Hate and Love: A Brief Essay on Race in America

Hate and Love: A Short Conversation on Race in America

The Clayton area of Denver is a historic neighborhood of vast cultural and architectural diversity, dating back to around 1880 – just about the time Colorado became a state. Unfortunately, Clayton currently also has one of the highest rates of crime of any of Denver’s 78 neighborhoods.

This past weekend a really awful crime was committed on personal property in Clayton; a family’s home was defaced with racist graffiti, shown here. As reported in the Denver Post, the family has decided to leave these most distasteful markings on display to show what is going on in their neighborhood. [1]

Hate graffiti, Denver. By Sam Tabachnik, Denver Post

Racism exists. It’s a fact that we’d often rather not be reminded of – especially in normally placid neighborhoods and social gatherings of white-collar light skin people – across the country.

Racism. It can be explained as ignorant; but that does not excuse it. It can be explained as something that is learned from family, or peers; but that does not excuse it. No explanation can excuse it.

Despite regular occurrence and reporting of such “real” hate crimes, I bring hope. A fair look at ourselves shows trends that among we Americans such dark, putrid idiocy is becoming a waning part of who we are as a country.

For evidence, I will herein only address the topic of interracial marriage, and our attitude toward it.

When, in 1967, the Supreme Court pronounced its unanimous 9-0 decision in Loving v Virginia – thus giving the Lovings and every other couple the sacred human right to marry whomever they love, regardless of race or where they live – only about 3% of marriages in the US were interracial. Today that number is over 17% – or more than one of every six. That is astounding, and it is good news.

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving

More important, I believe, is the overall acceptance of interracial marriages. In 1958 approval of mixed black-white marriages stood at 4%. Today it is near 90%. Those ignorant bastards are a shrinking minority, and the trend is irreversible. I say: Good.

The internet has helped. So many seekers have gone in quest of extra-racial soulmates that sites have sprung up just for such searchers. Supply meets demand.

It’s not just apparent to me as I walk through airports, stores, museums, parks and zoos. I’ve noticed that TV ads, cereal boxes and store posters regularly show mixed-race families… With children.

Add to that the increasing frequency of inter-faith marriages. According to Pew Research, this has more than doubled from 1960 to 2014: from 18% to 39%. One easily suspects it is even higher now.

Taking both together (interfaith and interracial) the arithmetic says that well over one-half of marriages in the US are now very mixed by any standard, especially standards before 1960. This is a good thing, and a great positive point to keep in mind when confronted with the divisiveness so prevalent in our modern media and communications. The evidence suggests that most people can see through differences and get to agreement … even love.

On another tangent, I presume there are additional mixed couples who cross political boundaries. Well, good for them! In the current environment, it’s understandable that those numbers seem to be dwindling.

Back to interracial marriages and their beautiful mixed-race offspring. I will cite three of the most accomplished and good looking:

  • Barack Obama (½ black, ½ white);
  • Jennifer Lopez (Puerto Rican with mostly unknown mix of Spanish, Amerindian, Black); and
  • Tiger Woods (½ Asian, ¼ Black, 1/8 White, 1/8 Amerindian).
  • — [Let’s leave politics and life-style choices aside … but I’ll venture to mention that Woods did take a very blonde Swedish wife … who infamously did take a 9-iron to his car’s rear window – and to part of his cheek bone.]

I don’t expect that racism and the stupid, ignorant, hateful acts that come with it will completely disappear in my remaining lifespan. Or even my children’s. But the trend is real and irreversible. Thus, I do have hope that the simple, honest light of human love and dignity will continue to shine into the dark corners of hate whenever and wherever possible, and thereby extinguish that darkness before the 21st century ends.

Or, more simply: React to hating with Loving.

Shalom,

Joe Girard © 2019

Update note: the 17+% interracial marriage statistic includes all possibilities, not just black-white.  This is: all possible pairings of Amerindian, Asian, Black, Latino and European White.

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To contact Joe just email him at joe@girardmeister.com

Links:

[1] Hate Crime / Spray Paint in Denver: https://www.denverpost.com/2019/03/05/racist-graffiti-denver/

[2] About the Clayton Neighborhood, Denver: https://claytondenver.org/

[3] Another source on frequency of interracial marriages: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2017/0706/Growing-acceptance-of-interracial-marriage-in-US

4 thoughts on “Hate and Love: A Brief Essay on Race in America”

  1. Peggy Gutmann

    Another idiot with a can of spray paint strikes again! I feel terrible for this family in Denver. Yes, let’s replace hatred with love.

  2. Rob

    Hi Joe. Another good read.

    I’ve thought of you daily for the last 11 days as I read “Separate”, by Steve Luxenberg, the story of Plessy vs. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation. For perspective, I can finish a typical mystery/thriller in 1-3 days, so I was working to get thru this one. I had to really pay attention to every word to keep up with the “story”. If you haven’t already read it, I think you’d enjoy it. It describes the time period from before the Civil War to the early 1900’s. Very interesting to understand how complicated the transition was after the end of the war – conflicts between state and federal laws, different interpretations of the post war amendments 13,14,15, etc. – and how we went from the first equal rights amendment to separate but equal. It was not just a north/south conflict – each state and different individuals had clearly different views on what do do after the war – it was clearly more complicated than choosing “A or B”. And interesting to see that back then, there was the same maneuvering for appointment of Supreme Court judges, lots of dirty politics, and so on – giving promise that we will successfully get thru today’s issues – we’ve done it before.

    Per your article the saga continues. I am saddened that there are people in our country that would do such horrible things – maybe someday we’ll get all the way past it.

    All the best,

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