• Steven Nalls

The Color Of Love



A few months ago on a social media platform, I answered this question: "Why are we seeing so many interracial couples with biracial children in television commercials and print ads? Are they trying to persuade us in some way?" My response was simply this: "No. Those images are simply a reflection lifestyles that have been in existence in this country since before its founding in 1776."


Throughout our nations history, the people who lived and loved like the ones you see in the collage accompanying this article were once labelled socially inacceptable and even immoral. In many states miscegenation laws made them felons, all the way up until 1967. History reveals the injustice and ugliness in this legislation.


Personal letters between family members and friends found in the antebellum South reveal that enslaved African women and girls were commonly bathed, perfumed, and offered as "bed warmers" by their masters for white male friends and relatives who were traveling or visiting from out of town. This was considered a proper courtesy (although clearly not reciprocated to white women travelers), and appears to be nowhere shunned by the society at large. After all, should the female become pregnant as the result of having been thusly "gifted", the master would soon have another slave that he didn't have to pay for. A biracial one at that, which could either bring a good price at a sale, or add prestige to his home as a "servant", with benefits.


In the state of Louisiana, beautiful, enslaved black and biracial women populated entire brothels (patronized by white businessmen only), fetching a handsome fee for their "services".


In the Deep South, after the Confederates lost the Civil War, it became especially poignant to uphold the miscegenation laws. The psychological torture that would have been inflicted on that society upon seeing interracial couples openly and publicly indulging in the sanctity of marriage would have been too much for them to bear. Acutely aware of the propensity in human nature to love whom we love, laws were enacted against living together, and even fornication (casual sex) between people of different races. Let me hasten to add that this was not only true in the South. Miscegenation loyalists and their sympathizers had spread in a patchwork pattern throughout the United States and its territories. Let me also not hesitate to include that these sentiments were not only held by the whites who wrote the laws, but agreed to and upheld by various individuals across the spectrum of society, regardless of race.


Today, We The People are legally free to love whomever we love. Marry or just live together. Date regularly or just "hook up." As I've outlined here, these choices and preferences aren't new to humankind, and definitely not to this country, but they are still facing challenges and being called into question today. Albeit less and less so with time.

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