My fascination with New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio and his family was sparked by a single photograph. It was the one of the ‘Fab Four’ gittin’ down at the West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day. Their obvious joy in the moment and with each other was alluring. They were a family diving fully into politics and remaining unbelievably normal through it all.
What do I mean by “normal”? Normal, as in not forcing 15-year-old Dante to shave his phenomenal Afro before filming his instant-sensation campaign ad in some pandering bid to fit someone else’s definition of “normal.” The Post’s Krissah Thompson and Lonnae O’Neal Parker wrote a superb piece on how the “incoming first family says it all with their hair.” But what I love most about the de Blasio’s is their ability to remain unbelievably normal despite others trying to cast their loving family as anything but.
My Post colleague Richard Cohen is catching considerable hell for the “gag”-worthy comment about the de Blasios in his column today. But as Ezra Klein points out in response, interracial marriage enjoys support from 87 percent of Americans.
That poll doesn’t surprise me. Leave aside all the interracial relationships on television (yes, I’m talking about you “Scandal,” among others), we have been watching the romantic integration of these United States for years. As a kid I marveled at the unending flow of black-and-white couplings on Jerry Springer and Montel Williams. Today, there are plenty of real-life interracial couplings and families that inspire. And let’s not forget that our president is the result of a biracial marriage.
As a nation, we have a long way to go on the issue of race. There will always be misunderstandings to correct and misperceptions to clarify. And as that happens we move that much closer to Martin Luther King’s “Dream.” Actually, when it comes to the meaning of de Blasio’s family in the grand story of America, the sign on the mayor-elect’s podium a week ago tonight summed up in one word: Progress.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj