Featured on ABC 5 Boston's "CityLine": Interracial Relationships, Loving Day and Passing

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...TV interview also available at WCVB Boston

Dr. Dawkins discusses the ongoing impact of interracial romantic relationships, multiracial identities and passing in the United States with Loving Day founder Ken Tanabe and CityLine host Karen Holmes Ward.

Correction to the "Correction"

Dr. Dawkins,

I’ve noticed there has been a “correction” to your video posted in various places (NY Times, FB). These "corrections" are both unnecessary and unfortunate.

I find this surprising as the poster is clearly are familiar with, for example, Peggy Pascoe’s "What Comes Naturally," which refutes his points entirely. As a professor (Brown University & Simmons College) who studies and teaches the history of inter-racial marriages and inter-racial relationships in the US, I felt compelled to post a response.

1. Although inter-racial marriage was not “illegal” in all states at the time of the Loving decision, local magistrates and justices of the peace were able to deny marriage licenses to couples based on race. Further, the history on anti-miscegenation law is not a singular march towards progress. Between 1865 and 1967, laws were enacted, repealed, and re-enacted numerous times in most states. We have to consider bans not only on black-white marriages but bans on whites marrying Asians and Native peoples as well. There are also many states that tried to enact anti-miscegenation laws but were unable. Thus, we cannot simply say “only 16 states had bans on inter-racial marriage” in 1967 and assume this means there was some move towards national marriage equality prior to Loving.

2. The poster is correct that there was no federal law banning inter-racial marriage but inaccurate when he says there was a “50 year struggle.” In fact, anti-miscegenation laws had been challenged for at least 100 years. The enacting and repealing of laws over time demonstrates a back-and-forth movement between anti-miscegenation stalwarts and those who found such laws discriminatory (or, at the very least, not in the interest of their states at the moment). The three cases mentioned were only three of the latest and he does not acknowledge all the couples who challenged anti-miscegenation statutes (and sentiments) but did not end up in courts.

3. In fact, Loving v Virginia DID legalize inter-racial marriage in the US. The decision by the Supreme Court finally made it illegal for states (and local magistrates or justices of the peace) to deny marriage licenses on the basis of race. To say Loving did not legalize marriage is as absurd as saying Brown v Board of Education did not end school segregation because not every single school in the US was segregated in 1954 or that Roe v Wade did not legalize abortions because some doctors performed abortions prior to Roe. A cursory knowledge of the legal system is all that is necessary to know that the Supreme Court, in the Loving decision, took the power out the states and ended the back-and-forth enacting/repealing/re-enacting of anti-miscegenation laws. This is what is meant by the phrase “Loving ended anti-miscegenation laws in the US.” I am certain that Mr. Tanabe is well aware of this because I have spoken with him.