Today we pay homage to Mildred and Richard Loving.
Today, June 12, 2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the day on which the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia. That decision held that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. It was a watershed event in the Civil Rights movement, which, among other things, helped paved the way for the growing number of interracial marriages and Multiracial families.
The lawsuit was instituted by Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia, who, in 1958, went across state lines to Washington, D.C. to get married because of Virginia’s law prohibiting their marriage. They later returned to Virginia and were jailed for violation of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law (law prohibiting interracial marriage). They challenged that law all the way to the Supreme Court and, as noted, prevailed. Theirs is a tale of love and, indeed, heroism.
Which begs the question: why were Mildred and Richard Loving so intent on getting married? To answer this question, we polled our panel of experts (actually, I just asked myself). Here is what our panel suggested.
To begin, it’s possible that Richard and Mildred Loving, like my wife and I, thought that getting married would provide a tax benefit, unaware that getting married does not accrue a tax benefit but rather serves as the basis for a draconian tax penalty. For those unmarried people out there, this is known as the “marriage penalty tax.” For those of us who are married this is known as “F*ckin’ IRS. Are you sh*tting me?!” Yes, you might save money by having only one rent or one home mortgage payment to split between the two of you, but the taxman is going to clawback a big hunk of that savings. Plus, you have to live together to share housing expenses, and that’s it’s own form of tax (more below).
In addition, Richard and Mildred Loving may have been eager, if not downright hungry, to have someone to communicate with regularly. In those days gone by, before ubiquitous social media allowed you to message, chat, text, or Tweet with strangers around the World about what you just ate, or your views on politics, or how big your bowel movements are, communication required that you be in the same room as someone and actually talk to them face-to-face. Oh sure, there were telephones, but in the days before cellphones and voicemail, you couldn’t know when you called someone whether they’d be home and pick up, and you couldn’t leave a message. Accordingly, in-person communication was the only sure way to guarantee that your vocalized thoughts were being heard by another person. No doubt, this is what helped to drive Richard and Mildred together, before (as is the case with all married people) they realized that they each drove the other batsh*t crazy talking about the same things and making the same complaints over and over and over again till they wanted to stab each other in the eye with a soup spoon.
Third, it is also entirely possible that Mildred and Richard Loving got married for the same reason that so many others before and since have gotten hitched – i.e., they grew sick of dating. Now, for some (particularly married people who would give money to go out to dinner with anyone but their own spouse), dating can be intimidating and laborious. There’s the need to shower and to wear clean clothes and to carry on a conversation about something, anything other than the weather (or the traffic). Marriage, of course, is the ultimate solution to that because people who are stuck together by law and no longer interested in having sex (more on that below) don’t need to shower, change clothes, talk about anything other than weather or traffic, or, indeed, be remotely socialized. Marriage is, in short, the perfect safe harbor for those for whom dating has grown wearisome or overly taxing.
Fourth, it’s also possible that Mildred and Richard Loving had fallen prey to the fictions spun by the bridal industry and were unaware of the “Marriage Trifecta” – i.e., the chance to live with another person in a sexless existence, in an enclosed space, where you both grow older and uglier with each passing day. When asked about this, our marriage experts (e.g., me) refer to this as the “Raisins in a Cage” phenomenon. To get past this hiccup, the bridal industry has invented an entire set of fairytales and fables filled with beautiful young people, with sparkling white teeth, wearing tuxedos and flowing white dresses, dancing and laughing and drinking and, indeed, yes even having wedding-night nookie. And, Richard and Mildred – young as they were when they got married – may have believed (as so many young people do) that this was the future that awaited them. However, as anyone who is married can tell you, the wedding (even if you get married at City Hall and then drink a six-pack of beer and have sex in a hallway to celebrate) bears little to no relationship to the marriage other than it features the same two people (albeit much older, much uglier, and, definitely without the sex).
As you can see, our “panel of experts” takes a rather jaundiced view of the institution of marriage. It is a difficult state of being, fraught with obstacles and problems, and another person hogging and polluting the bathroom for no good reason other than to torture you. And, it is because of this, that in the end, it must be concluded, given all the trials and tribulations attendant to being married, and given the legal impediments (as well as the risk of incarceration) that awaited Mildred and Richard upon being wed (a risk that they actually had to endure), that they were very much in love. Why else would they have gone forward? There was so much risk, so much suffering that lay in store, so many heartaches and headaches that lay in wait and that they actually had to endure. Why, given all this, would they have said “I do.”
Our panel (again, that would be me) cannot think of any other reason than that they were in love. And, based on that love, they risked everything, fought to the brink, and emerged victorious. It is a heroic tale. Someone ought to make a movie about it.
Oh, wait, they did. Sorry. Actually, several movies, and at least one documentary. All are well worth seeing by the way.
In any event, it is an epic tale of love triumphing over evil (as well as the marriage penalty tax, sexlessness, age, diminishing appearance, discussions of weather, and being stuck with someone in the same house for as long as you both shall live till death do you part).
For this reason, and because they were, indeed, just plain, humble folks, Mildred and Richard Loving are heroes and are to be commended and celebrated. And, that is why, today, June 12, 2017, we proudly commemorate and celebrate Loving Day and the 50th Anniversary of the decision in Loving v. Virginia.
With much love (in a cool, non-icky kind of way),
Alex Barnett, Co-Founder of Multiracial Media
In addition to being the founders of Multiracial Media, both Sarah and Alex are writers and opinionated ones at that. They like to write about many topics, including: politics (encompassing issues on race, gender, the LGBTQ—U.S. and geopolitics), current events (which could, of course, encompass politics), pop culture, culture and many, many others. The Letter from the Editor may cover our thoughts on current events or on-gonig issues that are important to the Multiracial Community. You never know what we’re going to write about and it may even include some humor, since Alex is a stand-up comic.