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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intermarriage in America and the NYT

The New York Times Week in Review “exposed” a dirty little secret in American life. In Benedict Carey’s piece “In-Laws in the Age of the Outsider” , we learn about the increase in intermarriage in America. Asians are marrying Whites who marry Blacks who marry Latinos who marry Eskimos (my apologies if my terms are not up-to-date). But with such unions come introduction to in-laws that can be initially icy, if not fatal to the relationship made in heaven. (Of course, one must ask: Why do you think they are called in-laws?).

Carey opens his piece with this heart-wrenching anecdote of prejudice run rampant in what was supposed to be a festive multicultural holiday (clutch your Bibles and keep the depression medicine handy):

SHE was in the kitchen trying to bond with her boyfriend's mother and help prepare the food when the older woman made a remark that effectively shut the conversation down.

"I asked to try one of the chicken wings she was cooking, and she says, 'Oh, these might be a little too spicy for what you're used to,' " said Serene Hammond, 25, of Washington, recalling a cookout she attended five years ago.

Ms. Hammond said she felt odd at the time, and later, insulted. Her father is Haitian, her mother Irish, and she is fair-skinned. The boyfriend's family is black.

"The way I took that comment was, 'Well, this is too hot for what y'all white people eat,' " said Ms. Hammond, who since founded a group called the National Advocacy for the Multiethnic, a clearinghouse for multiracial education.”I said, 'No, I'm from Louisiana.' " She added, "I think a lot of white women who date black men get some of that treatment."

Reminders of Bull Connors with the water hoses?

Ms. Hammond had to run out to start an ORGANIZATION because her potential mother-in-law expressed that the wings may be too hot for her palate. The comment could have caused a laugh between the two and an opportunity to bond while recognizing their differences. They also could have discovered what they had in common (real joy when people from different cultures mix). But this woman has been indoctrinated into the taboo prohibiting the mention of any differences. It even became the banner for another victim’s organization that this woman can establish. She is undoubtedly about to receive a donation from some Left-wing organization.

Should a White marrying a Chinese person not ask whether the take-out they order is authentic? Should a Christian whose daughter is dating a Jew ask his father if their new apartment is “to die for”? Should a white son-in-law apologize to the black father-in-law that their grandchildren will likely not make the NBA (because they are not Croatian)?

The barriers between the cultures are ever greater due to this “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” mentality. Yet, with Richard Pryor’s recent passing, we saw in his comedy, and in the current comedy of Dave Chappelle, that differences exist and can be a source of joy and laughter. Dig an inch or two below the surface and you find the similarities between people are greater than one ever expected.

But the NYT and its PC police keep guard for any chink in the fence between people. Allegations of “racist” are tossed at people who dare to mention any differences.

I played basketball while growing up. A lot of B-Ball. And by going all around town with my friends (my group was made up of a Cuban, Chinese, Irishman, Italian, 2 blacks and me, a swarthy Jew) to locate top competition, we played on courts in every neighborhood. We hung out because we lived in what would be called a “multi-cultural” neighborhood. We just thought we all had little money. We joked among ourselves about our differences some but those differences were minimal compared to our drive to just play ball.

We won the city championship in junior high. I credit our ability to jump out to early leads to the James Brown tapes we listened to pre-game in the locker room. Later in high school, I was one of 4 white guys on the 16-man varsity roster. I played little but spent how many hours in practice, travel and games mostly with “the brothers”. During the racially tense 60’s and early 70’s, I never felt insecure or intimidated. My neighborhood friends and I continued to play B-Ball or football in our free time until college and adulthood broke us apart (one of us actually had a 10-year plus career in the NFL).

To truly know another is to recognize both similarities and differences on an individual level and on a cultural, religious and ethnic level. It is snobs with little first-hand relationships with people outside of their groups that get most outraged over these manufactured “slights”. We need to point out how irritating these delicate sensibilities are of the slighted and move on with what counts- having a laugh and finding some brothers to play a good game of hoop.

Back to Ms. Hammond, if she left that boyfriend due to his mother’s innocent comment, then that brother was a very lucky man.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Puriblend said...

Something not mentioned in the article due to editing and space restrictions, not my choice is that the mother referred to me as "White Girl". To use in a sentence: "Where is white girl today, you didn't bring her with you?". Also his getting made fun of by family for wanting a white girl so bad he ran out and got the closest thing, which would be me. Also National Advocacy for the Multi-Ethnic does not and has never accepted money for anything. Web Site http://namecentral.org. I pay for everything and your welcome to visit the site anytime. You could even help out with some editorials, that would be more helpful than this piece. Hoestly I am glad you touched on this subject though every little bit counts for something.

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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