50 years after Loving v. Virginia

Jacque Gainer-Hibbs


Fifty years ago this month, Loving v. Virginia invalidated laws that prohibited interracial marriage. Jacque Gainer-Hibbs is a black woman who’s been married to a white man for two years. They have a four-month-old daughter.

What has a mixed-race marriage been like for you?

Saturday, we went to a cosplay meetup—I follow a girl on Facebook … She is a black girl, and she is engaged to a white guy. So, apparently, a guy on Twitter went through and took a bunch of pictures of black women who were with white guys, who all do cosplay, and went and put all of their pictures up and basically was saying how we are just bedwenches and—the entire process of degrading black women for dating white guys, or being married to white guys. … Seriously, every time I turn around—you think it’s done, and you don’t have to deal with it anymore, and there’s always some little thing that comes up. Every few months, I hear something. … As a black person, you go into it one of two ways. I personally always go in super open-minded. I like everybody. I love everybody. Until you give me a reason to not like you, I’m very open. Most of the people that I meet are the same way. Every now and again, I meet somebody that rubs me the wrong way. And later, it’s like, that’s why, OK.

It’s a racial stereotype?

Yes. Stereotypes piss me off so bad. I had this entire conversation with [my husband] J.D. There were two women. One was mixed. One was white. They were doing a live showing for LuLaRoe. And in doing so, they applied makeup to make themselves look black, and gave themselves super black names, and, just, like acting super ghetto during this live casting they did. … Here’s my issue: As a black woman, I go out of my way to not appear ghetto. In general, I’m not, but when people first meet you, you kind of have to go out of your way to prove what you are not whatever it is that they are thinking. … I do not like being lumped in as “ghetto.” For one, I was raised in Susanville. I was one of five black people in my entire high school, which is why, I think, I tend to prefer white guys or Spanish guys. … I click with the community I grew up with. I grew up with cows and sagebrush.

How have your families treated you as a married couple?

The first time I met his grandparents—they’re not racist, but it caught them off guard that their grandson brought home a black chick. Like, nobody forewarned them that Jacque is black. We walked in door, and it was maybe five minutes, like a kind of quick “Hi, hello,” then we were being ushered out the door. We found out later that it’s not that they didn’t like me, they were just a little on the shocked side, and not quite sure what to say. It’s funny, because, now, I can’t get through her door without her kissing me. She absolutely loves me. Dear god, this woman hasn’t moved as fast as when we brought the baby.

Can you picture what the world will be like for your daughter when she reaches dating age?

I read one story where a little boy who was 7 or 8 was walking home, and [some kids] hit him while calling him [the N word]. … I told J.D., “I want her in self-defense classes.” … I have been called the n-word—several times, even in my adult life. … I try to be as positive as I can. I hope she doesn’t have to deal with these things.