Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Color Code

Early on in my freshman year, I came face-to-face with BJU's interracial dating policy. I was in a group for English or speech or something and our group was to meet and the only people who showed up to meet on a Sunday afternoon were me and a guy whose name I can't remember. He is black, I am not. On a Sunday, the only place we could meet was the dating parlor.

Only we couldn't sit together in the dating parlor. Because then it would be a date. And there was no interracial dating.

So we sat on the steps to the dating parlor and planned out what we were going to do.

It bothered me then and bothered me now.

It made no sense.

Years later, Camille would put words to it. I was a student raised in the north who attended the school after 1983.

Bob Jones didn't give up its tax-exempt status because it didn't want to be accredited*, it went all the way to the Supreme Court and lost its tax-exempt status over interracial dating.

*as I had been told and as I had self-righteously explained to others: "Bob Jones University is the only private institution to pay taxes because they don't want the secular government telling them what to do, who to hire, or what to teach."

They had to admit students of color but they held fast to that interracial dating policy.

I wish I had known. I wish that if I had known, I would have had a voice to speak.

That I was part and party of racism, however ignorant my involvement and unwitting my participation, sickens me. Twists my stomach. Shames me.

I didn't know "separation" = "segregation" to them. I didn't know a lot, but this in particular disgusts me.

I'm sorry that I didn't know. I'm sorry that not only did I not know, I didn't do anything but mindlessly parrot their defense.

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