Banning Interracial Marriage

I talked with a brother who’s in an interracial marriage last week.  Then I saw this article over at the Root.  I’m interested in your thoughts.

When I met with my brother and friend, a young man from my church and a student in graduate school, we talked about his experiences as a newly married black man, pointing out how unique that phase in life and that particular role are.  He spoke about how difficult it was to add to an already sometimes difficult phase and transition the hardships associated with how people treat him because he’s black.  When he’s with his wife because she’s white at his family functions.  When he’s walking down the block in a neighborhood and people are raising brows toward her.

I’m not in an interracial marriage.  So that’s makes me distant from this question.  But I told this man how uniquely positioned he was in–giving honor to the plain hardness of it–to exemplify what reconciliation means.  I told him how inspiring and hopeful it is to know of a man who is practicing everyday something that feels so personal to him as faith.  Faith is often privatized.  It’s often under wraps.  But this brother has put at the foundation of his marriage a way of living that is based upon grace.  Not just spirituality or religious principles.  The center is on “a relationship damaged and a relationship repaired.”  In his case, what he means by grace and reconciliation happen everyday in his marriage and in its connections to his immediate and extended families.

He has anxiety.  His wife does too, I’m sure.  But when I think about how close it is in our nation’s history for the question of interracial marriage  to come up in Mississippi, I’m nervous.  In general, I hate the idea of people making laws around marriage.  That’s because I’ve inherited a history related to that.  But I’m nervous that Christians like me will sleep by this poll or the next survey.  That we’ll say nothing in the public sphere or the political sphere.  That’ll we’ll act like marriage and being married to people physically unlike you is not a moment for grace to be seen.

What do you think?


5 thoughts on “Banning Interracial Marriage

  1. Being a native of the Deep South, the recent poll showing 60% of Mississippi Republicans either opposed to interracial marriage or ‘not sure’, is sickening but not very surprising to me.

    Mississippi is a day’s drive from Chicago, which is also among the top five most-segregated cities in the US. We have work to do here, too. Faith communities that demonstrate what our city and country could and should look like are a great start, and are the right vehicle for changing hearts about racism. I’m grateful that God led me to a faith community with so much potential to be that force in our city.

    • Chicago and Chicagoans certainly can’t point fingers toward the Deep South. And, like you, Byron, I’m grateful for glimpses of healing and reconciliation when they come–in our church and in other places. You’re on target when you say that one of the roles of faith communities is to offer another picture, another image, another demonstration when it comes to racism and all its cousins. I hope our faith communities hear those words from you and others. I hope we live them.

  2. My wife is half black. The black side of her family is very proud of and aware of their heritage. My father, who is now deceased, was quite prejudiced against blacks. My father passed away a couple of years before I met my wife. Ironically, when it comes to skin tone he was very likely to be mistaken for being black while people often think my wife is joking when she tells them she is black.
    Anyways, I often wonder what things would be like if my father were alive as I met and grew close to Amy. I remember as a small child(as young as 4 or 5 yrs old)noticing mulattos, particularly those who had unique features such as blonde afros, and my father warning me that that was not how people were meant to look and that such mulatto individuals were the unfortunate consequence of the rebellious act of mixed marriage. Even then I somehow knew his claims didn’t seem right…maybe because it came from a dark skinned Louisianan who married my very fair skinned mother, maybe it was the racial and ethnic diversity I was constantly exposed to, maybe I was just a child genius. And then I heard about these grown folks of political influence in Mississippi a few days ago, and this makes me humbly lean towards child genius. Seriously though, I find it overwhelmingly grievous that this is such an issue in US politics, and it is a grim reminder that there is so much yet to be done, and that prejudice is still a much too powerful thing.

    • Whether you were a child genius, Dave, you are making salient points as an adult. Thanks for the insight and comments. Prejudice is a strong presence in our country. I think decisions like yours and like the brother I met with, in some way, are thick, stretched out ways for prejudice to lose its power. As you grow closer to Amy, as you love her deeply, your marriage makes racism appear for what it is.

  3. Pingback: Racism Dressed In Choir Robes « Intersections

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