Once upon a time, a black woman named Mildred and a white man named Richard fell in love. They shared a bond that only two people in love could share, and decided to make the ultimate leap by getting married. This not only cemented their bond but showed the world of their undying love for each other. It was also illegal. The year was 1958.
The Loving V. Virginia case was one that I heard about only as side note in history classes and recently in a handful of movies. But it was something that I knew was of a great importance from my own family. My grandmother was put up for adoption because her black mother and white father were not allowed to marry and keep their only child. When my grandparents divorced, my grandfather married a white woman from Virginia. The couple raised me for 13 years. When my mother divorced, she married a white man from Florida. My stepdad would become the father figure that I always wanted.
Interracial relationships for me are not only a big part of my family, but it is a big part of what I have seen first hand in successful relationships. Yet, I still feel the need to explain my preference in dating outside of my race. I do not however, take for granted that if it weren’t for people like Mildred and Richard Loving, my grand parents and parents, I wouldn’t have the dating and relationship luxuries that I have today.
So what does being “Down with the Swirl” really mean? Most automatically associate it with a black man or woman dating a white man or woman. In actuality, it can be almost any relationship where the person dates someone of another race. In the United States the most common interracial relationships are Blacks with Whites, with Hispanics and Asians being the next most common ethnic groups. In 2015, 50 years after the Loving case was heard by the Supreme Court, 17% of newlywed couples were interracial, versus 3% of interracial newlyweds in 1967. To learn more about the rise in interracial marriages in the United States, check out this article by Pew Social Trends.
With the rise of interracial marriages and interracial couples appearing in mainstream media and films, it is no wonder that more people are finding love outside of their own race. This has also created a market of social media brands and websites that cater to bringing people together of different racial backgrounds. One such brand, Swirl Date, connects people through social media. The impact that social media plays in not only finding love with different races, but supporting it, can even be felt in recent campaigns to create interracial couple emojis.
Now more than ever the acceptance of these couples is one that gives hope to our future. No longer is dating outside your race illegal or taboo. There are still a few challenges on a personal level. Family and friends not being open to the idea, random side looks and comments by strangers. However, if we learned anything from Mildred and Richard Loving, it’s that, love sees no color.