It’s kind of hard to believe this today, but as recent as 1967, there was actually state laws that banned interracial marriage. These laws weren’t overturned until the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. In that case, the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional for the state of Virginia to ban interracial marriage.
Although there are no longer any laws banning relationships, interracial dating remains a controversial subject for some people. The Interracial Blog Feature was inspired by my new book, “Beyond The Colored Line”, and was created as a means to foster a better understanding of diverse relationships. Today, we welcome a good friend of mine, Misty Thomas. Misty is the director of a privately owned Montessori School in Houston Texas for children ages 6 – 12 years.
EC: Thank you Misty for spending time with us today. Can you give the racial background of you and your husband for the record and how long you’ve been together?
MT: Hello Yecheilyah. Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I am of mixed nationalities, but I guess most people would call me white. My husband is mixed, his mother is black and his father is black, Mexican, and native Indian.
EC: Wow, I love it. Now, the character in my book, Stella May, is what the people of her era deem a “mulatto” that is, she is of mixed ancestry. You have children who are biracial. What advice would you give to mothers of mixed children on how to deal with the stigmas that are often placed to them?
MT: My advice for that question would be to just raise your children as you would if they weren’t of mixed races. I have not yet come into contact with any issues with my children being mixed and anyone giving us any troubles or acting racist.
EC: I love that. Speaking of racism, what are some challenges that interracial couples deal with that couples of the same race may not have to deal with?
MT: This one we have definitely dealt with from people in passing and within our own families when we first started dating. Most of the time if people should look at us in any hateful way it comes from us either being at a place where there is mostly African American people or somewhere where there are mostly white people. People sometimes make faces or just stare and you can feel what they must be thinking. It doesn’t bother us though. With our families in the beginning…I think it was them worrying what others would think.
EC: That is interesting that you say that the looks usually come from an exclusive black group or white group, makes me think about the racial divide still present in America. Now, from observation, when African-Americans and Whites marry, there is more likely to be an African-American husband and a white wife. In fact, 73 percent of all Black and White marriages have this setup. In your opinion and your experience with Interracial Relationships as a white woman, what attracts you to black men?
MT: I do see this is more common that you see white women with African American men. Me personally…I don’t think I have only been attracted to African American men for any particular reason and I have been one to date men of all races. I grew up in a diverse city.
EC: I’m glad you put that out there. Speaking of diversity, I have to bring up this point. I hear a lot of black people, black women in particular, accusing other blacks of being “sell outs” when they date outside their race. Have you or your husband ever had the misfortune of the title and why do you think this is?
MT: I have only had one person or woman hate on me for being with “their” men. We have never had anyone call my husband a sell out or speak out against us being together though anywhere else.
EC: Shame on that one person, smh. Now, a lot of people discern that blacks who speak with a professional tongue are trying to sound white. I speak from experience. My husband is not white but he’s very educated and he too grew up in a diverse city where the majority of people in the town were white. Of the blacks present, he was teased by them a lot for his speech. They said that he sounded, “White”. As a white woman, what are your thoughts on this? Is there such a thing?
MT: I think that is ridiculous and people just stereo type black people. My husband and everyone in his family are well spoken. There are plenty of people of all colors of skin that speak improper.
EC: I’ve always wondered about the conversations between interracial couples concerning the ongoing racial tensions surrounding blacks and whites. Are there any moments where you and your husband disagree with a subject that is race related? If so, how do you deal with that?
MT: Lol, actually we have never had any disagreements in any racial conversations. We know that racism was created by man and we don’t see each other as being different.
EC: Whew, you said something there, “we know that racism was created by men”. Can I quote you on that? LOL. Seriously, that is such a great point. Now, we’re almost done here. Any time before 1967 your relationship would technically be illegal. How does that make you feel today with the knowledge that you’ve chosen to be with someone outside of your race?
MT: Doesn’t surprise me, I have never been one to care what others think or one to follow. I might be one that some would of called a rebel….lol. I don’t like the hatred from the past history, but it is what it is.
EC: Misty, I want to thank you again for being part of this series. If there is one form of advice you would give to people still struggling to accept Interracial Relationships, what would it be?
MT: Your welcome, any time. One thing I would like to share with people who struggle with interracial relationships is that I feel it is a form of being colorblind. You could be blocking yourself of growth as a person for being blinded by color.
EC: Wow, blocking your own growth, that’s deep. As someone who has been married for some time, name one thing that has kept your relationship going.
