Category Archives: race

LOUISIANA JUDGE BARDWELL RESIGNS

Happy are we to see this thing come to a sane conclusion.

Most of our reader are doubtless familiar with the story of Keith Bardwell, the Tangipahoa Parish Judge who refused to legally validate, (sign) a marriage license to a ZebraCouple.  Yesterday, Bardwell resigned.

Here are the high(low)lights– the quotes attributed to Mr. Bardwell throughout his Waterloo: (Bold, italicized responses courtesy ZebraCouple)

“I’ve had countless numbers of people that was born in that situation, and that they claim that the blacks or the whites didn’t accept the children. And I didn’t want to put the children in that position.”  Has anybody at all come to this man’s defense?  Have any of the “countless” come forward to thank Bardwell for his wise counsel?  And OMG, can a Judge PLEASE go back for some night school English!!!?

“I needed to step down because they was going to take me to court, and I was going to lose.”  Man knew he stood no chance in a court of law, but wasn’t smart enough 1) to use proper grammar, or 2) to just let the matter go.

“I would probably do the same thing again.”  : “Now when I nod my head, you hit it.”   No surprise here.  Judge would do it all again.  Resign again too, I s’pose.

“I found out I can’t be a justice of the peace and have a conscience.”  Don’t you learn, pretty early on as a Judge, that “JUSTICE” needs to be blind; i.e. without conscience?  Applying the laws fairly and evenly, disregarding your conscience (and personal baggage)?  I picked up that much watching Perry Mason and Matlock!

“No regrets.”  I’ll bet he regrets it when he learns his sweet Tangipahoa Parish pension checks aren’t in the mail! mailbox

“It’s kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven’t done wrong.”  Huh!?  He feels down in his heart that he didn’t do this wrong?  Not what I think he meant to say.  Hey– what if what the Judge really meant to say, way back at the beginning of all of this was, “Yes!!  Yes we DO do Interracial marriages”?

You see, all this was was a giant misunderstanding.

Former Judge Keith Bardwell’s misunderstanding of the terms fairness, equality, and oddly enough– Justice.

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Filed under bigotry, black and white, interracial, INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE, prejudice, race, RACE MIXING, Relationships, Uncategorized

Moving on… some random INTERRACIAL stuff

As promised, I’ve returned to Zebra-Press to get a few thoughts down.  One of the problems, and reasons our posting slowed waaaaaay down, (okay stopped) was that issues, topics didn’t pop to mind often enough.  If this was a blog about, say, Michael Jackson— coming up with stuff over the last bunch of months would be easy.  But our topic– Interracialism isn’t exactly on everyone’s minds these days.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, Topic shouldn’t need to be on everyone’s mind– just some local loyalists. Oh.  You’ weren’t thinking that?  I guess that was me then.  Then I agree with me.  How very astute I am!  This is a blog.  It needn’t have “mass” appeal.  Just appeal enough for the good few who check in here.

My apologies again for the aloud thinking… and for yet another public apology.  But I did want to sort of warn that today’s (first real) post (back) may be a bit of a winding road.  So off we go…

My wife and I are considering writing a book about: 1) Interracial Relationships, and 2) our Relationship, although we haven’t yet decided which, (1 or 2) we will focus on more.  We have begun some preliminary research, and there is no shortage of material “out there,” difficulty will be sifting through it all; finding our focus (and voice); and, this should come as no shock– staying on track!  Yeah good luck on that one I can almost hear you saying.  Oh– that was me again.  Oh, okay and you way over there in the corner in the U.K., I see your cyber-raised hand.  Yeah, I know it’ll be  a stretch for us.  But we’re supposed to stretch in life.  Helps us live-grow-thrive.

I mention this very stretchy, lofty goal of ours not to make the public commitment goal-gurus suggest we should make before embarking, but because I / we’d love to have some of you come along with us on our book journey; that is, there might be a place in our discussions for a story of yours– or an anecdote, or, (with your permission of course) your accounts about what a “Zebra” life is all about.  And what it’s not about.  Who knows?  Maybe the opportunity to share 5-minutes of your passion as we do here, and hope to do on a little bigger scale someday soon.

