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Getting personal on interracial relationships

By Mara Schiavocampo, NBC Nightly News digital correspondent

I know a lot about interracial relationships. I'm the product of one. My parents - married over 30 years - are an interracial couple. My mom is Black, my father White. It's been interesting for me to tackle this issue in the piece "Love, In Black and White", because it gives me an opportunity to compare my parent's experience as an interracial couple in the 1960s to what's happening today.
 
I've heard the story a million times. When my maternal grandmother discovered that a White man was coming to take her daughter on a date, she decided to sabotage their budding romance. When my father knocked on the door my grandmother answered with a t-shirt full of holes. She was eating a hot dog - no bun - with her bare hands. She stripped my twin cousins, toddlers at the time, down to their diapers and had them run around the apartment like little hellions. She was trying to make a bad impression and scare off my father. Thankfully for me, it didn't work.

                        
                Mara's parents, Hazel and Rino, with paternal grandmother, Maria
 
They faced other challenges as a couple. On one occasion a group of thugs from my mother's neighborhood met my father at his car and issued a not-so-subtle threat, saying, "It would be a shame for anything to happen to your nice car." "Yes," he agreed. "It would." And he kept seeing my mother.
 
One thing that I always found interesting was that in my parent's case, the Black community was more resistant than Whites.
 
Overall, the women I spoke with for my story have had a much easier time dating interracially these days. When I asked about discrimination they answered with a collective shrug. But when pressed about the response from the Black community they did start to talk about people giving them a hard time. "People in our communities will put their hands on us and say, 'What are you doing?'" said Nikki Doughty, founder of the group Black Women Who Date Interracially. You can see more of that group discussion in "Girl Talk"
 
If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out "Love In Black and White". In addition to the women I mentioned, we hear from Essence Magazine  Editor-In-Chief Angela Burt Murray, and many others. And after you watch, I hope to hear from all of you too.