Wednesday, July 21, 2004

"South of the Equator"

I was at a pool party the other day.  One of the guests there was a mother of two.  The mother was a person of the pasty white persuasion, as was her husband and (therefore) her kids.  While we were sitting there discussing the alternative perils of sticky gooey sunscreen and going without sticky gooey sunscreen, she mentioned that she was ordering her children to marry someone from "south of the equator" in order to get a little color in the family skin-tone.

And, in fact, a few minutes later, I saw her jokingly remind her daughter of the "south of the equator" rule.

I swam off cheerfully.  I couldn't help but think about how it wasn't but a generation or so ago that people were, shall we say, strongly encouraged in no uncertain terms to marry folks within their own racial and ethnic groups.  And the really liberal types would say there's nothing wrong with interracial marriage.  But this was the first time I'd seen it actively encouraged.

I don't imagine this mother would actually be angry with her kids if they married more pasty white people.  But it did cross my mind that these children are most definitely going to grow up with a nice, healthy positive attitude toward interracial marriage.  Because it isn't like they're getting a "not that there's anything wrong with that" message -- with all the "there's potentially something wrong with that" baggage the phrase contains.  It is instead being suggested as a perfectly good positive thing.


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