Can Someone Married/Marrying Outside Their Race be Racist?

Maasai with a white bride

After talking to several people (Kenyan women) who shared more or less the same story about how their German husbands would call them (the women) and their interracial children “Apes or monkeys” or cases where the husband would tell the child to call the mother that, I actually thought it was just a bad joke. Or maybe just people trying to paint their husbands in a bad light due to divorce proceedings or whatever but after I heard the same scenario from different people, I had to search and see how “experts” explain such madness. I found this explanation from a well read lady.

I often hear the phrase,

“I don’t see color, I only see people” or

“love is colorless” or “

you can’t help who you love” or

“in a few years we are all going to be mixed and it would be one world [ie. mix marriages will eliminate conflicts]” or

there is only one race, the human race” etc.

These claims for the most part, are based on feelings and lack proper context.

In the past, interracial relationships were outlawed and considered unnatural by the supposed “superior race” (white people) that did not want to “contaminate” their gene pool. [1] The legal sanctions have gone away and interracial marriages are much more common nowadays. Research indicates a generational shift–younger people are more accepting of relationships across the color line. Some have pointed to the seeming increasing tolerance to argue that the world is becoming more “colorblind”  or “post-racial.”

There has been progress.

But what many people are missing is that just because you are dating/married to someone of a different race, it does not mean that you and the people that look like you would be accepted by that race. Indeed, your mate might not accept people who look like you. Anthropologist and Africana studies professor at Winston Salem State University (WSSU), brother Kwame Zulu Shabazz, states in the interview below,“Acceptance on an individual level is not the same thing as accepting a group.”

To claim that sexual relationships or producing “mixed”/”biracial” babies signals the end of racism is naive at best and, at worst, it suggests the interracial couple’s unwillingness to tackle structural racism and oppression. These relationships are certainly not a proof that the walls of institutional racism have fallen.

Racism is alive and well. Racists can and do have sexual relationships and make babies with a member of the race that s/he hates. As Brazilian professor Joao Reis puts it,  although race is frequently a barrier to marriage “race is not often an obstacle to sex.” According to professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, “sex is colorblind.”

Justin Volpe, the cop that racially profiled, brutalized and sodomized Abner Louima a Haitian American had African-American girlfriend. Volpe’s girlfriend defended him claiming that he could not be racist because they were planning to get married. Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owning “Founding Father” and American president raped Sally Hemmings, an enslaved African woman (his wife’s half sister) and had children with her. Segregationists and US senator Strom Thurmond had children with an African woman in secret while publicly promoting politices that would further oppress African-Americans ( Image below ).

Actor Terrence Howard is on the bandwagon of interracial relationships, he calls it ,” a way forward….morally right.”  Howard reported being called “nigger” and “monkey” by his ex-wife, Michelle Ghent. Ghent allegedly told Howard that she would not make nigger babies with him (image below).

In the UK, Lauren Beckham, a mother of four, reportedly screams racist slurs at her mixed-race children (below).

Remember the guy who pushed the Kenyan in Vienna onto the tracks of a tram? The court ruled he wasn’t racist because his girlfriend was from Eastern Europe.

Yoknyam Dabale writes at the Wehnam, some people in the West call her “Love Dabale” or by her birth name Yoknyam, Yok or Nyam in short. She’s a Pan-Africanist and passionate about African cultures.


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