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|That Loving Feeling|
Jun. 12th, 2008 at 4:13 pm
Today is Loving Dayâ€”it commemorates the Supreme Court decision that officially made it illegal to discriminate against a proposed marriage based on the race of those involved. For 16 states in the US, it wasnâ€™t until 1967, that they were forced to allow inter-racial marriages.
As a member of an inter-racial marriage, this particular decision holds my attention. I wonder why inter-racial marriages were so problematic. Certainly, both my government and my religion have at times cautioned against them. And frankly, although no one is banned from marrying a member of another race now, there are still plenty of people who have negative feelings about inter-racial couples. Why?
I donâ€™t think it is the kids produced from these unions, as baffling as they might be. My inter-racial kids are arguably the cutest, smartest, best-behaved children you will ever encounter. No one blames a person for the race or mix of races they happen to be.
I do think people are uncomfortable with the parents, though. But only some of the parents. When a Euro-Argentine marries a Mongolian, people think: â€œhow romantic; how improbableâ€”they found each other. What a love story.â€ When a Palestinian marries an Israeli, people comment on the â€œstar-crossed lovers.â€ Yet when the family in front of me at the grocery store includes a black woman and a waspy man, I think: â€œhuh? What is going on?â€
I think we, humans, have a tendency to be most concerned about the members of our own group. So if I see a fellow white person marrying a black person, I might think: â€œwhy would she do that? Couldnâ€™t she find one of us to fill this role in her life?â€ When the lady I visit teach has a string of Hispanic boyfriends, I wonder: â€œdoes she hate white people?â€ It is not all about race: Mormons do it too. When a man in your ward marries a non-member, you wonder: â€œwhat is wrong with him (or us) that he couldnâ€™t just have hooked up with Sister X, Y, or Z?â€
Granted: I canâ€™t read peopleâ€™s minds, but I THINK this is the kind of thinking that goes on; we somehow take this other relationship and make it a commentary on us. Even the most race-sensitive of us are not entirely immune to this sort of thing (alas).
And now, let me tell you a secret:
You are right.
My husband who does not share my race does satisfy me in a way that no one my race could. In celebration of Loving Day, let me list some fabulous advantages to not being married to someone who grew up JUST LIKE ME:
1. (I cannot overstate my joy at this) He has no interest in video or computer games of any sort
So next time you see an inter-racial couple, just know: yes, they were rejecting YOU when they crossed over to another race.
[N/B: Most people decide who to marry without considering what YOU will think of the union. If it was not abundantly clear, I don't think anyone was actually rejecting any race when choosing to marry a member of another]