What’s Not to Love About Loving Day?
As a Mixed-race person, especially one whose mix includes Black in the USA, I’m expected to be deliriously happy about June 12. That’s because on this very date in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage between people of different races fully legal nationwide. That landmark case, Loving v. Virginia, marked the triumph of swirly spouses Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for marrying, and then fought for 9 years to strike down anti-miscegenation laws in 16 states.
My Black father and Jewish mother wed in Seattle, Washington in the early 1950s. While the liberal Pacific Northwest had no anti-miscegenation laws, there had been unsuccessful attempts to ban interracial marriages. I grew up knowing that unions like theirs were outlawed in 16 states. I was 13 and my parents were divorced when Loving became law. I appreciated the progress, but it didn’t silence the popular refrain, “
But what about the BABIES?
The REAL aversion to interracial marriage was the threat of those couples procreating.
Even post-Loving, Mixed folks were stereotyped as miserable, confused, rejected outcasts in a world that shunned us. Because what could be worse than being Mixed? Hence the popularity of the Tragic Mulatto—not only in literature and entertainment but even today in real life. The only REAL tragedy associated with being Mixed are the ISMS that oppress people who aren’t white. Since we got a “Mixed” box in the last three Census counts, we’re recognized and finally sharing the truths of our diverse backgrounds, experiences, and views.
A side effect of Loving is that our population is skyrocketing. In 2021, the Washington Post reported that, “More than 33 million Americans – about 1 in 10 – identify as being of two or more races, a number that grew by nearly 25 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census.”
So of course a Mixed person created Loving Day! Ken Tanabe, who is Japanese and Belgian, made it his graduate school thesis, then, in 2004, hosted the first Loving Day celebration in New York City, now celebrated by thousands of people worldwide.
So, while yes, I’m happy about Loving Day, the growing pushback against LGBTQIA marriage and rights, and Supreme Court rollbacks on abortion rights remind us how fragile these markers of progress can be. As we celebrate the “love wins” spirit of Loving Day, we can’t stop working for more inclusive human rights. We can’t ignore the systemic atrocities of racism and its offshoots, or take something as fundamental as Black voting rights for granted. That includes recent Supreme Court battles to reclassify Mixed-Black people in some southern states to dilute Black voting power.
Yes, love is love. But whenever BIPOC are involved, racism politicizes and threatens such unions and their progeny. As we celebrate every iota of progress, let’s recognize that these struggles are far from over. Love comes in many colors, but that doesn’t translate to a just society. A luta continua—the struggle continues. Because our humanity depends on full equality and we’re ALL worth it!
TaRessa Stovall is an author, blogger, podcaster, and award-winning journalist who specializes in topics
around Mixed-race identity, anti-racism, anti-colorism, and Jews of Color. Her latest book is the memoir
SWIRL GIRL: Coming of Race in the USA; she blogs at Mixed Auntie Confidential; and is a monthly co-host
on the popular Militantly Mixed podcast. Follow her on IG @taressatalks and Facebook