racist black parents to contend with, but I think that Danielle could be inspired by the way in which Nia boldly and candidly addresses many of the issues facing interracial couples.

Yes, I called Danielle’s parents racist.  They are.  I’ve found that some people are under the impression that black people can’t be classified as racist.  That that is a delineation that we reserve for the “oppressor.”  So not true.

Case in point from U-Mich Race Card Project:

History; NEVER TRUST A WHITE MAN!

Kwende Idrissa Madu
Russellville, AL

I imagine it’s gonna be a tough row to hoe going through life in America completely unwilling and unable to trust a white man.  I also imagine that it could be a large majority of “minorities” who really feel that way.

Back to Danielle though:  I admire her for not letting go of the love of her young life.  For seeing and feeling beyond her parents’ antiquated and limiting fear based belief system.  And for deciding that it’s time to “come out” and love in the open and let the cards fall where they may because that is the only way for her to truly live.

[CONFESSIONS]

“I’m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents”

A YOUNG WOMAN FEARS THAT HER FAMILY WON’T ACCEPT THE LOVE OF HER LIFE

ByDANIELLE T. POINTDUJOUR

[CONFESSIONS]<br /><br /><br /><br />
�I�m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents�

I grew up surrounded by love. I have the fondest memories of my parents spontaneously stealing ‘private’ kisses, the grand romantic gestures of my aunts and uncles and watching my grandparents dancing to old records in their living room.  Love was all around me and I spent hours dreaming of the day I’d have one to call my own.  It wasn’t until high school that I started to realize that the love I saw and wanted came with conditions.

Since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16, I had a secret boyfriend in the months leading up to that milestone birthday.  Mike was the best beau a teen girl could have—tall, handsome, funny and happy to carry my books and hold my hand.  He reminded me a lot of my father, the way he played with me and did ‘man’ things like pulling out my chair and holding all the doors.  He was great, so naturally I thought nothing of bringing him home for my parents to meet right after I turned 16.  I thought nothing of the fact that he’s White.

I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces when Mike walked through the door: confusion mixed with horror.  When he left—after an hour of awkward silence interrupted by short bursts of conversation—the drama began. My parents forbade me from seeing my honey again and told me that boys “like him” are only interested in me for sex and that I should “stick to my own kind.”  They tried to scare me with stories of violent racism and visions of children addicted to drugs because of their struggle with identity.  I tried to explain that his race didn’t matter to me, the way he treated me did.  I wanted him to know that Mike’s love reminded me of the love I grew up with. They weren’t trying to hear it.

For the rest of our high school years we dated in secret and by the time college came, the boy that held my hand became the man who held my heart.  Still, I had to have Black male friends pretend to take me on dates to throw my parents off.  I made up excuses to not come home on breaks so I could spend them with Mike’s family, who welcomed me with open, loving arms and had a hard time understanding my choice to hide our relationship.

I tried a few times to slip the topic of interracial dating into conversations with my parents, telling stories of friends who were happily dating or getting married.  The response was always the same: “Good for them, but you’re going to bring home someone that looks like us.”  My father even hinted that he would cut off my college funds if I went “that way.”

I felt trapped.

After college, Mike and I decided to apply for graduate school in Spain. While his parents were thrilled that we would be living abroad together and sharing an adventure, mine were worried about me going so far away and wondered how I would find the man of my dreams in a country where the majority of the people don’t speak English.  Little did they know the man of my dreams was actually a reality and had been in my life for quite some time.

It has been six months since we moved to Spain together and almost seven years since we started dating, and I couldn’t be happier!  All the fears my parents have for our relationship have yet to materialize, even here in this foreign land. Our love for each other has grown so much that I’ve come to realize that it’s time to tell my parents.  I love this man and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I no longer care what my parents or anyone else thinks about it and I’m tired of lying. Love is many things, but one thing it shouldn’t be is a secret.  Recently, we’ve been talking more about marriage and our future—both things that I want my parents to experience with us.  I hope that they can try to be open-minded enough to share in our love, but if not, that’s okay.  We have plenty of family and friends around that support us unconditionally and they can appreciate just what love is supposed to be: colorblind and limitless.

