The 2040 Initiative
The Werner Institute
at the Creighton School of Law
50 Years of Loving:
Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships
Symposium, March 23-24, 2017
The symposium will begin with a feature presentation open to the public on Thursday, March 23, by Mat Johnson, author of the novel Loving Day (2015). Symposium participants will then explore the effects that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia has had on U.S. society – institutionally, demographically, and relationally. Participants will also develop strategies for moving from thought to action by building relationships across difference.
In the United States today, race grounds a profound and interlocking set of social injustices. Though we have moved past our history of overt legalized slavery and discrimination, consistent racialized allocation of status and resources continues to have pervasive and corrosive effects. Creighton University’s Jesuit tradition and Ignatian values call us to the continued struggle against racism and race-based outcomes as scholars, teachers, and community members.
Race in the United States has historically been socially constructed through interlocking cultural narratives, including law, and cultural practice, including institutions. Racism is a social system enacted and perpetuated by the interactions and relationships of individual people. Exploring the disruptive effects of the interracial “mixing” protected by Loving v. Virginia offers an opportunity to deepen understanding of systemic racism and to develop systems-based strategies for continuing the struggle for social justice. At a time when the demographics of the U.S. are shifting away from a white majority, deconstructing systemic racism is an essential project.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia ended legal prohibitions against interracial marriage in the U.S. By eliminating longstanding legal sanctions against “miscegenation,” Loving disrupted the pre-existing social system. The ruling rejected racial separation and hierarchy and endorsed relationships across previously uncrossable racial lines. Since Loving, the number of interracial marriages has grown significantly: “Nearly 15 percent, or one in seven, of all new marriages in 2008 were between people of different races or ethnicities.”*
The effects of these marriages extend beyond those who are themselves married. “[M]ore than a third of all adults surveyed reported having a family member whose spouse is of a different race or ethnicity – up from less than a quarter in 2005.”* Since Loving, the proportion of the U.S. population with multiple racial heritages has grown dramatically. Moreover, the children born as a result of Loving have disrupted the social construction of race itself, with more people self-identifying as of more than one race, biracial, multiracial, or mixed.
*john a. powell, Racing to Justice (2012)
From the perspective of your academic discipline or professional institution, what are the questions, issues, or tensions that have arisen out of 50 years of Loving?
Please note that all comments are subject to moderation. Select comments from this discussion will be printed in the June 2017 Creighton Law Review. By submitting a comment you are consenting to the reproduction of your comment in Creighton Law Review.