LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE: The Triumph of Love over Prejudice and Taboo by Mark & Gail Mathabane Mathabane

LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE: The Triumph of Love over Prejudice and Taboo

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Never timid about confronting prejudice, Mark Mathabane, the South African-born writer of Kaffir Boy (1986) and Kaffir Boy in America (1989), now tackles with his white wife, Gail, that most enduring of racial taboos--intermarriage. Illegal in many states as late as the mid-60's, interracial marriage--Gail and Mark learned as they met, courted, and wed--continues to evoke hostility from both races. In alternating chapters, the pair chronicle their initial reactions to each another, their ensuing concerns, and each milestone in their time together--from their meeting as graduate students in New York to their present life with two children in North Carolina. Though immediately attracted to Mark (as he was to her), Gail was particularly fearful--of her father's reactions. A liberal clergyman, he criticized all her boyfriends, and also once had told her that he believed that there were always hidden motives behind interracial marriages. Nevertheless, Gail and Mark embarked on a somewhat rocky courtship, exacerbated by outside pressure to conform as well as by Gail's parents' subsequent divorce, which made Gall fear marriage. The couple did marry secretly, but put on a public and joyful celebration once Gail's family finally accepted Mark. Many blacks were outraged by the marriage, though, calling Mark a traitor to their race and sending threatening letters. And the Mathabanes' later move to North Carolina occasioned further racism--as well as some welcome tolerance. Having experienced apartheid in South Africa, Mark is ""shocked"" and ""disappointed"" that the US is far from being a ""racial utopia."" Believing that racism is essentially a problem of the heart, however, the couple are teaching their children that they are a union of what is best in both black and white. A personal and candid account of what it means to break an intransigent taboo--and a heartwarming affirmation of love and commitment.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins