Howard Magazine - Page 28 - Love Is Color Blind (3)

Howard Magazine
- Page 28
Love Is Color Blind (3)

those in interracial relationships, would feel welcome in Columbia.”


Firman says she quickly learned about Rouse’s vision shortly after moving to the city in 1997 as a recent divorcee.


“They [residents] give you that tutorial of Rouse and all the things they have to offer,” she says.


Howard County has a larger number of multi-race residents than the national average — 4 percent locally, compared to 3.1 percent nationally — and that number could actually be much higher because people are less likely to identify as more than one race, according to William H. Frey, a demographer at Washington, D.C.-based The Brookings Institute.


“For children, sometimes it’s how their parents chose to identify them,” he says. “Sometimes they make a decision that that child might not make. The parents might identify a single race that they may think may be more advantageous. There is a lot of room for research.”


To compound things, the Census does not classify Hispanics as a race, which could also result in lower numbers than in reality.


“We’re still kind of coming to terms with these classifications,” says Frey, who authored the 2018 book “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America.”


“We are becoming a more racially diverse place. People will be more comfortable talking about having a multiracial background,” Frey says.


It wasn’t that long ago that it was illegal for interracial couples to marry in Maryland and other states. The 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage. And it took the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to outlaw housing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or sex.


Barbara Russell, 78, was cognizant of the obstacles when she and her then-husband, Charles, were looking for a place to live in the late 1960s. The two, who worked for the Social Security Administration and had been living in Baltimore, had to go to Washington, D.C. to get married, so they were prepared for the worst as they began house hunting.


“I was pregnant at the time, and housing was very segregated,” she recalls. “We discovered Columbia by accident. It was the very beginning. There was nothing here — a few apartment buildings in Wilde Lake.”


She remembers it as the middle of the countryside and noted a lack of discrimination. “That’s about all we knew about it,” she says.