National Loving Day is celebrated annually in order to commemorate the anniversary of the 1967 US Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia which struck down all remaining laws in 16 states which prohibited interracial marriage.
Today, let’s remember this historic case and how far we have come in the US and the world and consider how far we still need to go. Let’s also show love and support to the people in our lives who are in interracial relationships and, unfortunately, still have to experience racism and prejudice from people because of it. Love has always been love and love between consenting adults is never wrong. Let’s not forget this.
“I think it’s the most beautiful love story in
American history. There is a simplicity to the story and the people involved
that cuts through any political or social agendas. Their position was easy to
understand, they wanted to be left alone. That was beautiful to me, it went beyond the
entrenched modes of thought and opinion that people have about interracial
marriage. The Lovings debunked that, and I felt that the purity of their
relationship pierced the issue without politics. It was two people who loved
each other, I think most people can understand that core.”
“That guy [Joel Edgerton] deserves an Oscar. And I love Ruth Negga. She’s a tremendous actress. He deserves an Oscar. She REALLY deserves an Oscar. I can’t wait for people to see this movie.”
In 1967, Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of the landmark civil rights case that legalized marriage between races—this documentary novel tells the story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won. Loving vs. Virginia isn’t out until January, but we’re sharing it today to honor the stories and people around the country that fight hate with love. We hope you go out and vote!
Sorry, I’m gonna have to skip Days 1, 2, 5 and 6, but here’s Day 7 early!
(This takes place in the twentieth century, probably during this WWII au; also, very similar to Lightning accidentally *chuckles awkwardly* hehehehehe-he?)
Day 7: First
he was her first
“It will never last.” Some said.
The fact that the daughter of a scientist-turned-army general fraternizing with the orphan living with his aunt and uncle would never stand in…shall we say, less racially excepting towns was only one of the reasons.
His father, a good, upstanding boy, one whom the citizens of the tiny town had seen grow up into a good, upstanding man, had made the unfortunate decision of marrying a woman whom, to put frankly, was less than human.
Half-breed, they called him. Mutt.
it didn’t help that they were at war with his very kind, it seemed
He’d grown up with these names thrown at him like spears, their barbs sticking with him as he’d grown taller, and stronger.
strong enough to snap their necks
But then, on that fateful rainy day, he’d met her in the woods for the first time, looking for her lost dog.
she was lost herself, even if she’d never admit it
And so he took her to his home, and she’d warmed up by the fire, and they listened to the radio, the news from across the sea making her shiver even more.
“My dad and brother are over there.” She said.
“Mine, too.” He said simply. He looked over towards the fireplace, where a picture of a handsome, black-haired man gazed down at them, a small smile seeming to flicker on his lips.
And when the rain stopped, he took her home.
She grasped his hands in thanks, and then rushed through the pristine white fences surrounding the two-story house, the windows draped from the inside in velvet curtains.
He stared at the house for a while.
Then he started back down the path he had taken her, hands stuck in his pockets, whistling a tune.
They met on the same place, the last time.
It was raining again.
then again, it was new england
it was always raining
“I don’t want you to go!” She said, tears running down her face, buried in his chest. “Please. Don’t.”
He swallowed. “It’s for the best, Pidge. I-,” He stopped. “We can’t do this, Pidge. Not like this. Not anymore.”
“We’d go faraway!” She said suddenly, pulling away. “Far, faraway, where no one would know us. We could go to California!”
“Pidge.” He said, gripping her hands. “I have to go.”
“No.” She said, tears falling again. “Please.”
“I love you.” He said. “I’ll always-,” He was interrupted by her lips on his, and he relaxed into another embrace.
“I’ll always love you, too.” She whispered. “Keith.”
And so he went, with her kiss on his lips, pack over his shoulder, and his cousin’s dog tags around his neck.
six months later, he was pronounced dead in combat over somewhere in arus
he was her first
but then came that day, twenty-seven years afterward
the case in Virginia was not the first of its kind
but, Katie mused, as she watched her two children play in her backyard, things that were first weren’t always happy
Hope you enjoyed! (not beta-read yet cuz my lovely beta is still looking for a coconut for me) Very ansgty….oops?
(Also the case mentioned is Loving vs. Virginia which has a special place in my family and in my heart for what did for biracial couples)
The thing about writing a character who is not the same age as you are is that you have to imagine yourself in their shoes. This is the same for writing ANYONE who is different from you, whether you are writing a space pirate and you work in an office, or you are writing a person who is a different race than you, or you are writing a male if you are a female and vice versa.
