Loving Day, June 12, 1967, is the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down remaining state antimiscegenation laws all over the country.These were the laws that prevented mixed “race” couples from marrying.The case was Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S.1 (1967).
Before that case many states had repealed those statutes anyhow, states like Iowa, where I grew up and Lowell and I met in graduate school, and Illinois, where we were married before the Supreme Court decision.
But I always keep Loving Day on my calendar, year after year, to remember what the Court did for couples like us. Everyone may not realize this, but “race” is a deliberately constructed concept. It’s a “classification system” like any other, made to separate people, the way an appliance store separates washers from dryers from kitchen stoves. Or overalls from jeans from men’s dress slacks.
Like the appliances and apparel separations, this one also had commercial uses and probably purposes: to classify humans so that some groups could be commercially exploited for the benefit of another. There was nothing benign about it, though it often has tried to masquerade as benign and sometimes even claimed to be for the benefit of the exploited.
Some of the attitudes this oppressive classification system has created have been changed. Many still linger. But there is literally no substance to them other than what we tell ourselves about them. Genetically we are all one family. We’re overdue to recognize that.