Interracial marriage still not OK for LDS either…?

Apparently not according to this year’s Aaronic Priesthood manual. Here’s a quote from Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, Lesson 31:

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

On the bright side, it looks like it isn’t just the Young Women who get lessons like the one BiV’s daughters got.

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65 Comments

  1. 51
    kuri says:

    When a high official of a church with (then-current) white supremacist doctrines advises against interracial marriage, common sense (and Occam’s razor) would dictate that the burden of proof should fall on anyone claiming a non-racist motivation, not the reverse. Is that not obvious?

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  2. 52
    Alan says:

    What would Packer’s counsel mean to a mixed-race Mormon?

    “Oh, I wasn’t talking to you,” Packer says. “I was talking to all the monoracial people in the room.”

    Racist much?

    Wheres your data to back this up? The study I linked to above was published in 2008, so I would say that the data is current.

    My partner and I have been together for almost 5 years, and there are no marriage plans between us. If we separated (or stayed together) after the ten year mark, we wouldn’t be included in the study because (1) we’re the same gender and (2) we were never married to begin with. Needless to say, I find the study to be lacking.

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  3. 53
    chanson says:

    I completely agree with Kuri @51 about the burden of proof. Especially considering that the BKP talk cited @31 was given at BYU at a time when BYU was a focal point in the public discussion of Mormonism’s racist priesthood ban.

    However, I think it would be wise for all of us to review the wise words in this video (and watch the whole thing, it’s great!):

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  4. 54

    @DPC 50:

    Ageism is an actual problem and a form of discrimination. In the Mormon congregations I’ve been in, agesist comments against teenagers were the norm rather than the exception, and no one except me ever spoke out against them. When I did, I reminded the Mormons present that Joseph Smith was 14 when he had his First Vision (according to the version of his story that is currently accepted as canon), and Mary was 13-14 when she gave birth to Jesus IIRC.

    Another form of ageism is the Mormon gerontocracy, in which one reason the church’s leaders are deferred to is simply because they are old. Whenever their teachings seem off-base, clueless, discriminatory, or extremely ageist against young people, it’s taken as a sign that these things are okay, and/or the people who question these things must not have understood properly.

    Mormon youth are infantilized through the Young Single Adults program, are required to have (in essence) “adult supervision” for running and planning their activities, and are basically abandoned once they turn 30.

    I don’t know if it’s ageist to say it’s a bad idea to marry young, but I think that it’s usually done for ageist reasons, and shows that the person in question sees you as “a young person” rather than the person you are.

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  5. 55
    Hellmut says:

    Here is the core of the problem: Race is not a biological but an imagined category that is established and sustained with marriage prohibitions.

    If no one said, don’t marry one of those people, there would be no race. So marriage prohibitions are the essence of racism.

    You might have all sort of biases but as long as you can honestly say that you wouldn’t mind if your daughter married a member of that other group, then you have honestly overcome racism.

    Conversely, if you continue to cling to this or that excuse not to marry a member of the same species just because they belong to the wrong group then you promote racism.

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  6. 56
    leftofcentre says:

    If BKP isn’t racist but only, occasionally, spouts racist remarks speaking, not as a man, but as a mouthpiece for the LDS church, it places the church in a tricky position.

    It makes the church seem to privilege and uphold power structures (Mexicans marry Mexicans, Chinese marry Chinese, etc) that were man-made in the first instance. Who drew the borders for countries? Who made up cultural norms for a region or a tribe?

    As for BKP advising the Genesis Group, well that’s a group created by Mormons, isn’t it? What is the Genesis Group gonna do, kick his ass to the kerb, especially being a GA? Maybe they think they’ve got a better chance of having him calm down his rhetoric if he’s on-side rather than going head-to-head with him.

    Now, if BKP was asked to advise the NAACP or the ACLU, then, I think he might have a bit more credibility as a voice of reason when speaking on race issues. Seriously, he otherwise comes across as a man out of touch.

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  7. 57
    chanson says:

    If BKP isnt racist but only, occasionally, spouts racist remarks speaking, not as a man, but as a mouthpiece for the LDS church, it places the church in a tricky position.

    That’s essentially the point I was trying to make with the video I posted @53. Whether BKP personally is a racist deep in his heart or not is not really the problem. The problem is that the words coming out of his mouth (as a mouthpiece for the LDS church) have real consequences for interracial families, interracial kids, and for people’s attitudes towards people who are superficially different than themselves.

    It makes the church seem to privilege and uphold power structures (Mexicans marry Mexicans, Chinese marry Chinese, etc) that were man-made in the first instance. Who drew the borders for countries? Who made up cultural norms for a region or a tribe?

    Exactly. That was my other question. So “Mexican” is a race and so is “Caucasian”? (see comment @31) What about “Brazilian”? Is that a race that BKP thinks should only marry amongst themselves? What about “Canadian”? Or does he divide the Canadians into racial sub-categories the way he (apparently) does for the Americans…?

