Fifty six years ago a 14-year-old black boy was murder/ killed for allegedly whistling/ flirting with a white woman. His name was Emmett Louis "BOBO" Till. He was beaten in a barn, his eye was gouged out, he was shot in the head and his body was disposed of like it was nothing in the Tallachatchie River with a 70 lb. cotton gin fan barbed- wired to his neck. He was found three days later. His killers were never sentenced and were protected under double jeopardy. Today a person may not be killed, but people still feel the need to make comments, stare, point and even say things to someone’s face. Interracial relationships are more common today, they are accepted, but still looked down upon, the number is growing, and the success rate of interracial relationships is the same as same race relationships. We as people should be more accepting of these relationships.
Past and Growing Numbers in USA
Looking at the numbers, there is a rapid growth in interracial relationships in the US. The numbers have gone from hundreds in early 1960 to millions today in 2010. Interracial marriages have gone from being banned to being legalized.
It's hard to believe this, but as recent as 1967, there were actually state laws that banned interracial marriage. These laws weren't overturned until the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. In that case, the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional for the state of Virginia to ban interracial marriage.Interracial marriage in the United States has been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967 Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, with many states choosing to legalize interracial marriage at much earlier dates.
U.S States, by the date of repeal of anti-miscegenation laws: No laws passed
Repealed before 1887
Repealed from 1948 to 1967
Overturned on 12 June 1967
The statistics alone demonstrate the change. "Black-white marriages increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005, according to Census Bureau figures. Factoring in all racial combinations, Stanford University sociologist Michael Rosenfeld calculates that more than 7 percent of America's 59 million married couples in 2005 were interracial, compared to less than 2 percent in 1970." (MNBC)
Acceptance and Non-acceptance
In today's society there are people that accept interracial relationships and those who appose them. Studies and research show that younger generations are more accepting than older generations. According to a Cornell University study from 2005, younger adults are more likely to have an interracial sexual relationship and marry interracially than older adults. "The number of interracial marriages involving white blacks and Hispanics each year in the United States has increased tremendously since the 1960s, but older individuals are, less likely to partner with someone of a different race, finds the new study." (Cornell University study) This study highlights the realization that while interracial dating and marriage are continually becoming more acceptable in the United States, there are still opposition and issues faced by interracial couples. There are also people that oppose the mixing of race and gene pools. Some who see it say and say it can be a sin. Other studies show the opposite; there are those who want the mixing of the gene pool, race and look at all the beautiful mixed children out there and see what a great mix our society now has. Some are simply attracted to those of other races.
Even today in some cultures interracial relationships are not allowed or accepted. In some cultures they believe that the bloodlines should remain full-blood, clean blood or un-mixed blood. Others include reasons such as that culture and tradition won't be understood or respected and that different religious views may play a factor.
Cultural shock with interracial relationships is still big and visible. For example in the Hispanic/ Mexican culture a mix between a white male or female with a Hispanic/Mexican male or female is accepted and a social norm, on the other hand a Black male or female and a Hispanic/Mexican male or female is still taboo. In a case like this the couple is picked on with hopes that they will hopefully break up or fall apart. The female is usually ridiculed, talked about, looked at differently or even looked at with shame by her family.
Since the “what about the children” argument is so prevalent, most members of interracial couples have developed a set of counter discourses trumpeting the advantages of biracial children. They argue that— 1) biracial children have the best of both worlds; 2) they are beautiful; 3) they have genetic advantages and; 4) they are a sign of racial progress. Children of interracial couples learn to be more tolerant of other cultures through observing the way their parents interact with each other. Also, the children may grow up to be advocates of social equality in their communities. Some say that children will face “identity crisis” because they don’t belong to one race or the other; this is not true. If the parents have a positive approach about educating their children about the child’s identity then the child will overcome “identity crisis.” Yes, the children of interracial relationships might face racism, might feel like an outcast or like they don’t fit in, but even children of same race parents face these challenges in their lives.
Interracial Relationships vs. Same race Relationships
There are many assumptions that interracial relationships have a higher divorce rate than that of same race marriages, but all the facts show that the rate is the same. Most interracial relationships “choose cohabitation over marriage” according to a study done by the CDC. Over all the success rate compares to all other relationships. Interracial marriages can be complex and require a great deal of effort, time and support to sustain them. Are they more difficult to maintain than same-race marriages? No, concrete data has been found to support these facts. No supporting data has been collected that divorce rates amongst interracial marriages is higher than that of same race marriages, but the recent 2002 Census Bureau divorce statistics suggested that 50% of all married couples in the U.S. will be seeking a divorce attorney. Not finding any statistics regarding interracial divorce rates would lead one to believe that interracial marriages are included in the same-race numbers, but is not racially specific. Studies have shown that interracial relations are stronger due to the discrimination, adversity, opposition and the many challenges they go through. The bonds they build are stronger; remember some interracial couples only have each other for support. Their understanding, respect, caring and overall well-being are sometimes greater than those of a same race couple.
A society can be strengthened with more understanding and acceptance of others’ choice as to who they choose to spend their life with and have as a partner. Everyone has the right to choose who to date live and marry. As times and trends change so should our point of view; let’s remember that everybody does not share the same one. Personal judgment should be kept private or to one’s self.
Lindsey Russell. “Interracial Marriage Changing American Society.” Associated Content from Yahoo.Yahoo!,14 April 2007.Web. 19 March 2011
“Interracial marriages in the United states.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 28 April 2011.Web.19 March 2011
Jones, Nicholas A.; Amy Symens Smith. "The Two or More Races
Carole Viola Bell. “Women, film and racial thinking: Exploring the representation and reception of interracial romance.”
Karyn Langhorne Folan. Don't Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions that Keep Black Women From Dating Out. Simon & Schuster. 2010. Print.