Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

John Ridley Headshot

Never Mind the Race Haters, Remember Loving Day

Posted: Updated:

Reactionary conservatives are smiling through the racial apocalypse. To them race baiting is a joke, as "humorist" Rush Limbaugh will tell you when he's calling Mexicans "stupid." Or it's a matter of semantics when they claim that Sonia Sotomayor is a "racialist" which, far as I can tell, is the smooth jazz version of being a racist. Or they are just merely reporting the "facts" when they repeatedly call an abortion doctor "the killer."

Then, right wingers go nuts and start "Second Amendment-ing" innocent people, and for the life of them conservatives can't imagine how such things happen.

I could connect the dots for them, but there are plenty of other folks out there trying to do that. Instead I'd like to focus your attention on something else this June 12th.

Love. Or Loving, as in Loving Day.

As I've written previously: June 12th, Loving Day, is not named for the emotion of loving, but, fittingly, for Richard Loving and his wife Mildred. Richard was white, and Mildred was black, and when they were married in 1958, their home state of Virginia was one of 16 that still considered interracial marriage to be literally criminal. Hard as it may be to believe now, interracial marriage -- miscegenation is the pejorative -- was once a severely odious concept. In 1912, Congressman Seaborn Roddenbery of Georgia tried to introduce an amendment to the Constitution banning such unions. To his colleagues in Congress he lectured:

It is contrary and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is contrary and averse to the very principles of a pure Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. ... No more voracious parasite ever sucked at the heart of pure society and moral status than the one which welcomes or recognizes everywhere the sacred ties of wedlock between Africa and America.

Then, as now, a particular ilk of politician tried to make bank using relationships between consenting adults as a wedge issue. Substitute "Africa and America" in the previous with "same sex couples" and you get my drift.

The Lovings spent time in jail for the high crime of being married to each other and were forced to move from Virginia. Then, on June 12 of 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Lovings' criminal convictions and struck down all laws against interracial marriage.

Now there's something like 4.3 million mixed-marriage couples in the United States. And the son of one such union is our president.

It's easy to get discouraged -- if not downright fearful -- when the race baiters dial their spew up to "11," and their reactionary puppets respond with violence. But take a moment on this June 12th to look at where our nation once was and where we are now, and take solace in knowing that we are headed in a better direction.

For more perspective, please visit That Minority Thing.com