Why the Lovings Matter and Why They Always Will

They chose each other over all comers, and that's what love is.

They chose each other over all comers, and that’s what love is.

It’s been a whole year since the last Loving Day party, and a lot has changed for me. I’m working on the sequel to my first book, Illicit Impulse, (because I still work slowly — that hasn’t changed at all), but I’ve sold a short story, and I’m building professional relationships along the way. I’m creating the set of stories I want to write and want to be known for, my brand, and as my blog header says, you can count on me for romance served hot, with a swirl.

As I’m finding my place as a writer in the world, I’m often asked why I chose interracial romances. (I’m also often called out for limiting interracial romance to black women and white men, when the Great Spectrum of Swirl is so much larger, but that’s another story.) Mia Zachary expressed much of my reason when I saw her at a presentation earlier this year. She said the protagonist is an avatar through which we enter the story. When I started reading romances, there was no avatar who looked like me, and while it’s hard to explain why that makes such a big difference, it’s hard to deny that it does in fact make a difference.

At a presentation for HarperImpulse’s Romance Festival, Cindy Gallop said this about women in business: “We cannot be what we cannot see.” The Lovings, whom we celebrate today, are actually a great example of that.

David Bowie and Iman celebrated their 23rd anniversary just recently.

David Bowie and Iman celebrated their 23rd anniversary just recently.

So many folks think that interracial marriage was illegal across this nation before the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case that bears their name. But that isn’t true. They’d been married very legally in Washington, D.C. before returning to Virginia, where the trouble started. What is true — in the late 1960s and today — is that lots of people who’d been quietly interested in pursuing interracial relationships look to them and to other real-life couples for the silent encouragement they provide without even knowing they’re doing it.

Somewhere out there, someone saw the Lovings, two extraordinarily ordinary people obviously in love with each other, and took comfort. After all, Richard and Mildred Loving weren’t chasing a fetish or swayed by stereotypes or indulging in sexual curiosity.

They fell in love. They got married. They returned home together and were awakened in their bedroom by the police. They were arrested when Mildred pointed at their marriage license. Because they were man and wife, the Lovings were breaking the law.

So they challenged the law. And the law changed.

Times have changed for those of us in interracial relationships (and they’re changing for those of us in same-sex

Tina Turner married Erwin Bach last year. By that time, they'd been together almost 30 years.

Tina Turner married Erwin Bach last year. By that time, they’d been together almost 30 years.

relationships). My stories aren’t built on such weighty stuff. But when I imagine my heroines and their men, I think of them the way I see Richard and Mildred. I write about people in love who will choose each other over all comers.

Not because of their color and not in spite of it. Not because he doesn’t see it or she doesn’t notice it or they don’t allow it to make a difference.

He’ll fall for her because of who she is. For this man, her color is just a part of who she is. How she lives and moves in the world as a black woman, whether she defines herself that way or merely identifies herself that way, is also a part of her. He loves her. And he’ll fight like hell to keep her.

That’s what my little corner of interracial romance is all about, and that’s why I celebrate Loving Day. It’s a reminder of what real love is made of and how it’s built to last.

So you wanna win something?

Here’s the link to the Loving Day Blog Hop giveaway over at Rafflecopter; head over for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Leave me a comment here, and I’ll pick one lucky soul to win a copy of Illicit Impulse and some snazzy swag.

Want to go on a Loving Day tour and find some terrific IR authors? Here’s the list of Loving Day Blog Hop participants. Stop by and discover some great reads!

And for the next stop on the hop, head on over to Stacy-Deanne‘s blog! Happy Loving Day!

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15 comments

  1. Love the pictures of real life inter-racial couples. I’d also add that the late Roger Ebert and his wife Chazz were well-known all around the Chicago area. She stood by him no matter what cancer threw at him, and their love was strong. An inspiration!

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    1. I had totally, totally forgotten about Roger and Chazz, who were just adorable together! I love that there are so many pics of established interracial couples, people who have been together for years and years. But, just as an aside, there are a lot of very weird pictures of Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren together. Some of the pics are really cute, but the weird ones are very weird.

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    1. There were so many photos out there that I had trouble choosing! Especially for David and Iman. What I love most about them is that they always seem to be having fun together. They always look like they’re sharing a good laugh.

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  2. “He’ll fall for her because of who she is. For this man, her color is just a part of who she is. How she lives and moves in the world as a black woman, whether she defines herself that way or merely identifies herself that way, is also a part of her. He loves her. And he’ll fight like hell to keep her.”

    Absolutely beautiful, Alexa! Oh, and thank you for participating in our hop!

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  3. Beautiful “Loving Day” commentary, and I don’t believe it’s hard to understand why we want avatars that look like us – we’re part of this life…this world, and don’t want to feel hidden or left out.

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    1. Felicia, you articulated it so much better than I did! I still think a lot of people don’t get why that’s so important, and it’s hard to say whether that’s a victory or not (since writing these is my job, I lean toward not). In any event, I hope our avatars have a long, wonderful future ahead!

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