Campus Loving Week educates students on multiracial issues
Washington University’s Loving Week began Monday with a table full of cupcakes, though the week—which culminates on Valentine’s Day—is about more than just sweets.
Loving Week, which is hosted by the student group Association of Mixed Students and several other cultural groups, is a celebration of the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage, sophomore Kierstan Carter, president of Mixed, said.
“In a lot of ways, Wash. U. has a long way to go when it comes to race and inclusion. But we do encourage and offer space and place for such thought-provoking issues,” Carter said.
Loving Week is an initiative that gives multiracial individuals the opportunity to rally around something.
“Loving Week is an important reminder and celebration of the Loving v. Virginia case that invites everyone to reflect on America’s past and work towards positive change for the future,” junior Jamal Sadrud-Din said.
Mixed hopes to help build stronger coalitions between cultural groups on campus.
“The mixed community here at Wash. U. is relatively small,” Carter said, “so we need as many people as possible to engage.”
The week relates to the diversity and inclusion initiative by way of highlighting intersections in identity, based on the problem that most cultural groups get stuck in their own niches, according to Carter.
“It’s a huge misconception that mixed individuals who are part-black strictly take on black identities,” she said. “I’ve joked with people telling them that I have office hours for different identities. From 9-5 I’m black; I’m white after 6.”
Freshman Claudia Hendrick, who is Latina, white and Asian, said she feels more at home among other mixed students.
“When I’m with the Asians, I feel like I blend in, until someone points out that I don’t,” Hendrick said. “A lot of times you feel out of place until you’re with other mixed kids—then you feel normal.”
Hendrick emphasized that her experience doesn›t reflect others› stories of racism.
“I don’t experience it as much because I hang out with people who don’t really care. But I hear all kinds of stories. Initiatives like this are important because there is still racism on campus,” she said.
“My experience of being a biracial female in America is like when I hang out with my black friends I’m white, and when I hang out with my white friends I’m black, but it’s not as bad here as other places,” freshman Breanne Williams said. «Being mixed at Wash. U. has been a positive thing.”
Freshman Michael Fisher also said he believes students have become more open-minded.
“My mom is black, but she’s Hispanic. She’s from the Dominican Republic, so I don’t really identify with black culture as much as I do Hispanic culture,” Fisher said. “My dad is white, but I’m Hispanic and can speak Spanish. Most of my friends have always been Hispanic. But it really doesn’t matter to me.”