interracial relationships still viewed as outlandish

I’m excited to share this article, not only because my friend Nia wrote it, but because finally someone has been bold and truthful enough to lay this stuff out for us.  I mean, yes, we all know that these stereotypes exist.  We have all heard, witnessed, or discussed these taboos.  But in bits and pieces.  Nia gave us, like, the entire run down.  From personal experience.  It’s the kind of experience that literally created me, yet it’s also one that I haven’t had exactly.  I have dated white guys certainly.  I have had people say to me, with words or hostile, disappointed, or dismissive glances “you’ve turned your back on your own kind.” But because (despite appearances and societal definition) I’m white too,  I never felt like I was really in an interracial relationship in the same way that a “monoracial” black woman might.  I ponder different things when I imagine my future children.

So, thank you, Nia for boldly going where most wouldn’t.  For candidly and hilariously covering the whole story. I hope your kids don’t get asked “What are you?” I hope that if they do, they’ll know with unshakeable certainty that the answer is “I am a brilliant child of God and Nia and Bill.”  I know they will have a sense of humor about it.  I can’t wait to meet them.

I’M A BLACK WOMAN WHO DATES WHITE GUYS —

 

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK

 

I am not some census-taking dick measurer, OK?
Mar 14, 2013 at 12:00pm
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The first time I ever kissed a white guy, I swore I would never do it again.

It was high school, it was my friend’s brother and I’m pretty sure I was drunk. I gave him a massive hickey, which I found pretty amusing, and I figured it was just an “experience.” Something I’d write about in my journal, the one with Maya Angelou’s picture on the cover.
I attended a posh mostly Catholic prep school in the suburbs of Atlanta. I knew every Black person in my school. A lot of us took MARTA (the public transportation system) home. Once when it was pouring rain, one of the priests gave a couple of us Black kids a ride to the train station so we didn’t have to get soaked waiting for the bus.
We joked that those rain affected our hair in such a way that it made the priest’s car smell like activator.  We bonded, this small circle of Black kids in a privileged white world.
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Despite the fact that this was the 90s, it was still the South. So many of my classmates mocked Black culture, defended the Georgia state flag and compared slavery to the potato famine that I didn’t exactly feel like interracial dating was an option. That all changed when I went to college.
I mean, how could I not eventually date a white guy? I went to a liberal arts college in Boston. Along with Sociology, it was practically a required course.
In that blissful 4 years, I hooked up, dated and fell in love without a care in the world. I moved to New York after college and continued to tear through men with abandon. It was a glorious time. I’m proud that I had a lot of not so great relationships with men of varied ethnicities and didn’t become bitter and jaded.
That being said, I still ended up feeling like I was constantly defending and explaining my choices to overly enthused white women, annoyed Black men, judgmental Black women and fetishizing white men. Hopefully, this handy guide will help all of us approach the subject in a more informed and less dickish manner.
DON’T ASK ME IF WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BLACK GUYS VS. WHITE GUYS IS REALLY TRUE. WINK WINK.
 
