Healing the diseased soul


Ellen McDonald, Managing Editor

I was born in the same year that interracial marriage was legalized in the state of Alabama.

Learning that just 21 years ago, it was against the states constitution for me to love someone from another race was a hard pill to swallow. The reality of it is that I was born in a country that was built upon racism and it is still present today.  

One of my biggest fears when entering an interracial relationship last year was what other people would think. I was never ashamed of my boyfriend; but I knew what thoughts ran through the minds of those who voted “no” to repealing Article 1V, Section 102. 

I would walk into Walmart holding his hand and get stares from older women wearing their Sunday best. We would go to a restaurant and I would hear whispers of white couples as we passed. 

Just looking at a white hand being held by a black hand was too much for them. 

It took some getting used to; but I would go through it all again if it meant that I would be able to learn to ignore the judgement of others. 

I have never been one to lack self-confidence. I have always been the one to speak my mind and speak it loudly; but there was just something about knowingly going against the status quo of the older generations that rattled me. 

Slowly, I began to meet the eyes of those who thought lesser of me. I would stare into their diseased soul and smile. 

When I would hear someone comment behind our backs, I would grab onto him or run my fingers down his back. It is a shame that I never got to see their faces. 

I am lucky in that no one has ever said anything to my face. Not everyone can say the same. 

It is hard to love without constraint when you can feel the shackles of the past pulling you apart. 

Just 56 years ago, my boyfriend would not have been allowed to drink from the same water fountain as I am. That was not even 60 years ago. 

I look at him and see that. I remember a time where I was not yet alive and I see how the racist core of our country would have separated us. 

The reality is that our nation was founded on racist ideals that have not gone away. Those same people who would have made us drink from different fountains are the grandchildren who look at us today and sneer. 

We did not grow from racism, we adapted. 

The people who lynched black men during the fifties are the same ones who kneel on the necks of black men today. The women who cried as their white children had to sit next to black children in school are the ones who call the police on a black man walking his dog in the park. 

The men who hid behind white hoods are the same ones who raise the confederate flag in front of their homes. 

They have adapted and so must we. 

So, I grew used to the stares, the whispered comments and the rolled eyes because I learned that every time someone who believes against my relationship sees us together, their soul heals just a bit. 

It is something small that I can do in silent contrast against their hate. 

I was born into a time where seeing an interracial couple was not an oddity. From a young age, I was desensitized to same sex couples. Now, I have been exposed to all forms of gender. To me, being a part of a couple that is deemed “unnatural” by my elders is normal. 

For the most part, the younger generation has grown up seeing diverse couples on TV and in ads. We have watched as staple figures in our childhood have come out. 

This all happened due to the unarguable fact that all forms of love are normal. We do not have a say in who we fall in love with so it is a ridiculous notion to think that we can judge others for choosing what makes them happy.