I never saw racial tension as a child… except on TV and in movies.
Whether it was how my parents raised me, where I grew up, or a
combination of the two, it was just plain normal to have friends and
classmates from all over the world, and we all got along. I have never noticed anyone even
give Bill and me a second look when we walk together arm in arm or when
either of us has introduced the other as husband or wife. Or, maybe
there was, but I’m too naive to notice? In my eyes, the two of us coming from very different backgrounds has never been an
issue.

Yet, only 60 years ago, our marriage would have been illegal in
California. And it wasn’t until June 12th, 1967 that interracial
marriage became legal in the United States. You can read all about the
court decisions from this webpage: Loving Day. In reading about the
history of the court decisions there were arguments made that just seem
ridiculous:

“Almighty God created the races, white, black,
yellow, Malay, and red and placed them on separate continents, and but
for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for
such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did
not intend the races to mix.”

– Judge Bazile, Caroline County, VA, 1965.

In
Virginia, interracial marriage (scratch that, it was illegal to live
together!) was considered a felony with a possible prison stay of one to
five years. In California, it was argued that persons who wish to marry
outside their race are most likely “dregs of society” and that their
children will be a burden on the community… arguing that outlawing
interracial marriage will prevent the birth of children who will become
serious social problems. Ouch.

Although, I know I’m still pretty naive about this. Bill has reminded me once
or twice that there are still places in the US where we couldn’t walk
hand in hand without incurring harsh stares and comments. It doesn’t
make me angry to think about this, I just find it embarrassing as a
fellow American.

But
to me, I see a striking similarity in the fight to legalize gay
marriage. There was a proposal for a constitutional amendment
prohibiting interracial marriage and a lot of the arguments I’ve read are very similar. I
find it strangely fascinating that it’s been only 41 years since the
Loving Decision… yet the thought of interracial marriage being illegal
is so bizarre today. I can only hope that in less time, the thought of gay
marriage feels the same way.

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About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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3 Responses to

  1. jackietebow says:

    Thats really interesting…when Arthur and I walk hand and hand I don’t really notice people looking at us either. But Arthur does. It seems to me that more black women give us looks then anyone else. But it is really interesting to see how things have changed.

  2. christao408 says:

    Interesting comments.  Actually, Mildred Loving (the plaintiff in Loving v. Virginia) passed away on May 2nd this year.  The Economist magazine had a very nice obituary for her at http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11367685&fsrc=RSS
    My suspicion is the number of places in this country where you and Bill would encounter harsh stares and comments is, thankfully, pretty small.  If anything, they’d be staring at him simply from the novelty of seeing a Chinese face.  Or because they’ve never seen a cuter couple! 
    But it is amazing how we’ve really come very far in such a short period of time.

  3. jandsschultz says:

    California is a multiethnic state. It is impossible to walk down the street, shop in a store, eat in a restaurant without seeing people of different races, even speaking languages other than English. Living in this kind of environment makes it easy to forget that there are many communities in the US where the entire population is white, Anglo-Saxon. We especially noticed this when we moved back to the Midwest in 1994. Thankfully this area is becoming more and more mixed, ethnically, and it has not caused the world to end. I believe this will eventually be the case with same sex marriage. It is difficult for people to accept social change when they feel threatened by that change. For those of us who do not find this threatening, it is necessary to be supportive in every way we can, even discouraging talk that is disparaging.Thanks for bringing this subject up, Alex. It is an important one to discuss.

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