How to Celebrate Interracial Marriage

What does Loving Day mean in an era of Khloe and Lamar, the Jill Scott response and no promise of racial harmony?

Mildred Loving and her husband, Richard, in 1965 (Truthdig)

In 1958, newlyweds Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving -- a black woman and a white man -- were indicted on charges of violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages and banished from their home state. The U.S. Supreme Court finally overturned the law prohibiting interracial marriage on June 12, 1967. Yesterday, the anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision was commemorated around the country as Loving Day.

Truthdig's Marcia Dawkins argues that while celebrating this important civil rights milestone, we should also think a little more critically, remembering that increased visibility of interracial couples and their children by no means promises increased racial harmony.

Read a few excerpts:

It’s very sexy to congratulate ourselves based on reports that today’s interracial families can live harmoniously in the former Confederacy. We’re entertained as we watch Khloe and Lamar’s relationship work out. It makes us feel good to think that we have overcome, that we have reached a state of racial harmony and that we are all finally equal -- and becoming equally beige and beautiful ...

But a desire to congratulate ourselves doesn’t erase the fact that racial mixing has been occurring in our nation and hemisphere for more than 500 years. Colonists and indigenous people married and engaged in extramarital sexual relations ... Add this to centuries’ worth of Asian and Hispanic immigration and 40 years’ worth of official interracial marriage patterns and you have what many might call the recipe for a melting pot where race doesn’t matter.

Sadly, this isn’t the case.

Think about it. If the mere presence of interracial intimacy was enough to bring about racial harmony, it would have happened long ago. Instead, laws were passed to keep races apart ...

As we celebrate Loving Day, we might also remember that some people choose not to have interracial romantic relationships and that this choice does not necessarily make them racists. Take singer-actress Jill Scott. About a year ago Scott came under fire for confessing that she sometimes winces in her spirit when she hears about black male-white female romantic relationships. Let’s add a bit of context here. Discrimination and violence have resulted in unequal racial populations and beauty standards ...

Read more at Truthdig.