The Mixed-Race Marriage of Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2014-09-24 21:57Z by Steven

The Mixed-Race Marriage of Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray

Georgetown Law Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Harris Davidson

On November 5, Bill de Blasio, New York City’s public advocate, was elected Mayor of New York City. De Blasio’s victory had been all but assured since he prevailed in the highly contested Democratic August primary. New York City voters, dissatisfied with the perceived shortcomings of the Bloomberg administration, voted into office the city’s first Democratic mayor in over 20 years.

From the time de Blasio won the hotly contested primary race up until his win on November 5, he held a commanding lead over his Republican opponent, Joseph Lhota. He defeated Lhota by an astounding margin of 49 percentage points. Though de Blasio cruised to an easy and expected victory, his rise to prominence has been unexpected and far from conventional…

…De Blasio and McCray, who has kept her maiden name, style themselves as a newer, more liberal, version of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Their mixed-race marriage and their two mixed race children add to their image as an urban, new-age, “this-is-what-the future-of-America-looks-like” family. Surprisingly, the campaign coverage of their relationship and family was almost entirely positive, and rather than being forced to defend themselves, de Blasio and McCray used their mixed-race marriage to their political advantage.

The most prominent example of how de Blasio’s mixed race marriage helped his campaign was with the television ad that is credited with helping secure his primary win: “Dante.” In the ad, a light skinned Black teenager with a large afro discusses de Blasio’s agenda and extols the candidate. The ad seems at first to be a normal campaign ad. The kicker comes at the end when the teenager tells the viewers he would be supporting de Blasio even if the candidate wasn’t his father. The viewer, realizing the teenager isn’t a paid actor, then sees the de Blasio walking down the road with the teenager, who turns out to be de Blasio’s son, Dante.

What does the effectiveness of the ad and lack of criticism about de Blasio’s marriage and family say about Americans’ changing attitudes towards mixed race families? For one, it shows that the doors to higher office are now fully open to politicians in mixed race marriages. More importantly, it signifies how much Americans’ racial tolerance has progressed since 1967 when, in Loving v. Virginia, 338 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1967), Virginia fought to uphold as constitutional its anti-miscegenation laws…

Read the entire article here.

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