Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-05-28 19:11Z by Steven

Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Cambridge University Press
June 2012
300 pages
Hardback ISBN-13: 9780521198585
Paperback ISBN-13: 9780521147989

Edited by

Kevin Noble Maillard, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional in Loving vs. Virginia. Although this case promotes marital freedom and racial equality, there are still significant legal and social barriers to the free formation of intimate relationships. Marriage continues to be the sole measure of commitment, mixed relationships continue to be rare, and same-sex marriage is only legal in 6 out of 50 states. Most discussion of Loving celebrates the symbolic dismantling of marital discrimination. This book, however, takes a more critical approach to ask how Loving has influenced the “loving” of America. How far have we come since then, and what effect did the case have on individual lives?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction Kevin Noble Maillard and Rose Cuison Villazor
  • Part I: Explaining Loving v. Virginia
    • 1. The legacy of Loving John DeWitt Gregory and Joanna L. Grossman
  • Part II: Historical Antecedents to Loving
    • 2. The ‘love’ of Loving Jason A. Gillmer
    • 3. Loving in Indian territory: tribal miscegenation law in historical perspective Carla Pratt
    • 4. American mestizo: Filipinos and antimiscegenation laws in California Leti Volpp
    • 5. Perez v. Sharp and the limits of Loving: race, marriage, and citizenship reconsidered R. A. Lenhardt
  • Part III: Loving and Interracial Relationships: Contemporary Challenges
    • 6. The road to Loving: the legacy of antimiscegenation law Kevin Noble Maillard
    • 7. Love at the margins: the racialization of sex and the sexualization of race Camille A. Nelson
    • 8. The crime of Loving: Loving, Lawrence, and beyond I. Bennett Capers
    • 9. What’s Loving got to do with it? Law shaping experience and experience shaping law Renée M. Landers
    • 10. Fear of a ‘Brown’ planet or a new hybrid culture? Jacquelyn Bridgeman
  • Part IV: Considering the Limits of Loving
    • 11. Black pluralism in post-Loving America Taunya Lovell Banks
    • 12. Multiracialism and reparations: accounting for political blackness Angelique Davis
    • 13. Finding a Loving home Angela Onwuachi-Willig and Jacob Willig-Onwuachi
  • Part V: Loving outside the United States Borders
    • 14. Racially inadmissible wives Rose Cuison Villazor
    • 15. Flying buttresses Nancy K. Ota
    • 16. Crossing borders: Loving v. Virginia as a story of migration Victor Romero
  • Part VI: Loving and Beyond: Marriage, Intimacy and Diverse Relationships
    • 17. Black vs. gay: centering LBGT people of color in civil marriage debates Adele Morrison
    • 18. Forty years after Loving: a legacy of unintended consequences Rachel F. Moran
    • 19. The end of marriage Tucker Culbertson
    • 20. Afterword Peter Wallenstein
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The Other Loving: Uncovering The Federal Government’s Racial Regulation of Marriage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-11-24 04:22Z by Steven

The Other Loving: Uncovering The Federal Government’s Racial Regulation of Marriage

New York University Law Review
Volume 86, Number 5 (November 2011)
pages 1361-1443

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

This Article seeks to fill a gap in legal history. The traditional narrative of the history of the American racial regulation of marriage typically focuses on state laws as the only sources of marriage inequality. Overlooked in the narrative are the ways in which federal laws also restricted racially mixed marriages in the decades before 1967 (when the Supreme Court invalidated antimiscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia). Specifically, during the American occupation of Japan after World War II, a combination of immigration, citizenship, and military laws and regulations led to restrictions on marriages along racial lines. These laws also converged to prevent married couples, many of whom were White American soldiers and local Japanese women, from living in the United States together. Accordingly, this Article claims that the confluence of immigration, citizenship, and military laws functioned as a collective counterpart to state antimiscegenation laws.

By unearthing this neglected history, this Article seeks to deepen the conventional account of the public regulation of mixed marriages. As the Article reveals, racial barriers to marriage were far more pervasive than previously acknowledged. Contrary to the familiar chronicle, racial restrictions on marriage occurred through federal laws, were enforced by federal officials, took place beyond state borders, and effected distinct harms on interracial couples whose experiences have largely escaped legal and scholarly inquiry. Recovering this lost history thus provides a more complete story of antimiscegenation regulation. Moreover, it draws attention to the largely undertheorized role that immigration law played in preventing interracial marriages and provides insight into contemporary debates on federal involvement in marriage regulation.

