Some of you might not know about Virginian trailblazers Richard and Mildred Loving. They were a mixed race married couple that battled the law barring interracial couples to legally wed. On June 12, 1967, The Supreme Court ruled in their favor. They were married during the height of the Civil Rights Era. They were two simple people who loved each other, but with odds stacked against them. I have always admired their courage to fight for marriage equality.
When I met my husband we had just graduated from college. We started as friends, but progressed to more. We received puzzled looks and pushback from ‘friends’ and some family members. We also received dreaded questions like, “How did you two meet?” Or, my favorite (insert eye roll), “Were there any black men at your college?”
Oddly, people would look at us and think there was added competition on both sides. At first I felt that I had to prove to outsiders looking at our relationship that I’m proud of my blackness eventhough I was in an interracial relationship. Through the need to constantly prove ourselves, confirm our identities and field troublesome and often hurtful questions, we grew to appreciate each other even more. And, we found ourselves with more courage to speak up to “haters.”
With the support of our family and true friends, we’ve continued on with life. We have a happy marriage of twelve years and two strong boys. As I reflect on our interracial marriage in this country, I see us not as trailblazers, but beneficiaries. Grateful to people like the Lovings, who paved the way for us… so that we could marry our best friend without fear.
Our family is just like every other. We want a strong foundation. We want to raise our family in peace and harmony. We wish not to field puzzling questions or push back. Although this is often the case.
At the end of the day we truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. These are the people I put my trust and energy into. People that have strong opinions against interracial marriages are not worth my energy. And, no, we are not past this. I see and feel it every day.
I know we are not alone. There are thousands of interracial married couples who face the same challenges and obstacles. I found two articles that speak to this very topic including Loving Day, a celebration of that pivotal supreme court decision. Both are very powerful. I encourage you to keep reading and keep reflecting.