As I’ve said, we’re really in the very early stages of thinking and working on this.  And admittedly, this has to be something mostly from us.  But I can not envision such an effort happening without significant input from others like us.  I’m thinking that effort might be in the form of survey questions, funny or uplifting stories, maybe an ugly scary story about racism.  From the get-go here we’ve welcomed your input on all of this– that will continue– with arms wide open.  If you are interested in possibly sharing a line or two for inclusion in, who-knows-what-we-may-end-up-with, please contact us via e-mail at: zebracouple@comcast.net

In the meantime, while that is simmering, we are serious about reviving ZebraCouple’s (Blogging in Beautiful Blah-Blah-Blah) Weblog.  That will continue.  Hopefully we (looking not just at you know U.K., using super-cyber vision to look all around the globe <wow!  Lots of Interracial Couples on the planet.  WOO HOO!  Way to go!!>) can build this spot back up, and even stronger, bigger (faster) (Remember Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man?)  Sorry.

We can do this.  All of this.  Refocusing now, (like the laser beam that threatened Earth in that one $6mm Man episode) Sorry again.

One last FYI and note:  Previous posts have discussed some…. welcomed I’m sure…. and certainly never discouraged ANYONE from visiting and commenting here in ZebraLand.  Inclusiveness has to be a hallmark of this site.  But I’d like to spend a line or two (or three) at this point on a caveat:  Going forward, I’d really like our blog to stick to her Black-White Roots (Thanks Alex Hailey)– that is– we are an Interracial couple of the Black-White variety.  I learned very early on here that that means so much more from that global perspective.  And I’d never really thought about that before, what with my little Mid-Western perspective here.  I am thankful for the many comments and check-ins we’ve received from everyone… from all the different colored Dots and ethnicities around the sphere.  Going forward we’re certainly not going to close anyone out.  But while (I suppose) there are Interracial issues everywhere, the kinds of issues we know, and seem to discuss here, (Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, L.A., etc) — I don’t believe anyway– are the kinds of concerns or topics a Japanese woman with an Englishman– or an Indian woman with an African man for examples would care much to discuss.  Again, I for surely wouldn’t discourage anyone from checking us out.  I just want to reiterate that the focus here will be back to Black and White (you know– like the Zebra) issues.  Not to be snobbish, or divisive (if that’s even possible in an IR Blog), it’s just what we know best.  We’ve said this before, we’re neither relationship nor Interracial experts.  But we’re learning.  So much for that.  (Kicking the soap box back into the corner.)

We have some other thoughts and ideas about Black-White Interracialism in our heads too that we’ll be working on, but as always, please send us your thoughts on ANY of this dribble.  Your ideas, comments, and suggestions too on how we can make this a better place in cyber space for people who don’t have the same color face.  Ha ha– a little bad poetry for enjoyment before I go.

Thanks for checking us out.  Thanks in advance for taking the time to leave a comment or three.  Don’t be such a stranger!  Come back.  Take part in this.  It’s the Internet for Pete’s sake, it’s supposed to be INTERACTIVE.  (Okay, maybe not quite that “interactive.”)  ZebraCouple’s Weblog: Interracially Interactive & Intelligent.  There.  Now I can leave you with a joke:  What’s black and white and has three eyes (“I”s)?

You know how some people close notes and letters with the word, ‘Peace?  I’ve just come up with a totally unique and appropriate closing for our posts…

Stripes Everbody,

Stripes

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Filed under black and white, interracial, INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE, love, race, RACE MIXING

SHAME ON ZEBRACOUPLE

……… for neglecting this blog.

There are no excuses, no good reasons, no answers at all beyond life and laziness.  To those of you who’ve stopped by here– only to see the same NY Times post up here since, well, last winter– we are sorry.

We are back and recommitted to the discussion of Interracial Relationships.  Obviously the one we know best is our own, but as we’ve done in the past is solicit your experiences, victories, concerns, frustrations, ideas, opinions, and feedback.  Our original intention hasn’t changed any: to provide a blog-forum for anybody with any thoughts on any aspect of Interracial living.

