"You had I all need." - Zero 7, If I Can't Have You
This Week In...is supposed to be my weekly look into socio-cultural-political issues that matter to me. Less pop, more substance. I've been trying to get this launched on Wednesdays for the past two weeks and have run into to time roadblocks every week. I'm still behind this week as it is Thursday but hat-tip to that negrophile for the jumpstart.
Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned
"We're talking about hundreds of years of history, laws from the Colonial era that extended even past segregation; Alabama didn't take their law off the books until six years ago. The idea is to build it into a type of Juneteenth celebration that people observe across the country."
That may be possible, says Jungmiwha Bullock, president of the Association of Multi-Ethnic Americans, a Los Angeles-based umbrella organization that advocates for multiracial Americans on such issues as categories on census forms and mixed-race adoptions. The organization sponsored several parties over the weekend, and will host a nationwide conference call this month to plan for a major national observation next year, on the 40th anniversary. "I don't know that people know about and understand the impact of that court case," Bullock says. "I mean, how many of us mixed-race kids would have been born without it? That's a pretty fundamental change in society."
The Loving case started in rural Caroline County, Va., about 100 miles south of the District. Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter were young people in love. She was just 18. She was black and he was white. They traveled in 1958 to the District, where interracial marriages were legal, took their vows, came home and, at 2 a.m., were arrested in bed by deputies. They were prosecuted and sentenced to a year in jail. Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Leon Bazile suspended the sentence -- so long as the couple left the state and did not return together for a quarter-century."Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix," Bazile ruled.
The Lovings moved in exile to the District. And then they sued.It was not until 1967, 13 years after Brown v. Board of Education ended segregated schools, that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law.
Observations from a Latina/Black woman: I am from a Spanish-speaking Caribbean island...in my case, that means I am both black and Latina. So, I feel that I have a special insight in this topic. This is because I have noticed again and again that when African-American men learn that I am not just black, but also speak Spanish and come from a different culture their interest in me increases exponentially. I just feel that African-American men feel like they have a "prize" in their hands if they are not dating a plain jane African-American woman, but instead someone exotic that somehow elevates their status. I have noticed that for them it's important to brag they are not just with a black woman, but also a Latina from the Caribbean AND who speaks Spanish...they are besides themselves!!!
Kellina Craig-Henderson: Very interesting what you refer to is the extent to which being "Black" in the US is undervalued, and even denigrated. One young man I interviewed for the book talked about the way that most of friends who were Black all seemed to feel obligated to qualify their ethnicity and racial status by pointing to ways that they were "mixed." There is something very perverse about a society that leads its people to feel bad about themselves so much so that it becomes important to be something other than who they may really be. So, I would agree, that for some Black men with "mixed" women there is a certain delight in vicariously being something other than just an African American.
What's the relevance of Loving v. Virginia today? Prejudice and racism are quite alive and well when it comes to interracial couples. People think it's a preference thing—as in, "I don't care what everyone else does but my daughter is not marrying a black man." Loving Day speaks directly to that. The more interesting stories are where people are working through their issues. One woman is white, her fiancée's Asian, and her uncle is racist against Asians because he fought in the Korean War. Because he loves his niece, though, he decided he's going to have brunch with her future husband every Sunday until he gets over it. In America, we’re used to the black/white angle when you think racism, not necessarily Asian/white or Native American/white.
Love is love is Loving.
photo jacked from Carmina Gitana.