We’re Still Living In The Dark Ages ……………..

And here am I thinking that the US sees its citizens as being equal under the law ? Perhaps all of the idiocy that it alleges is ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ is nothing more than a fallacy ?

Outside  a  bus stand   in   Durham  ,  North   Carolina   during  the   fifties.    picture  courtesy   wiki/archives/    Race  relations   ................
Outside a bus stand in Durham , North Carolina during the fifties. picture courtesy wiki/archives/ Race relations ................

If you’re in some doubt then read the following story and ask yourself has this country really progressed over the last forty years , since the ‘Civil Rights Era’ highlighted by the events of the fifties and the sixties ?

Courtesy of Associated Press;

Interracial couple denied marriage license

La. justice of the peace cites concerns about any children couple might have

HAMMOND, La. – A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.

“I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house,” Bardwell said. “My main concern is for the children.”

‘I feel the children will later suffer’
Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Thirty-year-old Beth Humphrey and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey told the newspaper she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell’s wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples.

“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman. “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”

‘He knew he was breaking the law’
The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office, Schwartzman said.

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzman said.

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According to the clerk of court’s office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk’s office.

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If this story doesn’t paint a stark contrast of what this country claims it is and how it likes to portray itself to its allies across the globe. Then in reality the actions of but a few alludes one to believe that not much has in effect changed. What I’d like to know is what this official is thinking in denying this couple a marriage license to begin with ? It oughtn’t to be his concern as to what the familial environment will be or the fact that this happens to be an interracial couple to begin with.

Mildred  Loving  and her husband  Richard  Loving     shown  here  in  January  of   1965  in their   home .    The   couple  were   part  of  a  landmark   ruling   by  the  US  Supreme   Court  that  allowed   interracial   marriage .  The  ruling   was   in a case   brought  against the  state   of Virginia    in  1967  . Which  they  ended   up  winning  and  in  essence  it   brought  about  a  social   change  that  had   wide   reaching   ramifications   across  the   country  with  regard  to   race  relations and   that   of    interracial  relationships .       picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Richard  Cutler   .........................
Mildred Loving and her husband, Richard Loving, shown here in January of 1965 in their home . The couple were part of a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court that allowed interracial marriage . The ruling was in a case brought against the state of Virginia in 1967 . Which they ended up winning and in essence it brought about a social change that had wide reaching ramifications across the country with regard to race relations and that of interracial relationships . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Cutler .........................

If this couple has broken no civil or federal laws pertaining to this act. Then they ought not to have been denied a marriage license in the course of making the application. As asinine as this might sound this but indicates how out of touch this individual is , and how he no doubts views the world.

The excuse being used by this city official borders on the absurd to begin with. And these are some of the numerous lessons that we want to teach the next generation ? Excuse me for saying this but this official should be relieved of his position as a city or parish official. The days of this sort of bigotry cannot be tolerated at all. This after-all is the 21st century and not the height of the ‘Jim Crow laws’ or earlier discrimination from a bygone era.

Unfortunately because of the internal strife within the country at present. And the mere fact that issues are being drawn out not only amongst socio-economic lines but also racial lines. It clearly shows that the country is spiraling out of control socially as well as economically. It now sets a bad precedence , wherein, the future generation will see this as just another way of showing that we’ve not generally progressed all that far from the civil rights era where there was a great deal of racial intolerance being shown by the then majority against the ethnic minorities within the United States of America. Somehow the word ‘United’ when used in context to describe this country now becomes something of an oxymoron at this juncture. As nothing could be further from the truth !
I’d preface this by saying when a country is united it tends to work alongside each other in trying to work out its differences. Not using a form racial indifference to justify an act or belief.

I Think I Could Do That ………… !

As the eldest of three , with a younger brother and sister. It was such bestowed upon me that I’d have to be a protector of my younger siblings. Well with the fact that my father thought it best to desert this his then family and start life anew elsewhere. It left me angry and my mother an emotional wreck at the time. At the age of nine , a ‘father figure’ as such became unknown to me. So instead , it was left a distant relative to come along and bestow his own knowledge and kindness upon myself and younger siblings.

 Roundhouse   kick  in   karate
Roundhouse kick in karate

And with the fact that now my now deserted mother had to work all the hours that God could send. It left all three of us (kids) with a great deal of time on our hands. To say that we weren’t mischievous would be putting it mildly. But if there was one thing clear … ‘it was the unconditional love ‘ that our mother showed us , no matter what her emotional mindset was at the time. She’d regale us with the fact that she was proud of us and the way that we were beginning to overcome the departure of our father. She stated that we weren’t at fault in any way. Somehow , I wasn’t sure that was true but later on , I believed her . And that came about in the most unusual of ways.

'Kata'   the  traditional    karate  movement   format
'Kata' the traditional karate movement format

‘Kata’ the traditional terms used in any martial arts movement format. Closely associated however, in the genre of karate.

Grant, who was my mother’s cousin , felt it was necessary for my brother and I to take up a sporting endeavor that he felt would toughen us up. Well in high school , I played and participated in a number of sports, from soccer , to boxing, to cricket , to tennis, to track and field. But if anything it was those sports he felt wasn’t what he felt would make men of my brother and myself. He introduced us both to the martial arts. Karate to be exact. And that was how it came about that I fell in love with the martial arts . The first time entering a martial arts dojo . and seeing karate first hand , up close and personal. And it were as if I’d finally found my calling . I became enamored with the thought of being a martial arts practitioner. I’d seen the movies of Bruce Lee and loved them ! Though the story lines were somewhat far fetched and the action seemed implausible. Those times I shared with friends watching those films at a late night showing in a movie theater ,were memorable in more ways than one.

Muay  thai  boxing
Muay thai boxing

Boxing and soccer had always been my first loves when it came to sports. But now karate had become my mistress . And if anything , I found it far more exhilarating than that of soccer and boxing. My brother wasn’t one for discipline insomuch as the teachings of the discipline and he soon dropped out attending the classes. His passion , he felt at the time was to play soccer and no doubt chase the female form. Not that I for one wasn’t interested in the latter. But by my way of thinking at the time. You could always impress the females with something shall we say ….. different ? And so it came about that the genre of the martial arts and that of karate became my passion. Over the years I’ve immersed myself in the art , its teachings and Far Eastern philosophy. Along the way I practiced other forms of martial arts , including savate, taekwondo and muay thai . Karate however, was where I honed my skills and became proficient enough to earn a Black Belt in the art. Upon entering the military (British Royal Marines) I taught the art to members of the military whilst in the service. Those ten years initially spent learning the art gave me a good grounding , for which I’ll be forever grateful upon my uncle for bestowing upon me. Were it not for him. I seriously doubt that I’d have come this far , much less learned the lessons that have made the person I am today.

Taekwondo    tournament
Taekwondo tournament

And whilst my stay in the military was a fruitful one . Where I served my country, made a slew of friends and have seen various parts of the world. I still at times hearken back to that first visit to the dojo and wondered what might’ve been, had I not chosen to remain there and learned something.

Has there been an experience in your life that has been somewhat similar ? And if so what was it and how was it beneficial for you ?