Mackenzie Dunaway 10809647
University of Kentucky
In today’s society creating and maintaining a relationship is complicated enough, but when you combine a romantic relationship with different races it become very difficult. Within the following research one can discover many eye opening facts. Some research shows how society is growing with the new idea of interracial marriages. However, other research states it would be better to avoid interracial relationships altogether. In most cases, the positive research prevails and it is found that some interracial marriages have lower divorce rates than what is considered “normal” marriages. Though interracial relationships do not seem to differ from “normal” relationships, there are many more hurdles and jumps that couples have to get through just to be with one another. The research discusses of how family, culture and living environment have to be adjusted for the new interracial couple’s life. Some families can never come to terms with the way of life their child has chosen and believe they will leave their culture behind. Yet other families accept the new spouse with open arms introducing them to their culture. With this research it will likely impact social change on cultures worldwide.
Throughout history it has always been hard for couples of separate races, cultures or backgrounds to marry one another. The love that two people can have for one another can be misunderstood due to culturally based reasons. Just because someone has different skin tone, culture background, or socially economic status means they are not allowed to love one another? The fact that our society has these vague views about something so simple is very closed minded. Yet to the surprise of many divorce rates are lower in certain interracial relationships, as well as overall couple happiness is higher. “Normal” relationships can express their love without any punishment and interracial relationships cannot due to silly factors. Interracial couples should not have a hypocritical stance against them when factors such as divorce rates, social change and culture equality are moving forward.
A factor that plays a major role in any form of marriage is divorce rate. People seem to assume that interracial couples are likely to have a higher divorce rate than “normal” same race relationships. The highest divorce rates come from African American marriages, thus proving those who assume wrong. Though, Latino/White couples tend to have a higher divorce rate than other interracial relationships (Fu, V., & Wolfinger, N. H., 2011). This information comes from a study where the researchers Fu and Wolfinger observed based upon the husband’s and wife’s race (Fu, V., & Wolfinger, N. H., 2011). In the study conducted by Fu and Wolfinger they compared and contrasted from a previous study conducted in the 1970’s. (Fu, V., & Wolfinger, N. H., 2011). The numbers of interracial marriage had greatly risen since a population spike in America as well as the more Latino’s have immigrated to America. Not all the interracial couple types tested, showed a higher divorce rate. Surprising to most, it is that a black wife/white husband interracial marriages have a lower divorce rate than white-white marriages. The researchers discovered that there are high divorce rates in some interracial marriages, but it also shows that divorce rates of some interracial couple is lowers than a “normal” marriage. So, from this researched it is concluded that interracial couples are starting not to have negative divorce rates that same race couples do. Granted this research shows that divorce rates are lower in some relationships, it does not go into depth about the culturist problems that occur.
A second factor that can greatly influence an interracial relationship is the clash of the cultures. In America it is more likely for an American born Asian to marry interracially than within their race. In 2007, forty-one percent of American born Asian women had white husbands, yet only thirty percent of American born Asian men had white wives. A study was conducted to test the happiness of interracial relationships between white and Asian Indian (Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A., 2011). The study was performed by asking the husband and wife individually about the success and happiness they found in their relationship. Next, they would question them together and see the outcome of their answers had changed being in front of one another. The researchers discovered that even a rough culture change that the American and Asian Indian couples were genially happy with one another (Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A., 2011). Though the couple was happy in their relationship the researchers noted that the cultural difference was very hard on some families, but easier on others. One participant went into detail about her neighbor shaking her husband’s hand (frowned upon in her culture) and making a positive ordeal about it. The same neighbor also prompted everyone to speak in English around her husband so he would never feel left out (Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A., 2011). Other families did not have the same positive reaction. One participant spoke that it was like War World three when the topic of interracial marriage was brought up. Another found that it is not the insecurities that you have in the relationship, but the ones that others make for you (Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A., 2011). The researchers did note and understand the family’s negative behavior because the parents worried that their children would lose their culture identity of “being Indian”, they also worried about being distance to their future grandchildren. Other negatives that people thought of the interracial couples were based about the location of where they lived. These couples expressed that living in a small conservative towns they saw a greater disapproval in their marriage (Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A., 2011). In conclusion to the research it is found that an interracial relationship the transitions of culture can be a positive or negative on the couple’s relationship happiness.
