The study of race and ethnicity has left us puzzled by the amount of power the color line still holds today. Although much progress has been made when it comes to people being discriminated against based on their skin color, interracial marriages still remain to be a very sensitive subject. In some of our recent class discussions, we spoke about marriage; we mentioned that our parents encourage us to marry our own “kind”. They want us to marry people that share our ethnic backgrounds, have the same values, same religions, and generally speaking, look like us. They want us to hold on to our ethnic identities and ensure us that sticking to your own kind makes it easier for us. An interracial marriage between a light skinned person and a dark skinned person would fall on the extreme end of the scale. The show “What Would You Do” aired an episode where a Black actor and a White actress play an interracial couple eating at a diner in Texas while a racist White actor terrorizes them. The question was- How many strangers witnessing this outburst of racism towards the couple would stand up for the interracial couple and for what is right?
As the couple sat at the diner minding their own business, the rude actor throws all types of negative comments their way. The actor claims that “doves should be with doves, while black birds should stick to black birds”, asking the Black man in the relationship “all of the black girls were taken?”. Unfortunately there are people that still are naïve enough to feel this way because as we have read we are still a long way from becoming a colorblind society. So much of our everyday lives are influenced by the color of our skin, such as which family will accept us to marry into theirs? One of the civilians of Texas, a Black woman couldn’t stand to hear any more of those racial slurs, she spoke up and said “this is your color, this is you, and you didn’t choose it”. The host of the show referred to her as a hero for standing up for what is right, she even noted that “there are good and bad people in all races”. Personally I completely agree with her, no one should be judged by the color of their skin, in order to pass judgment on anyone you should at least get to know them first.
When redoing the same scenario with a different audience, two men stepped up to defend the couple, as the actor went up to the couple and said “I hope you guys don’t have kids that would be polluting our race”. The men were ready to literally beat up the racist man. The problem is that even though a few brave people stood up for the right thing, there were many more that were much more passive about the situation. We also have to acknowledge that this scenario illustrated a very extreme case of racism. On a regular day a man might not be so open about his feelings as to terrorize the couple, but thinking those things doesn’t make it any better. And a lot of this subtle racism against people of different color happens daily.
As our parents tell us to stick to our own kind, at the same time they are also telling us to be friends with, but not marry people of a different kind. Isn’t that in part racism? And boy are there a lot of different kinds of people out there! Like in our other readings when asked what makes us Italian, Russian, or Spanish, we all have similar responses, we value family and education and when it comes down to it we don’t know what makes us that much more different from one another. We are people and as such we should all be able to treat each other equally. And as the actor (who is married to the white actress, with whom he has two wonderful kids with) said when it comes to marriage, “all that matters is what is in here (your heart)”.