I'm black. My wife is white.
We usually noticed our cultural differences the most right about 6 p.m. each night. That's dinner time.
The scenario would usually play out like this: My wife would bake - not fry - some chicken. Before I would even taste it, I would go back into the kitchen, pull out some salt and some sauces, and try to turn whatever my wife made into soul food. (I have four friends who all told me they did the exact same thing, but don't worry I won't put y'all on blast here!)
Needless to say, this did not play well in the Lassiter home.
As time goes by, the gospel continues to inform both of our views on race. We've learned to compromise more. My wife has learned to make Jamaican jerk chicken and incorporate that into the menu often. I've learned to lay down some of my racial pride and admit that every meal doesn't have to be made "the black people way" in order to be right.
Oh, how far we have come!
Thirteen years ago, I would have never imagined myself in this spot. I grew up in a middle-class black family. My parents are still married. And my view of the black family unit was healthy. I tell people all the time our family was sort of like the Cosby Show. I didn't have anything against interracial marriage. I just never considered it. I certainly never thought it would be me.
I went into it kind of blindly. I'm realizing to many people, however, issues of race such as interracial marriage are a very big deal.
And I think I know why.
A lot of racism has to do with fear. And a lot of that fear has to do with the idea of different races mixing in marriage.
It's a controversial subject.
Consider, for instance:
- the white parents who fear - and possibly rightly so - that their white daughter won't be accepted in either the black community or the white community
- Black women who understandably feel hurt by the idea of black men having the "white woman trophy wife" complex
- Grandparents on both sides who grew up in times when racism was much more overt
And this isn't just a black-white issue. It would be very easy to simply label everyone against the idea of interracial marriage a racist, but that's far too simplistic.
As you can see from three examples - of which I could easily add 20 more - this can be a very nuanced and complex issue in which we all have different factors that have informed our view.
Of course, very few people would admit it since being politically correct is so important, but many of us would have to wrestle through the idea of our loved ones marrying someone from a different culture.
I've never really set out to study much on the topic, but recently I came across two resources on the topic of interracial marriage.
On our trip to the Bahamas, I read two great books by Dr. John Piper.
The first was called Risk is Right.
The second book, which addressed interracial marriage, was called Bloodlines. Here's a quote:
"In Christ our Oneness is profound and transforms racial and social differences from barriers to blessings... Ethnic and social differences cease to be obstacles to deep, personal intimate fellowship, including marriage." p. 210.
Right before I left my Bahamas trip, I heard a sermon from Fellowship Memphis pastor Bryan Loritts - one of my favorite gospel communicators - on the topic of interracial marriage. It is part of a 7-part marriage series. You can listen to that sermon here. He actually begins addressing interracial marriage at the 23:31 mark of the sermon. I think everyone should listen!
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with interracial relationships. One word of caution. If you don't agree, please feel free to do so, but please do so thoughtfully! Not one has to agree, but we can all agree to be thoughtful toward one another as we discuss issues of race.
Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her blog here), a father to five kids and a freelance writer for Young Life Relationships, HipHopDX.com, JamTheHype.com and other publications. His first book, You're Grounded, was published by Moody Publications last year. You can order the book here.