What Loving Day Means to Me and the Multiracial Community

Alex Barnett, co-founder of Multiracial Media and his wife.

I’m a White man born in 1967.

My wife is a Black woman born in . . . well, I won’t say when she was born because that’s not polite. But, let’s just say she’s old enough to remember some questionable fashion choices made by her parents during the 1970s.

As you’ve no doubt surmised by this point, besides the fact that my wife and I are firmly ensconced in Middle Age, we are also an interracial couple.

Being an interracial couple is no longer quite so extraordinary. To be sure, it is not commonplace . . . yet. But, it is a growing phenomenon.

On the one hand, we should not be surprised. Racism remains a problem, yes. But, at the same time, we see tremendous strides in the progress of civil rights generally and the falling away of racism in particular. Indeed, perhaps the prime example of this is that in America there are whole swaths of people who hate former President Obama for all kinds of reasons other than the fact that he’s African American. Sure, some hate him because he’s African American. But, at the same time, there are plenty of others who just hate him because he’s a Democrat. (For the record, I love him. Well, I don’t love him, love him. But, I really like him an awful lot, and I wish he still was President).

The point is, maybe a dozen years ago, there was a real question whether and when America would be able to vote for and accept a person of color as its President, and now that barrier has fallen so far that now the question is not whether people accept his color but, rather, is about whether they agree with his fiscal and monetary policies.

So, we’ve come a long, long way toward breaking down racial barriers and bringing racism to its knees. We’ve come so far that the biggest problem facing my wife and me is not that we are of different races but that we’re trying to raise a child in New York City, the most expensive plot of real estate in the universe, and we’re not billionaires.

But, just 50 years ago, just months before I was born, it was still illegal in 16 states in the Deep South of the United States for people of different races to marry. That’s right, if my wife and I could time travel, and we went back to Virginia on June 5, 1967, we could be arrested just for being married.

(Side note, if I could time travel, I would not take my wife back to June 5, 1967 or to Virginia. No, I’d go back to Wall Street on December 12, 1980 – the day of Apple’s initial public offering (IPO) – and I’d walk into a bank and buy as much Apple stock as I could afford. But, that’s a time travel trip for another day).

But, here we are, 50 years later, and not only are we not being arrested for being married, people of all races smile at us as we walk down the street with our son and wave and tell us what a terrific-looking family we are (Note: By the way, I realize that these people are directing their comments about our appearance to my wife and son, who are, by far, decidedly better-looking that I am).

Mildred and Richard Loving

The fact that we are able to do this, the fact that the number of interracial marriages is growing at an accelerating rate can be traced to one couple – Mildred and Richard Loving.

Mildred, a Black woman, and Richard, a White man, got married in 1958 in Washington, D.C. (right next door to Virginia), at a time when interracial marriage was decidedly illegal in Virginia. It was so illegal, that they were arrested and thrown in jail just for being married. Upset and frustrated at the injustice of not being able to lawfully marry the person they wished to spend their lives with, the Lovings challenged the law all the way to the Supreme Court, and on June 12, 1967, in a landmark decision issued by the United States Supreme Court, the Court held, in Loving v. Virginia, that laws such as Virginia’s that banned interracial marriage were unconstitutional. This paved the way for people to marry whomever they wished, and it left my wife and me, and all other interracial couples (especially those in the 16 states which had banned interracial marriage until 1967) forever in the debt of Mildred and Richard Loving, an unassuming, humble, and absolutely heroic couple.

Accordingly, since 1967 and with increasing frequency, communities have created their own “Loving Day” celebrations to commemorate the Supreme Court’s decision and to honor Mildred’s and Richard’s bravery. And, with this year marking the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, it is even more imperative that we in interracial relationships and Multiracial families honor this event.

So, from today, through this week and to and including June 12, 2017, we at Multiracial Media will be marking an honoring Loving Day and the Lovings in myriad ways. We invite you to join us.

 

 

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.

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