Thursday, December 31, 2015

In the Absence of God and Racial Bigotry

One of the comments I sometimes get from readers of my novel In the Absence of God is that they were somewhat surprised that, in their estimation, much is made of interracial dating in the book. In the opinion of these readers this is just not a concern in these enlightened times.

I'd offer two responses to this criticism. First, I don't think that the book makes that big a deal of it, and second, if anyone thinks that interracial romances are no longer an issue perhaps they should talk to the actress Tamera Mowry. Mowry recently discussed her own experience with Oprah Winfrey:
It’s no secret that “Sister, Sister” star Tamera Mowry is blissfully married to Fox News correspondent Adam Housely, but what some might not have known is that the actress has faced intense online abuse over their mixed-race relationship.

Mowry, 35, tearfully recounted the name-calling and mistreatment she has received as a result of her marriage to Housely in an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

She appeared on the segment alongside her twin sister and co-star Tia.

The response from online haters has apparently been so intense that Mowry told Winfrey she never experienced “so much hate” in her life until after her 2011 nuptials, the Daily Mail reported.

“See, this is where I get emotional, because it’s hurtful,” Mowry said through tears. “Because when my husband and I are so openly — and we’re fine with showing — in love. But people choose to look past love and spew hate.”
The story at the Daily Mail has more details, particularly about where the hurtful comments are coming from. It really is sad that in 2014 it's still very hard for some people to see past skin color, but apparently it is, and In the Absence of God captures a relatively small and quite mild slice of this bit of social reality.

Note: I ran the preceding post on VP last year and received a lot of feedback on it. Much of the response expressed disappointment and even outrage that still today a white woman cannot date a black man without being subjected to racist hate from other whites. The problem with this reaction is that it simply, and naively, assumed that Tamera Mowry is white, her husband is black, and that the racists who assailed her were also white. In fact, as the story at the link reveals, the opposite is true. It's amazing the assumptions people hold about race and the illicit conclusions they eagerly jump to.