The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.

Once upon a time, in forty-one of America's fifty states, LA justice Keith Bardwell would be lauded for his refusal to marry a black-white interracial couple: especially a black man - white woman combination. Miscegenation statutes, which first appeared in the 1600s, were a set of laws designed to bar interracial marriage - chiefly between whites and "non-whites" - in the United States. According to historians, these laws were enacted just as much to ensure the stability of the slave labor force, as they were to ensure Puritan morality.

Although varied by states, miscegenation laws carried with them a series of penalties from fines to prison terms. The punishment for this "crime" could be imposed upon the couple who violated the laws and anyone who would "encourage, counsel, aid, or abet" them in such an "unholy marriage."

In choosing to refuse to marry Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay, justice Bardwell is honoring Louisiana's past hatred of intermarriage that it (and the other forty states) saw as "corruption of the races."

Justice Bardwell seems to stand alone in keeping the state's disappointing tradition alive. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and his LA peers are calling for disciplinary actions against Bardwell for his behavior. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. notes that the judge's decision "is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long."

Here is hoping that other individuals (legistlators and "regular" citizens) continue to take a stand against reverting back to America's shameful past.

We encourage you to do your part by starting an honest and open dialogue with someone of another race or in a younger age group around this topic. Be willing to listen without judging. Be willing to learn and not just teach.

Reading justice Bardwell's comment would make it seem as if he is sincere in his desire to "protect" the potential offspring of this couple. While our views on this matter differ significantly to that of judge Bardwell, we would like to extend a public invitation to him to dialog with us about his decision. We promise to put aside our prejudices and to listen with an honest and open ear.

Source: Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers by Phyl Newbeck


Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

This seems to be the week for people to lose common sense. This would explain the LA judge and the individuals who subjected a North Spokane woman of color to a symbol of hatred on her doorstep.

Luckily, the sensible folks of the world far outweigh the senseless. The Gonzaga Institute for Action Against Hate  is doing its part to stand up against hatred and to encourage common decency. The link below will inform you of ways to get involved in their fight.

What have you done in the past (or what are you doing now?) to make a difference in the fight against ignorance and hatred?

 How can  you teach one other person to do the same?



Offspring: The product of the reproductive processes of an animal or plant.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

Highlighted above is Keith Bardwell's, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, reason for not performing interracial marriages. JOP Bardwell's "concern" for the offspring of interracial couples is "touching." We should be "thankful" that this is not as offensive as that of the judge in Scott v. Georgia* who made the claim that interracial children were "sickly and effeminate" and physically infererior to their full-blooded counterparts.

The use of "protecting" offsprings as a reason to enforce miscegenation statutes is not new. However, it is a bit surprising (even to those of us who are under the impression that we are now of the human race) to still read about this type of story.

For the mothers in the group, how have people reacted to your mixed-race children?

Any surprises?


Source: Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers by Phyl Newbeck

*Scott v. Georgia is the 1869 case where the Georgia Surpreme Court indicted Charlotte Scott, "an unmarried woman of color," for "cohabitating and having sexual intercourse" with Leopold David, an unmarried white man. The judge convicted Ms. Scott of fornication even though both parties claimed to havde been legally married by a black preacher. - Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893 by Kent Anderson Leslie

We've got to take back the ideal of justice, we've got to take back this principle of human dignity. We've got to take it back from vengeance, from hatred, we've got to say: look, we're all in this together. We are human beings.

Louisiana first enacted miscegenation statutes in 1807. These statutes prohibited (what they termed as) "Negroes" from marrying whites or Indians.  Some of the penalties for doing so were:

Rendering the marriage "Null and Void"
Up to 5 years of hard labor for white-black marriage attempts

The statutes were repealed in 1972 (yes, I said 1972) but it seems that Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, never received that memo.

Your thoughts are always more appreciated than what we write.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/15/interracial-couple-denied_n_322784.html

Statistical source: Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers by Phyl Newbeck