"If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race," Dr. Laura Schlessinger advised.
What in the deep-fried hell is going on? Interestingly, coverage of Schlessinger's outbursts and apology have squarely focused on her repeated spewing of the n-word. Yet, the rant sparked when the caller -- a black woman identified as Jade -- voiced dissatisfaction with statements her white husband's buddies have made. "We've been around some of his friends and family members who start making racist comments. And my husband ignores those comments, and it hurts my feelings." As an example, Jade explained her neighbors recently visited her home and asked her to speak on behalf of all black people.
Dr. Laura's reaction? "If you're going to marry out of your race, people are going to say, 'OK, what do blacks think?'" In other words -- although Dr. Laura alerts her bodyguard and "dear friend" is a black man -- she is seemingly of the mind that other white people don't have social circles as diverse as hers. Thus, if a white man marries a black woman, his white buddies will leap on the golden opportunity to ask a real, live black person what they and others like them think about various social issues. The black wife's response? She should laugh it off. If she doesn't, she's hypersensitive, lacks a sense of humor and doesn't fully appreciate the joys of racism.
Dr. Laura has a Ph.D. in physiology -- the study of tissues and cells -- and holds a certificate in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. With such credentials, it's surprising her style of therapy seems to discourage open communication. I wonder what her advice for other couples is? Don't worry if your husband's friend calls you a slut or fatass. That's funny! It's a joke.
I'm a sex, dating and relationships writer in New York. Having completed a masters in sociology, my work on race/ethnicity has been published in such books as Migration and Immigration: A Global View. Academic credentials aside, I've blogged FUNKY BROWN CHICK® posts How to Date a Black Woman and How to Date a White Guy. Additionally, as a black woman who dated interracially on numerous occasions, I know what it's like to be jaded by experiences similar to Jade's. I once attended a wedding where a white male guest scowled when he saw my boyfriend's differently-hued fingers interlaced with mine -- then, he called me an animal. My guy ignored him. Want to know what that feels like? It was as if my partner and I were swimming life's ocean together; however, when racism's waves suddenly crashed into us -- he swam to shore for safety and quietly watched as I drowned.
Since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling legalized such unions, Americans have increasingly opted for interracial marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, 1 in every 7 new U.S. marriages involves couples with differing races or ethnicities. Of the 3.8 million Americans who wed in 2008, 30.8% of Asians, 25.7% of Latinos, 15.5% of black people and 8.9% of white people chose spouses from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. In fact, more than 1 in 5 black male newlyweds chose non-black wives. For black women, the figure is half that of black men. One out of ten newlyweds are married to non-black spouses -- just like, presumably, Dr. Laura Schlessinger's caller Jade.
Successful interracial pairings require choosing the right partner, engaging in open communication, spending quality time together and other key ingredients needed for healthy living. In all marriages, there's always a chance you'll have unpleasant encounters with your in-laws, your partner's cousins or an occasional ignorant friend. Managing difficult personalities and social interactions can be tough. Regardless of race, no one enjoys it when the person who is supposedly in their corner doesn't back them up.
Additionally, when an interracial couple seeks advice from so-called marriage counselors -- like Dr. Laura -- it would be helpful if such professionals treat the request with the respect it deserves.