Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Interracial Marriage: A Personal Perspective

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Interracial Marriage: A Personal Perspective

Article excerpt

LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE: THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE OVER PREJUDICE AND TABOO. By Mark and Gail Mathabane, HarperCollins, 274 pp., $20

IN the race-conscious United States, surprisingly little has been written about mixed marriages. Mark Mathabane, author of the best-selling "Kaffir Boy" (1986) and its sequel, "Kaffir Boy in America" (1989), lays open this issue with another compelling autobiography about race relations.

"Love in Black and White," an insightful look into the lives of interracial couples, is a heart-warming romance as well. The intimate journal is team-written by this black South African with his wife, Gail, a white American. Both are journalists who met while students in New York City.

Most chapters are divided into "Mark's View" or "Gail's View," in which the authors interweave their ups and downs, challenges, and the joys of their individual experiences.

Mark's direct, clean, and riveting writing style appears again in this joint venture. Gail has her own winning style - her honest, probing mind sorts through the perplexing issues that confront their partnership.

Mark and Gail met while Mark was working on "Kaffir Boy" - the story of his extraordinary escape from a devastating childhood in Alexandra, one of South Africa's most oppressive black townships.

The struggle to write "Kaffir Boy," maintain his support for the freedom of blacks in South Africa (including his own family), his development as a writer, and his love for Gail unfold through often touching and sometimes painful accounts in "Love in Black and White."

As in Mark's other books, there is a remarkable absence of bitterness. He has the ability to perceive the potential for the humane in all.

Gail writes about attending a junior high school in Texas, where she was a minority. "Gangs of blacks and Mexicans patrolled the school halls," she says. A minister's daughter, she came from a family that fostered moral courage and an independent spirit. This formative thinking gave her strength to survive a racially torn junior high and, later, the ability to confront stinging racial stereotypes and prejudice.

Despite the grave issues the mixed couple face, their journals never bog down. …

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