In 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in Virginia for being an interracial couple.
They fought back against their arrest, and their case, Loving vs. Virginia eventually reached the Supreme Court. They won their case on June 12th, 1967 – nine years after their arrest. This case overturned decades of laws against interracial marriage whose roots went back to slave codes created during the colonial era. Their story, and memorable last name, Loving, is why June 12th is now called “Loving Day” in the US – a day now marked to celebrate inter-racial unions. But interracial unions were not always celebrated. At the time the Lovings were married, only 3% of all people in the United States were married to someone of a different race, and most Americans did not approve of them. By 2020 the numbers of interracially married couples has now risen to 20%*, and most Americans accept these unions.
The demographics of America are changing, not just because of interracial marriage, but because of birthrates, immigration, and a host of other factors. In short, the United States is rapidly becoming a nation comprised of people of color. And in the Christian community, with every year that goes by believers in the United States are more and more likely to be people of color than white. That means that church youth groups, Christian schools and universities, and even some church denominations respond with reformational dynamism and imagination or shrink back.
So this week our team of Christian antiracist educators and friends resume looking at the book Christianity and Critical Race Theory: A Faithful and Constructive Conversation by Robert Chao Romero and Jeff M. Liou. We will talk about how institutions, particularly Christian institutions respond to demographic change, and begin to explore how Critical Race Theory could be a helpful tool for responding to these changes.
Let’s go now and listen, to this conversation.