And that’s Misty Thomas on Interracial Marriages, thanks Misty! As you can see, the purpose of this series is to shed light on some of the racial biases that still exist here in America. It is easy to become offended at such topics and say that “a relationship is a relationship” and while this is true, it doesn’t change the fact that these biases still exist. That said, mankind was created to be compatible with one another regardless of race. Thank you Misty for helping me to shed light on that reality. Your interview was insightful, educational and I sure did learn a lot.
In the meantime, tune into next weeks segment on Beyond The Colored Line: Interracial Blog Feature. You don’t want to miss next weeks interview!
French physician Francois Bernier was the first to use the word “race” as a category for scientifically classifying humans in a 1684 essay titled “A New Division of the Earth, According to the Different Species or Races of Men Who Inhabit It”.
In addition, Johan Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), a medical professor in Germany, argued that human beings fall into five races: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malay. He argued that Caucasians derived from the Caucasus Mountain region and embodied the ideal human from which the others degenerated. It was a popular belief that Caucasians were the ideal form based on a skull that had been found in the Caucasus Mountains, near the alleged location of Noah’s ark. What this classification achieved is the setting up of a color line. Blumenbach classified five chief races of mankind and by attributing psychological value and importance to race; this became what we know as racism.
Science has a lot to do with the usage of “race” to identify a people. Although there is uncertainty in the title about the correctness of the term “race” versus “species” to classify human variation, Bernier relied on categories based on outward physical characteristics such as skin color.
A prime example is Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus’ system of biological classifications in Systemae Naturae, published in 1735. Linnaean taxonomy is the system of scientific classification of plants and animals now widely used in the biological sciences. He formalized the distinction among the continental populations of the world and his work helped characterize the concept of race. In the tenth edition of Systemae Naturae, which was published in 1758, Linnaeus projected four subcategories of Homo sapiens: Americanus; Asiaticus; Africanus; and Europeanus. In short, the moral components of race–such as beliefs, values, etc., were not as prevalent where racial hierarchy was already established by slavery, but the word race was a general term that was used interchangeably with species, sort, type or variety. This is why there is no such thing as a race of people.
The concept of Race is a new ideology and has not always been with us. Genesis Chapter 10, known as The Table of Nations, gives an example of how people were split into nations and lands and language, not races. In fact, “definitions of who is black vary quite sharply from country to country, and for this reason people in other countries often express consternation about our definition.” (F. James Davis). What has happened then? How has a nation of people now become a race of people? They told you about a brown man, a black man, a yellow man, a red man, and a white man. It’s as if they took their crayons and painted us the colors of their expectations. After coloring they began the tasks of assigning these colors to class and certain geological locations in that they may properly identify them. Not necessarily so that these people may identify themselves, but so that racial superiority would reign supreme.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines race as “a social category recognized by the United States and does not attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically”. The Census Bureau recognizes five categories of race: White (people with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,) Black or African American (Africa), American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The census also includes a Hispanic ethnic category. It is an ethnic category rather than a race category because the Latino community is said to include many races, such as White, Black, Native American, Asian, and mixed.
The truth is that every single person on the face of the earth belongs to a nation of people, as he was so divided since the beginning, and thus he falls into whatever family according to his nationality. Every people have a nation to which they belong, followed by a specific set of laws, customs, and traditions separated only by land and this is why race does not exist, because there’s no such thing as a race of people. Sure, we may use the term for understanding sake, one may say “my race is..” so that the person next to him gets it, but he does not really belong to a race, he belongs to a nation. Prejudices, Biases, and oppression of one people who feel superior over another people does exist, but race within the concept to which we’ve grown to know it, does not.
Today is the debut release of Part 1 of Book #2, “Beyond The Colored Line” in the Stella Series.Below is a reminder of what this book series is all about:
Stella is a work of Historical fiction, and is distinctive in its focus on one woman’s road to self-discovery against the backdrop of the African American fight for justice, racial equality, and freedom. The 3-Part series focuses on the history of one family in their struggle for racial identity. Discover in this Trilogy how 3 individuals living in separate time periods strive to overcome the same struggle, carefully knit together by one blood.
Log-Line for Book 2:
“Determined to be accepted by society, a black woman desperately seeks to hide her true identity when a prevailing conversation with her aunt provokes her to pass for white.”
Find out in this Stella Sequel what’s truly Beyond The Colored Line.
Disclaimer: The following post is excerpted from a book written by Yecheilyah Ysrayl and is property of Yecheilyah Ysrayl. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stolen. Permission is only given to re-blog, social media sharing for promotional purposes and the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical articles and reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by Yecheilyah Ysrayl.
Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved.
