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White mayor, black wife: NYC shatters an image

By Jesse Washington AP National Writer | 11/22/2013, 6 a.m.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio poses with son Dante, daughter Chiara, and wife, Chirlane, after he was elected the first Democratic mayor of New York City in 20 years. Photo courtesy of AP.

Miles, a black University of Michigan professor, recently wrote a column about being stung by the sight of so many successful black men choosing white wives. It feels like "a personal rejection of the group in which I am a part, of African American women as a whole, who have always been devalued in this society,’’ Miles wrote.

So for her, de Blasio and McCray’s victory feels like confirmation - especially since McCray does not resemble the type of black woman that mainstream America usually deems beautiful, like Halle Berry or Beyonce.

"A woman who has darker skin and natural hair, and a white man,’’ Miles said. "To see a black woman who is in a long-term relationship with children and her partner, who does not fit that stiff, narrow, idealized image of what a black woman should look like, I think is powerful.’’

De Blasio was elected in New York, perhaps the most diverse city in America. But he is connecting with people across the country, especially the children of interracial marriages.

"It’s just the resonance of it. How much it means for families to see a family like them in a visible place,’’ said Ken Tanabe, a New Yorker with a Japanese father and Belgian mother. He is the founder of the Loving Day organization _ www.lovingday.org _ which organizes annual events celebrating the 1967 Supreme Court decision that struck down laws against interracial marriage.

Said Cohen, the former defense secretary: "It says a lot about this country. Where we’ve come from, how far.’’