Empty Spaces: A Reflection on Interracial Relationships In My Life

I don't know Tiger Woods, but he's mixed race.
I don't know Tiger Woods, but he's mixed race and so is his family. Imagine golf without him...I know, right?

Today a news article about an interracial marriage being denied by a Louisiana Justice of the Peace circulated the internet (See Huffington Post).  You can read the article; it’s sentiments need not be repeated here.  It’s been less than 50 years since the ruling of Loving v. Virginia (1967) and regardless of the prejudice an individual might have against interracial marriage, interracial couples can marry.  That’s the lay of the law.  I won’t bog down this post with my desire that this same litmus test should apply to same-sex couples (just be aware that I think it should).

The point of this post is a conversation I had with one of my former roommates today when the Huffington Post article was circulating.  In the midst of our conversation, I took a moment and looked back on the 26 years of my life and consciously thought about how different my life would be if interracial marriages and couples were outlawed everywhere.

And immediately the image that came to mind was…empty spaces.

It was a realization in the immediate: The conversation I was having with my former roommate would not be happening because she is the daughter of a mixed race couple.

It was a realization in family and friendships:  The people around me, who have inspired me and have shaped who I am, so many of them are children of interracial relationships or are in them or were in them.

The more I thought about this idea, the more people disappeared out of my life, the more I found that the empty spaces were becoming me.

Where would I be?  Who would I be?  If so many people were gone or whose choice in partner was not allowed?  How would they be different?  Would I even know them?

Thankfully, I am not an empty space, and my life is rich with people of all different backgrounds.  But prejudices will always exists and hopefully laws will continue on to say: you can believe whatever you want, but you are not allowed to make anyone an empty space.


Due to conversations with my co-worker, I am also calling this post A Moment Without Hapas.