In Memorium: Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving, an unintentional heroine of the civil rights movement, passed away earlier this month at the age of 68.

Mildred, a Black/Native American native of Virginia, along with her white husband Richard, were arrested in July 1958, 5 weeks after getting married in Washington DC. Their crime? Violating Virgina’s miscegenation law barring marriage between people of different racial groups. They plead guilty and promised to leave the state and not return together for 25 years. They eventually settled in DC and visited family in VA separately over subsequent years.

After struggling to raise their three children away from their families and the life they knew in VA, Mildred contacted then US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1963 for help. He directed Mildred and Richard to the ACLU. Loving vs. Virginia finally made its way to the Supreme Court in 1967 and the court struck down the last remaining segregation laws on the books. In a twist of fate, the same justice who wrote the court’s opinion in Brown vs. Board of Ed. also wrote the opinion in Loving vs. Virginia.

Mildred and Richard Loving were always adamant that they pursued their case not for other people but for themselves. They wanted to be able to love each other freely without government interference.

I’m always struck by the fact that in my parents lifetime (and only 8 years before I was born) it was illegal in some states to be an interracial couple. This hits particularly close to home for me b/c my partner is not Asian and we could have been illegal back in the day. Without the Lovings the world could have been deprived of Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, and the beautiful couple that is Heidi Klum & Seal. We’ve come a long way if you consider the fact that the current Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao would have been a felon b/c of her marriage to US Sentor Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

Of course, many things change but many things also stay the same. During last year’s 40th Anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, Mildred made a statement in support of gay marriage.

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About Bo

A 30something, 1.5 generation Korean-American/New Yorker who spends her day as an HR exec. specializing in corporate diversity & inclusion. I get to think about ways to make "The Man" less male, white, and straight. It's the best job in the world! When I'm not trying to change corporate America, I teach yoga and dabble in holistic health counseling. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and my undergraduate from the University of Michigan. Lesser known facts about me: I enjoy b&w film photography, training for endurance races, and making homemade jam. Other mindless observations can be found at http://itsbo.blogspot.com/
This entry was posted in Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to In Memorium: Mildred Loving

  1. Jacky says:

    Bo,

    I gonna assume you are dating a white man. Why? Cause I know that’s the only race Asian females tend to go for. Have you asked why is it always white? You make it sound like all the IRs are based on PURE love. I want to point out how hypocritical that is. Do you bother to write about all the racism in interracial dating? Well of course not. Who cares as long as it does not affect you in a negative way right?

    Why do Asian American women always turn a blind eye to RACISM when it comes to interracial dating?

    Elaine Chao? You think she is role model? She is nothing but a uncle tom who was selected by the Republicans to further suppress minorities. Her attitude is “see I can do it and I am a poor immigrant who made it” therefore you should have no problem doing it. Her attitude is the exactly reason why white folks try to ignore white privilege in this country and deny any aid to minorities who are oppressed.

  2. Efren says:

    Dude, unless you’re gonna date Bo, why should you care?

    Just because you can’t find someone to date, Asian or not, doesn’t mean you gotta take your issues out on someone else who’s obviously happy with hers.

    And before you say anything, I have an Asian male partner, so back the [email protected]#[email protected] off.

  3. jaehwan says:

    “Dude, unless you’re gonna date Bo, why should you care?”

    Dude, unless you live in Detroit, why should you care about Vincent Chin? Dude, unless you work at Abercrombie and Fitch, why should you care whether or not they discriminate? Dude, unless you’re going to be alive in 100 years when the hurricanes and floods REALLY start, why should you care about global warming?

    I don’t get this “me first” attitude that seems to come out whenever people discuss anti-Asian racism. Prejudice is prejudice. I probably would’ve posed the question differently to Bo, but Jacky does raise an interesting issue on why so much of the blogosphere seems to ignore that preference that affects Asian men in dating. And I do agree with Jacky’s opinion that it’s a bit strange for an Asian-white interracial couple to claim victimhood in this day and age when it’s the norm rather than the exception. There’s nothing wrong with interracial dating–dating in general is a good thing–but claiming victimhood when you’re the dominant cultural force is just wrong.

  4. Bo says:

    Okay then…so if we pursued Jacky’s logic to its finite conclusion the world would look thusly:

    – People of different races would live in seperate states and would never be allowed to interact with each other. If people of different races are allowed to mingle there would be an increased risk of them falling in love…and horror we can’t have that!