A third factor to be considered with interracial marriages is the social change of our culture. A study was conducted on how America has grown in social change on interracial marriages. The Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia, an interracial couple in the 1960’s that was banned from living with one another due to Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law (Luther, C. A., & Rightler-McDaniels, J. L., 2013). After much debate this law was deemed unconstitutional for its racist views and controlling of human rights. The Pew Research Center conducted a study that showed that over fifteen percent of all new marriages in America during 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another (Luther, C. A., & Rightler-McDaniels, J. L., 2013). That doubled from the six point seven percent during the 1980’s. Forty–three percent of American’s believe that the more interracial marriages “have been a change for a better society.” Only eleven percent argued that is has been a change for the worse. Since the growing Hispanic population in America, the interracial marriages between Hispanic’s and White’s is at forty-three point three percent. A surprise too many, African-American and White interracial marriages were reported to be the lowest percentage of all interracial unions (Luther, C. A., & Rightler-McDaniels, J. L., 2013). Communication scholar Victoria Orrego Dunleavy argues the union between African-American’s and Whites are so low due to the pop culture belief of “inappropriateness”. Race is not viewed as it was meant to be, people think race is a way to construct a social hierarchy among people. Yet there is really no set intention of race than different physical features from one another. When race became a social construction designed to construct a social hierarchy is when interracial relationships became a threat to the “status quo”. Medias portray interracial relationship. It is discussed that more White turned magazines such as Newsweek and Times were more accepting to interracial marriages than more African-American magazine Jet and Ebony. African-American magazines found to be in favor of unions with White men and African-American women (Luther, C. A., & Rightler-McDaniels, J. L., 2013). The white targeted magazines found that it was okay to marry a “lighted skinned”, like Obama or Collin Powell. The main component of this study is the fact that interracial marriages are growing in America, and are becoming more accepted.
A final factor that contributes to interracial relationships is how the couple lives with being “different” from everyone else. People may think that racial boundaries are obsolete but some divisions still remain powerful. In a poll taken in 1991 it showed that a high forty-five percent of white Americans still did not approve of white and black relationships (Castle Bell, G., & Hastings, S. O., 2011). Despite this disapproval interracial relationships have increased steadily through time. Most couples have a “coping” process, whether it is to seek religion or just appreciate one another they understand that they are right and the others who judge are wrong. All couples try to maintain this positive face for the health of their marriage. Interracial couples tend to have self-protection strategies not only for their relationship, but for their children as well (Castle Bell, G., & Hastings, S. O., 2011). One positive change since previous studies is that couples were not afraid to travel into more racist towns, when just fifteen years earlier couples avoided these certain towns at all cost. The couples did not feel that they have to hold themselves differently while in public, these findings offer reason for optimism. Yet, social movement continues to shift to the positive culture change and creates a favor of interracial couples.
In conclusion, there are still mixed feeling about interracial relationships. Some of these feeling may be negative, but the positive feeling still have room to shine through as society learns to accept new ideas. It is the black and white interracial marriage that actually has the lowest divorce rate among all types of marriages, thus changing the opinion of a “normal” marriage. Families and culture have a large effect on the couple’s happiness within their relationship. Some of the families learn to live with the new way of life, but some will disown their children for such actions. Media has a big role in how we see these kind of relationships, what is accepted and what is not. It is important to note that the results from these experiments have been summarized into data and the results are generalizations made based from the studies. However, not all of these factors contribute the same way to interracial relationships. It cannot be truly stated that interracial relationships are “healthier” or “doomed” from this information. With time our society will grow to understand the love between two people does not matter that races you are.
Castle Bell, G., & Hastings, S. O. (2011). Black and White Interracial Couples: Managing Relational Disapproval Through Facework. Howard Journal Of Communications, 22(3) , 240-259. doi:10.1080/10646175.2011.590405
Fu, V., & Wolfinger, N. H. (2011). Broken Boundaries or Broken Marriages? Racial Intermarriage and Divorce in the United States. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley- Blackwell), 92(4), 1096-1117. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00809.x
Inman, A. G., Altman, A., Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A., Carr, A., & Walker, J. A. (2011). Cultural Intersections: A Qualitative Inquiry into the Experience of Asian Indian-White Interracial Couples. Family Process, 50(2), 248-266. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01358.x
Luther, C. A., & Rightler-McDaniels, J. L. (2013). "More Trouble than the Good Lord Ever Intended": Representations of Interracial Marriage in U.S. News-Oriented Magazines. Journal Of Magazine & New Media Research, 14(1), 1-30.
Perry, S. L. (2014). Hoping for a Godly (White) Family: How Desire for Religious Heritage Affects Whites' Attitudes Toward Interracial Marriage. Journal For The Scientific Study Of Religion, 53(1), 202-218. doi:10.1111/jssr.12079