Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A White Woman and a Black Man Walk into a Church in Kentucky...

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So did you hear about the church in Kentucky that recently decided to ban interracial couples from joining their congregation? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a brief article from the Huffington Post to catch you up on the  shenanigans.

My favorite part of that story is that the church board decided that interracial couples could attend church services but could not officially join the congregation, nor participate in church activities, "except for funerals." Why funerals I wonder? Does death trump racism? Or maybe a funeral, just ain't a funeral without a negro in attendance? I'm just wondering.

But before anyone gets really angry, there's good news up ahead. Once the church members discovered that it was against state and federal law to ban interracial couples from the church, they decided their previous vote didn't count. Now, everyone is welcome to worship at the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church. Don't you feel better now? I'm sure there's going to be a long line of colored folks banging on those church doors asking to praise the Lord with the fine folks at Gulnare who have recently seen the light.

Okay, I'm going to get serious here for a second. One, I'm not surprised that this happened. I'm not surprised because I know that racism is still very much alive in this country and the world. I know that many people -- of all colors and stripes -- believe that folks should just stick with their own kind when it comes to marriage.

But I'm going to try to sympathize with this congregation, give them the benefit of the doubt. Gulnare Free Will Baptist  is a tiny church in Appalachia. Now, I'm no Appalachian expert, but I do know that there aren't a ton of Black people in them thar hills. It's very easy to stay rooted in ignorance and stereotypes when there's nobody around to challenge your belief system. Perhaps now that their peculiar brand of "ignorance" has been shown to the world and they have been shamed, they will begin to change their ways. Maybe. I said, maybe.

Here's a clip from the church's pastor who suggests that maybe that will happen.

What do you think? Can anything good come from this painful moment? Like what? And is anyone else wondering if the young White woman who dragged her African fiance to the church truly believed that the congregation would welcome her with open arms? Or was she just hoping to heat things up and bring the church into the 21st century?

I'm so totally listening.



Rose Anne said...

Growing up in Ind in the 60's and 70's. Was very similar...
My Aunt(white) and my Uncle(black) were not allowed to be married and went to Miwakee to do so.The had to move to a town all of 7 miles away because my cousin was not allowed to go to the grade school in the town that I grew up in. Many things have changed but under the surface there are still some who believe that you should marry into your oun race like being black or white is another kind of race. I have adopted a little boy from Haiti no longer live in Ind but have had many questions lets just say!!!
And there are more black families in Aplachia than anyone knows!!!

Nina said...

As a multi-racial young woman, I was devastated when I read about this law. I'm now ecstatic that it was overturned. As crazy as the whole situation was, the benefit of this can be that people now see that racism, as you said, is still very much alive today.

By the way, I just finished reading your book, Kinky Gazpacho, and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Establishing my identity as a multi-racial woman has been something I have struggled with for a very long time, and am still struggling with. Your honesty in your book really opened my eyes to this. I've been pushing it off for years now, really looking into my issues with my racial and cultural identity, but have decided to really take the time to explore my feelings on the topic and establish my identity.

Before this turns into a ridiculously long comment, again thanks! I'll be moving to Spain next year (in LOVE with it after studying abroad there in 2008). I will keep following your blog! My own is:

LT said...

Rose Anne,
What a fascinating story. And as a girl who grew up in Milwaukee, even more so. And I'm sure you're right about Black people in Appalachia

Thanks! (blushing). I will definitely follow your adventures on your blog. Good luck.