Dr. Jason Johnson of Hiram College appeared on Al Jazeera Newsnight to discuss Margaret Thatcher’s political legacy in the United States and her relationship with Ronald Reagan.
Some romance stories never get old. Two kids from hardscrabble backgrounds meet. They fall in love. They work hard to plan a life together. And then the girl gets the crap beaten out of her by her racist parents. Oh wait, that’s not how the story is supposed to go? Sometimes it’s hard to remember how race works today when ever since Obama took the oath of office the world has been transformed into a ‘post-racial’ Old Navy commerical. Unfortunately the issue of violence in and around interracial couples is seldom discussed because everyone wants to pretend that it’s all multi-culti love and there is no ugly underbelly. Which is a huge problem given the growing number of people marrying across, race, religeon and color – lines.
In this case, we pop over to jolly old England, where David and Frances Champion (what a great and ironic name) were sentenced to 12 months and 9 months prison time, respectively for beating their 17 year old daughter Jane. Why did they beat her? Because they found out she was in a two year relationship with a black man (Alfronce McNube, an immigrant from Zimbabwe) she met in college. David and Frances punched Jane in the face, choked her and went after her boyfriend at his job at a local pub, all the while screaming racial slurs and telling Jane she’d “…brought shame on the family.” Now a judge has thrown both Mom and Dad in jail and Jane and her 12 year old sister have to fend for themselves. The judge’s admonishment was particularly interesting in that he addressed the violence and the racial component of the attacks.
Judge Peter Heywood told the couple: ‘Your behaviour was disgraceful and you used vile language. ‘We live in a liberal and enlightened society and these sorts of racist behaviour cannot be tolerated. The way you reacted was totally inappropriate. ‘I would be failing in my public duty if I was to do anything other than impose a custodial sentence.’
Of course the more interesting thing about this story is not so much the issue of two brutal parents attacking their child and a boyfriend (my guess is that this is not the first time the Champions got rugged with their children or each other) but the larger story of how interracial dating, marriage and sex is still handled within the majority of white society. While interracial marriage is much more common in England where the black and Asian populations are relatively small, than in the United States, everyone is not all gung ho about the browning of the U.K. The same Daily Mail that carried the story of the Champions had just a week earlier posted an incredibly racist editorial about the prominence of an interracial couple (Black man and white woman) in the London Games opening ceremony.
Rachel Fusco, a researcher at University of Pittsburgh released a study on IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) amongst interracial couples and she along with other researchers found some interesting results. First, that amongst interracial couples the minority party often felt pressured to avoid or dismiss their past and current racial experiences (positive and negative) in order to comfort the partner in the majority, especially in Black Female / White Male relationships.
Translation: My husband feels odd being the only white person in a room with black people so I compromise and go to events where I’m the only black person in the room. Hint: That’s not progress, it’s cowardice. Studies have also found that domestic parnter violence is higher amongst interracial couples than white couples, and varys with balck couples.In particular the violence level in IR couples versus African American couples by gender is almost equal. In other words, in interracial couples women are giving as good as they’re getting when it comes to violence. Much of this violence according to researchers, stems from interracial couples not receiving support from their families, outside racial tensions and added pressure to make the relationship work to counter-act hostile opinions from the outside. In other words, in addition to the normal problems that any two people in love have, mixed race couples have to bear the burben of white supremacy weighing down on their lives as well.
None of this suggests that there is anything inherently wrong with interracial marriages, or coupling in the United States. However the case of the Champions and the studies at the University of Pittsburgh do highlight how deeply ingrained some of the racial ills are that still plague this country. If interracial marriages are on the rise, from a sociological and public health standpoint it’s important to see how these societal issues are affecting these new families. This is compounded by the fact that most people want to ignore race entirely in public discourse. Jane and Alflonce are kids in love and shouldn’t let crazy violent parents determine their lives. However, down the road is Aflonce ready to marry a woman whose parents will always hate him and their future children? Is Jane willing to sever her relationship with her racist family or will she always try to find some apologetic way to stay connected with them despite their bigotry? In general how often are these types of questions really explored when two people of different races fall in love and have to make the tough choices and endure the hard stresses of a life together in a society that may only accept their union in small pockets and certain circumstances? Failure to address these questions can lead to violence both from within and outside of the relationship. But if the current marriage numbers in the U.S. are any indicator, these questions need to be broached more often.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
The Center for Economics and Business Research has just announced their newest breakdowns of the biggest economies on planet Earth and guess what they said? The United States is still the biggest economy on the planet (a mixture of producers, consumers and available income) but to top it off they predict the U.S. economy will stay on top until 2020 at the very least.
USA! USA! USA! Rrrrooooowwwwww!!! (tongues wagging crazily like our whiny liberal friend Matt Damon in Eurotrip)
Now in and of itself: What difference does it make that some other think tank full of economists has told us that America is still going to be chugging or gasping along economically for another decade or so? It speaks volumes about the silly nature of many of the political conflicts that have been occurring this country over the last calendar year.
Remember when the most important thing in the universe was that the United States credit rating was downgraded due to political gridlock and bickering in Washington?
Remember when GOP candidates were saying that they would bludgeon Obama about the credit downgrade?
Believe it or not despite the rhetoric of sudden deficit hawks and members of the GOP, the U.S. economy continues to chug along more or less unaffected by what we were all told were catastrophic calamities just 3 months ago.
Now I’m not about to pull a John McCain and suggest that “The fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong.” But, it’s clear that unemployment numbers, massive income inequality and shrinking social services are not a good sign. However, the CEBR report suggests that our economy probably has the fundamental structure to fix itself and that American robustness is still in place – and should be heading strong into 2020. If we could only get the Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate to agree upon a plan – and then have that plan enforced by the president – we just might live up to the somewhat positive economic forecasts that have been laid out for us. Don’t squander it, Washington.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
October is Black History month in England (Who Knew?); but all is not right in the island nation recovering from a summer of riots and strict government austerity measures. According to London’s Voice magazine, government cut backs have severely scaled back many of the standard activities and programs across the nation during Black history month. African Drum ensembles and plays are being replaced with simple reading programs. Month long activities are being scaled back to Saturday afternoon programs in public libraries.
These cuts first made headlines last year as “Africa Day” in London was completely defunded in favor of, believe it or not, “USA Day”, a celebration of the United States intended to attract American tourists to the city for the annual London NFL game. However, in the aftermath of a summer full of riots, many of which at least started within mostly poor and minority areas in major cities across the U.K., the idea of cutting funding that engages and acknowledges the nation’s diverse past, present and future, seems like a particularly foolish idea. But, maybe London’s conservative Mayor Boris Johnson got something out of his slash and burn anti-multiculturalism tactics – the NFL wants to add more U.K. games in the coming year. I guess to the British figure it’s more fun to ship some Blacks over from the U.S. that you can send home after 3 hours than acknowledge the needs and culture of Black folks who already live there.
This article originally appeared on Politic365.com.