I grew up in a family of mostly Irish and Italian descent, and of mostly conservative republicans, yet no matter what my relatives exclaimed, I was told to always view others in the same way I view myself. This is why I never really understood the issue of racism, or how a person of one ‘race’ could view themselves as socially above another because we really are the same, aren’t we? So why care? However, not everyone sees things the way I do.
As I was reading through articles on CNN looking for something that interested me, I stumbled upon this story. Sadly, I wasn’t shocked to see that such events still took place but it was still disheartening nonetheless.
It is true that our country has made great progress in the interest of racism, and because of that, interracial relationships have become a norm in our society. Yet, there are still many Americans that fear these relationships and the children that come from them due to race issue that still does exist today. Amidst the economic disparity, environmental troubles and constant fighting the Middle East, you would think that the American people wouldn’t have the time to stress over anything else but racism is still very much around. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Madonna who have all adopted children of another race have opened the door for non-famous couples who want a child, no matter what race, to adopt those children as well. These days, it is not hard to find parents of one race with a child of another, especially when it comes to homosexual couples. The progress in society that has been made to allow such families to exist harmoniously, has viewed in the same way by everyone.
The first obstacle that interracial couples have to go through is to be excepted by their communities, many have no problems at all, but there are those who are seen in the same way homosexual couples are often seen, as living in sin against their race. Now, I’m not saying that this is a problem that occurs in great quantities, but not everyone has it easy. Then, an interracial couple that has children has genetics working against them. It is quite possible for a child of light skin and features to be born from parents of mixed race, as in this family, and then the family has to deal with the stares from spectators on a daily basis. But again, I stress the point, with all the discoveries that have been made in the field of human genetics how can so many people still care what race others (and their children) are? In Strangers’ Glances at Family, Tensions Linger
In his Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau discusses the origins of inequality in the human race and describes them as natural (physical) or political (ethical). In neither sense does he exclaim that race determines one’s status in life. Even natural inequalities derive from one humans physical (strength, health) superiority over another. While I can see how some would be able to twist that to fit their argument, Rousseau also discusses the moral inequalities of society and how such inequalities are not real, but created by society.
The strides toward acceptance of all families, no matter what race(s) or sexual preference of the parents, have only been thwarted by those who deem such families to be a threat to society. The fight over who is allowed to marry who has been going on since the very beginning of our country and yet, despite all the things we have been able to accomplish, acceptance of families who are (historically) different is something we have yet to fully achieve. However, in our country today what really is considered to be a ‘normal’ family? My personal opinion is that there no longer is a ‘normal’ family structure and differences should be embraced instead of looked down upon because those differences have no actual basis other than the ones our society creates.
Homosexual couples aren’t the only ones who are having problems being able to live their life as heterosexual couples can. Though the issue of modern racism has been thrown behind many others, it is still occurring in our country today. It may not be the 99% versus the 1%, but I believe it is just as sad an ordeal. Some interracial couples and their families aren’t having any easier a time than they were 30 or so years ago.
So my questions are; how can there still be Americans out there stressing over whom another chooses to marry based solely on race? Is there any way to fully bring an end to this in America? What would Rousseau say about it? What are your own opinions on the issue?