Book Writing Adventures

Chapter Snippet: The Personal IS NOT the Political

Three. more. days. Three days, and The Book That Won’t Die will finally have to give up the ghost. I’m working on a chapter that basically gives permission to black women (which they didn’t need in the first place) to “find their blisses as a rainbeau missus.”

Feedback welcome, insults, notsomuch. If you see typos, let me know because my eyeballs are held open with Scotch tape and sometimes the screen gets a bit blurry.

You are Allowed to Love a Rainbeau and Still Advocate for Your People.

Despite the catchy term, the personal is not always the political.

I was once interviewed by a popular, black Cincinnati, Ohio radio host who challenged me on my dedication to found and organize No Wedding No Womb, an initiative to raise awareness and find solutions to the 73 percent (more or less) to the out-of-wedlock epidemic in the black community. He asked me how I could advocate for a cause affecting black people, yet be married to a white man. My answer? Being married to someone who happens to be white does not make me any less black. I can still care and advocate for issues that affect my people and not have to “prove” my dedication by my choice of mates. Who questions Frederick Douglass, one of African American history’s greatest minds, for marrying a white woman after he was widowed? Did Harry Belefonte have to do that when he marched for Civil Rights while married to a white woman? Are advocates for the homeless required to marry the homeless to prove they really care? Do you have to be gay to stand up for same-sex unions? Exactly. Sometimes the personal is just personal, and the political is just political. They can be separate. You can uplift your race and follow your bliss, and that doesn’t make you a traitor.

No one would accuse Marian Wright Edelman, 72, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, of being a “sell out.” To do so would almost be sacrilege. She was the first African American woman to be accepted into the Mississippi Bar and worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In 1967, Marian met and fell in love with Peter Edelman, a Harvard law school graduate, while he was an assistant for Robert Kennedy. They married in 1968. Nineteen sixty-eight!! They are still married and have successfully raised three children, all boys. How could a black woman, who worked for the NAACP, Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC and fought for the equality and justice for black people marry a white, Jewish man? Simple. They shared values.

Peter and Marion Edelman on their wedding day.

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