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  8. 58
    Alan says:

    If you’re white, you have privilege, and are more likely to act racist. Racism isn’t just segregationism, supremacism or xenophobia in individuals. It’s something that’s built into the model of the nation-state and a number of institutions (if we think about immigration law, or the comparative number of black men in the prison system, for example). Some ethnic studies scholars go so far as to argue that “race” is the condition of the modern subject by which some of us are subjected to violence and others not. So, I think we should move away from the idea of racism being something that our grandparents did. It’s not something that will “disappear” anytime soon.

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  9. 59
    kuri says:

    If youre white, you have privilege, and are more likely to act racist.

    I’m not sure that isn’t an oversimplification. I think people with racial privilege are more likely to do or say racist things unconsciously, i.e., do or say racist things that they don’t understand are racist. We’re also likely, of course, to simply roll with our privilege even when we’re aware of it.

    Obviously, power, privilege, and institutions affect how racism can be expressed, so I’m not at all trying to play the “poor white me” card beloved of the American right, but I’m not at all sure that people of non-privileged “races” are in general actually less racist. It seems to me that the very lack of racial privilege can actually make people more racially conscious (out of necessity), which can lead to some fairly overt racism among people of color.

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  10. 60
    Alan says:

    It seems to me that the very lack of racial privilege can actually make people more racially conscious (out of necessity), which can lead to some fairly overt racism among people of color.

    Racism can be thought of as the way people treat people directly as individuals, or it can thought of as also including questions of institutional power that are often indirect. In the end, whites have more power to abuse, and thus I would argue more chance to be “racist.” People of color, I would argue, would exhibit “racial bias.”

    If you compare this to sexism, and ask, “Can women be sexist?” the answer is similar. Certainly, plenty of women are misandrist (exhibit prejudice against males), but I would argue this is “gender bias” as opposed to “sexism.”

    The reason I make these distinctions is because if racism or sexism or whatever-ism get equally applied to everyone (everyone can be equally racist/sexist, etc), then it strips away the historical undercurrent of certain groups actually having power over others, and we’d have to come up with new terms to explain that reality.

    Edit: That said, “racial bias” is also very harmful, and if a person of color says to another person of color that something they did or said was “racist” — I’m not gonna intrude and say, “Actually, it’s racial bias, because otherwise, I’m not included in the picture as a white person.” =p That would be whitesplaining.

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  11. 61
    kuri says:

    I’m not sure what I think about that. I see the distinction, and it’s important, but it seems to deny personal experience on some level. For example, at the plurality-black junior high school where my friends from my neighborhood went (I went to private school and later moved to the suburbs), white and Asian kids got bullied by black kids all the time. On an interpersonal level, black kids deliberately exercised racial power over them. (Although at the institutional level, obviously, the white administrators and teachers ruled over the black kids much more thoroughly, and maybe with just as much, albeit more subtle, bias.)

    But my point is that if we try to draw the distinction too sharply, we end up telling people like my friends, for example, “Those black kids weren’t being racist when they bullied you because you’re white, they just hated white kids.” And I think that will just sound stupid to most people.

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  12. 62
    Alan says:

    Those black kids werent being racist when they bullied you because youre white, they just hated white kids.

    I remember being bullied by an older white kid because I had a black friend. Instead of directly bullying my friend who was sitting next to me on the bus, the guy would bully me instead. Is it “racism” when a white person bullies another white person for his association with blackness? I agree that vernacularly it’s probably easier to apply “racism” to the whole gamut of race-based discrimination regardless of who is bullying whom, but if you don’t make the historical distinctions in some fashion, then very quickly something like “affirmative action” gets thought about as “racist.”

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  13. 63
    kuri says:

    Like I said, I recognize the distinction you’re making and think it’s important. But I guess what I’m trying to get at is how, “vernacularly,” to talk about this so that people can understand it.

    I mean, the kind of white kids who lived in my neighborhood didn’t have a lot of economic privilege, our friends were white, black, Filipino, Native American, and Asian. It never would have occurred to us to pick on somebody because of their race. It wouldn’t have made any sense.

    So the first time most of my white friends really encountered racial bias, if we’re calling it that, was when they got bullied by black kids in junior high because they were white. (And I certainly recognize the late date of that encounter in itself as a kind of privilege.) And since even after that they didn’t go around consciously discriminating against black people, maybe the next time they encountered race in a way that meant something to them was when they, or someone they knew, missed out on an opportunity (or appeared to) because of affirmative action.

    So how do you you talk to someone like that about privilege and the supposed difference between “racism” and “racial bias” in a way that will make sense to them? Because they’ll be the first to say that discriminating against people based on race is racism, and it’s wrong, and it’s bad. And what will you say to them when they ask you why affirmative action isn’t racism too?

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  14. 64

    [...] of Mormons are in interracial marriages (I know this from my Facebook friends), there is still some literature floating around in the Mormon church discouraging the practice. Now, granted most Americans’ revealed [...]

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  15. 65

    Enjoyed every bit of your article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

       0 likes

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