Please don’t go there. Let’s just say I’ve been surprised about how UNTRUE it is. Also, I am not some census-taking dick measurer, OK? While we can certainly generalize about the physical attributes of all races, penis size seems to be the most obsessed over. It’s gross and unnecessary.
Also, you don’t need to be all up in my sex life like that. I’m not the kind of chick who needs to go on and on about the size of a man’s penis and those that do get an eyebrow raise from me. I had this one friend and I swear to God, every time she started dating a new guy he had the BIGGEST PENIS SHE HAD EVER SEEN. No, he didn’t. Stop.
Do you really want to know if what they say is true? Sleep with a white guy, then sleep with a black guy. Better yet, invite them both over and do a side-by-side comparison. Take pictures, make a graph, email it to me and we’ll meet for scones and tea to discuss it. Just kidding. Black people don’t eat scones.
DON’T ASK ME IF I’VE GIVEN UP ON BLACK MEN.
There seems to be this pervasive idea that if you date a non-Black man as a Black woman, then you must hate Black men. I’ve had Black women say to me, “Oh, you like WHITE guys!” as if they were unlocking the secret to my personality.
Even a childhood friend remarked very flippantly, “Oh, Nia only dates white guys,” when she knew very well that wasn’t true.
We also seem to be living in a time when the media is very concerned for us poor Black women. You see, apparently there are “no good Black me left” so many of us are single and alone. I refuse to participate in that discussion because I don’t believe that is true. I’ve seen too many awesome Black husbands and fathers (including my father, step-father, grandfather, uncle, etc.) to give into that line of thought. These books and TV shows that continue to perpetuate this lie, are only interested in profiting from our insecurity and we need to call them on their bullshit. It creates more of a divide when we need to keep fighting for unity.
There are certainly some issues involving the personal and professional successes of Black women versus men but to think that I have turned my back on my brothers because of who I am romantically involved with implies that I see them as one and have dismissed them all. Not true. I try to treat everyone as an individual and you should do the same. Yes, I am on my high horse, thank you very much.
DON’T ASK ME WHAT MY FAVORITE KIND OF GUY TO DATE IS.
Here’s a sampling of the various types of men I’ve dated: Black, White (Irish, German, Italian), Jewish, Latino, and various combinations of all of the above. You want to know which were my favorites? The ones who didn’t treat me like shit. The ones who cared about me.
I find that some Black women feel that a White guy will treat them better than a Black guy will. News flash, ladies: All men can be assholes. Douchebaggery isn’t race specific. This need to lump everyone together instead of taking the time to learn things about the individual is so lame and lazy.
Men like to joke about this as well. Black women are difficult. White women only want to please. Asian women are subservient. It seems odd to have to remind people not to give into stereotyping but everyone from the hipster to the executive feels like they’ve done enough cultural studies to know everything about everybody.
DON’T GUSH TO ME ABOUT HOW PRETTY MY BABIES WILL BE
Well, maybe this is a little true. Bi-racial people of all combinations do have a tendency to be beautiful. But still! Don’t put that pressure on me!
Ever since I began dating my White fiancee, people literally gasp when I talk about starting a family. They fall all over themselves envisioning our light-skinned children with their silky hair and light eyes. But what if they don’t look like that? What if they look traditionally Black? Are they not as beautiful? If my daughter’s hair texture is more like mine (kinky) than my fiancee’s (fine), did she lose out somehow? If instead of getting her father’s genes of being tall and skinny, she gets mine of being short and round, has she gotten the raw end of the deal? What if they aren’t what you consider beautiful?
I mean, of course they will be, my fiancee and I are both INCREDIBLY good looking but that is always the first thing people comment on. I’m more interested in what my children will aspire to be, having creative parents. I wonder who will be the fun parent. I wonder how people will see them. I wonder if kids will mockingly ask them, “What ARE you?” I wonder, if they acknowledge both their Black AND White sides, will people insist that they choose just one. I wonder if they can have a sense of humor about it all.
But mostly, I just hope they aren’t dicks.

startling

Perhaps “startling” would be a bit of an exaggeration today, but a production like this would still be considered mildly innovative indicating that we haven’t evolved much out of our old traditions…

March 1970: Student teachers, Dereck Tapper and Scilla Nicholls in a rehearsal for a production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at St Luke’s Teacher Training College in Exeter. The mixed-race casting was considered a startling innovation at the time. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

threat to america’s essential character

I’m loving the ideas raised in this piece reflecting on the Pew Research Center’s report on interracial marriage which I blogged about earlier this week.  Was that this week?  Anyway, I think it’s healthy for white identity to be “threatened”.  I’ve been under the impression that white identity is without definition beyond the color and the perks that come with it.  Perhaps the perceived “threat” will bring about a deepened awareness of the struggle to maintain personal identity in the face of adversity, stereotypes, and societal expectations.  For thoughtful “minorities” this endeavor is par for the course, however it seems to me that the majority of the “majority” do not expend energy grappling with such issues.  By being called upon to do so, a new common ground may be created.  A ground upon which we collectively come together to redefine  “America’s essential character”. Other than that, all I have to say is that I was shocked by the stat that  less than 5% of whites marry outside of their race.  Not because I was under the impression that the number would be large, but because in the last couple of years I’ve witnessed (and am thrilled to be a part of) the blossoming of a community of biracial people who are proud and happy to be such.  Where did we all come from if the numbers are so low!?  I suppose that in the grand scheme of things there still aren’t all that many of us.  I simply went from 0-60 in a flash, so to speak.

