Colorblind Love Essay

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Colorblind Love

I met my wife Aretha in the fall of 1997; she had just moved from Portland, Oregon, to my hometown of Portland, Maine. By Christmas we were dating, and before we knew it we were both graduating and heading to Boston for college. We’re now happily married and have a one-year-old baby girl. It sounds like a classic high school sweetheart romance, right? Well, to us, yes. But to many people, we’re “different”. These people’s views have nothing to do with our love, our relationship, or our daughter. They have to do with race. Yes, I’m talking about the mere color of our skin. My wife is Black and I am White. We’re both Americans, born on the same soil and raised within the same language and popular culture—all variables are
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For centuries, harsh laws called “antimiscegenation laws” prohibited interracial unions and carried severe legal consequences for violations. Randall Kennedy, Harvard professor and author of Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption, says that in 1913 “Wyoming became the last state to impose a statutory impediment to marital miscegenation, [and] forty-one others had already enacted similar laws… Every state whose Black population reached or exceeded 5 percent of the total eventually drafted and enacted antimiscegenation laws.” These laws were frequently enforced and although they varied from state to state, prison sentences for violations averaged from one to ten years.

In 1887 Ohio became the first state to repeal its antimiscegenation laws. Kennedy notes that no other state followed for sixty-four years, until Oregon did so in 1951. But no year was more important than 1967. In that year a White man, Richard Loving, and his Black wife, Mildred Jeter, were arrested in Virginia because their District of Columbia marriage license was invalid within Virginia’s borders. Lower court judge Leon Bazile ruled that Loving and Jeter could choose between a twenty-five year exile from Virginia or elect to serve a one-year prison sentence. In his article “Far From Heaven,” columnist Michael Lind quotes Bazile’s ruling: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow,…

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