Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Interracial sex evokes a visceral fear


Keith Bardwell reflects the views of Americans who have never accepted racial integration in bed, schools, workplaces, or houses of power. They yearn for the good old days when white supremacy was unshakeable and coloured folk knew their place. Until the late Sixties, black men who dared to look at white women were lynched or burnt alive, and mixed-race couples were hounded out of small towns.

Bardwell speaks a dreadful truth when he says lovers who cross racial barrier face exceptional problems. They do, and nowadays the rejections come from both sides, especially if one partner is African-American. That history of murderous inhumanity and enslavement is burnt into the collective consciousness of black people, and they still live in a land where they cannot enter "white" localities, where more black men are in prison than in college, and, in universities, you even get colour-coded sororities.

Interracial sex evokes in many white Americans a visceral, depraved fear and loathing. I once danced with a black Briton in a hotel in Atlanta and nearly caused an incident. The hostility got so thick we had to leave.

In the UK, white Britons rule and racism blights our lives, though black and Asian people are no longer expected to complain about it. But the great news is we have no vast, fixed mono-racial ghettoes, and mixed-race families are cool and emblematic of intimate, irreversible, biological integration.

The BNP loathes multiracial Britons more than they loathe the Nation of Islam. They would banish my family and, like Bardwell, institutionalise apartheid. They want to turn us into Louisiana. I hope millions will do what it takes to resist that.