A new series from Topic explores what it means to grow up biracial in the decades since Loving v. Virginia. The 1965 Supreme Court decision struck down anti-miscegenation laws allowing a Black woman and white man to marry and have children. “The Loving Generation” takes a look at the lives of changemakers who have one Black parent and one white parent.
The first episode, “Checking Boxes,” debuted Tuesday, Feb. 6. Featuring Melissa Harris-Perry and Soledad O’Brien to name a few, all the figures included were born between 1965 and 1985.
“I grew up in the ’70s in Philly and when you had a Black parent and a white parent, you were Black,” said novelist and comic book writer Mat Johnson. “There wasn’t really a choice kind of seen at that time.”
“I was not ever raised as an interracial child,” Harris-Perry says. “That is not even an identity I’ve acknowledged existing. I was a Black kid with a white mom.”
Yet for some, like filmmaker Octavio Warnock-Graham, did not identify as Black, despite having a Black father.
“My mom is white, the man she married is white,” he says. “I was never ever told I was Black by my mom. I asked her many times and I got a range of answers. My birth father was ‘Native American, Puerto Rican’ because somehow that is less of a stigma than being Black. So I don’t identify as Black. I identify as mixed race.”
The episode further delves into the change from only choosing one race or ethnicity on the census to choosing multiple self-identifiers on the 1992 census.
Three more episodes will premiere throughout Black History Month, each debuting on a Tuesday.