Amour Et Mixité Aux Etats-Unis

L’article web du Elle US que j’ai retweeté hier sur l’amour et la mixité a mystérieusement disparu de leur site, et est depuis réapparu. #Polémique ?

Cet article revenait sur les relations amoureuses qu’entretient le personnage d’Olivia Pope avec 2 hommes , tous les deux « Blancs ». Et visiblement, ce n’est pas très courant aux US. Contrairement à chez nous.

L’auteure de l’article, Chaedria Bouvier, fait état de la faible mixité au sein des couples américains. Elle avance les chiffres suivants : seulement 4% de femmes Noires aux États-Unis sont mariées à des hommes Blancs. Et en 2010, on ne comptait que 15% de mariages « inter-raciaux » aux USA.

L’auteure développe ainsi des sujets visiblement sensibles Outre-Atlantique,   la mixité « raciale » (bouh! je n’aime pas ce mot) faible et la nécessité de comprendre l’origine de son partenaire dans un couple mixte car chaque personne vient avec son background (surtout aux USA où l’American Dream autorise encore une certaine immigration) et qu’il faut composer avec et le respecter.

Je suis très étonnée de voir à quel point ce sujet semble critique pour Chaedria Bouvier, alors même que j’ai le sentiment que la question se pose moins en France. Clairement, je n’ai pas eu ce problème. Jamais, à vrai dire.

Bien sûr les coutumes & traditions d’une personne d’origine étrangère dans un couple mixte ont une incidence sur la relation, mais côté américain, j’ai l’impression que le respect que doit avoir l’autre pour la culture de son/sa partenaire se transforme presque en culpabilité. Très politiquement correct. tout cela, non? Est-ce que vous le ressentez comme cela vous aussi, pour vous-même ou parmi vos proches/amis ?

Est-ce que le poids de l’esclavage et de l’importance des regroupements communautaires aux USA en est la raison ? Il faut avouer que Little Italy ou ChinaTown n’étaient pas des concepts particulièrement répandus  en France, jusqu’ à il y a peu en tous cas.  Même si certaine populations se regroupaient en fonction de leur culture ou tradition, nous n’avons jamais officialisé cela comme des quartiers à part entière…

Pour ceux à qui le cœur leur en dit, j’ai encore, par chance, l’article de Chaedria Bouvier sous le main. Le voici donc pour les motivés de l ‘anglais…

Every Thursday during Scandal/Gladiator season, Olivia Pope gives me life. Those Max Mara coats! And that pink lipstick! (Why does it work for her but never for me?) She also makes me think: about ambition, about relationships, and especially how race plays into the latter.

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Scandal rarely ever mentions race and that’s the point. It seems common that Liv oscillates between two white men. But it’s not. In fact, it’s pretty rare. According to the 2010 Census, roughly 4 percent of black women married white men. It’s a testament to creator Shonda Rhimes’ vision and the skill of the writers and the actors that they’ve created this world where the dynamic of a successful black woman that simultaneously back–channel runs Washington, D.C. and is torn between her very married President baé and her killer/stalker baé is something that we never really talk about in the examination or analysis of the show. (And the analysis that plays out following each episode on Twitter alone is swift and in-depth.)

But I think we should. Being the product of two racially mixed black people and having lived in L.A., San Francisco, and New York City where a large number of people are mixed or mixing, I could’ve, perhaps, easily overlooked the fact that across America, interracial marriages are still relatively radical. It’s true that interracial marriages are increasingly common; according to the same 2010 Census, an estimated 10 percent of all American marriages are interracial and 15 percent of new marriages occurring in 2010 were. But the conversation about the implications of actually being in one is curiously silent. Incorporating and being inclusive of identities is not always the easiest thing to do, let alone in a relationship.

When I dated my ex, who is Russian, it was more than just culture shock on both sides. He had casually dated black women before, but had never dated an American black woman, much less from the South. I am a descendant of American slaves that had literally been in the country since before it became one; my ex had just become a citizen a year before we got together. Within weeks of having the « boyfriend-girlfriend » talk, I made him watch Good Hair and he told me stories of family members that were inexplicably sent to the Siberian gulags during some of the bleakest years of Stalinism. To paraphrase a saying in my family, « You’re not just with the person, but their family, their history, and their culture. » There was a lot for both of us to learn.

Photo: Getty Images/BFA

Choosing to love and partner with someone from another race doesn’t mean that you’re colorblind; it means that you loved in spite of. It means that you’re willing to take a hard look at your own prejudices. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re given a pass to do and say careless and culturally tone-deaf things.

Which is why I have a problem with the images presented by Nicki Minaj, Khloé Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian West a few weeks ago. Having a rumored Jewish boyfriend doesn’t give Nicki a pass to release a music video rampant with Nazi imagery and fail to consider how and why those images are hurtful to Jewish people who lost families, property and homelands because of the power and hate represented in them. Khloé’s cheeky reference to a terrorist organization that has a history of killing black men was offensive. Her love of black men does not replace a need to understand the history of black men who were lynched for suspicion of being « indecent » with a white woman and the families, lives, and businesses that were destroyed by the KKK.  Kim, the mother of a black daughter, has to be aware that the pose that « broke the Internet » harkens back to the exploitation of Saartjie Baartman. We forget that it was only 14 years ago that the last state repealed their anti-miscegenation laws—which over half a million people voted to keep. (You stay flawless, Alabama.)

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These incidents present an opportunity to have difficult conversations, not silence them. There’s a great history of people who used love to make this country more equal, like the Lovings who fought Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law all the way to the Supreme Court and the Jewish men that married and marched alongside black women during the civil rights movement. We lose a meaningful dialogue about that history and what we can learn from it by not talking about the politics and dynamics of loving outside of our Census boxes and facing histories that are painful to talk about but that none of us actually wants to repeat. I don’t want to go back to the society of my grandparents who couldn’t acknowledge that they loved across racial lines until decades later. But I also don’t want to be in a society where making crude racial and ethnic jokes or references is a sign of solidarity and « progression. » If colorblind is the goal, that’s the furthest thing from it.

Our silence about what it means to be in an interracial relationship in America, in the twenty-first century, is more of a complex reflection of our aspirations and goals of tolerance than a statement about where we, as a country, actually are. Ferguson, immigration, the conversations about white privilege; race and the dynamics of mixing are not just part of an ongoing national dialogue, it’s in the DNA of this country. But we come closer to the more tolerant future that we want not by ignoring the past or avoiding certain conversations, but because of the past that we embrace and the uncomfortable conversations that we are willing to have. In spite of.

By Chaedria LeBouvier

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