Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

ZEBRACOUPLE JOINS FACEBOOK

A few posts back, we mentioned our intentions to blitz the online social networking scene, and possibly generate enough friends and followers to help us tell the black-white interracial relationship story.  To that end, we’ve now got a facebook presence.

It’s spartan to say the least.  To date, we have no followers, no visitors, and really nobody sniffing us out.  And that’s okay– we’re really still in our infancy here.  But we hope eventually to build a community, both online and with some real life events and meet-ups.  Often Que and I crave the company, conversation, dialogue, etc., of others “like us.”  So ultimately, we’re hoping to build a whole network of friends.  (I don’t know about you, but I believe that you can never have too many friends.  Makes for a fuller, richer life.)

If any of our readers would like to share their expertise in building a multi-faceted online presence; especially some of you with the great, deep, blogs, and websites, and multimedia going on, and all that– feel free to drop us a line or two of advice.  It will be much appreciated!

If you’re in a “ZebraCouple” relationship in the Chicagoland area, please sign up as our friends (or fans– whatever) on facebook.  Follow us here and there and we promise, there will be more coming.  If, like us you’d like to socialize, network, and do some fun recreational activities with people you share a very special bond with– keep watching us here.  Tell your ZebraCouple friends.

Hey!  Just thought of another tagline:  “ZebraCouple: Changing the world, two stripes at a time.”  Wow, that’s awful.  What does that even mean!?

Thanks folks for checking in with us– and thanks in advance for helping us “Change the world……” sorry.  Can’t do it.

More soon…

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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

DIAGNOSIS WINTER

Much has happened since our last post.  I suppose I got a bit discouraged.  I’d hoped that readership here would be much higher than it had been.  I was “posting my brains out,” and comments were few and far between.  I was, (still am) very passionate about this topic (“Interracial-ism”) – and I know writing about it here is both good for me, and good for the collective “us.”  In my mind, I envisioned this great, big Zebra community of folks, sharing and discussing the racial and interracial issues of our time.  Don’t get me wrong– I’m very grateful and excited every time someone takes the time to respond to a post, or share their story, opinion, etc.  Each one is so very unique and interesting.  For that reason, (and of course aspirations of fame <fortune-HA> and social popularity) I’d love to have more traffic here.  Unfortunately, not posting in blogging is akin to doing what Plaxico Burress, (New York football Giants) did a few weeks ago when he shot himself in the foot, (well, leg – but close enough for this literary analogy!  Regardless, I thank you for your understanding and patience.

World’s teetering on the brink of economic ruin.

The United States has elected a black man President.

I can’t find a job that suits me to save my life!

Today, our state Governor was arrested on various corruption charges.  Imagine such a thing happening in Illinois!

My wonderful, beautiful wife underwent successful breast cancer surgery.   She’s fighting through all of the post-op pain, etc.

I’ve read back over that last item several times for the last two days now <the magic of cybertime– yes two days have passed as I work on this “WINTER UPDATE.”>  It’s funny, (actually not so funny–) “My wife battled breast cancer,” makes you pause, and put things into perspective.  NOTHING much else matters after that.  Which is why I’ve struggled to continue on after writing the words.  None of this is very important when your partner and mate for life takes ill.  Not politics, not sports, nor the daily complaints, the accumulated toys, bills, and other stuff of life.  Only my wife matters.  The importance of everything else faded off.  Two things became more important to us.  Just two things.  Relationships with our God, and with our families.

In a way it’s very sad that it took cancer to bring us closer to our people and our Maker.  Human nature no doubt.  But on a more positive note, we are so much more grateful and thankful for both after all of this.

We are both looking forward to a happier and healthier 2009.  I will spend more time here in Zebra-land, whether our “circulation” hits a thousand, a hundred-thousand, or hovers right around a hundred.  We started this Black & White blog to dialogue the many issues that we face day in and out; not to become the next Google.  And this post is about breast cancer– my wife’s breast cancer.  Not about my writing, readership numbers, or anything else.  I digress.  (What else is new?)

The diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks.  Discovered during a self-exam and missed by routine mammographies, the doctor had 95-percent assured us that the mass would be benign.  When she said the words, breast cancer, I felt the life go right out of each of us.  She cried, I remained stoic, focusing on anything remotely optimistic I heard.  In the end, there was good reason for positivity.  By herself, (and I have to add by God’s grace and mercy) Que found  a mass missed by the high-tech machines women are told from early on can save their lives.  Nothing against those machines, I guess it just proves you can’t rely too heavily on them.  Gotta do the due diligence ladies!  Do those self exams, Que’s living proof that they matter.  Her cancer was categorized the very earliest stage there is– I forget the letter-number designation, S1-A maybe? 

The months since the words were first uttered (September) have been a whirlwind.  A blur.  Reality you hope you might somehow wake up from.  I think it will be years before we get really good perspective on it all.  For now, this is my perspective.

My wife is recovering from her surgeries and, within a few weeks she’ll be back working.  I’m sure that’ll produce more discomfort, stress, and tax her even more.  We know she needs to get back into her life.  What I don’t know is how all of this will affect her, long-term.  How it will change her mentally, etc.  Decision making; will small things once sweat over become negligible, or will even smaller stuff get the best of her?  Knowing Que as I think I do, she’ll not change in that way at all.  Regardless, I’m there for her– as she would be for me. 

As this is a blog about stuff that happens to us, (US = what I consider a fairly normal Interracial Couple), please feel free to respond in any way that you’re moved to respond to this.  And while flexing the censorship muscle is not me at all, I do ask that comments lean to the positive end of the blogo-spectrum.  We’re not gloom & doom people and we won’t tolerate it from you either!!  Just kidding.  But not.

Cancer obviously reaches across and through all racial and ethnic lines, but do different cultures deal with it differently?  Do some groups respond and treat it a certain way, while others go at it another?  What about reactions?  And reactions  of friends, family, and co-workers– Do those vary by ethnicity?  I’m guessing not, as I’ve said a hundred times here, people are people.  But you know as well as I do that different cultures have different ways of dealing with “stuff.”  Let’s talk about all of this.  It’s interesting.

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Filed under black and white, breast cancer, interracial, 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

Cutest Dog Ever!???? Waaaaaay off Topic…..

And quite shameless too I’ll admit, and then somewhat proudly proceed to do it anyway.  In the end, you’ll see there is a tie-in. 

A friend of ours entered a photo I took of our Beagle puppy Pez ZebraCouple\'s Black, Brown, & White \into a “Cutest Pet Contest.”  I don’t ask too much of our loyal readers, do I?  The occasional comment maybe?  Respond on a topic or two from time to time?  Well now I’m asking.  Do us a big, big favor?  Click this link and vote for “Pez” as cutest pet of all!!

The tie in is this:  We call Pez our only child because he is clearly multi-racial; white, brown, and black!

Vote early & often for “Pez, Son of ZebraCouple”

And as always, we welcome your comments~~ whether it’s about Pez or my cheezy plug. 

Thanks everybuddy!!

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