It’s not black and white

Aja Brown

Interracial dating brings out families’ true colors

Although the marriages of Quincy Jones (musician), Charles Barkley (professional basketball player) and Roger Ebert (film critic) are interracial, less than 5 percent of all marriages in the United States are interracial (Statistical Abstract of the Unite

Credit: Jason Hall

Editor’s note: This is the first of two stories about relations that cross racial or religious lines. Neither are “typical” in that every experience is different. But they are a look inside the meeting of different worlds.

The night was a turning point in the Hazelton family’s life.

Amber Hazelton was put into the hospital from a car accident on the way to a friend’s house, and her father had to drive three hours to an unfamiliar hospital to find out that his daughter had a bruised kidney – and a mixed baby on the way.

“This is how my dad first learned of Cinnamon,” said Hazelton, a 22-year-old white Kent State student.

In the past, Hazelton said her father, Walter Hazelton, would need more than a few drinks before he would openly complain about all the black kids his children befriended.

Hazelton said many of her friends are black, and in high school, she would invite them over to her house.

“My dad is a very quiet man,” Hazelton said. “Things will get under his skin, but he won’t say anything about it.”

However, after learning that his first-born child would be giving birth to a baby partially conceived by a drug-dealing black man, his silence ceased.

“On the way home from the hospital, he didn’t talk to me,” she said. “I wasn’t even sure if he had heard what the doctor said about me being pregnant.”

But Hazelton said, when she got home, she asked her father if he had heard that she was having a baby and he replied, “All I know is that it’s black.”

“My father was brought up on the saying ‘Bluebirds should stay with bluebirds and redbirds should stay with redbirds,'” Hazelton said.

It was not only the powerful meanings behind sayings such as this that left Hazelton’s father with such a bad taste for black people. The real bitterness came from a fatal incident that he has yet to let go of.

Twenty years ago, when Hazelton was just a bulge in her mother’s belly, a gang of black men murdered her father’s best friend over a drug deal gone wrong.

“I don’t believe this justifies my dad’s feelings toward black people,” she said. ” He messed up their drug order and they killed him. So maybe he shouldn’t have been dealing drugs.”

To Hazelton, the moral of that story is not that all black people are evil. It’s that drug deals, no matter what color the people involved, will have bad outcomes.

But for Walter Hazelton, Cinnamon’s drug dealing father was too much of a replica.

Hazelton said that she agrees that her child’s father is a “really bad man.”

She said at the time that Cinnamon was conceived, she and Cinnamon’s father were not dating.

“We met while both working at McDonald’s in ’99,” she said. “We were just friends, but one night we took it way too far and I ended up pregnant.”

She said up until the results of the DNA test when Cinnamon was eight months old, he denied that he was the baby’s father.

Hazelton said that only after the baby was here and the test results were in did they decide to date.

“Our relationship was awful,” she said. ” After I realized that he wouldn’t stop selling drugs, I broke it off because I didn’t want that around my child.”

She said that he is no longer in the picture.

“Cinnamon’s father does not do anything for her,” she said. ” After I cut him off sexually, he would not have anything to do with me or her. My father took care of us for the most part.”

Hazelton said her father was not the only person who disagreed with her interracial relationship and looked down on her biracial baby.

“His (Cinnamon’s father) mom and dad didn’t like me because I was young and white,” Hazelton said. “Cinnamon’s dad is almost five years older than I am. Since he was saying that he wasn’t the father, they denied that she was their grandchild.”

She said that they are now in the picture, even more than their son.

“Once they knew that Cinnamon was really their grandchild, they helped out a lot,” Hazelton said. “They have helped me and watched Cinnamon when I attended night classes.”

Hazelton said that with little Cinnamon now four years old, “Everyone loves her to death.”

When Walter Hazelton first learned of Cinnamon, he did not imagine the sweet-faced little girl with tight curly hair, bright eyes and a rich complexion that her name put into words.

Hazelton said that her father accepts her daughter but not as mixed.

“To my father, my daughter is white. He tells everyone that he helped raise her so that makes him the father. Therefore, Cinnamon is white,” Hazelton said.

However, she said she sees her daughter for what she really is: White and black.

Hazelton currently dates a biracial man. She said that together, they instill in Cinnamon positive values about race.

“We raise her to be proud of her mixed culture,” Hazelton said. “We let her decide who her friends are going to be.”

Contact student life reporter Aja Brown at [email protected].


The interracial taboo

According to Chris McVay, lecturer in the department of Pan-African Studies and English, after slavery ended in 1865 many Americans looked at the mixing of races as taboo.

She said that, for many years, it was only visible in the northern states. In the southern states, even whistling at a white women would get a black man killed.

“I believe that the primary reason for segregated schools in the southern states had to do with preventing whites and blacks from dating,” McVay said. “White women were considered the most purest beings on earth by white men. They didn’t want their daughters sitting next to black boys in school because that would lead to socializing. Socializing would lead to dating, and dating would lead to sex.”

She said there were still 17 states that actually had laws against a black and white couple getting married in the 1960s. Many other states had passed such laws in previous years, but had already abolished them.

However, McVay explained, in 1967, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for any state to set up laws against interracial marriages in the case of Loving v. Virginia.

“This broke down a lot of the barriers that existed for interracial couples,” McVay said.

She said that today, black and white couples are very common in bigger cities such as New York or Los Angeles.

“In Ohio, interracial couples still draw attention,” she said. “Some people are still taking a second look when a white and black couple goes by.”

-Aja Brown