    – Asian women should be barred from making any decisions for themselves b/c they clearly we’re not smart enough to be entrusted to make choices that are in their own best interest. An asian man would be assigned to each woman. That man would be responsible for making all decisions for the asian woman including what she wears, eats, thinks, feels, and whom she has sex with. God forbid asian women are allowed to make their own decisions…gasp! They might make a decision that men don’t like!!!

    – Asian people should be stripped of all authority and should not be allowed to pursue any profession that might advance their socio-economic status. Clearly, asian people are inherently incompetent and only fit to open Chinese resturants and run dry cleaners. Those who are currently in senior leadership positions only got there b/c some white person decided they needed a token to prove America is a country of opportunity. Only white people have the intelligence to lead the nation and it’s institutions.

    Ah utopia! How do I sign up?

    Jacky, you’re allowed to be racist and misogynistic and I’m allowed to call you out on your distructive and inflammatory beliefs.

    And finally…do you know anything about Elaine Chao. Yeah, I don’t agree with any of her politics but dude, she’s done some amazing things…like overhauling the United Way!

  5. Bo says:

    Also, for the life of me I don’t know why people are so willing to support the opinions of misogynists and racists just b/c the topic is about inter-racial dating.

  6. jaehwan says:

    Bo,

    Jacky neither said nor inferred any of that. People of “different races would live in [sic] seperate states?” “Asian women should be barred from making any decisions for themselves?” “Asian people should be stripped of all authority and should not be allowed to pursue any profession that might advance their socio-economic status?”

    This is worse than a simple strawman technique; there is nothing in his post that even remotely resembles what you’re accusing him of. You also tar and feather him with the ol’ “misogynists and racists” label, but that too really has no basis in anything he actually wrote.

  7. Sharon says:

    Jacky:

    I think you’re missing the point of Bo’s post, which is not about racism or sexism, but a thoughtful dedication to Mildred Loving – a woman who’s plight benefitted ALL people today. The Loving case paved the way for equal rights, or rather, the human right to be with who you love regardless of the color of their skin.

    The Loving isn’t just relevant to blacks or whites. It’s relevant to everyone on the planet (including APIs) who believes in the freedom to pursue happiness in love. Without the Lovings, any interracial couple today wouldn’t just be “victims” of racism…but would be persecuted as CRIMINALS. And that’s the point of the blog.

    Just because Bo chose not to write about why it’s seemingly difficult for Asian men to get white girls doesn’t mean that she’s not aware of that issue. She just chose (rightfully so, in my opinion) to memorialize a powerful milestone in modern history and demonstrate, through her personal story, how this applies to each and every one of us.

  8. Bo says:

    Jaehwan…In my reading of Jacky’s comments, I absolutely saw inferences to all the extreme conclusions I outlined.

    “Do you bother to write about all the racism in interracial dating?” An implication that interracial dating is somehow mired in racism…and thus dysfunctional.

    “Why do Asian American women always turn a blind eye to RACISM when it comes to interracial dating?” An implication that asian women are ignorant and/or too stupid and/or too selfish to understand some universally accepted fact.

    “She is nothing but a uncle tom who was selected by the Republicans to further suppress minorities.” An implication that a highly intelligent and competent Asian woman (Harvard MBA, former head of the United Way) is nothing but a pawn for the white man and all of her accomplishments are not actually her own.

    Yeah, the conclusions I’ve outlined may be extreme but they are embedded in what what was left in the comments.

    BTW, how do you come to the conlusion that Asian-White relations are the norm? The statistics don’t show that. It would only be the norm if over 50% of asian women were dating white men. The numbers are WAY WAY below that.

    Plus, I love how the blogosphere likes to treat asian men as the victim when it comes to interracial dating. Victim my ass…show me statistics that prove that asian-american men are ending up old, unmarried, and lonely at a disproprionate rate to other men. Don’t asian men find this type of stereotyping insulting?

    And finally, this post was to honor a civil rights heroine. I think we can all agree that striking down miscegenation laws was a good thing.

  9. Moye says:

    Okay, seriously…someone tell me how someone jumps from an an obituary for Mildred Loving to the problem of why Asian dudes can’t get with white girls? I’m so lost.

