Black and White and married in Mississippi – the rising trend of mixed marriage in the Deep South

in Couple Profile, Intercultural Marriage

Black and white interracial marriage
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The New York Times recently published an article about the rise of interracial marriage in Mississippi, USA. The used to be segregationists in the Deep South which looked down on marriages between blacks and whites now witness a complete shift of trend.

Ten years after the case of The Lovings vs. Virginia, the state of Mississippi repealed its ban on interracial marriage in 1987. Less than 45 years later, it becomes one of the country’s “most rapidly expanding multiracial populations, up to 70 percent between 2000 and 2010”, according to US Census Bureau.

The NYTimes article featured several couples – blacks, whites and Asians – that are in mixed marriage living in Mississippi. One of those couples, which turned out to be our featured couple for today, is the Peeples.

The Offbeat Couple

Sonia and Michael are parents to two mixed-race boys Gannon (5 yrs old) and Riley (3 yrs old), and an adopted son Bob II, a Betta fish. They were together for 7 years before they decided to get married in 2006. Sonia is a full time homemaker whose aim is not only to take care of her family but also to spread the love beyond races and across the globe.

What makes your marriage offbeat?

Sonia and Michael enjoys interracial marriage

Marrying a white man seemed to be the right thing.

Our marriage is interracial- I’m black and my husband is white. We live in and are from Mississippi, which is known throughout history for racism. It’s the state where the President of the Confederacy, during the Civil war resided.

What made you end up together?

We met at The University of Southern Mississippi. We were both students there. He was studying Engineering and I was studying Criminal Justice. We had seen each other a few times in the Science Bldg. We were introduced by my mutual friend and romance followed. Our first date was at Red Lobster. Cheddar Bay Biscuits! My husband is of Baptist faith and I am of Methodist faith. We’re both Christian.

Tell us about The Wedding.

Sonia and Michael's bi-racial son

We already had Gannon when we married

Our Wedding was held in a beautiful Chapel in Colorado. We decided to get married because we knew it was just right. We already had son Gannon at this point and wanted a strong united family. It was important for us all to have the same last name. The Peeples.

What are your biggest challenges as an interracial couple and how do you solve them?

One of our biggest challenges is being around strangers and people we know who are not accepting of our love. We handle it by staying positive and often educating people. We do not let others thoughts bother us. We live life freely and keep spreading a message of love.

Did you ever encounter people who frown upon your interracial marriage?


Once I was out with my husband, waiting to get a table for dinner & the waitress did not think we were together. She pulled him away, separate from me to seat him first & alone & even ask if he was a part of another party. My husband quickly claimed me & said that we are married. This is my wife. The waitress apologized.

As for my children I get the usual wanting to touch their curly hair & see if it feels like theirs, cos they do look a lot like their father. One lady has even said that my youngest could be white & you would never think he had any black in him. It was offensive. Especially with us being in Chuck E Cheese(Kid’s party & play area) in front of everyone. I simply told her that they are the human race, beautiful blend of black , white, & just right & smiled.

How did your in-laws and extended families from each side react to your interracial marriage? Some in-laws are committed to their cultural identity and can’t appreciate foreign culture therefore they become critical towards their daughter/son in-law. Did you experience any of these issues?

My parents did not have a problem with our marriage. They raised me that color was not an issue. The funny part is that they just wanted me to marry a good man. However, I was lead to believe that my husband’s family may have issues with the marriage, simply because they were “Old South”. But, once they saw the grandchildren they would be fine. My husband’s sister, cousins, and father do not have a problem with us being married. They have embraced us and we are always welcomed to family gatherings and to visit.

My mother in law is another story. One minute she seemed to be fine and we are welcomed into her home with my husband’s step father, and then a few months later we are not welcomed. The reason she gave is that she does not like that her son brought a black girl into her family. She has nothing against me personally she said. I am a nice person, just black. I suppose she loves only the white half of her grandchildren. The way that we are handling things now is that I stay positive and ready to help my husband anyway possible. I am willing to talk to my mother in law. I always have been very nice and understanding. My concern is for my children and husband. Bless their hearts. None of us have spoken to her since November of last year.

What are the benefits of an interracial marriage?

Sonia and Michael's interracial family

Beautiful children are one of the gifts of interracial marriage

The benefits are endless. The number one reason is having a chance to love someone and no let color matter. You are a stronger person for following that alone. We also have beautiful children. Although, I feel all humans are beautiful.

Currently we have 2 children, beautiful, sweet, and active boys. We are raising them to believe that they are both black and white and just right. Color should not be an issue. We are the entire human race.

What’s your favorite way of spending time together?

Every so often we get to go out on a date night and just connect. Every Thursday and Friday night we make a family night. We play board games with the kids, watch movies, or go out.

What are your secrets in keeping the romance alive?

We make time for each other and keep surprising each other with nice little gifts we make or buy.

What advice would you give to someone planning to have an interracial marriage?

I would have to say stay strong and united. Remember that you are your family and it’s up to you to let the outside world in. Stay positive.

Wonderful interracial couple with kids

We teach the kids that they're both black and white and that it's alright.

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Sonia Peeples

I must say you guys did a great job. The Peeples are proud to be featured in Off Beat Marriages.

gleenn

Thanks a lot too, Sonia. It’s an honor to interview you. 🙂

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