In a recent letter to the Banner’s editor (“Interracial coupling has little impact in U.S.,” Dec. 25, 2008), Arreba A. Stafford voiced her disagreement with a line in a Dec. 18, 2008, Banner article (“Obama’s true colors: Black, white … or neither?”). I, myself, when reading this article thought: What happened to “both”?
The letter writer says there’s a problem with the line in the Dec. 18 piece that goes, “Intermarriage and the decline of racism are dissolving ancient definitions of [African American and/or mixed ancestral identification].” The writer says that line is untrue. Where’s the concrete evidence? Is it untrue? Is it true?
Interracial dating isn’t the same as interracial marriage. One can view the world as a glass half-empty; I tend to view the glass as half full. We are always moving, and hopefully moving forward in a positive direction.
Yes, racism is still alive, but things are not the same as they were in 1948, the year I was born and the year the U.S. military began the process of integration. We have seen progress. The rise in interracial marriage has played a growing impact over the years on racism in America.
The Giarratani family came to America in 1906 and settled in Boston’s North End. When my father married my mother, a Harrington from Charlestown, it expanded the family across an ethnic barrier few had previously crossed. When my brother married his wife, an African American woman from Roxbury, my family crossed the race line.
Today, my family has been fully assimilated into American life. We maintain a strong Sicilian character, but the family now resembles the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Has ethnic and racial integration of my family had an impact on the race views of my family members? Of course! The more we know others, and live with others, and share lives with others, the more we tear down those old roadblocks that separate us.
Ms. Stafford has views that I don’t share. Racism is still with us, but there is hope that racism is weakening daily.
As Kevin McCrea, a former South Ender now living in Roxbury, recently wrote in a column on www.mysouthend.com: “… We have made enormous strides, and one can’t help feel we are moving into post-racial times when you go shopping at South Bay, or enjoy a South End baseball game.”
The only way to move forward toward ending racism is to have that as your goal. Don’t justify the past sins of society by preventing redemption today.
It took my family 116 years to get where it is today. But we got here.