U.S. far from an interracial melting pot

By Daniel T. Lichter, Special to CNN

Ithaca, New York (CNN) — According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, one of every seven new marriages in 2008 was interracial or interethnic — the highest percentage in U.S. history. The media and blogosphere have been atwitter.

Finally, it seems, we have tangible evidence of America’s entry into a new post-racial society, proof of growing racial tolerance. Intermarriage trends are being celebrated as a positive sign that we have come to think of all Americans as, well, Americans.

But others have an entirely different take — a more ominous one. They see increasing interracial marriage rates as proof that the country is amalgamating racially.

To them, intermarriage is a putative threat to whites and America’s essential character. Their concerns are heightened by recent Census Bureau projections that the U.S. will become a majority-minority society by the middle of the century.

My research with Ken Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, indicates that for American’s youngest residents, that future is now. Nearly half of U.S.births today are to minority women.

It’s time for everyone — on all sides of this issue — to relax and take a deep breath. The reality is that racial boundaries remain firmly entrenched in American society. They are not likely to go away anytime soon.

We are still far from a melting pot where distinct racial and ethnic groups blend into a multi-ethnic stew.

Indeed, seemingly overlooked in the Pew Report is the finding that less than 5 percent of all married whites have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. The vast majority of whites today — as in the past — marry other whites.

What is changing are marriage patterns among America’s minorities, but in ways that are not easy to understand or summarize in short news releases. (Pew used the categories of non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians, American Indians and Hispanics.)

For example, Pew reports that the share of newly married blacks with spouses of a different race increased threefold between 1980 and 2008. Media accounts have variously trumpeted this as good or bad news for America’s future, depending on the presumptive beliefs and attitudes of their audiences about racial matters.

It is easy to forget the U.S. Supreme Court waited until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, to outlaw state prohibitions against interracial marriage. Increases in black-white marriages, at least on a percentage basis, are large because baseline numbers are very small.

Romantics like to believe that love is blind. We embrace the idea that falling in love is a product of our emotions rather than rational deliberation. Of course, the empirical evidence suggests otherwise. Love may be blind, but it clearly is not color-blind.

Indeed, for all the hyperventilation, the demographic reality is that only about 15 percent of newly married blacks today became married to whites or other minorities. This is hardly a basis for celebrating a new racial tolerance in America or, if you prefer, for now believing that white identity is rapidly being lost to interracial intimacy and childbearing.

Unfortunately, most of the nation’s headlines ignored Pew’s observation that intermarriage rates with whites actually have declined among Asians and Hispanics since 1980. This is something new.

My research with Julie Carmalt and Zhenchao Qian, to be published in Sociological Forum, documents recent declines in intermarriage rates among U.S.-born Hispanics and Asians after decades-long increases. Declines in intermarriage have been largest among the second generation, the U.S.-born children of immigrant parents.

Among second-generation Hispanics, for example, intermarriages with whites declined by more than one-third between 1995 and 2008. Over the same period, they became more likely to marry Hispanic immigrants.

Since 1980, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of native-born Asian women marrying Asian immigrants.

One explanation is that substantial new immigration has simply expanded the marriage opportunities for native-born Hispanics and Asians. But it is also likely that the extraordinary recent growth of the immigrant population has reinforced a new sense of identity rooted in shared ethnicity and culture. This seems to have encouraged more in-marriage with co-ethnics at the expense of more out-marriage with whites.

Demographers sometimes consider intermarriage to be the final step in the assimilation process, or an indicator of racial boundaries or lack of them. The current retreat from intermarriage among America’s non-black minorities raises new questions about racial and ethnic balkanization in America.

Issues of race and immigration are an important part of the public dialogue.

In today’s highly charged political environment, it is easy to latch onto information that buttresses our own point of view and preconceptions.

Unfortunately, short headlines and easy-to-digest narratives about rising intermarriage rates tend to oversimplify or even distort a complicated statistical story that is still unfolding.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel T. Lichter.