By Sophia

You may have read about the more conservative and/or ignorant populations of St. Louis getting their panties in a twist over an interracial couple smooching on a magazine cover. I learned about it by reading an article on The Root about one interracial couple and their life in the perspective of the upcoming anniversary of Loving Day. There was also mention of Strom Thurmond’s half-white daughter, and TJ ‘n’ Sally. What I liked was the historical perspective that all of these different articles lent to the situation, i.e. that people of different phenotypic outputs have been bumping multicolored uglies for a long ass time. Some of my favorite examples include:

  • Ancient Egypt Crossroads of trading nations on the east end of the Mediterranean where intermarrying was a common practice, especially to bolster and insure trade agreements. “Hey Pharaoh, my people would really like to keep eating, even in winter, so here’s my daughter. We’ll be in Gaul, come visit when you can!”
  • The Silk Road From the Middle East all the way to China, Europeans, Africans, Semitic peoples, and Asians got a chance to swap loads of DNA for a couple of centuries.
  • The Conquistadors Don’t let the slight tan and Spanish language fool you, the conquistadors were white people, and when they got to Central and South America they began banging the native women out of wed lock, while supposedly there to protect the same priests who preached that non-marital sex was sin, and since the natives weren’t married under a Christian guise, they were all living in sin, then BOOM! A whole new race, the Mestizo. Wonder what that word means..?
  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade As gross as this sounds, basically, if you were a white guy, and in some cases a white woman, and you wanted to know what sex was like with an African person, you could literally go buy one and take them home. How do you think we got African Americans? The likelihood of a present day Black person in America being descended just from early slaves is slim to none. Go ahead and Google some native African people, then some American Black people, you’re going to notice a lot of differences.
  • Present Day America’s melting pot has allowed for all kinds of different mixtures, we got some halfsies, we got people like my sis who’s a quarter Korean and three quarters Black, and then kids like my newest nephew who is half Vietnamese, a quarter Black and a quarter Mexican. I knew a girl back at Princeton who was half Jewish and half Indian (from India). Maybe twenty years ago this was rare, but the brown skinned curly haired masterpieces of these mixed unions are increasing every year.

It really should be just a “OK, get over yourselves” kind of moment, but after reading some of the comments regarding the cover picture, I ended up being more of the mind with the authors of the articles: Have we really not come that far? It’s one thing, and a very negligible thing, when a couple old guard racists decide to bitch about an interracial couple locking lips. It’s completely different, and an important litmus test, when so many people post a negative response that some of them are taken down and the overall number of posts gets limited.

Granted, if you wanted to be technical, neither of my parents are white, but that didn’t keep my Mexican grandfather from telling as many racist jokes as he could think of when my father brought his Black bride-to-be home to meet the family. And I don’t even want to know what my grandmother was thinking when her Black daughter said she was going to not only marry a Mexican, but convert to Catholicism… However, after I was born, and before my dad cheated, things were cool on both sides of the family and my grandparents eventually became not only respectful but invested in their offspring’s pairing. What a lot of people don’t realize, usually because they don’t want to because it would turn everything they were brought up with on its head, is that we’re actually not that different at all. Regardless of your background, ethnicity, culture, orientation, or color, we all just want to find that one person, or group of people, who make us happy and want to be with us and love each other.  Now, once you’ve found that feeling with your chosen mate(s) and you know how good and how complete that feels, how fulfilling it is, how could you then want to keep that from other people? I’ve never really understood that…

I went through what I’m sure many people go through at a young age where you believe you are too ugly, too different or too crazy for anyone to ever love you or want you. And I did believe that for a long time. Even after making out with a couple boys, and a girl, I just thought maybe ’cause I’m ugly they think I’m easy so I’ll just play along because who’s gonna ever really want me anyway? It wasn’t until I met a white boy who changed all that. For whatever reason, he decided I was attractive and asked me out on a date. And then later, when he got the chance to write for a local magazine, he wrote about me, not in a love interest kind of way, just in a “Hey, I met this really interesting person who brought up an interesting idea for me to write about” kind of way, which let me know that he was into me intellectually, not because I was brown. We all want to be loved, but not for a few parts of ourselves, but as a whole person. I was completely smitten and took the article as a compliment and keep a copy of it my closet. Unfortunately, things never panned out between the two of us because we lived further apart than a conventional high school romance could allow, even with the DC Metro to aid us. But during that brief time, and on a few other days over the course of the next six years, I couldn’t believe that there was someone who thought I was interesting and cute, and wanted to kiss me. It felt amazing. And once I realized it could happen to me I could finally start the road of self acceptance and realizing my self worth. And you don’t have to be brown or female to know that that shit is hard!

I bring this up because what I’m trying to say is that experiencing, giving and receiving love is something I believe to be not only crucial but necessary for human development. We need it and anyone who thinks otherwise I believe is kidding themselves into a long bitter life. Now, while we’re still fighting and waiting for marriage equality under the law for all couples, at least on the basis of race, on your melanin content, I just want those of you who don’t think people should date, marry, or procreate outside of their race to think about the people you love, to think about how much they mean to you. And what your life would be like without them. Think back to when you met them. Was it love at first sight? Did it grow over time? Or were you friends and then one day it just hit you like a brick? However it happened, I bet you can agree on one thing: It was completely out of your control. We don’t choose who we fall in love with anymore than we choose who we’re born to. We can limit ourselves to a certain set of people and give ourselves a better chance of falling for a certain type of person, but even that’s not a guarantee. I hope that you can take that and let that start to open your heart and your mind to the possibility that non-normative couples just want to be happy and free with the people they love. That’s really all it is. And trying to get in the way of that is really the same as saying, “You don’t deserve to have a full human experience and to become a fully mature human for reasons that are completely not your fault but that you should be punished for anyway.” And that just makes you an ass hat. Think about a hat on an ass, srsly. Makes no sense, huh?

For those whose minds cannot be massaged into a more open point of view, don’t worry. Eventually you’ll all die out in time and you won’t have to live among the sane and tolerant any more.