  10. Jacky says:

    Bo,

    Why is it anytime someone points out the flaw of a blog that the auto Asian feminism defense kicks in? Where did I say Asian men should tell Asian women what to do? Where did I say Asian men should make decisions for Asian women? You sure jumped to the conclusion quickly. Did you happen to read all the work by Amy Tan and think her writing is gospel for Asian American women liberation? BTW, I don’t know you and I really don’t care to tell you what to do in anything other than responding to your blog.

    I have yet to read any comments on these so-call Asian American blogs about the damage this media has done to all the Asian American youth. The media is messing with our heads daily. How come we don’t look deeper into this WM/AF thing and realize how racist some of these couplings are? Why do you act like this is so normal when it is not? Why is it ALWAYS about white people? Shouldn’t Asian American activists care about what REALLY is going on in the community vs. sugarcoating it all the time? How come no one ever think AM/AF couples are normal? At end of the day, it is all about dating the white men for these Asian American women. If you want to call that progress, then go ahead and call it whatever you want but to me it is still rooted in racism.

    You act like you would have been a victim if those miscegenation laws were still around. Please… White men have a “thing” for Asian women. This is why you only see WM/AF in movies and AFs are new casters are all over while there is none for AMs. It almost seem fashionable these days for Asian American women to stereotype and bash Asian men openly to gain favors with the white men. Why? Asian men are oppressed and it is easy to join with the majority to jump on the minority. At least admit this is what many Asian American women are doing. White men threw them a bone and they ate it up like good little China dolls.

    Elaine Chao? You really think she would be there if she is not a royal dog for the republicans? Sure whatever you say. Get a minority women so it will kill two birds (woman + minority) with one stone so minorities can all shut up about fairness in representation.

  11. Grace Chu says:

    Okay, enough! I can’t believe that people even brought up the effing AF/WM thing in this post about Mildred Loving. Do you people even know just how groundbreaking Loving v. Virginia was and how backwards the earlier line of reasoning was? Why don’t I quote from the lower court judge’s opinion…

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.”

    Yes, that was in the trial court’s opinion. An actual legal opinion, not the words of some loudmouthed yokel preacher. You have no idea what Mildred and Richard Loving were up against. The trial judge actually BANISHED them from the state of Virginia. Like physically kicked them out and told them not to come back.

    In any event, Loving v. Virginia stands for the proposition that THE STATE has no right to tell you whom to love and marry (at least based on race). And hopefully this concept will be extended to same sex relationships as well.

    Talk about missing the point and turning a post that was meant to memorialize the passing of a civil rights icon into petty squabbling. Way to go.

  12. jaehwan says:

    Moye wrote: “Okay, seriously…someone tell me how someone jumps from an an obituary for Mildred Loving to the problem of why Asian dudes can’t get with white girls?”

    Maybe Bo can answer this since she’s the one who brought white girls into this. I don’t think anyone else mentioned white girls…

    Bo,

    “Yeah, the conclusions I’ve outlined may be extreme but they are embedded in what what was left in the comments.”

    Your conclusions are extreme to the point of mischaracterizing another person’s position. It’s almost like he said, “I like pizza,” and then you came to the conclusion that he wants to eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of his life, and that he is racist against hamburgers. I hope you can see the problem with this line of thinking.

    “BTW, how do you come to the conlusion that Asian-White relations are the norm? The statistics don’t show that. It would only be the norm if over 50% of asian women were dating white men. The numbers are WAY WAY below that. ”

    Check out Warrior Lessons by Phoebe Eng. It’s 55% for Asian women born in the U.S. Yes, including women from overseas it’s not predominantly AF/WM, but if you count the native born population, it’s definitely greater. Eng had to devote a whole section to the phenomenon because it’s so big. Not to mention the fact that people in those relationships tend to be overrepresented in Asian American cultural groups. Where’s the non-interracial version of Amy Tan?

    “Plus, I love how the blogosphere likes to treat asian men as the victim when it comes to interracial dating. Victim my ass…show me statistics that prove that asian-american men are ending up old, unmarried, and lonely at a disproprionate rate to other men. Don’t asian men find this type of stereotyping insulting?”

    I’m not insulted if it’s the truth. Acknowledging truth is the first step to fixing the situation. Obviously it’s a problem.

    So for stats: Check out the articles/stats that I posted here:
    http://www.thefighting44s.com/archives/2008/03/18/44s-vs-reappropriate-on-fallout-central/
    John Tierney, who is a famous NY Times science writer, talks about the same preference which certain “Asian American leaders” keep telling us is fiction. Props to Tierney for calling it as it is. Also check out the second article I posted by Penner. These are the facts.

