I really appreciated the introduction of the authors of the article in regards to their social identities, as it helped frame their perspectives in viewing the film and writing this article. When considering intersectionality, it’s just as important to consider one’s own subject position and how that can influence our understanding of another’s position. For example, while I though I understood Mildred Loving’s position as a working class black woman and her motivations in contacting Bobby Kennedy, agreeing to interviews and photographs, and ultimately taking more risks than her husband was willing to take, I did not understand her Native American heritage as a part of her motivations. While watching the film, especially the scene in which Richard’s friend Ray makes a comment about him divorcing Mildred and choosing to be white, I also hadn’t considered Mildred’s situation independent of Richard. In the gender-stratified 1960s, Mildred would have little to no means to support herself and her children without Richard’s financial support and protection.
The couple’s status as working class also makes their interactions with the law interesting. While Richard’s white privilege affords him less time in jail than his black, pregnant wife, he still appears to feel powerless in the face of institutionalized authority. His character’s facial expressions in situations with the law, including both his interactions with racist county officers and the ACLU lawyers, give the audience the sense that Richard is still placed below these authority figures in the class hierarchy, even though he is also white. Mildred, however, is placed even further below her husband as a black woman, worsening the institutional discrimination working against her. It is this institutional imbalance of power between the couple that pushes Mildred to meet with lawyers, participate in interviews, and ultimately make their private lives very public. Mildred’s deeper mistrust of institutional authority as a black woman allows her to move past Richard’s fearful respect of the law and fight back by taking risks Richard wouldn’t even consider. Ultimately, it is her lowered position on the intersectional hierarchy of race, class, and gender that motivates her to change the law for herself and others in her position.