I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time….but I always backed away from doing so, as it is still seen as a subject that’s loaded with hostility, albeit a silent hostility nowadays it seems.
I’m writing from a viewpoint that’s based in the late 60s, early 70s. In those days (and I hope I’m not already sounding like a grand-pappy!), it was indeed very rare to see mixed couples.
Yes, there were a few, but on the whole, they remained somewhat, shall we say, underground, away from the limelight.
I personally experienced the feelings from both sides of the fence, as it were…..I had male and female friends who were white as well as black, and the stories they used to tell of, would fill several books if I were to retell them today.
Suffice to say, white women seen with black men, or black women seen with white men, were chastised, frowned upon, and sadly in some cases, physically beaten, as happened to some of my friends.
Today’s example is of a very nice couple….the girl from a working class background and the guy a well-connected government official from his native West Indies, who once danced with Princess Margaret when she was at a convention in the islands.
In the photo here, they look as happy and confident as can be, but sometimes, I believe the camera can lie….lie in the sense that it will only show what is presented to it. In this photo, I believe the couple have put up a brave facade to all that turmoil going on within both their households.
The guy was being blasted with innuendos on a daily basis about why he chose to marry a white girl, and vice versa with the girl.
In fact, the grandfather of the girl had found out the home address of the black guy, and together with a burly son-in-law, paid him a threatening visit, warning him to back off with his relationship.
The happy ending to the story is that the couple did not heed any warnings given to them, and went on to marry and live a very long, happily married life, just like anybody else. Even the grandparents eventually accepted the union.
But we all need to sit down and think deeply about things like this…even today, more than 45 years after this photo was taken….today, when we have walked on the moon, have developed technologies that were unheard of in those years, progressed so much, so far……but….what would we do….if our daughter, our son, decided to marry a partner from another race….how would we feel….a very difficult question to answer indeed…..!