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Lovin’ the Man: Examining the Legal Nexus of Irony, Hypocrisy, and Curiosity

42 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011  

Camille A Nelson

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: 2007


This essay explores through autobiography and historical precedent the communication dynamics of interracial couples and whether those dynamics are the product of an externally constructed racial dynamic. The author attempts to situate her personal narrative within a larger socio-legal and sociopolitical history. The essay discusses the contemporary hostility towards interracial couples and examines the history of such hostility in the United States.

Richard Perry Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving, the interracial couple at the center of the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, are illustrative of these dynamics. The Lovings were forced to confront laws and public attitudes that valued white racial purity. In the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, “the fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriage involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.”

Since Loving v. Virginia, interracial couples must also contend with social attitudes and stereotypes which are not overtly disapproving. Examples of these attitudes include people who enter into or support interracial relationships in order to display their own good racial politics. Interracial couples must also contend with stereotyped notions of sexuality and attitudes that surround those stereotypes. This essay explores the entering of public morals, attitudes, and racialized stereotypes into the private sphere. The author explores the external pressures these attitudes cause and the private communication navigation they require.

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Camille A, Lovin’ the Man: Examining the Legal Nexus of Irony, Hypocrisy, and Curiosity (2007). Wisconsin Law Review, p. 543, 2007; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper . Available at SSRN:

Camille Nelson (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States


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