The last thing that I thought I would have to think about on December 31, 2016, is mixed love. Well, that’s not true. I think about mixed love a lot because it’s one of my faves. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the last thing I thought I would have to defend in the year of our Lord 2016 is interracial relationships.
When Stephi told me Serena Williams was engaged (and, honestly, if Stephi ever creates an app where she sends push notifications about celebrity marriages and deaths, subscribe), the conversation went like so:
We both hoped not. But it’s pretty standard, right? I couldn’t even make it 45 minutes (with interim conversation about Russia and Debbie Reynolds and Liz Taylor) before the nagging “Oh yeah. People view this relationship as about them” thought reared its selfish head.
I saw it popping up in Facebook statuses and this blog sums up the ugly.
Loving v. Virginia will celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 12, 2017. On this day, we celebrate a breakthrough in freedom to love. ICYMI (and the movie), it made anti-miscegenation laws illegal. Black can marry white can marry brown can marry can marry.
The backlash is puzzling in its suggested alternatives:
If you fall in love outside of your race (a false construct, but I digress), should you just wait until you find someone who will do within the zone?
Should we have such divided cultural realms that there is no mixing and thus the threat of interracial romance dissolves? Is this not what sustained separate but equal? “Oh, they’re cool to hang out with, but certainly not good enough to marry,” I imagine either side saying.
One argument I’ve seen is the problematic racial hierarchy that racist America has imposed on us as Americans. If fewer black men were incarcerated, then more would be available and there would be no problem for black women to find black men they love (and, I presume, only THEN would mixed love be okay).
But love should not be held hostage for racism.
These “stick to your own kind” lines of thinking ignore love’s ability for people to find one like themselves in another body. It’s not about color-blind (a fallacious trend), but color-full. It is loving for all that a person is, with heritage and culture and scars and beliefs. Every relationship is complicated and not fully knowable from the outside. Keeping people loving within randomly designed groups does not simplify the process or make love more possible.
But you don’t just get married to the first person who comes along. Marriage is a choice. For life. To ask why someone doesn’t love within color lines is to ask why your favorite color is blue and not red.
Love is a choice beyond reason. Loving has made it so.