Living in a Mixed-Race World
One of the things I love most about living in Silicon Valley is the diversity of people, ideas and cultures. People come from all over the world and make Silicon Valley their home, so my kids are growing up with people of every shade in the rainbow. For them, it's just par for the course. Living here, it's easy to imagine that the US is truly a melting pot where people of all races and cultures live in peace and harmony.
Then people like Keith Bardell show up on the news to spoil my perfect little world.
If you haven't heard, Keith Bardell is a justice of the peace in eastern Louisiana who declined to marry couple Beth Humphrey, 30, and Terence McKay, 32 because Beth is white and Terence is black (they subsequently married elsewhere). Bardell claims he is not racist:
"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way. I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
Bardell doesn't deny that race was the reason for his refusal; his contention is that children of mixed-race marriages are shunned both by white and black society. "There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," he said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it." He also said white-black marriages unravel more often.
Sorry, Keith. It's not for you to spare a future mixed-race baby the pain of racial discrimination, any more than you can stop two people who test positive for the recessive gene for cystic fibrosis from marrying because you want to spare their possible future child the pain and agony of the disease. Refusing to marry a mixed-race couple because they are mixed race is discriminatory. It's llegal. And yes, it's racist.Continued on the next page