Interracial Marriage 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia
By Amy Xu
On most days, I don’t give much thought to interracial relationships and mixed race families. This isn’t to say they are not important, but I think it says a little something about where we think we are today. Seeing people from different racial backgrounds in relationships isn’t that shocking anymore, and why would it be? Or at least, I thought it was that simple before seeing A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia. Dave Kyu guest curated the show, which exhibits the work of 18 artists/artist groups who explored their personal narratives surrounding interracial relationships, multiracial identities, and the questions/issues that come out of these experiences.
While the exhibit celebrates the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, it broadens the lens from sharing a history lesson and rather, shares the stories of couples, families, and individuals which raise the question, why is this still happening today? A lot of misconceptions and obscurity remain around interracial relationships and mixed race families, even among those who may identify as socially progressive. In the short video “I’m Not the Nanny,” artist Leena Jayaswal speaks of harrowing assumptions made about women of color raising biracial children. Imagine never being asked if you’re the parent, but instead always as the help; it doesn’t seem like much but let that accumulate over time and eventually, it’ll take a toll on you and even the child who will spend the rest of his/her life navigating multiracial identity in a society that continues to exoticize or “otherize” that identity or your life.
It was truly moving to see artists speaking so bravely of experiences that can be complicated, painful, and hard to understand--but also beautiful and dignified. And it was even more moving to see such a positive reception of the exhibit on First Friday with artists and guests engaging in lively conversation around issues that are not so openly discussed. As an unmarried, monoracial Asian American, I was exposed to thoughtful and complex stories that I’ve never experienced firsthand. The diversity of experiences varied widely in the exhibit, based on race, gender, age, class and all kinds of identities--and yet the need to be seen, to have your story accepted at face value without being questioned for lying outside the parameters, is a universally touching desire that I and all 160 attendees shared in the gallery that night.
I’ll be adding more posts specific to each work in the coming weeks and A More Perfect Union is on view until August 25. Don’t miss it while it’s up in the Main Gallery. I hope you tune into my other posts on Pearl Street events and much more. I also encourage you to follow Asian Arts Initiative on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with related works and events.
Asian Arts Initiative is lucky to have Communications intern, Amy Xu, as a blogger this summer season. She will be covering our current gallery exhibit, A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and the 2017 Pearl Street Season. Check out more blog posts HERE!
The views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are the author's own and does not necessarily reflect that of the organization and its employees.