There was a time in my youth in which I was part of an interracial twosome walking up and down the Venice Board Walk. We were from a time and place on the leather fringe of high school beyond the self-segregating main quad. This was in the 80’s. There was a particular openness of youth there on the west side. I was ignorant to the fact that our interaction was tethered to the civil rights movement of the 60’s and was not just unique. I suffered racial self-consciousness at the time. The word “token” described me pretty well. It was something that I felt I couldn’t talk about with my non-black friends. There was nobody else to talk to, not really. I craved a connection with my black heritage. But my interracial puppy love was exciting all the same. We were the first of its kind in our town, a dark brown girl and a white boy out in daylight. We went to the Watts Day of the Drum Festival that year. Even there, staring eyes poured over us as if our hand-holding was testing a centuries-old taboo. In my total ignorance of history, I figured we were breaking serious ground towards the cause of post-racialism. Maybe we were.
Slowly over time, there were more and more interracial couples on the radar making the world more beautiful. Then suddenly, there were a lot of them. So in these three decades since I was 18, what’s changed? I see a lot of people that I cannot tell what race/ethnicity their parents might have been. They are a bountiful medley of racial bits from the south side of here to the east side and somewhere else. They are usually gorgeous. And we get mad when they don’t claim the race we think they should. There is no possible way for Census forms to accommodate them. Stereotyping them gets tricky. Interracial coupling is commonplace these days and the quickest growing U. S. demographic. There are compelling statistics on this. In Los Angeles, most couples I see in which one partner is black, the other partner is something other than black. Of course, there is push back against miscegenation. It takes the form of extreme people acting hateful. It seems the current POTUS’ partial blackness has pushed some bigots’ heads high above ground.
“If the slaves were never freed in the Civil War, you have to wonder, where would Obama be today? Certainly not the White House, not in the capacity he’s in. And you have some in America that think that that may not be a bad thing.” Ted Cruz on Hannity, June 16, 2014. Hannity is a Fox News show that hundreds of thousands of viewers take seriously. Ted Cruz is a current U.S. Senator that We the People are supposed to take seriously.
The push back against justice for blacks (stand your ground laws, over representation of men of color in the criminal justice system and dismantling of Affirmative Action laws) and civil rights (voting restriction laws) signifies deterioration of healthy race relations in American, in genera. Racist feelings get amplified by right wing media and by certain southern conservative/religious right wing political entities where it is heavily coded when not explicit and outright expressed. I always go back to Francis Cress Wellsing’s theory of white genetic annihilation when I think about the reasons why this is so. Some of these fearful (white) people speak freely about a “race war” if you listen to the blather. Google it. But hinderances to fraternizing of the races crop up in many places. Religious doctrines have long tried to keep people out of each other’s pants, interracially speaking. Then some groups of people are like the Noble Gases, they just don’t intermarry because of tradition, language barriers and other cultural logistics ( less to do with bigotry). Despite this, the trend is towards a light browning of the world.
The footnote I would make to the significant increase in interracial mixing concerns what looks to me as an exodus away from blackness by black people. This query is without consideration to the constant rape of black women on this land for two and a half centuries by their white enslavers. I am not suggesting that marrying outside of the race, which amounts to only a fraction of black marriages, is the reason. It is more of a symptom such as is skin bleaching and moving out of black neighborhoods once one can afford to do so. According to an article on nytimes.com by Ralph Richard Banks, 1 in 5 black men marry outside their race. This stat does not include couples that aren’t legally married, so it is low-balled as far as overall couples are concerned. I don’t see a stampede to get away from one’s own race on the same scale with any other group of people. The data from an internet dating app suggests that there is a whole lot of mixing in dating pools today, but the least preferred partners are black females. It leaves me with mixed feelings about interracial love. I mean, I’m fine with it. Love who you love. In 2014, it’s nobody else’s business whoever a person chooses to couple with. That said, some of the factors as to why the trend of black men and to a lesser extent women prefer partners outside of their own race trouble me.
1) The American standard as told to us by the media is white woman with western European features.
2) There really is no escaping the negative stereotypes of blacks in every part of the entertainment industry from animation to Cops to the Wire to Basketball Wives. Black men and women are typically portrayed as unpredictable, unemployed, stupid, gold digging, broke, criminal, drugged, cheating, and violent —what reasonable person would want to deal with those negatives if they could help it? On a subliminal level we can’t help to absorb at least some of those messages.
2) Disparaging lyrics and images put forth by mainstream music culture. I’ve listened to enough KDAY, seen enough shows, and watched enough music videos to say that it’s a constant. “B—s ain’t shit but hoes and tricks,” Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre so famously say over one of the dopest beats in hip hop. Often the lyrics are mixed so that it’s not explicit and is played over the airwaves for everyone to bob their heads to. Hundreds of rappers essentially say the same thing. Even without a scientific study, observation shows what so many of us know to be true. “Baby momma”, “ratchet”, “thot”, “ho”, and the original b-word—the audience become desensitized to this misogyny that targets black women. And it’s not just rap that tends to do this. Women as well as men use the language to describe who they know. Without realizing it, they teach their children that it’s okay while the perspective manifests in how they treat and regard black women. It becomes what people believe about themselves and whom they know. The evidence is spit from their tongues on Youtube, school yards, the street and prime time television. It’s been a sad thing to watch happen over the last few decades, especially coming off the powerful Motown era in which love songs and songs charged with political consciousness (think: Marvin Gaye) provided so much of the soundtracks to the Black Love and black power movements of the 60’s and 70’s.
3) There are deeper underlying reasons for the black love breakdown that have to do with what Doctor Joy Degruy calls post-traumatic slave syndrome. Her work in this field is profound and needs to be studied.
4) The deterioration of black love and marriage seems to have everything to do with the stress of poverty, a signature of many if not most black communities, as is the lack of opportunities with an ever-present criminal justice mill looming.
God’s Blood explores the incredible complexities of race from one black woman’s perspective. In most popular sci fi, if there is a black character at all, there’s just one. He or she has a minor role. The issue of race is not there. It’s never an issue. That absence seems perverse to me. Why wouldn’t there be race issues to deal with in the foreseeable and distant future? Clearly, nothing is fixed today. There are deep problems, and we are not doing everything we possibly can to hold onto the gains provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which came out of the civil rights movement. Instead of a sincere push for equality for all and a concerted surge towards MLK’s vision of the mountain top, there is severe social slippage and a mountain of lies meant to keep it so.