We appreciate all the people check out our little cyber-spot here, and especially those of you who leave a comment or two.  Until you’ve tried this, you don’t realize how important that feedback is.  I promise you this ZebraCouple fans– whether we get 1 visitor a week, or 100– we’re here to stay this time.

Even though we mostly just feel like a regular couple going through this life, when you really think about it, we (all of us IRs) are still somewhat unique in the world.  Sometimes we forget that there is much we have to say.  We forget that the world needs a place like this little blog to read a little bit about the tiny demographic we try to represent.  Other IR couples need a place to sound off.  And those out there still clinging to outdated ideas need some place they can come to learn about the beauty we’ve all opened ourselves to.

Those are the reasons we started this little black-white chat box.

Please don’t give up on us.  We will be posting for real & regular very soon…….

ZebraCouple

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Filed under black and white, interracial, INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE, race, RACE MIXING, Relationships, THE COLOR LINE

SHAME ON THE NY POST

What you’re about to read is not interracial in the sense we had in mind when we began this BW blog, but it’s subject matter that is very much racial.  And if it’s racial, then it must have black-white relevance.  (After all, this is a site cleverly named ZebraCouple’s Blog– we do focus on BW things here.)

Post, are you kidding me with this chimpanzee cartoon?  I guess you are trying to kid us all, right?  After all, isn’t that the purpose of a cartoon, to be funny?  Not sure if anyone’s told you this or not, but this frame misses the funny mark by a country mile.  Not only that, it’s incredibly insensitive to those involved with the recent tragic mauling, to our President, and most important— blatantly racist.  Unless of course you’re planning to use the hiding-it-in-broad daylight-in-plain-view defense strategy.  The one that attempts to convince people that something isn’t what it appears to be, because it’s so obvious.  “Of course it’s not racism,” I can hear their argument fermenting already.  “Only the most foolish, irresponsible  news organization would print blatant racist trash without even the hint of a veil of sarcasm or disguise.”  Say no more.  This is why the Post is the Post, and not the NY Times

Don’t bother commenting in the Post’s defense.  I might agree with you that this may have been an effort to generate some free publicity; get folks talking about them.  But if that’s the case, that makes them worse yet in my book; if this is the only way they knew to get that done.

Am I missing something here?  I mean, this is so bad that I almost didn’t want to include the link to the ‘toon.  But if you haven’t seen it, you need to.  If, like me, you’re as “Mad As He*&, and you’re not gonna take it anymore,” write the NY Rag-Post and let them know it.

*** ADDENDUM ***  It took me a couple days to come back to, and finish this post.  Not surprisingly, the controversy grew, and opinions multiplied like rabbits while I drafted this article.  Here’s a good reaction piece from across the pond.  It includes the Post’s apology, (though I don’t know how people and organizations sometimes have the stones to apologize for their own deep seated values.  Clearly what they’re sorry for is any long-term negative hurt this will do their paper.)  Also included are a few random reactions from varied talking and writing heads.

Normally I do not find myself on the same side as traditional media reactionaries, but this time seems like a no-brainer.  Even a monkey could figure this one out.

Now THAT’s FUNNY!!

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Filed under bigotry, race

THE CURIOUS CASE OF MR. OBAMA (Button)

Okay, okay– so the title’s a bad tie-in to a movie nearly as lame.  But it did get your attention, right?  In contemplating what it was I wanted to write about today, no other pithy five to eight words popped to mind.  Here’s the deal.

I’ve heard (Shhhhh) white murmurings that Barack H. Obama is not reeeeeealy a black man; that he’s bi-racial.  I’m the pale half of ZebraCouple.  I’m easily sucked in to this controversy.  I think of the physical traits of our wide-eared Commander in Chief.  Not black-black really.  Light brown.  Much was made of his white Kansan Mother, Kenyan father.  And how about having Hawaii as your boyhood home?  Talk about your haven of neither white-nor-black people.  “Yes, Barack is definitely mixed,” I inwardly agree. 

