Interracial couples face challenges in present-day America

Mike Brooks and his wife Danielle live in Riverside County. They married Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks)
By Aniela Russo

Candace Owens recently faced off with Cardi B after Cardi called Owens’ husband a racial slur.

“My ancestors fought so I could have the right to marry who I love,” Owens said.  

Not much has changed since President John F. Kennedy refused to allow Sammy Davis Jr. to perform at his inauguration. Davis, alongside Frank Sinatra, campaigned to get Kennedy elected and was scheduled to perform at the inauguration. The Kennedys had Sinatra uninvite Davis when they found out he had married May-Britt, a white actress. 

Mike Brooks, a Riverside County resident, grew up in Orange County. As a teenager, Brooks, who is Black, dated women of various races from Latinas to Asians in the mostly White county. 

Brooks is a personal trainer and the father of three girls from a previous marriage to a Black woman. He is now with Danielle Brooks, a White woman and a school teacher who he met on Facebook. 

The couple actually attended the same high school and didn’t know one another, but knew of each other. They married Oct. 24.

Although Brooks didn’t face major issues being raised in a predominantly white community, he said people made comments. But his parents taught him to be confident and not to hate others. He learned to let things go. 

As a result of the spike in racial tension this year, many interracial couples are facing some of the same challenges that Davis did. 

“I’m very passionate about my ethnicity and everything going on,” Brooks said. “When certain things happen like police brutality, it hits home. Danielle will see my attitude change and my emotions flare-up. It’s hard for her. Obviously, her being White, she can have empathy. But I want sympathy.” 

Brooks said things are better because they work through their issues and Danielle is a great listener. He explained that he at times gets emotional and his comments about White people sometimes offend Danielle. But he does not talk about her or her family directly.

“I have to be more sensitive to what I say, so I don’t sound like some White people when they talk about Black (people),” he said

Brooks assured he is respectful to Danielle’s family and his family loves her.

“Some of Danielle’s family may teeter on some ignorance that has come her way in the midst of the election and the Black Lives Matter movement,” he said. “People are more brazen and bold about their opinions and she has had to deal with that. Learning some of her family members and their opinions, it’s been tougher on her than it has been on me.”

Brooks added that he does not allow comments like the ones made by Cardi B to bother him.

“I know who I am,” he said. “I grew up in the O.C. and either I wasn’t Black enough, or there was the other side: I was too Black. Comments like that don’t bother me one bit because I am in touch with my Blackness. I was raised not to discriminate against anyone, ever. Those types of comments roll off my back.” 

Mike didn’t choose Danielle because she was White. He chose her because they get along, have things in common and are in love.

As we face the presidential election this November, Brooks’ words don’t differ much from those of Davis.

“With all the racial tension I endured, I never turned around and hated right back,” Davis once said. “There was always some White guy like Frank Sinatra who helped me back up.” 

When Davis married his blond wife, it made headlines. The couple received death threats and had to hire security. 

In her book “Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal History with My Father,” Davis’ daughter Tracey Davis, wrote that they removed her father’s name from the list of entertainers at Kennedy’s inaugural party. When Davis married Britt, it was still a crime to do so in some 31 states. It is legal in all States today. 

Just this month, Prince Harry and his biracial wife, Meghan Markle, spoke about the challenges of their interracial marriage. The couple also announced their launch of an anti-racism campaign. 

“It’s not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame,” Prince Harry has said. “This is about learning and about how we can make it better.” 

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