September 4, 1923
Margaret and Josephine had their hands on their hips again, Josephine taking the lead role as always. The soft wind swayed the handmade dress in all directions, hovering well below her long skinny legs. Her hair was pulled up into a collage of pony tails with twists that never really wanted to stay together. Stella got lost for a minute, slightly envious. She wished her hair was that thick. But instead she was given a sandy blonde that could never keep a braid. School had just started at Crestwood Elementary of Belvedere City, just south of Boone County, Illinois. And already Stella could see this would not be a good year, same as the others.
“I’m not white; I’m Negro, same as you,” said Stella.
Josephine rolled her eyes, “You look white. You sound white. I thinks you white.”
The girls laughed. Meanwhile, Stella’s blood boiled, the blush of anger showing quickly in the space of her cheeks and around her ears.
“You’s white cause we say you’s white,” said Margaret.
“That’s right,” co-signed Josephine, “What kind of name is Stella anyway? What you some kinda slave?”
“Naw,” said Margaret, “she ain’t no slave, naw, she massa.”
Josephine turned her head slightly, laughing hysterically in Margaret’s ear, who saw it coming out the side of her eye.
“Josephine!” yelled Margaret. But it was too late. Stella was already on top of Josephine, pulling at her neatly pressed hair and slamming her face into the dirt. Stella could hear the screams of the teachers nearby calling her name, but she just couldn’t stop.
“I’m not white! I’m not white! I’m the same as you!” Stella yelled.
Josephine was crying now, as Margaret tried to peel Stella off of her.
“I’m Negro the same as you!” she yelled.
Later That Day
Judith stood by the door tapping her feet impatiently against the hardwood, and burning a hole in the back of Stella’s head, who sat silently on the sofa with her head down.
“You’re going to have to learn to control yourself Stella.”
“Did I ask you to say a word?” scolded Judith, answering the door at the same time. Expecting her guest, she opened the door before the bell rang and gracefully let in Mrs. Velma Conner, Stella’s teacher.
“Good afternoon”, said Judith. “I’d like to apologize again for what happened today. May I offer you some coffee?”
“Never mind that,” said Velma. “I don’t specs to be here long.”
“Well let me offer you to a seat then,” said Judith.
Judith sat beside Stella as Velma took the sofa across from them and cleared her throat.
“Stella seems to be having a very difficult time adjusting. Her temper is far too easily tickled, if you catch my meaning.”
“I do,” said Judith.
“We think perhaps she would be better off in a more comfortable environment, somewhere more of her liking, if you catch my meaning,” said Velma.
Judith straightened and looked Velma in her sparkling blue eyes, “Not exactly.”
“Well, Ms. May, the accusations from some of the children are hard to ignore.”
“What accusations?” Judith interrupted.
“Well, you know, children will be children,” Velma laughed slightly. “It’s just that they don’t take very well with our kind. Surely you’d prefer for Stella–.”
“Our kind?” Judith interrupted again.
“Why yes,” said Velma, shaking her head.
“You don’t have to say anything more, Mrs. Conner.”
Judith stood up, smoothed the apron hanging from her waist and approached the door.”
“Go on upstairs so me and your teacher can talk.”
“Yes ma’am,” said Stella, hurrying off upstairs.
Velma remained seated, “Is there a problem?”
Judith smiled, “No, there’s no problem. But I do want you to leave my house.”
Velma stood, pointed her nose into the air and walked toward the door, clearly offended.
“By the way, the school has placed Stella under suspension, you understand why.”
“Oh, I do,” said Judith. “You see, defending ourselves, is what we’re taught.”
An expression of confusion spread across Velma’s face as she stared into the green eyes of the white woman in front of her, disgusted that she would stoop so low as to lay with one of them.
“What we’re taught? I’m not sure I’m following you,” said Velma.
“Oh yes,” said Judith, “It’s one of the first things my Negro father taught me, you know, our kind I guess.”
The pink rushed to the woman’s nose as she hurried out the door.
And that’s how things had been for us growing up. I couldn’t understand what made mama so strong. She loved daddy with every bone in her body, but they couldn’t be together. Society would never have of it. Mama was Negro sure enough as she was white, but Papa didn’t trust it. I thought about Papa that day and all the other days like it as I stood at the top of the stairs and watched as my mother waved goodbye to my racist teacher, with a smile on her face.
– Stella May
I really hope you enjoyed the first part of my book! The fun continues with Part 2 next Thursday. If your enjoying yourself so far, would you mind sharing this on your social networks? Thanks a lot! Also be sure to come back for the continuation next week. And that’s not all, for your convenience, I’ve provided the link to the prologue to Book #1. I love writing and learning and sharing what I’ve learned and I’m really excited to be sharing this journey with you.