Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whites Only in 2012?

We have spent a significant portion of our time this semester discussing the Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was (or arguably was not) made during this period of our countries history in regards to race. We have discussed the election of Barrack Obama as president and what the election of a black president suggests about how far we have come as a nation since the times of lynching and separate but equal.
I have spent my life believing that although racism and race thinking undoubtedly still live within the current society of the United States, we have come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement and the racist occurrences that were common place in our country at one time are now far behind us. I was therefore shocked when I read about a black couple who was turned away from the church they had planned to be married at specifically because of their race this summer.
I have told this story many times since coming upon the article and one thing that I have noticed is that no one realizes that the event to which I am referring happened this year. It is always assumed that such an event must have happened decades ago. However, this summer, Charles and Te’ Andrea Wilson were going to be married in Crystal Springs Mississippi at First Baptist Church until a few members of the church’s congregation complained. The church had never before hosted the wedding ceremony of a black couple. Instead of welcoming the couple and being excited to celebrate the progression of our society, they said no, they were not comfortable with such a ceremony because of the church’s tradition in marrying white couples only.
Racism does still exist in our society. It is a well-known fact that it is present in the minds of some. However, it seems it is rarely able to surface into spoken words without being met without being met with contradictions and opposition from the rest of society. The Pastor of the church, who did end up marrying the couple at a different venue, tried to convince members of the congregation to allow the wedding of the couple, however they threatened to remove him from his position if he continue to push for the wedding. The occurrence at First Baptist Church seems so surprising because although it was only a small minority of the congregation that felt uncomfortable with the wedding, no one, other than the Pastor spoke out against that small minority. How do you think something like this might have happened and received almost no opposition?


  1. Unfortunately, I realize that racism still exists today. What gets to me is that I'm not 100% surprised something like this happened. In no way do I agree with it, but I do realize that racism is still very prominent in todays society. Society's views on inter-racial couples bothers me as well. My best friend lived with me during high school. He is black. I call him my brother and he calls me his sister. When my family would go out to dinner, if we were at certain older restaurants, we would usually get odd looks. People were confused why a 6'3" black male was sitting next to a 5'7" white female across from two white adults. I've experienced everything from odd looks and coughs, to people asking my parents if they were really ok "with it" (I'm assuming they thought my brother and I were in a relationship). Once and older lady even came up to us and said, "what a nice thing your are doing for this young negro boy," believing that we were inviting him into our home due to some sort of pity. To this day I don't understand why race differentiates people. That's just how I was raised. It pains me to think that other people were raised and still believe the complete opposite of this.

  2. No, you guys are absolutely right. It is prominent in today's society. In urban studies, we learned that minorities have a limited choice in getting to choose where they’d prefer living. We also learned that for African Americans, they have to pay higher rents for less acceptable housing. During the late 90s, which was only a decade ago, millions of dollars in settlement concerning redlining mortgages in low-income minority communities were granted in Washington D.C. We also learned that Department of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) has found constant prejudices concerning African Americans and Hispanics by large corporations, proprietors, and real estate agents. Public housing projects are atrocious. We learned that in the 80s, funding was cut for various housing projects, so the numbers were reduced. So, in the 90s, the only places that offered shelters for those who were disadvantaged financially were homeless shelters. This predominantly and disproportionately affected the minorities. So, poverty for minorities almost seemed perpetual. This is still a problem today. To further aggravate the situation, people viewing this problem from the outside seem to think that its self-inflicted.

  3. It is awful to hear all these stories about how prejudice people still are. Like Piper said, with all of the progress that we have made in moving away from racism, the amount of that still exists is baffling. Until people become less stubborn and stuck in their ways though, racism will continue to exist in our society. Piper’s story about the black couple being denied access to getting married in a specific church is a great example of this. The small group of church members who did not want the black couple to get married there demonstrates the type of people who remain stubborn and pig headed. It is nice though to see people like the Pastor who can move beyond race. Times are changing and race is slowly becoming less of an issue. Although there is still a lot more progress that needs to be made and in reality, race will always be an issue, people can make it become much less of a problem by just conforming to current times.

  4. Obviously, the United States has made leaps and bounds regarding race relations, but I think it’s no great secret that racism is still present. Barrack Obama’s election to the presidential office is definitely a great representation of how far we have come as a nation, but this is by no means the end of it, which is clearly illustrated in the congregation’s refusal to allow Mr. and Mrs. Wilson to get married in their church. I did not read the article, but a question I had was whether or not they were previous members of the church. The degree of hypocrisy is obvious in this event, and this event would even further illustrate the racism present to day if they were already attending this church, donating money, etc. It was a good gesture for the preacher to still marry the couple at a different venue; however, a sermon on the true meaning of being a Christian is in order.

  5. We must remember that individuals are going to worship the god of their experience, listen to the music of their experience, and follow the morals of their experience. Not everyone grew up in a melting pot like I did so I do not expect everyone to share the same views on race as I do. This was originally hard for me when I moved from California to Georgia because the social climate was different in the deep south. It was almost like you could feel it. Just like homosexuality or abortion, people will never unanimously agree on such a big ticket item as race because we all have different backgrounds and beliefs.