June 26, 2005
my high school American History class about 1963, one of the other
students suggested a long-term solution to the problem of racial discrimination.
The teacher was
horrified by the idea of miscegenation,
but to me it seemed very reasonable and very American.
E pluribus unum. I
wrote this essay on March 18, 1965.
may not happen for many years, but eventually marriages between the
races will become common.
such matings exist today but are frowned upon. It is still
considered in very bad taste for a Negro man even to think of
marrying a white girl, for instance.
the races are working towards equality in housing, in jobs, in
restaurants, and in schools. Negroes and whites, long separated
by the barriers of racial segregation, are beginning to live and work
and eat and learn side by side. Is it not inevitable that this
closer relationship will lead to situations in which love will
flourish, and that this love will be expressed in the natural form of marriage?
intermarriage is good. If today's sharp physical distinctions
between one race and another are allowed to remain, there can never
be complete, wholehearted integration. People of one race will
always have the vague feeling that they aren't the same as people of
another, for they will look different. (Nor, for that
matter, can complete integration be achieved if taboos against
intimate associations are maintained.) But if interracial
marriage is permitted and encouraged, the differences between the
races will begin slowly to disappear!
the change will take centuries, ultimately the choosing of a mate
will depend as little on the shade of color of the skin as it does on
the color of the hair. And this will lead us to perhaps the
only real solution to the racial problem, the only sure way to avoid
friction: to eliminate distinctions and combine all the races
look of the future: two melted Americans, each the product of
an Irish mother and a black father.
Carey's mother was disowned by her parents when she married a
Venezuelan engineer, and the mixed family that resulted was subjected
to hate crimes and harassment. Intolerant neighbors blew up the
Careys' cars and poisoned their dogs.
Jeter was an unknown when he became a New York Yankee in 1999.
Italian fans said he looked Italian. Jews said he looked
Jewish. Puerto Ricans thought he was one of them. His
therapist father said, "As a biracial family, you get a lot of
those stares. You can't live in this world without running into
ignorant people. We would just tell Sharlee and Derek, you've
got to be good and for some people you've got to be better."
"black" celebrities include many melted Americans.
Actress Halle Berry had an English mother.
Playwright August Wilson had a German father.
Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. had a Puerto Rican mother.
Senator Barack Obama had a white mother from Kansas.
Actress Vanessa Williams, the blue-eyed former Miss America, had two
magazine for February 8, 2007, Orlando Patterson explained why
all these celebrities are considered "black."
the defining characteristic has been any person born in America who
is of African ancestry, however remote. This is the infamous
one-drop rule, invented and imposed by white racists until the middle
of the 20th century.
with so many other areas of ethno-racial relations, African
Americans turned this racist doctrine to their own ends. What
to racist whites was a stain of impurity became a badge of pride.