A welcome increase in interracial marriages
Thankfully, Americans are increasingly accepting interracial marriage.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Loving v. Virginia, that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Since then, interracial marriages have become much more common, and the stigma against them has faded considerably.
A whopping 15 percent of new marriages in the United States in 2010 were interracial, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. The racial breakdown was 9 percent of white newlyweds, 17 percent of blacks, 26 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asian-Americans.
Thirty years ago, only 7 percent of new marriages were interracial. Back then, interracial marriages accounted for only 3 percent of the total. Today, they account for 8.4 percent.
As for the country’s attitude about interracial and interethnic marriages, 43 percent of those surveyed thought the trend was a change for the better and only 11 percent thought it was for the worse.
Intermarriages occur in families across the country. Of those surveyed, 35 percent acknowledged that they had either an immediate family member or a close relative who is in an interracial/interethnic marriage. Here the difference in attitudes over time was striking: Today, 63 percent said those marriages were fine with them compared to 1986, when only 33 percent said it was acceptable.
This is how we make progress in this country and how we overcome stereotypes: By getting to know people who are different than we are on the surface but coming to understand that, fundamentally, they are just the same as we are.
It’s true whether we’re overcoming opposition to intermarriage or whether we’re overcoming opposition to same-sex marriage. The more we recognize our own family members, in-laws, friends and neighbors for who they are, the more the scales of prejudice fall away.
Akilah Bolden-Monifa is a freelance writer based in Oakland, Calif. She can be reached at pmproj [at] progressive [dot] org.
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