Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: King Anyi Howell
From a young age, women in my family began telling me... "You better not bring home no white girl!" And that was before I even started dating. Little did they know, their comments would have the opposite effect on me. I have dated several white women, and I've also dated black, Latina, Asian, and mixed race women.
Honestly I find it puzzling that some of my relatives take issue with dating history, considering that these same relatives are light skinned. They are the children of interracial parents.
Recently in Louisiana, a licensed justice of the peace refused to grant an interracial couple a marriage license because he didn't feel races should be "mixing." In fact, Justice Keith Bardwell told the press, "There is a problem with both [racial] groups accepting a child from such a marriage." The justice's actions, comments, and beliefs are audacious, especially in this day and age.
When I first heard it, I mistook the story for a joke, but this amount of ignorance is not a complete surprise to me. What is most shocking is how comfortable people are modeling their ignorance in public. One would think that even if someone did harbor such prejudicial feelings, they would know when to keep a lid on it.
What was Bardwell thinking? His public stance not only encourages more of the same ignorance, it also undermines our progress as a society. Even more importantly, it undermines the people of Louisiana by making the state vulnerable to legal action, and it misrepresents the citizens of the Creole State.
What makes this more ironic, is that Creole is a term referring to the descendants of Louisiana's early French settlers, African-Americans, and Native Americans who have been mixing in the state since before 1803, when Louisiana was purchased from France. In fact, I am a descendant of Louisiana Creoles.
Reservations about race held by folks like Judge Bardwell do not help the situation, just as my own family's view on dating hasn't helped me. I'll spare you all the made for the Lifetime Channel "Love and Tolerance" speeches. But the truth is I think its ok for people to decide what racial preferences they have in a mate. I'd even go so far as to say you have the right to decide which race of people you don't want to date. But when you get in the way of other people's preferences, you become less of a human, and more villain.
I am pleased that Louisiana State Justice, Elbert Guillory told CNN in an interview that there is a "good probability that corrective action will be taken" against Justice Bardwell. But I doubt it will push such ignorance back into the corners of society.
It certainly won't stop my aunties from asking me "would it kill you to date a sista!?"