June 12 is known nationally as Loving Day. I know we should love every day, but on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court struck down state bans against interracial marriage.
The day is named for Mildred and Richard Loving, a married interracial couple who were arrested and banished from Virginia in 1958 for violating the Racial Integrity Act of 1924.
That might seem odd today when there are seemingly interracial couples and biracial children everywhere. Some might say it’s a sign of racial progress, but it’s much more complicated than that, said Kevin Noble Maillard, a Syracuse University law professor and co-author of the book “Loving V. Virginia in a Post Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex and Marriage.”
“Statistics on interracial relationships and marriages are not a barometer of the racial progress in our country,” Maillard said in a recent USA Today article.
To me, it seems like we’re going backward on the road of racial progress in this country. Look no further than the nightly news with reports of police violence and hate crimes all across the country.
Anyone who knows me knows that my wife, Deanna, is white. We’ve been together since the late 1970s and faced more acts of racial discrimination to last us a lifetime.
We’d go to a restaurant and come back out to see hate literature and letters stuck under our windshield wiper blades. Once we had all of our car tires flattened while we were eating in a Kansas City restaurant.
When looking for apartments I always had to let her go alone to talk to landlords, fearing if they saw me they’d automatically say the vacancies were filled.
We were cussed at and told our mixed-race children would suffer. We were looked down upon in many public places.
Of course, many people know us today and we don’t get much hate anymore. You can see white grandparents with biracial grandchildren everywhere now, something that was rare not that many years ago.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of interracial married couples increased from 310,000 in 1970 to more than 2 million in 2008. The number is still growing.
According to the Pew Research Center, the share of recently married Blacks with a spouse of a different race has tripled from 5% in 1980 to 18% in 2018.
But according to Pew Research, American Indians have the highest interracial marriage rate among all groups. Women are more likely to marry out than men in this group.
Sixty-one percent of American Indian females newlyweds married outside their race compared with 54% of American Indian male newlyweds.
Many think Blacks and whites are the most common racial pairing because we see more of it. But according to Pew, the most common racial pairing among newlywed interracial couples is one Hispanic and one white spouse.
The second most common intermarriage pairing is among whites and Asians.
At this rate, many experts claim that the biracial community will outnumber the single-race community in 50 years.
Maybe that will help solve the race problems in our country, but I seriously doubt it. Racial prejudices run too deep in this country and have for years.
It’s up to all of us to make a difference.