Happy Loving Day

Published:June 12, 2008 by Brendan Wolfe

Today is the forty-first anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that in 1967 legalized mixed-race marriages. In this morning’s Washington Post, African American novelist Karyn Langhorne Folan writes of her own mixed-race marriage, explaining how the stigmatization of her relationship dates back to the Jim Crow South. Back then, hatred was manifested in lynchings. Nowadays, the hatred has softened into a skepticism that nevertheless still hurts.

“My own mother, who grew up in the days of segregation, used to speculate that in the heat of argument, my white man might utter a racial slur,” Folan writes. “‘He might not say it,’ she admitted when pressed. ‘But he might be thinking it. What woman wants that?'”

Folan concludes that, “for a black man, marrying a white woman is a status symbol, but for a black woman, marrying ‘out’ means you’ve given up or are manifesting self-hate?”

For a take on Loving Day and the current U.S. presidential race, check out this report from NPR’s “Morning Edition.”