I am going to start writing more blog posts that are more than just sessions, weddings, and posing advice. I want to be able to offer resources to everyone and encourage education on social issues and give glimpses into my life. So that being said, here we go:
I married the love of my life on December first 2021; yet it wouldn’t be possible without Mildred + Richard Loving. They were originally arrested in 1958 because they were in an interracial marriage in Virginia. Often while talking about segregation, racism, and laws that forbade basic human rights, we view it as late American History… yet, the Lovings were arrested only sixty-four years ago. This happened WITHIN our parents lifetime - which is insane to think about.
My mother was born in 1955 and grew up in a somewhat progressive part of New Jersey called Asbury Park. She was constantly surrounded by different cultures and backgrounds and even dated a few outside her Greek heritage (which tends to be uncommon in the Greek community). I am very blessed she raised me to be this open-minded person and to view everyone as equal because without her ability to love everyone, I would not be married to the man of my dreams (him being Black and Puerto Rican). I can only imagine the biases my mother faced with having a diverse group of people in her life, just as I am used to the dirty looks I receive when walking and holding hands with my husband.
Loving Day is the anniversary of a historic court decision for interracial marriages. Loving v. Virginia (1967) reached the Supreme Court where the Loving’s lawyers argued that being against interracial relationships are dated back to slave laws (this oppressing Black people and enforcing White Supremacy).
It took nine years after the Loving’s arrest for them to win their case (this being June 12, 1967 - hence why June 12 is Loving Day). Yet, it was not just a win for the Lovings, it was a victory for all those in interracial relationships since it debilitated all laws against such.
America is built on the foundation of systematic racism. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. This being said, claiming you are “colorblind” tends to be a more harmful statement than progressive. Talking about race is incredibly important for society to progress and dismantle the racist systems that are keeping BiPOC from reaching true equality.
Talking about Race is Necessary:
In simplest terms, racism = prejudice + power. In America, the white men collective holds the power, this includes politically and socially. The non-dominant group, often faces inequalities and disparities that often can lead to abuse, not only from individuals but institutions and cultural practices. This equation of racism creates the caste system that discriminates against certain groups (BiPOC) and benefits others (caucasians).
As a white person, it is important to look at my
privilege and power. I need to be able to active anti-racist work on myself and those around me. We have to continue educate ourselves to destroy the inequalities that BiPOC face. Being “not racist” is not enough to better our world.
How To Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is an important book I believe all white people should read. There are six essential points in the book I want to highlight for this blog post.
I will elaborate below:
Merriam-Webster defines racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." As stated, this is also how racism = prejudice + power. We need to be able to hold ourselves accountable for our thoughts and actions, as well as the politicians and policies we support.
Saying “I’m not racist” is only a self-serving sentiment. This does not help anyone but your ego - people constantly change their view or “what is racist” and what isn’t so that it does not apply to them. That joke you’re telling that degrades a black woman? your racism and biases are showing. If you're a white nationalist who's not violent, says Kendi, then you might see the Ku Klux Klan as racist. If you're a Democrat who thinks there's something culturally wrong with black people, then racists to you might be people who are Republicans. Who and what you support is literally your deepest beliefs. Kendi states “that term is more of a term of denial than a term with meaning”. Often people are quick to say “I’m not racist” but do no anti-racist work; by saying you are not racist you are creating blinders to your own ideas, thoughts, and actions that could be in fact racist. Anti-racist work will have you re-evaluate your own views and beliefs in how to be better. For example, avoiding a neighborhood that is predominately African American without any other reason than it being of a Black majority, is racist.
Racism creates racial inequalities and disparities in all aspects of life: politics, healthcare, criminal justice, education, employment, property ownership and so much more. What an anti-racist does, first and foremost, is identify racial inequalities and disparities. By Identifying inequities and disparities that give, in particular, white people, or any racial group, material advantages over people of color. When Social Security was created in 1935, for example, it did not include domestic and agricultural workers, majority of whom were black. While the Social Security Administration denies it’s racial biases being a factor in that decision, it still meant that black workers had less opportunity (over the course of DECADES) to accumulate savings and wealth compared to white workers. Being actively anti-racist will have you acknowledge that BiPOC are not the issue, instead it is the policies that put BiPOC at a complete disadvantage - hindering their growth and prosperity.
Now that you understand what racism is and acknowledged how anti-racism can progress society, it is important to take a breath and look at your own beliefs, systems, and voting patterns that have justified racial inequalities (does the person you vote for constantly degrade Black and Brown people and make them the “enemy”?). Are you voting to create educational opportunities for ALL neighborhoods? Do you know that funding policies affect how resources are allocated to schools and why those practices can create racial disparities? To many, these realities probably seem disconnected from whether or not they're racist, but Kendi argues that remaining ignorant about them, or declining to change policies that produce disparities, is not an option for someone who wants to be antiracist. How you vote will directly impact to those who are not in power.
I am an intersectional feminist and proud to include all people in my work and in my life. If one believes that black men are superior to black women, then that person won't be able to see how certain ideas and policies disproportionately affect black women in harmful ways. Viewing black woman as lesser than the black men, or labeling them in derogatory ways while praising the other gender, is still racist. You need to be willing to intersect all parts of someone’s identity; this includes gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race. To truly be anti-racist, you need to be intersectional.
You cannot - let me repeat this - you CANNOT be anti-racist without some sort of action. A step in the right direction would be supporting organizations in your community that fight policies that encourage and create racial disparities and inequalities. If you do not have the funds, donate your time to these organizations. If you have some sort of power (even being just your white privilege) to change racist policies in any setting you are involved in (for example, school, work, government, family). We need to commit to making action against racial disparities to create a better world for everyone.
“When racists criticize America—namely people of color + our spaces—racists call it preaching facts. When antiracists criticize America—namely racist policies and ideas—racists call it preaching hate.” - Kendi.
This is a Buzzfeed article of educational books to learn more about race and racism.
If you’re in an interracial relationship, be thankful for this court decision, for no one’s love should be illegal.