miscegeny - the word is not negative in meaning (despite the closeness in sound to misogyny). Misc - is a root for mixture. Geny - genes. A mixture of genes: anathema to some; a future-oriented hope for some and for most not even a thought.

My friend, Monique had a word for it - "au-gratin". She was from New Orleans and of mixed heritages and she used this word to describe mixtures - like in the Tom Waits song "...half puertorican-chinese" as "au-gratin". She never explained what she meant but in her mouth it was a label of pride. I guess something about browning cheese filled potatoes... better than the tired phrase 'melting pot'

The word does not imply a lack of racism and the 'future -oriented hope' is hopefully not just blindness and it's not a promise of salvation or a return to the garden. And in my own experience it is certainly clouded with forms of racism, orientalism and agorophobia...

but i think the desire at it's root is perhaps in orientation with the motto Marx quotes from Latin: Nihil humanum mi alienarum puto. I know I have it wrong here - I will find it and correct it. But the gist is "Nothing human is strange to me" or "No human is alien to me". Clearly a motto I break at least five times by the time I've finished my coffee on the PATH train into midtown Manhattan. It's not always happy mixtures and a morning subway ride is a good analogy to such annoyances.
But there is something socially theraputic in being forced together like this. When we meet again on the elevator or street, I'll be less likely to shrink away and grab my purse in white knuckled fear (metaphorically speaking)...
What does this word describe and what is about it that makes the Ashcrofts', the Falwells' and the Helms' jaws tighten so visibly? (A recent Harper's index stated that 2/5ths of the voters in a southern state had voted to make interracial marriages invalid.) Why is it a threat? I go for stretches of time without thinking of such questions. But inevitably they come back when my wife and I are looked at askance or I read a related news article...

But this is not just about interracial marriage or race relations in general. We have the experts, PhDs and politicians to speak of such things. More of an ineluctable question is intended. Maybe (hopefully) akin to Marx's quote and George Clinton's series of answers to the refrain "What is Soul?" on the Funkadelic album: "Soul is a hamhock in your cornflakes...etc"

miscegeny - I just like the sound of the word. as far as I know it is not a real word - miscegenation is the proper form. But miscegeny sounds more like a state of being or a password for a society in a state of us-them warfare like in that Margaret Atwood novel of an anglo-christian dystopia. Yes, perhaps a password...

The marriage of people who are members of two different races (actually phenotypes if you want to be completely accurate).

This topic has come up among a group of my friends from college who communicate on a mailing list (this list is comprised of all black males, the dominant group which attends Morehouse College, an all male historically black college). One of my old roomates lives in a small town in Tennessee and a co-worker of his is engaged to a white woman. This co-worker is a black male who recently divorced his first wife (who was black). He went over the reactions in the community. Apparently the most pissed off group are the black females, many of whom consider him a sellout who got successful and put down the sister who loved him when he was nothing. My boy reckons the guy makes around $80K a year. The white men seem to think of the woman as some sort of traitor. Most of the black men don't care, but the ones that do think he is a sellout, and he hasn't heard anything from the white women. Now, I don't know much about the cross section of non-black people's reactions to interracial marriages, but I can definitely say that the reactions he has described for black people is typical of what I have seen. Interestingly, I don't hear much from black men even when the roles are reversed and a black woman is marrying a white man, though this is a bit less common than black male, white female couplings. I'd be interested in hearing various people's perspectives on this.

I am in an interracial marriage but no one really knows. Perhaps it is a big secret and perhaps it is no big deal. I never realized it myself until someone pointed it out.

My wife was born and raised in Costa Rica and is a full blooded latina. I am considered caucasian and my grandparents immigrated from Sweden and Norway. My wife's ancestors came to Costa Rica from Spain and France over a hundred years ago. Legal documents require that I check off "caucasian" while she must check of "hispanic." Those documents are the only thing that really define us as an interracial marriage.

In reality this difference is ridiculous. Then again, I have always considered racial lines to be silly. What difference does it really make? We can go out to a club and see people throwing inquisitive glances at other interracial couples, but rarely see us in that light. They might not be disapproving glances, but people always notice. A white woman with a black man seem to always get the double take. However, unless we are at a Latin club, we are generally seen as two "white people." My wife may be latina, but her skin is whiter than mine. When she speaks in spanish, people will comment "Where did you learn to speak spanish so well?" I have learned as a result that skin color is what people pay the most attention to.

Here in Florida the blurring of the racial lines is very commonplace from what I have witnessed. Compared to the northeast, where I lived for many years, such coupling is more in the norm. However, stereotypes abound. A white friend of mine who dated an African American girl for a time was often asked a slew of questions revolving around stereotypes. "So, is it true, once you go black you never go back?" He would describe the "difference" as being the same as a guy from New England falling in love with a woman from California. There are differences in culture and attitude, but in the big picture there is no real difference. Everyone is raised differently and exposed to different things, but ancestry has very little to do with what kind of people we become.

It would be a lie to say that there are not cultural differences that are a challenge unless both partners are willing to attempt to understand and relate. Traditions and belief systems differ. Yet, the defining moment for me was watching my conservative uncle and my wife's father, a Costa Rican lawyer, talking the night before our wedding. Even though my uncle speaks no spanish and my wife's father speaks very little english, they had a conversation that established that they were very similar people with similar visions and dreams.

There is no real difference unless we ourselves put it there. There are no real barriers unless we are unwilling to pull down the imaginary ones that have been erected by years of prejudice and stereotyping.

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