When an African American woman married her college sweetheart, a white man from a small town, people talked. They married and welcomed a beautiful baby girl together, but still, the scornful glances and bigoted whispers continued.
Eventually, the happily married wife and mother took to social media to share her story. But rather than join the haters in their vitriol, she chose a message of love and inclusivity.
Asharel Chastain moved around a lot as a kid. But when she entered the third grade, her family settled in Glenpool, Oklahoma. She said Glenpool was “predominately white,” and most of her new friends were white.
“Moving to Glenpool was difficult and different at first,” Asharel wrote on Love What Matters, “because I had always gone to black schools and had always been around black people. I, of course, adapted, and opened up to my new community.”
She added that eventually, growing up in the new community was easy because everyone made her “feel welcomed” as if the color of her skin did not matter. “[M]y parents always taught me to love everyone, no matter the color of their skin, and that is what I did,” she said.
Brady Chastain grew up in a small town with hardly any black residents, but his parents taught him a similar lesson: to love others despite the color of their skin.
Sharing their love story, Asharel said she and her husband were just freshmen in college when they met.
“We had several classes together … We both knew we liked one another, but of course, we played it off until we couldn’t anymore,” she recalled.
Brady proposed shortly after the couple graduated from college; Asharel said yes. They married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on July 7, 2018, and 10 months after the wedding, Asharel fell pregnant with a baby girl; they named their daughter A’vaya.
“We have adjusted,” she said. “We were once this young couple in college helping one another with homework, to now being a married couple with our own house, own cars, college degrees, two dogs, and our first child!”
Yet Asharel and Brady, who made their home in Missouri, soon discovered that prejudice had followed them into happily married life and parenthood.
“As an interracial couple, we sometimes get glares from both the white and black communities,” Asharel said. “Glares that are meant to be judgmental since we are ‘married outside of our race.’”
Asharel said that the “glares and hateful stares” never bothered them, but they did “definitely notice it.”
“We have been together for so long and have come so far in our relationship that we just laugh, and talk about how ridiculous people are in 2020 to still judge an interracial couple,” she added.
As a college couple, the pair would be upset by the looks and comments, unable to understand why their mutual love didn’t speak for itself. However, with age comes insight; both Asharel and Brady now acknowledge that the most deeply ingrained prejudices can be oblivious to love.
The Chastains understand the prejudice they receive, but they do not condone it.
“We love each other so much it only makes our love grow stronger,” Asharel wrote. “From this interracial relationship, we have both learned so much about one another’s background and we have grown together as a couple.”
Talking about their little bundle of joy, their baby girl, Asharel wrote: “To our little mixed girl, we will teach her to love everything about her curls, fair skin, and green eyes. We will educate her on both her black and white cultural background. We will teach her to love every ounce of herself, no matter what society says about interracial people.”
Baby A’vaya will grow up the way her parents did: loving with an open heart, and without prejudice.
“We are determined to teach our daughter to love everyone, no matter the color of their skin, appearance, etc. We are determined to teach her to love with an open heart. We will teach her to know the color of someone’s skin does not define who they are,” she added.
“We will ignore the negativity, and continue to shine as a family,” Asharel wrote. “We will stand for interracial couples. We will be the change in the world.”
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