Pop quiz: You are a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana and a couple comes to you to be married. The woman is white, the man is black. You turn them away because you don’t want them to have mixed race babies. You are:
B) A defender of children.
C) Treating everyone equally.
If you answered both B and C, then you’re probably Keith Bardwell, a New Orleans Justice of the Peace who recently declined to marry an interracial couple because, in his experience, those kinds of marriages just don’t tend to last.
Not surprisingly, Bardwell is getting a lot of shit for his stance, and folks, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, are calling for his resignation.
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press. Bardwell has never married an interracial couple in his entire career. “I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.
See? He’s not a racist. Duh, obviously. And anyway, with the election of Barack Obama, America has finally proven that racism no longer exists in this country. We are so post-race that you can even believe that mixing races is horrible and still not be a racist. So long as you have black friends, of course. Does Bardwell? Yes.
“I have piles and piles of black friends,” he said. “They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”
OK, wait. Bardwell keeps his black friends in piles? What? Are they buried in his yard?
I’m sorry. I’m being too hard on Bardwell. After all, he lets blacks use his bathroom. See? Not racist.
Besides, Bardwell is a man who puts children first, especially hypothetical mixed race children who might face hypothetical adversity someday because some idiot let a black man and a white woman get married. Everyone knows that children from such a union would never be accepted anywhere.
“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”
“Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president,” Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, told the AP.
The irony of Bardwell’s motives also did not escape Bill Burton, Obama’s deputy press secretary. “I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good,” he said.
When Bardwell appeared on CBS’ “The Early Show” he stated that being interracial isn’t the only reason he would refuse to marry a couple. He’d also say no if they were drunk or stoned.
“Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades,” said Quigley, obviously not getting the whole post-race thing. “No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow.”
As for Bardwell, he’s unapologetic. “It’s kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven’t done wrong,” he said according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m sorry, you know, that I offended the couple, but I did help them and tell them who to go to and to get married. And they went and got married, and they should be happily married, and I don’t see what the problem is now,” he told “The Early Show.”
Uh, the problem, dude, is you.