    • A. The Conventional Narrative of Antimiscegenation History
    • B. The Story of John and Helene Bouiss
    • C. Bonham v. Bouiss: Between Wife and Country
    • A. Citizenship Law and Race
    • B. Immigration Law, Racial Inadmissibility, and Construction of a White Nation
    • C. Military Marriage Regulations
    • A. The War Brides Act
    • B. Immigration Inadmissibility as a Basis for Denying Marriages to Japanese Spouses
    • C. Immigration Law’s Bar Against Racially Inadmissible Wives
    • A. Bouiss and the Amendments to the War Brides Act
    • B. Congressional Recognition and Remedy of Obstacles to Interracial Marriages
    • A. Immigration Law’s Promotion of White Supremacy Through Marriage Restrictions
    • B. Extraterritorial Antimiscegenation Regulation
    • C. Country and Citizenship Versus Wives and Children
    • D. Mixed-Race Children and Lack of Citizenship

“Except under very unusual circumstances, United States military personnel, and civilians employed by the War Department, will not be granted permission to marry nationals who are ineligible to citizenship in the United States.”

—U.S. Army, Circular No. 6


On May 9, 1946, Helene Emilie Bouiss, a half-Japanese, half-German woman, and her husband, John Bouiss, a White American soldier, arrived in Seattle, Washington, aboard a military ship. The two were newlyweds, married by the captain of the ship just days before landing in Seattle. Their decision to marry prior to coming to the United States was significant. This is because six months earlier, Congress had passed the War Brides Act of 1945 (War Brides Act), which conferred on persons who were serving or who had served in the U.S. military the right to sponsor the expedited admission of their spouses to the United States. Thus, Helene‘s marriage to John, an honorably discharged soldier, provided the basis for her entry into the country. Or so they thought

…D. Mixed-Race Children and Lack of Citizenship

One of the most compelling and troubling aspects about the deployment of immigration and citizenship law in the restriction of overseas marriage was the effect that the inability to marry in Japan had on the children of American soldiers. Children of American-Japanese couples, like their counterparts in the United States, faced discrimination in Japan and were considered inferior because of their mixed racial background. As the Supreme Court noted in Loving, bans against interracial marriage were rationalized as helping to prevent “obliteration of racial pride” and a “mongrel breed of citizens.” Mixed children evidenced the “corruption of blood” that would have destroyed the “quality of . . . [Virginia’s] citizenship.” Indeed, such fear compelled a judge in Louisiana to refuse to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple as recently as October 2009. According to the judge, “[t]here is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage.” Ample scholarship has been devoted to the various social and legal problems that confronted mixed-race children. These problems included the illegitimate status of children whose parents were legally prohibited from marrying.

The federal regulation of interracial marriage similarly led to a generation of out-of-wedlock children in Japan, who were referred to as “GI babies,” “Occupation babies,” or “half-half babies.” As already explained, many American soldiers were prohibited from marrying their Japanese girlfriends. Other couples chose to marry without the military’s approval. In both situations, the relationships lacked the official recognition of a valid marriage. As a result, children of these American-Japanese couples were considered illegitimate. To be sure, the precise numbers of illegitimate Occupation babies whose parents either unsuccessfully sought to marry or married without the official approval of the military are unknown. Indeed, one scholar noted that the U.S. military prohibited both military and Japanese officials from conducting a census of Occupation children…

Read the entire article here.

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Blood Quantum Land Laws and the Race versus Political Identity Dilemma

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2011-09-17 01:52Z by Steven

Blood Quantum Land Laws and the Race versus Political Identity Dilemma

California Law Review
Volume 96 (2008)
pages 801-838

Rose Cuison Villazor, Associate Professor of Law
Hofstra University

Modern equal protection doctrine treats laws that make distinctions on the basis of indigeneity defined on blood quantum terms along a racial versus political paradigm. This dichotomy may be traced to Morton v. Mancari and, more recently, to Rice v. Cayetano. In Mancari, the Supreme Court held that laws that privilege members of American Indian tribes do not constitute racial discrimination because the preferences have a political purpose – to further the right of self-government of federally recognized American Indian tribes. Rice crystallized the juxtaposition of the racial from the political nature of indigeneity by invalidating a law that privileged Native Hawaiians. That law, according to the Court, used an ancestral blood requirement to construct a racial category and a racial purpose as opposed to the legally permissible political purpose of promoting the right of self-government of American Indian tribes.