“So,” say a lot of people– and remember I am easily influenced– “Why doesn’t he call himself mixed– or biracial?  Why does he call himself black / allow everyone to celebrate the history of America’s first African American President?”  This gets a little complicated for me.  I’m a simple suburban WASP but I do have an opinion…

Save for this forum (and times when my wife and I are having “cultural” discussions & differences), I can’t really say that I ever think of myself as white.  Or male for that matter.  No more than I go around introducing myself as an Elvis loving, Cub fan, beagle owning, doting father of 3.  Identity is just something that I am.  There’s never really much cause or reason to “consider” it. 

But what about during an historic political campaign watched by ga-jillions around the globe?  Surely he thought about his identity then?  Maybe not.  I don’t think so.  While everyone else thought about race, and some feared he might even be a radical Muslim, and “Is America ready,” I think maybe he still just thought of himself as himself.  Basketball & Beyonce loving doting father of 3.  Busy community organizing, trying-to-be-a-good-husband-to-Michelle, Barack.  Not white, not black, not mixed.  Maybe thankful for a life full of blessings.  Maybe overwhelmed by it all.  Maybe even not.  Maybe born for this, but that is fodder for another post.  

Bottom line is, there are two reasons Barack never really made too big a deal about his race:  1) Everyone else did, and 2) It’s just not an issue for him.  Frankly he’s got much bigger issues on his shoulders now.  He had much bigger issues in mind seems like since he was a junior Senator.  And (pun intended) more power to him!  Look at what he’s done.  He’s our President.  He’s Jackie Robinson in the White House. 

Why doesn’t Barack go around saying, “I’m bi-racial,”? 

Do you go around saying, “I’m white,” or “I’m black,” or “I’m mixed”?  Thought not.  Neither does he.  End of story.  Now maybe we can all support the man as he goes about the more important business of digging our country out of the mess we’re in?

Hear me Rush Limbaugh?

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Filed under black and white, politics, prejudice, race, Uncategorized

Family Friendly? Or not-so?

I know I’ve said before that Que’s African American family really loves me, cares for me as much as they can, given the fact that I’ve come into their already-pretty-well-developed-lives just within the last decade.  I mean, it isn’t like we all grew up together and bonded that way.  They love me as I love them, and as much as we are capable with our limited histories together.

The family members I’m speaking of here are those in our lives pretty much daily.  Her Mom and sisters, nieces, and Dad, for the most part.  My sister and my kids love my wife as her people love me.  A lot.  They love her because I love her.  Her relatives love me because she loves me.

Move beyond that inner circle though, and things change quickly.  And the Interracial-ness of us just may be the reason why.  I’ll explain.

I don’t usually go to too many larger gatherings of my wife’s family and / or friends.  I just don’t feel all that welcome there, when the core group– that “inner circle,” (IC) either isn’t there, or is preoccupied with aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, and grand babies they don’t see as often.  When that happens– when that inner circle of those who genuinely care for me forget about me (and of course this happens, I don’t expect them to babysit me!)  When they move about to mingle, I’m kind of left there by myself.  And every time this has happened, probably a half-dozen or so in our history– no one has come forward to talk to this light-skinned stranger to the rest of the family!

I used to sit looking as confident as I could at first, self-assured; don’t need anybody by me, talking to me to enjoy myself.  That lasts about 5-10 minutes.  I’ve already started sending out friendly smiles left and right to curious people who are looking at me, but who never come over and chat.  What’s up with that!?  There are far more of you, than there are of me– and I’m the new person in the family– am I wrong to hope that others will approach me?  Will see that I’m floating there all by myself in a strange and dark sea?  I’m shooting out the friendly inviting smiles.  Do I have to do all the work?!  Well I really don’t have the confidence for that.  (I really don’t have the confidence to even sit there.  That was an act, you knew that!)  

