‘Loving’ as the official birth of Multiracial America?

The year 1967 becomes the temporal landmark for the beginning of an interracial nation. That year, the United States Supreme Court ruled state antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. In addition to outlawing interracial marriage, these restrictive laws had created a presumption of illegitimacy for historical claims of racial intermixture. Not all states had antimiscegenation laws, but the sting of restriction extended to other states to forge a collective forgetting of mixed race. Defenders of racial purity could depend on these laws to render interracial relationships illegitimate. Looking back to Loving as the official birth of Multiracial America reinforces the prevailing memory of racial separatism while further underscoring the illegitimacy of miscegenations past. By establishing racial freedom in marriage, Loving also sets a misleading context for the history of mixed race in America. Even though Loving instigates the open acceptance of interracialism, it unintentionally creates a collective memory that mixed race people and relationships did not exist before 1967…

Kevin Noble Maillard, “The Multiracial Epiphany of Loving.” Fordham Law Review. May 2008, Volume 76, Number 6 pages 2709-2733. http://fordhamlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/pdfs/Vol_76/Maillard_Vol_76_May.pdf.

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