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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Loving Day

Yesterday was Loving Day, a day in which we were supposed to have celebrated the legalization of interracial relationships after an interracial couple took anti-miscegenation laws to the Supreme Court and won in 1967. I'm in an interracial relationship. I suppose Loving Day was supposed to be for me. Guess what -- it wasn't. I can understand why the multiracial community might have genuine reason for celebration on June 12; the legalization of miscegenation was a landmark moment for the multiracial community, allowing for the population boom that makes the multiracial community a growing political force today. I can get down with that. What irritates me about something like Loving Day is the masturbatory congratulations some people in interracial relationships want to give themselves. I get really tired of hearing the same crap from people who have a relationship with someone who doesn't look like them and suddenly want a gold fucking medal (literally?). Guess what - interracial relationships will not end racism! We are not beautiful, unique snowflakes! We are not better than anyone else!! Acting like interracial relationships are praiseworthy suggests that we can somehow make strides to end racism by choosing a person of another colour as our lifemates. First of all, that suggests that there is no racism inherent in some interracial pairings, or that the intersection between sex and race are devoid of the tribulations of sexism and racism. Secondly, how does being in an interracial relationship solve any of the racism that those within the relationship face? How does that solve the prejudice of the White man who washes his hands after shaking a Black man's hand? And don't get me started on how some people in interracial relationships think that racism will be solved by the birthing of a new generation of "beautiful brown babies who have no race". Thirdly, saying that interracial relationships are somehow overcoming racism is saying that monoracial relationships are not -- I'm not going to draw a giant swath over 95% of marriages today and call them all somehow racist. And have you ever noticed that most of the people who want a gold star for being in an interracial relationship are usually the White counterpart of a White/non-White couple? (As evidence, check out the "Real Couples" section of the LovingDay.org website). It's like a White apologist's liberalism gone horribly awry. Yes, I am a Chinese Canadian woman in a long-term relationship with an African American man. My relationship has withstood a long time and a cross-country move. It has been a source of pain, sorrow, drama, and life-changing events. It has been a source of joy, companionship and love, not because of or despite our racial differences, but irrespective of them. And I prefer to celebrate electroman and I by remembering that we're just two people, co-existing. No race activism, no pretenses, no cookie prizes. I prefer to celebrate my interracial relationship by remembering that, privately, we're just like everyone else. We certainly deserve no accolades. And we're sure as hell not asking for any. Courtesy for the original post: electroman

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honor our elders? I can't say I take this day as reflecting on current relationships, but as a reminder of brave folks who stood their ground and won.

I have never heard of this day, but it does present an opportunity to teach that interracial marriage wasn't always legal, and that elders (the two Lovings and their lawyers, etc) worked to change the unjust law. Americans are often vague about history - any opportunity of denting The Great Ignorance is fine by me.

NancyP

6/13/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Sheldiz said...

Is loving day going to solve any deep rooted racial conflict? no. but if its celebrated at face value, commemmorating the day that it became 100% legal to marry someone of another race, then i think there's nothing wrong with it. Maybe the marriage issue isn't that big of deal to you and electroman. Maybe its not a necessity in your idea of an ideal relationship. But for me it is. And on June 12 I celebrate the fact that when the day comes, thanks to the Loving decision, i'll be able to legally marry the person I love.

(and, not to go too off topic, hopefully there will be a similar day for the LGBT community SOOOOOOON.)

6/14/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I can appreciate being able to rent an apartment and/or get married like the next person, but that's not what this day is being harped as. The commercials on the website and some of the sentiment there is all about "look at us and our beautiful IR! Aren't we beautiful?!? Isn't it so wonderful that we can transcend racism?!?"

Blah, blah, fuckin' blah. I'm so sick of the 'holier than thou' complex some people in IRs seem to have, as if being in an IR automatically makes them less racist.

Does being in a heterosexual relationship make a person less sexist?

6/14/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous sheldiz said...

i totally agree with the 'holier than thou' issue... and you're right, its a shame when people IN the relationship treat it as a novelty.

i guess i just think that its possible to honor the meaning of the day w/o buying into all the stuff you mentioned above. kind of like celebrating christmas without the ridiculous commercialism.

because i do believe that when you get down to the nuts and bolts, loving day really IS something to celebrate.

6/14/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

My comment was too long so I posted it as a new post here.

6/14/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

My comment was too long so I posted it as a new post here.

6/14/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ladyjax said...

Thank you for this. I'm in an IR relationship but my partner is Mexican-American. For us, it wasn't all about "whoo hoo, I'm dating X person and don't I feel special" but being able to look across the table and know that there were so many more things we shared by being women of color together in this country.

6/15/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bankuei said...

So. Real. I'm half white, and the interracialness of the relationship did nothing to resolve my mother's need to try to herd me towards white people and away from colored folks. Sex != love != tolerance, otherwise we could say the Spanish invasion of South America was the most progressive thing ever!

6/15/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Thank you for this. Interracial relationships are nothing new in my family-- nor my husband's. I'm thrilled with mine, but please believe I won't be birthing for the cause, no matter how "cute" and "smart" my kids are apparently guaranteed to be.

