*Jason George with his piercing brown eyes, suave smile, and his rich baritone voice it is no wonder that he has managed to charm audiences for over twenty years on television, film and the stage. As a series regular on ABC Grey’s Anatomy, he plays Dr. Ben Warren, the sexy anesthesiologist turned surgeon and husband of Dr. Miranda Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson).
Grey’s season finale left fans hopeful that Ben and Miranda will weather the tumultuous storm in their marriage that was brought on by Ben’s medical mishap with a patient.
“One of my favorite scenes in the tail end of the season was when Ben and Jackson were talking. He sounds halfway insane because Ben is perfectly fine sleeping on the couch and his goal is ‘I am just going to wait her out until she realizes she is wrong’,” says Jason with a chuckle. “It just underscores the fact they are two of the most stubborn people on the planet, but that there’s such a strong love there.”
While the fictional character Ben can attest to the proverb, love conquers all, in the end; Jason is currently promoting the same message in his upcoming project. As a political activist and philanthropist, Jason teamed up with MASC, Multiracial Americans of Southern California, to help with fundraising and the promotion of their documentary the Melting Pot Project. The organization will be collecting stories of people currently engaged or who were involved in multicultural relationships. Selected individuals and couples will be featured to discuss their experiences in the upcoming documentary.
The project hits close to home:
“My wife is East Indian, and I am African-American, our kids are part Black and part Indian and that creates great conversations. I mean, our President has a Caucasian mother, an African father, and a South Asian step-dad, but right now we are in this presidential election cycle, and we have so much controversy about cultural differences,” says Jason.
His observation adds to the stark contrast of when President Barack Obama was campaigning to be Chief Executive Officer in 2008 with a platform that was able to unite people across the cultural aisle. Fast forward to 2016 and the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump espouses racist and sexist rhetoric targeting Mexicans, Muslims, and women as part of his political policy and has gained the support of white supremacists groups.
As racial tension continues to boil, Jason feels that it is quite apropos to showcase the beauty and love of multicultural relationships.
“Everyone feels that they are under attack and MASC’s sole purpose to reconciling cultural differences within individuals,” explains Jason. The idea behind the film was to take an in-depth look at the bonds between people that come from different backgrounds, how they overcame their cultural differences, and the lessons this nation can learn from them. “The fundamental legend of America is the great American melting pot. People from all different races, religions, and countries can come together and form something greater than the sum of its parts, to form a more perfect union, and yet all of our cultural differences seem to be the greatest conflicts that we have. So we decided to look at that other union, marriage, and see where that is working across the cultural divide,” says Jason.
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Multicultural relationships, according to Jason, creates a model for how individuals should deal with diversity in this nation and provides a barometer of where our tolerances of cultural difference fall in today’s society. Which begs the question, how far have we come as a nation since June 12, 1967, a date declared as Loving Day in honor of Richard and Mildred Loving when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for any state to ban interracial marriage due to the decision of Loving vs. Virginia.
“[Before] 1967, it would be illegal for me to be married to my wife. It would have been illegal for any number of people to be married, and [the case] said if there are two consenting adults, then it’s none of your business, you should have the right to marry who you love, and that’s a phenomenal thing. Denying people the right to marry is the ultimate discrimination,” says Jason.
According to the 2010 United States Census, there was a 28 percent increase in inter-ethnic and interracial couples, and while most will hold to the belief that we are living in a post-racial society, there is always an indication that some Americans do not share the same sentiment. Consider on April 29, 2016, when Old Navy tweeted an ad that depicted an African-American woman, a Caucasian-American man, and African-American young boy as a family; the ad sparked outrage on social media. Some of the fashion retailer’s followers spewed intense vitriol, decrying white genocide and voiced their utter dismay at the image which they felt promoted miscegenation.
Jason is also, cognizant that members of the African-American community are just as culpable of showcasing their racial intolerance. He states:
“If a [white] person sees an interracial couple [like] a black man with a white woman and that person has an instant reaction to that; then they are a racist. But, then I see black people behind closed doors [and they] will say ‘well, you know a brother with a white woman,’ it gets real interesting when it comes to marriage across the cultural lines.”
For the African-American community the word intolerance is mostly associated with an adverse outlook towards racial differences especially toward their group; however, Jason has experienced situations of religious intolerance within his community. He recalls a friend was getting married to a person who came from a different religious background and the mother of his friend vehemently disapproved of the union.
“His mother shut it down and would not go to the wedding and forbade the whole thing. I grew up in this woman’s house, and she was progressive in general,” states Jason. “But when it came to her child and the actual lineage of her family going forward, suddenly this whole new thing came out, and I was fascinated. I was like you are somebody who spoke so positively about civil rights and equality, but then your kid marries someone, and you flip out. People get real when it comes to marriage within their family, and I think you get the [precise] temperature in melting pot. I want to take a look at when people come together and manage to turn conflict into tolerance or tolerance into love.”
Turning tolerance into love is the fundamental basis of Jason’s relationship when he initially met and fell in love with his wife.
“Though there was some trepidation early in our relationship. The issue was not that I was black but that I was not Indian. Now, my mother-in-law is my biggest fan. We have a relationship that my friends say they wish they had with their mother-in-laws, I love and adore her; she’s a wise woman,” says Jason. So to encourage the message of tolerance and love, Jason is helping to raise funds and awareness of documentary by participating in a raffle campaign. He encourages his fans to visit meltingproject.org to sign the Loving Day online petition by June 12th to make it an official recognized holiday. For those interested in monetarily contributing to the documentary, they can go to Prizeo.com/Jason where contestants will be a part of a raffle to win a free trip to Los Angeles from anywhere in the world, as well as, prizes like autographed Grey’s Anatomy television scripts, and t-shirts. The winner of the raffle will also get the opportunity to hang out with Jason on one incredible Thursday, with the possibility of visiting the set of Grey’s Anatomy. To conclude the day, the lucky participant will be invited to a private party in their honor along with some of Jason’s friends and co-stars from his show, to live tweet his show when it comes back to television in the fall.
For all his effort, Jason seeks to form bridges between people of different backgrounds, “I am not advocating that everyone should be in a multicultural relationship, I just want to acknowledge that they exist and [should be] treated equally,” says Jason. His message of encouraging people to exhibit attitudes of tolerance, understanding, and love is a significant point that our country should rally behind, especially in these current times.