    “And finally, this post was to honor a civil rights heroine. I think we can all agree that striking down miscegenation laws was a good thing.”

    I don’t think anyone was disagreeing there. I personally was just criticizing your characterization of the current situation. Asian Americans married to white people currently dominate both the institutions that run Asian American culture AND the conversation. I think he was just trying to say that we should depict the situation as it really is.

    Sharon, Bo, Grace, and Moye:

    I think people just have to be sensitive to how information is presented. It’s clear to anyone who has taken an Asian American Studies class that the AF/WM relationship is far more accepted than AF/AM. It’s easier and more acceptable to have a romantic Last Samurai who is white rather than Asian. That’s all. Yes, please mourn Loving, because she was a historical figure. But you also have to be sensitive to the way things really are today. We’re no longer living in the 1960’s, and the power dynamic was never the same for Asian Americans and African Americans anyway. It’s much more complex than just you vs. me or vice-versa.

    I’m just saying that if you guys are discussing Asian American issues, it’s best to take an open-minded approach to what is really going on.

    Jacky wrote: “I have yet to read any comments on these so-call Asian American blogs about the damage this media has done to all the Asian American youth.”

    Not specifically media related, but check out this post by Dialectic:
    http://www.thefighting44s.com/archives/2007/07/20/emily-sue-has-brown-eyes-race-fetish-and-love/

  13. akrypti says:

    hahahaha. awesome. you guys all made my day.

    Bo, you could post a piece on, I dunno, vitamin water, and people will jump at you about interracial dating. It’s kind of funny if it weren’t for the fact nobody seems to be tongue-in-cheek.

  14. Jacky says:

    Jaehwan – Thanks for writing out the comments. You made some very good points and sadly, they are the reality we are in today.

    I did wanted to point out although miscegenation law is no more and we should definitely celebrate the life of Mildred Loving, but there are many things that have not changed. Racism merely took a different route and it is very much here today in many interracial relationships. Things have improved, but people of color are hardly being treated equal. As long as Asian men are judged as Asians first and as men second, not much progress has been made at all. It is pathetic these so-called Asian American female “activists” rarely ever speak out against all the racism in these IRs between AFs and WMs. It is like it is automatically for these so-called “activists” to bash Asian men openly and stating how liberating it is to be with white men. Of course, he has to be white and nothing else in most cases. Racism is still racism. Racism merely changed from black and white to gray.

    BTW, that NYC article is pathetic. I can’t believe some Asian women actually feel that way. Gee, I guess it is not too surprising Bo here lives in NYC.

  15. Jacky says:

    Jaehwan – Wow, those articles on the Fighting44s are great. They really looked at all aspects of these issues. Thanks for the link and props to the writers on the Fighting44s. I am glad someone who sees things for what they are vs. all the sugarcoating.

  16. Confuse-Us says:

    It is funny how all roads seem to lead to the IR debate. The question is, what exactly are the responsibilities of individuals to their own “kind” and who has the right to determine what these responsibilities should be and what form they should take?

    I agree with Efren that people need to stay out of other people’s business. We’d get further as a community by presenting ideas that inspire than we will from putting unreasonable limits and conditions on people we don’t know.

  17. Bo says:

    Thanks akrypti! You are so right. I really don’t know how the comments veered so far wrong. I’m enemy number one for all asian men who can’t get a date just cause I’m proud to state that I’m in a relationship with a white man and I’m really, really happy.

  18. Ernie says:

    I’m going to close this thread because this comment thread really has veered off-topic, and it depresses me.

    Before I do though, I want to thank Jaehwan for the eloquent response and the attempt to prevent this from becoming a Hannity & Colmes like shouting match. I’m kind of saddened that this debate has now devolved into a case where both sides aren’t even addressing the others concerns but instead trying to be the most insulting or catty.

    As a result of this, I’m now going to be more strict regarding our Comment Policy on our About page. If you disagree with what someone has to say, that’s fine; I will not tolerate personal attacks of ANY KIND, and people doing so will not only have their comments removed but their IP addresses banned, and in extreme cases, their ISPs notified.

  19. Pingback: 8Asians.com » Louisiana Justice Denies Interracial Marriage

Comments are closed.