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Regulating White Desire
Wisconsin Law Review
  • Reginald Oh, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Loving v. Virginia,
  • endogamy,
  • segregation,
  • miscegenation,
  • interracial marriage,
  • white supremacy,
  • equal protection

This Article contends that segregationist justifications for miscegenation and segregation laws shows that those laws effectively imposed a legal duty on whites to adhere to cultural norms of endogamy. Dominant social groups enforce rules of endogamy⁠—the cultural practice of encouraging people to marry within their own social group⁠—to protect the dominant status of their individual members and of the social group in general. Thus, laws prohibiting interracial marriages regulated white desire in order to protect the dominant status of whites as a group. The Loving Court, therefore, ultimately was correct in declaring that miscegenation laws denied blacks equal protection.

Part II of this Article discusses miscegenation laws and the Loving decision. It contends that the Court understood that miscegenation laws operated to protect white supremacy, but that it failed to adequately explain how such laws did so. Part III argues that the primary rationale used to justify these laws was the protection of the purity of the white race. Part IV will explain these laws' history and demonstrate that segregationists enacted and supported them to ensure that whites practiced endogamy. Part V concludes by reexamining the Loving decision in light of this Article's analysis.

Citation Information
Reginald Oh. "Regulating White Desire" Wisconsin Law Review Vol. 2007 Iss. 2 (2007) p. 463 - 488
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