Interracial love

loveboat

As the uncle of my two wonderful biracial nephews, I am the world’s greatest skeptic when it comes to those narrow-minded people among us who bemoan interracial unions because, “It’s so hard on the children.”

Seriously, how many times have I heard that one in my life, dating back to the sheltered world of Mahopac, N.Y.—my hometown. Truth is, the statement “It’s so hard on the children” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If biracial kids struggle, it’s only because there are legions of people who bemoan their existences … the same folks who utter “It’s so hard on the children” to begin with.

In other words, the people stating “It’s hard on the children” are the ones making it hard on the children.

But I digress. Just read this heartwarming story of Keith Bardwell, justice of the piece for Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward and a man who, last week, refused to license an interracial marriage. His reasoning?  “My main concern,” he says, “is for the children.”

This passage from the piece, which appeared in the Hammond Star, is especially lovely:

Bardwell said from his experience, “99 percent of the time” the interracial couple consists of a black man and white woman.
“I find that rather confusing,” he said.
He said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. Bardwell said he came to the conclusion that most black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society.
“Yet, the children are innocent. They had nothing to do with that,” he said.
In many cases, he said, the grandparents or a relative ends up with the children.
“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

Bardwell insists he’s not racist, noting that he actually allows blacks in his house, and that he gladly serves them fried chicken and watermelon and lets them use the toilet (lining required if they poop, of course).

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world …

5 thoughts on “Interracial love”

  1. You think that’s hard, try having a Mexican mother and a Mexican father. Now THAT’S hard on the children. Both of my grandparents felt their kid was marrying down.

    Bardwell is an idiot but I would still give my blessing if a relative of mine chose to marry a relative of his. He’s a fool but no need to make it hard on his children by keeping the hate alive.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Amazing. It is also though what the President calls a “teachable moment.”

    I read this guys statement and he seems to legitimately believe that this isn’t racist. Now, of course, we can all point to the definition of the term and prove that it is, but he doesn’t believe that. And the only thing we can accomplish by calling him that is to harden his resolve and cause his relatively passive hate to turn even more active.

    I cringe every time someone says something racist about Obama, not so much because they said it (that’s inevitable in USA 2009), but because half the time, I think they truly don’t realize it was a racist thing to say, and when everyone jumps on them, their minds are only hardened.

    Not that this guy doesn’t deserve to be called names, but I believe good ideas win the race, and I hope all these black friends of his will enlighten him with the stories of their white great-great-grandmothers and white uncles and white cousins and let him know that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.

  3. Great post Jeff. My mom was an “its hard on the children” believer and used to tell me that before I got married to Francesca (who is of Asian ancestry). We don’t have kids yet so i actually can’t say if it will be difficult on them (b/c of their mixed race) or not, but I definitely think that times have changed and society is somewhat more accepting that it was when my mom was having children. Plus she was raising us in a conservative, white NJ suburb while my wife and I are city dwellers (and plan to be even when the bambinos come along) so the environment won’t be the same.

    anyway, its definitely something that (some) inter-racial couples think about so thanks for the post and your readers for the comments.

  4. oh, I wanted to add that i also think not all inter-racial mixes are created equal and (unfortunately) it very well may be more difficult for a child of mixed black & white parentage versus Asian & white (or other).

  5. being single-race–African American, say, or Native American–isn’t exactly easy in this country.

    I teach many bi and multi-racial children and they have lives as hard or easy or in between as other kids.

    has this judge noted who the president of the United States is? just wondering.

    come on, we all descend from the same woman in Africa. what is WRONG with people???????

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