Sometimes, if there’s a punchbowl or a buffet line, I’ll go back and grab another something to nibble on…. (pretty sad, huh?) just to busy myself.  Pretty soon after all of this, somebody from the IC usually returns.  If it’s my wife, I dryly say to her, “Thanks for not leaving me alone,”– a reference to the unfair promise I usually wrestle from her before agreeing to attending said event.  If it’s anybody else, they’ve usually come back because they’ve seen me floundering there by myself.  They feel bad for me, and I feel bad that they’re leaving long lost relatives to pacify me. 

The way I deal with that now is, I usually don’t go to her family meetings with expected attendance of say eight or more. 

Okay.  You can say I’m being immature.  That I should grow up, get out and glad-hand, be bold and go around and introduce myself.  But that’s not who I am.  I’m really pretty shy ’til I get to know people, and they me.  And it’s one thing to say that– quite another to do it when you aren’t sure how people feel about you; how they feel about the whole dating outside our race concept.  Mom & Dad love that their daughter has a great guy– her true love and soul-mate.  The rest of the fringe family—– not so ecstatic I sometimes sense. 

My family’s too small to flip this around and see how it goes for Que.  We’ve never had a gathering of my peeps over six people really (Christmas).  I could maybe see the same thing happening to her if my old family (especially my older relatives.  Definitely old school.  Might have been pretty cold.)  But I always say that my Mom & Dad would’ve loved Que, just as I do.  I wish they could have lived long enough to meet her.

So what about everyone else?  How do our IR friends handle this social spousal separation, (or bf / gf separation?)  Am I the only one with this problem?  Do I need to, like I said you’d say– just grow up?  Or do some of you empathize with this issue?  Anyone else know this feeling, of eyes watching you, but not reaching out to try to get to know you?  Black people have HUGE families.  And HUGE family gatherings, way more often than most white people that I know do.  I think that it’s great.  I really miss the days when my family was big and the get-togethers we used to have.  White people may be starting to do family reunions more now, thanks to black people– but that’s another post.

Lemme hear ya on this issue of outer circle acceptance, rejection or indifference.  Inner circle = great people.  Beyond that, I don’t know.  Might be great people, might not be.  Should I push?  Or am I right to expect or hope one or two might approach me?  Should I just be happy that we’ve got a great IC, and let everyone else keep watching from afar?  What kinds of circles do you all have around you?  Big, friendly IC’s?  Big friendly OC’s maybe?  We’re curious.  Do you do that, “Don’t leave me alone here,” thing too?  Or don’t have to?

And what should I title this post– so that lots of curious people come visit, read and comment?  Because I think it’s a good one; an issue that has IR ramifications / complications written all over it.  What do you think friends?  Tell us your familial tales (yes, I think that’s a made-up word.)

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Filed under bigotry, interracial, love, race, Relationships, Uncategorized

Stereotypes

Everyone knows the word stereotype.  Surely, most know what it means.  One online dictionary defines it as: an oversimplified standardized image of a person or group.  I thought that this one was pretty good; straight to the point, no BS.

I was really trying to figure out how the two words, “Stereo,” and “Type,” came together to mean, oversimplified standard image….  Type and typical are similar, so that makes sense.  People who stereotype tend to group people by behaviors, speech style, skin tone, birthplace, etc.,

Notice I said “People who stereotype…..”  Like I myself never have!?  Sometimes I fall into the trap of mentally revising my own personal history to the point where, “I’ve always been above that.”   “Who me??  Why, my wife is black.  Of course I’d never…”   Let’s just say here that that’s really not who I was before.  We’ll leave it at that for now, come back to that some day, and try to stay focused here for just a tad longer.

Back in the day, “stereo” meant music and different sounds coming from each earpiece on my headphones, or from speakers on both sides of my shag-rug’d “bachelor pad.”  It was wonderful, (and still relatively new then) to hear different instruments and parts of the music coming from left and right.  I guess where I’m going with this is that even though each ear was hearing something different, the brain heard only the compiled version; the whole musical package– in “stereo.”  So stereo, to us geezers anyway means 2.  (Maybe 4 if you were fortunate enough to have a “quadrphonic” set-up.  But that’s a Hi-Fi Retro-Techno blog for another time and place.)

