“Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony…” Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney probably weren’t thinking as far as interracial relationships when they wrote and performed this song. A diverse and comfortable work environment was probably the extent of it. Maybe even a diverse neighborhood. Or maybe they only had hopes for the piano keyboard. But black and white mixing up the gene pool enough to create another box to check off on the census questionnaire? This couldn’t have been what the musicians had in mind. It’s possible, though. “Nowadays, attitudes are changing,” a New York Times article from March 20, 2011 implies.
There are several points this article makes that seem to be at odds with reality.
The title of the article was “Black and White and Married in the Deep South: A Shifting Image”. Black and white relationships are the type of interracial relationship most frowned-upon historically and even today. The article features one for its photo and interviews them. Interestingly enough, the other main couple featured wasn’t black and white (the wife was half white, quarter Thai, quarter Chinese). One can’t call the title ‘black and white’ and begin to feature other races. It’s deceptive. There is a difference between being black and white and being black and biracial or even white and biracial. Oddly enough, that couple has not experienced the sort of racism they anticipated in relocating. Furthermore, they moved to a relatively diverse part of Mississippi. Also, the children of these various couples were not interviewed. Ironically, none of them were old enough to answer any thought-provoking questions intelligibly. But aren’t they the ones that should be asked if attitudes are changing? If, in fact, the focus is the biracial population. Furthermore, the black-white couple featured was white male-black female, the most atypical of all interracial couples. However, the pictures in the article would lead one to infer that it is actually more commonplace than that.
She goes on to state that in Georgia, the mixed-race population has grown by 80% plus. I wouldn’t venture to say attitudes about being black and white and together (forget married) are changing in Georgia, and that’s what Saulny is implying by the 80%+ jump. With that jump, consider Georgia’s dynamics. First, all this change has to be transpiring in Atlanta. Atlanta has been, for years, experiencing an explosive population increase. Throw in progressive-thinking people coming here from around the nation and the world and you’re bound to have somewhat of a jump in the mixed-race population. And I won’t dispute any Census Bureau statistics. But more than 80%. Where?! Maybe they all live in Acworth…? Don’t let the stats fool you. People have said that this Atlanta suburb seems to have the best display of true diversity that they have ever seen. Indeed, I’ve come across more black female-white male (married) couples there than anywhere else in Atlanta I’ve been. At any rate, wherever this increase is occurring, you won’t find it outside of Atlanta. The civil rights movement still hasn’t hit most of Georgia, and even some so-called metropolitan parts. Again, not arguing with the statistics. I’d just like to know where these people are, and where these “shifting attitudes” are taking place. If you’re black-and-white-and-married and are having a field day, why don’t you let us know.
Okay, times and circumstances have changed over the years. But how do we know attitudes are changing? Because they created another check-off box under race on the census? And if they are, whose attitudes are changing? The Lovings of this world who are already going to intermingle racially? Or the Confederate flag-flyers? Or the biracial population that identifies with one only race? Exactly who is changing their attitude?
And again, are we talking about the multiracial population (which embodies a few other races) or being black and white and married in the Deep South?