“Racism is exhausting” my friend exclaims to me over text message after a particularly hard bought of covert racism my husband is experiencing. “Yes, yes it is!” I exclaim back.
Today is Loving Day. June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws in 13 states. It’s a day celebrating interracial relationships and marriage. “Loving” refers to Mildred and Richard Loving who won the case against the state of Virginia.
Last week my husband and I visited the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. It was heavy and difficult. There was a lot to process. At the end of the second floor there was a wall of Jim Crowe era laws that had been broken and the states they had been broken in. The majority of them were anti-miscegenation.
Growing up in a racist household I can tell you there is a special place of racism for people who try to “mix” races. However, seeing it in “black and white” (pun intended) the gravity of it hit me, admittedly naively, how such a short time ago my love and marriage would have been illegal. My family would have been illegal.
And it is still looked down upon.
This is not a foreign concept to me as I fought for same-sex marriage before it was legal. Again, it’s not that I didn’t know or that I haven’t been called names by others since being with my husband, but as I stood there and looked at those lists of charges it felt so personal.
As we walked up another floor and the entertainment industry of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were in front of us. On one display was Harry Belafonte and Petula Clark in 1968, the display was about the first interracial “touch” on tv. Here’s the video, it happens at the 2:13 and is the most natural thing in the world. It was all over the press when a Chrysler V.P. objected.
As a person who uses physical touch as a love language I suddenly was very aware of how much my husband and I touch. We had held hands throughout the museum, he had guided me with this hand on the small of my back. I had rubbed his back at certain moments as he read about racial slurs, beatings, humiliation and chains his ancestors wore, and we had kissed, small pecks on the top of the head, or the occasion kiss on the lips (scandalous).
So I celebrate today, because I’m in love. I love my husband for all that he is, with all that I am. Happy Loving Day!