We all know that if miscegenation and brown babies ended racism, slavery would have been over by 1695.

6/15/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Selu Gigage said...

Brava! I agree with every word.

6/15/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Thank you selu gigage, michelle, and ladyjax for your comments! it's nice to hear other sensible people in IRs who aren't about to buy into the hype!

6/15/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

oh, and Bankuei, your comment was much appreciated as well! Thank you!!

6/15/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous delux said...

fabulous post, thanks.

6/17/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,
First, let me say that I think
you have great talent and a mind
that I admire.
Isn't it possible that the gov.
didn't want the majority white
to marry minority people of color
to protect the interests of
corporations? Now, I do know that
interracial marrigage can't solve
racism, but I do think that white
people can be awakened from the deep
comotose state of detachment from
the pain of racism when they love
a person of color.

6/17/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

hey anonymous, do you mind clarifying what you mean by the corporations benefitting/not benefitting by miscegenation between Whites and non-Whites?

Delux, thank you for your comment and for reading!

6/18/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,
This idea has been rolling around
in my head for quite some time.
What I am thinking is that if
majority white and minority people
of color formed a coalition, it
would be much more difficult for
corporations to reap millions
of dollars at the expense of
working people. Doesn't it seem
incredible that a millionare
in NYC called transit workers
"thugs" for going on strike?

6/18/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Sharon Walker said...

I agree with the blogger. Social movements end racism, not romantic relationships and social movements fail by not addressing the concerns of all people simultaneously. They side step genuine progress by perpetuating the notion that some people are disposable, then make the mistake of saying all people are equal in superficial ways but not admitting that all people are equal in unflattering ways as well: ie black males may complain about incarceration rates but still buy homophobic, mysoginistic music.

This blog began with the right for two people to love. This inalienable right examined as just one of many life affirming rights demonstrates how personal decisions are dependent on the efforts of millions of people we’ll never meet. I think that was the intention behind Loving day and it works.

The genuine commitment of two people can definitely serve as a model for what an entire nation must aspire to. Loving vs. Virginia in 1967 happened at the onset of the civil rights movement and did overturn miscegenation laws preventing black and whites from marrying. That was an important step forward and worth celebrating.

That Mr. Loving was a white male, and Mrs. Loving a black female seems ironic since number the of black males in interracial relationships is twice that of black females. However, it really speaks to the fact that people are motivated by both love, common sense, persuasion, conditioning, self evasion and self interest and a host of other things. Some decisions make sense, others do not and every decision is personal.

I do expect enlightened people to push for a balanced scenario. I do anticipate a change in the media portrayals of interracial couples with more emphasis on attractive accomplished black women, Asian men, well adjusted white men, confident outspoken Asian women, etc-- or at least equal presentations of every person’s strengths and weaknesses regardless of their partners.

The proliferation of charismatic characters would be a welcomed breath of fresh air, and hopefully a precedent for substantive change in our socio-political systems.

BTW when are we going to have an Asian sitcom with happy black neighbors and an interracial bohemian family that lives down the block?

Power is never shared equally between groups. Love does not always lead the way but inclusive fair minded people should be the group we elect as our policy makers and image brokers.

Who's with me?

6/20/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Anonymous F. Rottles said...

There is one human race. Objectively, there are no multiracial marriages.

The anti-miscegenation system was not based on objective criteria for subdividing humanity into subspecies. Men and women do not crossbreed; we do not create human hybrids from human subspecies. We are all humankind, together. Skincolor and "bloodlines" are subjective criteria for a racist filter.

Racism exists because of that filter. That filter denies, or filters-out, the unity of humanity. Using that filter to combat racism is just, at times. Using it to divide humanity is unjust, all the time.

7/12/2006 04:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Tanabe said...

Hello Jenn,

Thanks for writing about Loving Day. It's always interesting to hear someone else's perspective, especially when it's well thought out. I finally found the time to read your posting thoroughly and I'd like to respond to a few of the points you made.

I agree that interracial relationships are not inherently praiseworthy. I also agree that some people out there get into relationships for the wrong reasons, interracial or not. Loving Day celebrates the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. It does not claim that interracial couples are superior, nor does it claim that other relationships are inferior. Anyone can choose to celebrate Loving Day regardless of race. Supreme Courts cases do not instantly change the world, but this case serves as a good starting point for a much larger conversation.

You made the interesting observation that most of the stories submitted to the Real Couples section of LovingDay.org were from the "White counterpart" of an interracial relationship. Personally, I always focused on the fact that most stories were submitted by women, and I hoped that more men would write to us about their experiences. Having never met most of the people who send us their stories, I have no way of knowing whether or not they are seeking accolades. I do know that their stories resonate with a lot of people whose relationships could be just as genuine as your own.

You may choose not to celebrate Loving Day. You may choose to celebrate privately, or you may celebrate every day you are in your relationship. That is certainly your right. Personally, I agree with NancyP's response to your posting that Loving Day "presents an opportunity to teach." That is precisely the spirit of the project.

Again, thanks for writing and I'm looking forward to more of your thoughts. Please let me know if you write about Loving Day again. Feel free to email me directly if you like.

Thanks.

7/12/2006 09:54:00 PM  
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