In 1967, a Black man named John Prentice visited the home of his new, white fiancée. The visit transcended discomfort in all ways when the family of his fiancée was forced to examine their own prejudices and fears.
Although Prentice was a fictional character played remarkably by Sidney Poitier in the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, many people of color relate to the feeling of uncertainty that can occur when involved in an interracial relationship. However, a woman named Gaye Clark is doing what she can to help other parents remove their judgment when their child brings home someone who is Black.
Clark, who lives in Georgia, has a daughter named Anna, who recently got engaged. When she met her daughter’s Black fiancé, she quickly had to cast aside any preconceived ideas she had about him. As the family grew to accept Glenn, she decided to post on a blog called The Gospel Coalition, in order to encourage other families to do the same.
In her post, she talks about the moment she knew she had to accept the “African-American with dreads named Glenn.”
“It wasn’t long ago that interracial marriage — particularly a black man like Glenn marrying a white girl like Anna — was considered the ultimate taboo in American white society. (In fact, it was illegal in 16 states until 1967, when the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that race-based restrictions violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Hence the film releasing this fall, Loving.) Though I never shared this prejudice, I never expected the issue to enter my life,” Clark wrote.
As she got to know Glenn, she realized what really mattered was the fact that he and Anna shared the same religious principles, which ultimately helped Clark to warmly embrace him. Although Clark feels that she never had any deep feelings of prejudice towards Glenn, she knew that other people, even members of her church, would not feel the same way.
“One woman in church looked over at Anna and Glenn and gingerly asked, “Are they . . . dating?” Clark recalled. “‘Engaged!’ I grinned and winked at them. She gave a pained smile, and then sighed and shook her head. ‘It’s just . . . their future children. They have no idea what’s ahead of them!’ I nodded. ‘When Jim and I were married, we had no idea what was ahead of us either. I stopped believing the lie we could control our trials years ago.’”
It may seem weird that there needs to be a blog post (on a Christian website no less) just to remind parents how to be decent to the people their children choose to be with. Yet, that is still the truth of the country we live in. With all of the racist rhetoric that has been spewed by people like Donald Trump, it’s not that surprising that Clark decided to remind the world that we are all created equally and should be treated as such.
“All ethnicities are made in the image of God, have one ancestor, and can trace their roots to the same parents, Adam and Eve,” Clark wrote. “As you pray for your daughter to choose well, pray for your eyes to see clearly, too. Glenn moved from being a black man to beloved son when I saw his true identity as an image bearer of God, a brother in Christ and a fellow heir to God’s promises.”
(Photo: Anna Wiggins via Facebook)