This Facebook conversation thread developed from a post on Facebook started by E.J. Strickland a musician. I responded to E.J’s observations and the ensuing thread of friends mushroomed into open thoughtful discourse on the subject of race, and inter-racial dating and marriage in America. The contributors range from a retired Indiana attorney, Richard Miller, a retired Indiana State Government Health Executive, James “Jim” Ladd, E.J. Strickland a noted jazz musician,and Bruce Thomas actor, singer and former body guard for the late Muhammad Ali. After revisiting the lively informative post on my fifteenth wedding anniversary recently in 2017. I decided to post it on my blog here at ddaymedia.wordpress. To me it reflects the positive aspects of social media at it’s best when sensitive and controversial topics are openly and intelligently discussed with the intention of fomenting better understanding of the problems and obstacles we face as a nation seeking to fulfill its highest democratic ideals of freedom justice and equality for all its citizens.
Some Thoughts on Love, Race and Marriage in America
E.J. Strickland a young musician friend,and rising star on the international jazz scene penned this very thoughtful status on Face Book today. I found it timely, since I reflected over having lived 18 years in America as part of an inter-racial relationship.D.Day 2013
E.J. on interracial relationships: “Anyone out there who thinks they’re going to stop people from all over this world from mixing racially.. GIVE IT UP!! It’s USELESS!! Interracial relationships have existed since the beginning of TIME!! Most of us are all mixed up anyhow.. even if we are unaware of it. Who people choose to love is THEIR business, and THEIR business only!! TRUE LOVE knows no color, and is a matching of SOULS.. Not SKINTONE.. My boo is White/Native American.. She is beautiful both inside and out!! And, I love her with every inch of my body AND soul!! Together we encounter some haters.. as well as those who see the light. For those who can’t accept.. Just remember.. LOVE WINS!! ALWAYS!! (ah-ite, I’m done.. LOL)”
Dennis Day: Thoughts on Love, Race and Marriage in America
“Hey E.J. I thank you for this post. Over this weekend my wife and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary.We have been in an inter-racial relationship for 18years.I’ve discovered that it’s a hang up on both sides, black as well as white. But at least many of my friends in the jazz and the arts community could care less, but some of them even have issues. It’s a form of self-imposed enslavement to close oneself off from having other friends, mates and relationships from among different races and cultures. Natural selection will always prevail over any man’s political laws or false racist sexual taboos. Both racial supremacists and racial purists of all persuasions have it wrong.Race is a “social construct” not a biological one, DNA confirms that fact.Unfortunately, in America much moreso than most places, we’re still”hung-up” in it’s irrational strangle-hold. Even many of my white friends and associates have huge limitations fully embracing the notion of mixed marriages, it’s subtle but it’s real and sad. I noted that only 1 or 2 were able to acknowledge my wedding anniversary over the weekend. I think it’s perhaps more comfortable ignoring a not so in-consequential fact of life concerning the race of my spouse.Life is too short to play other folks’ political head games. Live and love, and let live and treat people fairly is all one can do. Love wins every time over hate. Thanks for your honesty, it’s the only way we’ll ever get to the next level as human beings. I hope we get to play together again soon”.D.Day 2013
Bruce Thomas Hopefully it’s getting better. I also happen to be in an interracial relationship of 5 years. I say ‘happen to be in’ because my lady is beautiful both inside and out and I would have fallen in love with her regardless of her complexion. I thank God that we have never had any real negative experience or rudeness from the outside world. I’ve taken her to all black parties and events where she was the only white and she’s has always been treated with respect. I’ve also been the only black at all white activities, including a redneck tavern at the Conowingo Dam just last week and anyone was respectful (to my relief, lol). I think people are getting it. I also feel a lot of it is how we carry ourselves. Lori and I are openly affectionate and people can see that we are in love. How can you hate that? I have seen other interracial couples who looked uncomfortable or seemed to be seeking approval from the outside world. It’s just my opinion but I think when you are seeking approval that’s when you invite what people think. Frankly I don’t give a shit what people think but I am always courteous, respectful, and down to earth. Dennis you are on point AGAIN! We have got to meet someday!
Jim Ladd- Funny, I don’t even think about it anymore, love is love. Race isn’t the building block that determines a good marriage.
Rich Miller- I know my friends above, Dennis and Jim, remember my college Anthropology professor’s sage accounting of the human experience: “Throughout history, when two groups met, they may have fought, but they always mated.”
Phyllis Esposito D Happy Anniversary Dennis Day! May God Bless You and Your Wife with many more years of good health, peace, love and prosperity… Thank you for sharing this insightful on point post xox
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Dennis Day Rich Miller, My friend. We can agree with your professor on a much larger global level. The problems however, surface in the day-to-day inter-personal, group and at the human level.Under your prof’s theory, the adage,”To the victors go the spoils” historically has meant the vanquished and conquered races and nations are inevitably amalgamated or absorbed within the larger communal social order.American racism is different. It’s the legacy of American chattel slavery that has impeded this natural amalgam from becoming the new normal. It’s getting there slowly,but until each individual deals with his or her own blind spots regarding race and the stigma of inter-racial liaisons embedded for centuries as taboo in this country, we as a nation will continue to view such relationships as on the margins and atypical. D.Day 2013
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Rich Miller- Thanks Dennis: If my post was read or interpreted to suggest anything more than yours or E J’s, such was not intended. My apologies.
Dennis Day Not at all. Your post in my view was right on point. I merely felt the need to expand upon the more parochial aspects of this issue because of my own experience and experiences of those with whom I’m familiar.My point is, it all boils down to individuals and communities as to whether we get beyond what my friend EJ and I are addressing on these pages. I felt I needed to say for some time. Now it’s off my chest.
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Rich Miller- Love ya
Dennis Day Ditto “dat” bro LOL!
Dennis Day It’s precisely streams of this sort that reveal FB at it’s best; a platform for open honest dialogue, in which our possibilities of deepening understanding of one another become real.
Bruce Thomas I hope I’m not over talking this Dennis but your recent statement provokes thought and brings back memories. You are right on point when you say individual experiences are related to the communities where they occur. I’ve lived in the NYC area and the Baltimore/WDC communities. In the 90’s, I perceived interracial relationships in the NYC area as much more rare compared to what I saw in the WDC area. Also public reaction was more dramatic in the NYC area from what friends would tell me and from my own experiences. Back then, I was married to a Filipino. We’d get stares with a few people literally stopping in their tracks with opened mouth just seeing us walk down Broadway in midtown. My ex would also get hostile stares from sisters when we were in restaurants to the point of being so ridiculous we’d have to laugh. 20 years later, interracial relationships are common place here (WDC/Baltimore). Because I do see more interracial couples in NYC, I thought the public had grown with the times. Surprisingly, I think NYC’s southern neighbors are more open-minded of interracial relationships because as I stated, we haven’t had to deal with any foolishness. I’m sorry if you and your wife have had to… Y’all c’mon down! lol.
Dennis Day @ Bruce Thomas:Thanks a lot for your insightful stories. I somewhat disagree. By and large,NYC remains among this nation’s most tolerant with regard to inter-racial marriages. At least that’s been my experience. It has been so historically. Even at the time of the Draft Riots in NYC in 1841 there were inter-racial marriages across race and gender. Although the Draft Riots displaced black families who were forced to flee into other areas of the City.Race in general became a powder keg issue after that and even regressive laws and civil service practices were enacted to repress blacks in sectors of the City’s economy. Namely in Civil Service jobs, police and fire departments, a situation which lingers to this very day. Racial antipathy below the Mason-Dixon line ,in states like Virginia and Maryland are joined by a complex history of slavery and freedmen, a term used for “free men of color”. Demographically, a large population of free blacks ,either born free or manumitted by their slave holders have long held free license to marry across racial lines, maybe this in part accounts for the more liberal attitudes you perceive .The 1967 Supreme court landmark case,Loving vs Virginia challenged and prevailed against Virginia’s State laws to prevent such miscegenation. Inter-racial marriage had existed defacto for centuries since slavery and has been fairly commonplace in Virginia even prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling which up-held constitutional legitimacy of inter-racial marriages Dejure in all the States. However, the fact remains that Virginia between 1882-1968 recorded 83 black lynchings, Maryland in the same period, 27 blacks reported as lynched, DC, records 1 black and New York State 1 black lynched. These statistics do not undergird arguments either supporting or debunking the notion of specific states’ level of tolerance for inter-racial liaisons, they do suggest historical context that may influence larger community attitudes. As for your personal reference,I have written not from a perspective of personal crisis, attitudes have indeed changed nationwide, but we’ve yet a ways to go. I had hoped to shed light on some of the lasting impediments and diehard resistance to social change, that many individuals and communities continue to struggle with.There is in my view, no greater place than New York City in the world,in which to live! Thanks for the kind gesture to move south, it’s beautiful there,a nice place to visit and the offer is reciprocal. But we’ll take a pass! LOL D.Day 2013
Bruce Thomas Lol. I had a feeling that you would say that because there is indeed no place like New York! If it were not for raising my daughter I’d still live there. I love the city and I love the people that live there BUT my personal experience of living there, working there, and having an interracial marriage there was different from the history you very eloquently state above – which is, by the way, the same history I grew up believing and experienced living in a very racist Maryland and Virginia. But in the past 20 – 25 years, that history has changed (in my perception) because in New York, to my surprise, I encountered racism that I had not experienced since the 1960’s – not only with my interracial marriage but also where I lived, worked, and even the ‘Archie Bunkers’ I’d encounter on the bus who were so racially ignorant they didn’t know how ignorant they were. You couldn’t even get mad with them because you knew they were sincerely ignorant. I knew other interracial couples there also who received threats of bodily harm from just being together. So while I have no disputes with civil and legal history of interracial relationships that I’m impressed you wrote above, my personal experience in both communities is why I feel as I do and previously stated. I must say I appreciate this dialog of sharing that hopefully everyone can gain insight from. Thanks for the opportunity Brother!
Dennis Day Greater enlightenment, we all can use it! Thanks!
Dennis Day Bruce, Northern Va. in significant ways is one of the most divrse areas in the nation, 2008 and ’12national elections and 2010 census data bear that out. So to your point, today’s Northern Va. is probably much more tolerant, diverse and far less racist than a generation ago. Maybe even more so than NYC.
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