Everyday People

 

In the state of Nevada the anti miscegenation law was repealed in 1959, so that people of different races could finally marry legally there.

Prior to that time this law was not strictly enforced in all the counties in the state, but yet most counties outright refused inter racial couples that wished to marry in Nevada. They had to either find a county that was more lenient or find a place they could get married. Much of the U.S. was like that then.

Mom and Dad at first tried to get married in Reno in the late Nineteen forties and were turned away there because in Washoe County where Reno is located, inter racial marriage was not allowed due to the anti miscegenation law being the norm.

In their eyes, Dad, who was mestizo; half Filipino and half American looked white to them. And Mom, who was half Hawaiian and half Filipino, looked Chinese to them. The reason they were told was that ďwhites could not marry ChineseĒ and that such marriages were against the law there, so they had to go elsewhere.

Not far away from Reno is Carson City, the Government seat of the state of Nevada, which at the time was what was then Ormsby County, then and now still the Capitol of the state. Mom and Dad were able to be married in Carson City because in that county the anti miscegenation law was not strictly enforced.

Imagine my surprise at this news many years later in casual conversation with them on separate occasions as they each in turn related this story to me as a matter of fact as if it was no big thing, and that it was just something that happened to them.

I guess Mom and Dad endured many hardships and what they encountered when they tried to get married was just something else they had to deal with in life. Up until that time I would have never imagined that they would have been discriminated against, the whole idea of anything like that seemed unreal.

We only knew them as providers and as nurturing, fulfilling that parental role, unaware of the way society was in previous generations for those like them who came before us. There was never even any hint of any type of discrimination that they had encountered in our view; every thing we saw or lived seemed normal to us kids.

Of course by the time our generation began to open our eyes and ears to the world as a whole, much of society had started to change in the late sixties. Many of the freedoms and basics we took for granted were not always so, and in the city we lived in tolerance seemed to be more evident than in plenty of other places in this country.

Yet subtleties donít die or fade away entirely when something like that runs for so long and for so deep, and most of now it isnít as blatant as it was in the past. That is why in particular I am so thankful and grateful to have been brought up in a place where we had just about everything, and just about everybody you could imagine.

Iím glad we didnít have to endure some of the things like what happened to Mom and Dad when they tried to get married in Reno back then, or when women did not have the right to vote, and black folks werenít allowed to sit in the front of the bus, or when the Chinese immigrants were not allowed to bring their wives America.

Sly Stone sang; ďI am no better and neither are you; we are the same whatever we do,

Iím Everyday PeopleĒ.