Close analysis of the dichotomy between the constitutive notion of indigenous blood as either racial or political has largely escaped scholarship. An analysis deconstructing their juxtaposition is sorely needed. As recent challenges to blood quantum laws show, there remain unanswered questions about the extent to which the racialized (and thus invalid) Native Hawaiian-only voting law impact other blood quantum laws. Among the laws implicated by the dichotomy between the racial and political meaning of indigeneity are land ownership laws that privilege indigenous peoples who are not federally recognized tribes. Specifically, in some jurisdictions in the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. territories, only indigenous peoples may purchase or possess property. Perhaps more problematically, these property laws define indigeneity on the basis of blood quantum. Under the contemporary race versus political meaning of blood quantum, these laws arguably violate equal protection principles because they do not fit the current framing of what constitutes political indigeneity.

Using these laws, what I collectively refer to as blood quantum land laws, as frames of reference, this Essay interrogates and criticizes the juxtaposition of the racial and political meaning of indigeneity. Specifically, the Essay examines the legal construction of political indigeneity and demonstrates how its narrowed construction would undermine these blood quantum land laws that were enacted to reverse the effects of colonialism. Consequently, this Essay calls for the liberalization of the binary racial and political paradigm by expanding equal protection law’s interpretation of the meaning of political indigeneity. Toward this end, this Essay provides an initial analysis of how to broaden the political notion of indigeneity, focusing in particular on the relationships among property, indigeneity, and the right to self-determination.

Read the entire article here.

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Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2011-09-16 18:29Z by Steven

Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

The New York Times
Room for Debate

Kevin Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Matthew L. M. Fletcher, Professor of Law
Michigan State University

Cara Cowan-Watts, Acting Speaker
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council

Rose Cuison Villazor, Associate Professor of Law
Hofstra University

Heather Williams, Cherokee citizen and Freedman Descendent
Cherokee Nation Entertainment Cultural Tourism Department

Carla D. Pratt, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law

Tiya Miles, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies
University of Michigan

Joanne Barker (Lenape), Associate Professor of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University


When the Cherokee were relocated from the South to present-day Oklahoma in the 1830s, their black slaves were moved with them. Though an 1866 treaty gave the descendants of the slaves full rights as tribal citizens, regardless of ancestry, the Cherokee Nation has tried to expel them because they lack “Indian blood.”

The battle has been long fought. A recent ruling by the Cherokee Supreme Court upheld the tribe’s right to oust 2,800 Freedmen, as they are known, and cut off their health care, food stipends and other aid in the process.

But federal officials told the tribe that they would not recognize the results of a tribal election later this month if the citizenship of the black members was not restored. Faced with a cutoff of federal aid, a tribal commission this week offered the Freedmen provisional ballots, a half-step denounced by the black members.

Is the effort to expel of people of African descent from Indian tribes an exercise of tribal sovereignty, as tribal leaders claim, or a reversion to Jim Crow, as the Freedmen argue? Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor of law at Syracuse University and a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, organized this discussion of the issue.

Read the entire debate here.

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Reading between the (Blood) Lines

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2010-07-02 14:38Z by Steven

Reading between the (Blood) Lines

Southern California Law Review
Volume 83, Number 3 (2010)
pages 473-494

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
Hofstra University School of Law

Legal scholars and historians have depicted the rule of hypodescent—that “one drop” of African blood categorized one as Black—as one of the powerful ways that law and society deployed to construct racial identities and deny equal citizenship. Ariela J. Gross’s new book, “What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America,” boldly complicates the dominant narrative about hypodescent rules in legal scholarship. On the one hand, “What Blood Won’t Tell” argues that the legal and social construction of race was far more complex, flexible and subject to manipulation than the scholarship regarding the rules about blood distinctions has suggested. On the other hand, “What Blood Won’t Tell” highlights circumstances, both historically and in recent memory, of the ways in which blood distinctions played crucial roles in shaping the identity of people of color, including indigenous peoples. Importantly, “What Blood Won’t Tell” also examines how blood quantum rules relate to contemporary efforts to reassert indigenous peoples’ sovereignty and claims to lands.

This Review highlights the important contributions of “What Blood Won’t Tell” to our understanding of the racial experience of indigenous peoples and the contemporary methods used to remedy the present-day effects of indigenous peoples’ colonial experience. “What Blood Won’t Tell” advances a more robust account of the racialization of people of color through rules about blood differences in at least three ways. First, it places the colonial experience of indigenous peoples within the larger historical contexts of racial subordination and efforts to promote White domination and privilege. Second, it underscores the federal government’s ongoing responsibility to counteract the long-standing effects of its past misdeeds by addressing indigenous peoples’ unresolved claims to lands that have been stolen from them. Third, it allows us to take a careful look at the relationship between blood quantum rules and the right of indigenous peoples to exercise self-determination. Taken together, these three perspectives reveal the immense challenges inherent to remedying the long-term effects of the racialization and colonization of indigenous peoples.

Read the entire article here.

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