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Segregation Now! Integration Never!

April 10, 2011

Wait…really LD?  Of course not.  Before I start getting hate-mail from those who don’t know me, just breathe, refer back to my other postings on Race and then come back.  We’ll wait.

 

You’re back?  Better?  Still offended?  Well, nothing I can do about that.  I'm mildly offensive at times.  Moving on.

 

So I really thought I’d said everything I had to say on the topics of Race, and more specifically Race-mixing.  But it turns out that there’s more.  Today’s thoughts were prompted by an article my dear miscegenation supporting mother sent me.  I think she had an ulterior motive…she knows how this topic tends to make me rant, and I think she’s proud when I do.  So mom, this one is dedicated to you!  Hang your head in shame/secret pride now.

 

Anyhoo, the article reports that a poll has been performed recently by Public Policy Polling which showed that 46% of respondents in the state of Mississippi think that Interracial Marriage should be illegal.

 

Seriously people?  So much for my belief that my children’s generation has a chance of this kind of bias being extinct.  That’s the part that I think is the MOST disturbing to me about this poll.  Of the 46% who thought cultural exogamy should be ILLEGAL, the majority of them were either older than 65 (ok, I get that) or 18 – 29.  Huh?  The MAJORITY of 18 – 29 year olds who were surveyed (54% of them) thought Interracial Marriage should be outlawed.  Only 31% thought it should be legal and 15% just weren’t sure.  Precisely how did THAT happen?

 

I understand the older than 65 crowd.  Let’s recall that mixed-race marriages only were legalized in 1967.  At which time that group was at least 21 years old and had spent a lengthy amount of time engaged in the struggle for Civil Rights, which was heated (to understate it dramatically) in the state of Mississippi.  (http://www.usm.edu/crdp/html/cd/intro.htm)   So while I do not excuse the lingering prejudices, I am cognizant of the explanation.

 

But the under 30 group quite frankly knocked me back in my chair.  This is a group of privilege.  A group that has for the most part not had to fight for much of anything.  I frequently find myself in the midst of discussions on why those of us who have grown up without any kind of large-scale civil struggle tend to be a rather apathetic, uninvolved, unconcerned group—and I include myself in that statement.  We’ve never had to really struggle for anything.  Our parents and grandparents fought so that we wouldn’t have to.  They then have drummed into our heads a sense of global community, acceptance and togetherness that they did not grow up with themselves.  That’s a good thing…right?

 

Now perhaps as I approach my 35th birthday I shouldn’t make correlations between myself and the under 30 crowd.  But could 5 years really make THAT much of a difference?  The difference between moving forward as one united people and moving backwards into the days of staying with your own kind?  I have a hard time accepting that.  Is there something that has happened to this group of individuals that would make such a stark difference in views on interracial marriage (54% of under 30 year olds vs. 38% of 30 – 45 year olds)?  Did I miss some great injustice?

 

This is one posting that I essentially leave unanswered, because I have no answer—I would love to have the insights of others who are smarter than me.  But I do have this thought to share with my “kid” sister and her friends (who all either have turned 18 or are about to) as well as all the remarkable people I know who are in this age group…

 

There are many people who endured great tragedies, fought bravely, and died, so that you could have the CHOICE of where you could work, what you could do and most importantly, who you could LOVE.  Perhaps you choose to only date and marry within your race, there is nothing wrong with that, that is your choice to make.  But don’t presume that your feelings on what is right for you should apply to anyone BUT you.  While you have been raised that the world is your oyster and you can do and be anything you want, what you may not have been told is that your way is not the only way for everyone.  You do not have the right to tell someone that their love is wrong. 

 

Additionally, I would encourage you to take a glance through your personal history.  In the 44 years since the Supreme Court declared those laws unconstitutional there has been a lot of out-in-the-open race mixing going on.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening BEFORE then.  It just more subscribed to Vegas rules (as in what happens in Vegas STAYS in Vegas…or at least it does for 9 months) and from what I’ve seen (particularly here in DC), a lot of us have splashes of different racial leaves on the older branches of our family trees.

 

 

 

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