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.
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.
white folks dread being outnumbered by nonwhite folks, because that
would mean they had lost their supremacy. Could they be outvoted?
to he Atlantic, In recent years, demographers and
pundits have latched on to the idea that, within a generation, the
United States will inevitably become a majority-minority nation.
The narrative is inherently divisive because it implies winners and
losers. It has bolstered white anxiety and resentment of
supposedly ascendant minority groups. The narrative is also false.
in every nine babies born in the U.S. today will be raised in a mixed
minority-and-white family, and this group is steadily growing.
These children have kin networks including grandparents, aunts
and uncles, and cousins that include both white people and
minorities. America's racial groups are blending now more than ever.
may be the key to our survival. Carl Zimmer of the New York Times
quotes an article in Nature wherein scientists report
their analysis of genomes of 290 living people:
Humans did not arise from one place in Africa during one period in
time! They descended from at least two populations that
coexisted for a million years.
Neanderthals branched off maybe 600,000 years ago and made their way
to Europe. Then, about 120,000 years ago in southern Africa,
"people from Stem1 and Stem2 merged, giving rise to a new
lineage that would lead to the Nama and other living humans in that
region. Elsewhere in Africa, a separate fusion of Stem1 and Stem2
groups took place. That merger produced a lineage that would give
rise to living people in West Africa and East Africa, as well as the
people who expanded out of Africa."
archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri speculated that "living in a
network of mingling populations across Africa might have allowed
modern humans to survive while Neanderthals became extinct. In
that arrangement, our ancestors could hold onto more genetic
diversity, which in turn might have helped them endure shifts in the
climate, or even evolve new adaptations. 'This diversity at the
root of our species may have been ultimately the key to our success,'
Dr. Scerri said."