Maybe they were going for double– or multiple– or….  I don’t know what.  Sometimes I can think through and make head sense of certain words.  Not every time obviously.  Sorry to put you all through the way my brain works.  But if any readers out there can shed light on this word, STEREOTYPE, and just what Mr. & Mrs. Webster (an IR couple I’m told) <just kidding> had in mind with it– please pass that along to us??

All this to preface a little discussion about something I saw this week while driving in & around my home town.  I know after this great big build-up you’re gonna go, “That’s it!?  He put us through that lengthy treatise on the English language for that!?”  I apologize here and now if that’s your feeling after reading today’s post.

From my cell phone I bothered my wife Que at her work this week.  Driving down one of our local stretches of suburban blacktop this week, all windows down on a perfectly gorgeous summer morning.  Around 9:30 in the morning mind you– an African American woman pulled up next to me, (her windows down too) feverishly gnawing on a fried chicken drumstick!  One greasy hand on her wheel, she never looked left to see me smiling a smug, “It’s true!” smile.  My wife and I both got a little chuckle out of the chicken-lady drive-by and I began thinking more about stereotypes.

A few days later and a few miles from that sighting, I spied an African American teen in the backseat of his parents car smacking on some honey-barbeque wings.  “How interesting’s that,” I thought to my pitiful self.  (Pitiful because my brain  really was trying to piece together some kind of connection between black people and chicken.)  Hey– I’m only being honest here.  I recognized (fairly) quickly my defective nature.  But the stereotype thing– for that briefest of moments…  I mean, if I hadn’t, like Saul (later Paul) had my eyes opened one day on “My road to Tarsus,” how easy it would have been for me just to let that stereotype flex and grow stronger.

It was a couple of people eating chicken.  That’s it.  Now granted, driving down the street, all windows open for all the world to see all the lip-smacking-goodness is hardly any way to beat down “the image;” that’s an individual choice, and not for me to judge.  But let’s just go back to the dictionary definition of stereotype now…

“Oversimplified standard image….”  “Black people love chicken.”  That’s oversimplified alright.  You know who I blame for stereotyping?  I blame PEOPLE!!  PEOPLE.  People are to blame for taking the easy, quick, method of classifying and categorizing everything and everyone.  We’re lazy sometimes, all of us.  We’re all guilty sometimes and fall into that snare of trying to pigeon-hole other human beings.  Really, when you boil it all away, (and in moments of clarity I’ve said this before) there’s really one type– it’s the human type.  Someday, probably not in my lifetime, but someday– we’ll all understand this.  Stereotyping will be a thing of the past. 

Some fine day, ribs, chicken, and watermelon won’t define black people.  Landscapers and lawn care guys won’t necessarily have to be Mexican.  A male nurse or hairdresser won’t automatically be thought of as gay.  Muslims won’t be instantly feared as bomb-carrying terrorists.  There are so many more probably embedded in my own mind that, when I try I can’t even bring them up.  Sad, because they’ll probably pop up sometime when I’m NOT mentally searching for one or two.

You probably have your own, am I right?  Would it be wrong to ask you to bring them here?  Maybe to drop them off and dump them here like the garbage they are?  Bring me your stereotypes, your worn and overused, oversimplified images of other humans and groups of humans.  Bring them here to the ZebraBlog and drop them off to stay forever.  Let’s get them out into the open and expose them.  Let’s talk about how & why they maybe started, then more important, stick the dagger in your own personal favorite stereotype right here, on our blog.  What fun! 

I want to say again, (because I’m feeling just a tad guilty… like the proverbial pot calling the kettle, uhm, black) I joke about stereotypes with my family.  Trusting that the way I live my life– my actions and habits reflect my true feelings, I point out things like the chicken lady, or the Asian lady who can’t see over her steering wheel, etc.  In some strange way, they’re fun to play with.  But the seriousness of the issue is not.  Stereotypes, taken to ignorant, hurtful extremes are a dangerous scourge.  Let’s continue to do our parts to do away with them.                   

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Filed under bigotry, race, stereotype, Uncategorized