You have to INHABIT their humanity. You have to remember that a person who is the different from you is not a conglomeration of all those stereotypes you’ve heard, the things you don’t like about those people, the opposition. You share more in common with every human alive than differences. Attempt to spend some time walking a mile in their moccasins, imagining where they came from, how they changed, what situations they might have to deal with that you don’t and how that can affect them, just like the other post suggests.
Writing characters who are a different age than you might have a few more things to consider. I actually think this counts for adults writing young people as well as young people writing old people. We have a tendency to look at the other generations as ignorant, stupid, biased, blind, out of touch, and just not “getting it.”
The truth is both old people and young people are a part of their worlds, in touch with it, and have valid reasons for what they do and how they act, whether their motivation is security or freedom. If you respect them and their reasons, as humans, and don’t assume that kids are here to be rude and antagonistic, or grown ups are here to put kids down and stop them from growing, you’re going to be closer to writing realistic people of all ages.
Kids and young people are smart. They have just as much intelligence as an adult or older person. Intelligence is not a function of age. Older writers need to stop writing kids as dumb. They may not have as much life experience or perspective or know about as many things, but that doesn’t mean the experience and life lessons they do have are not valid. Kids and young people also have a plasticity in thinking that allows them to adapt to new situations faster and easier than adults do. Some adults seem to think that means young people are not able to make good decisions or be responsible, but I think that’s a misinterpretation. I think it means they are better able to be open minded and try out new options and solutions. To change.
The truth is that every person who is old was once young, and they have the ability to remember what it was like to be young. However, young people have never been old before. So they have to project and empathize and imagine what it means. Figure out what could have happened to them to create who they are as older people.
One of the things I’ve noticed in the younger generation (kids today!) is they have a tendency to assume that all grown ups are conservative, square, stodgy, old world, narrow minded, racist, homophobic, sexist, The Establishment. This makes me laugh, because I’m 45 and not only have I been involved in social activism for, like 30 years, but all that cool style that you younguns are working now? It wasn’t mainstream when I wore it. Not only that, but MY parents, from the 60s? They marched on Washington. My dad was a protestor at Columbia U and was involved with the Black Panthers. My parents were in an interracial marriage, the year of Loving vs Virginia. My mom has read more science fiction and fantasy than any of us. Geekery is not a youthful invention. Neither is rebellion.
Something that young people don’t understand about old people is that old people were not born being fuddy duddies. We’ve got generations of rebels and activists before we get to the current youth culture. You’re, like 50-60 (100?) years too late to be the first people who rebelled against mainstream culture. flappers, beatniks, Civil rights activists, anti war hippies, feminists, punks, queer activists, grunge rockers, etc. People don’t all automatically start supporting Trump when they get an AARP card. Think about the life and culture that your older character has gone through, which shaped who they are. A person who came from a conservative midwest family in the 50s is going to be different than a person who grew up protesting against the Vietnam War, even if these people are the same age. Respect the character enough to find out where they come from and who they are.
Yes, it is harder for older people to explore new technology. Yes, they see new styles of fashion or music and don’t understand it (because their experience is different.) And yes, they do depend upon the knowledge and experience they ALREADY have, rather than exploring new ways of doing things. They’ve done a lot of their exploring already, and you don’t always need to redo that experimentation if you’ve found things that work. They tend to draw more on the knowledge they have already acquired, rather than look for new discoveries.
Another thing you want to consider with older characters is their level of RESPONSIBILITY. Generally younger people do not have as much responsibility, but older ones have to care for children, houses, employees, lives. They’re committed already to spouses and jobs and homes and communities, and can’t just drop everything because they need to find themselves or fall in love… and if they do, that says something about the kind of person they are. Other people depend upon adults and older people, and that dependency changes how they react to things. A grown up who is responsible for a child has a whole new range of concerns that should be addressed to make a well rounded character.
They also have fewer choices in life. As you get older and choose your paths, other paths are closed. You’ve committed to living a certain way. And changing that is a bigger deal.
It’s easy to write, say, a mom as classist or racist or controlling or snobbish, and that creates a bit of tension and struggle within the story, but unless you look at how that mom got to that place, and try to understand her as a character, you’re just writing a rather flat, two dimensional caricature of a mean grown up. Mom=bad. Kid=good. And it’s an accepted characterization, because the story of the child fighting against the rules of the mom so that they can be independent is a classic story. It’s the story of the kid. The mom is just the obstacle, and not a full character.
You know, now that I think about it, maybe one of the reasons so many stories and adventures are about young people is that it’s a simpler, less complicated character to develop. They are LEARNING how to be the person they become and we get to explore that journey. With older characters, they’ve already done that learning, become that person, and there’s a lot more to wrangle into the character you’re trying to represent. Well, yeah. But if you find the right details, you don’t need all that much to create an older character who feels real.