Friday, April 13, 2012

interracial relationships

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African Americans and whites in the United States have witnessed a large amount of social

and cultural desegregation of. Through years of desegregation, however, social and

cultural differences still exist. They exist in the institution of marriage. Americans have

been and are continually moving slowly away from segregation. In the past forty years,

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laws have transformed schools, jobs, voting booths, neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants

and even the wedding altar (Ties that Bind). Since the 160s, when housing

discrimination was outlawed, many African Americans moved into predominately white

neighborhoods. The steadily growing areas in the west and southwest are least segregated,

because these areas never had the…entrenched African American and white sections of

town (Afgen).

There are other signs that are visibly seen in the areas of education. A study, done by the

University of Michigan, shows that integration on campuses occur on a regular basis. The

racial lines are crossed routinely; about 50% of African Americans and 15% of whites

reportedly study together and a percentage close to that also eat together. Socially, there

has been a steady focus of opinion on a variety of racial issues. Since 17, surveys have

asked whether the respondent would favor a law making inter-racial marriages illegal.

Since 101, there has been a ban on these interracial marriages in Alabama (Afgen). In

180 the results showed that 0% of whites and 18.% of African Americans favor such a

law. By 14, data showed 14.7% and .% respectively. Similar trends have also been

observed in busing and even integrated social clubs (Ties that Bind). A simple analysis

shows that complete desegregation is moving in the right direction.

Regardless of these examples of desegregation, a deeper look shows that there are still

signs of racial discriminations, mostly seen in the institution of marriage between African

Americans and whites. By 16, there were more than 40,000 marriages between blacks

and whites, according to the census updates, of which fewer than 1 in interracial

marriages were between African Americans and whites in the 160 (Ties that Bind).

These numbers do not reflect the spread of desegregation very well. If there is such a large

spread of desegregation between African Americans and whites from the past to the

present, then the numbers should reflect a much larger count of interracial marriages

between these races. This is, however, untrue. There are less such barriers African

American and white couples face today.

One of the major barriers that face these couples does not come from themselves but

rather from family disapproval. Ruth, an African American woman, and her husband

Steve, a white man, were married in 18. They have no prejudice toward each other and

they share the equal love of any other married couple. Problems did not arise from friends

because they shared friendship with people from different races along with those who

looked at the person, not the color. However, they had problems with other people, such

as Steves mother. His mother had sat him down and asked him why he could not marry

his own kind. Steve, of course, stood firm and married Ruth, which unfortunately resulted

in the ties between his mother and himself breaking away. Robert, an African American

man, married Michelle, a White Lutheran woman. Not one of Michelles relatives attended

the wedding, except for her mother. Her father was furious that he was expected to accept

an African American into the family. It is not the disfavor of strangers that hurts these

couples the most, but rather the disfavor of family(Newsline). Territa, a African

American women, had broken up with Todd, her White husband, several times before

getting married because of the initial reaction of Todds family (Newsline). Nevertheless,

they did not let their familys disapproval stop them from continuing on what they had.

In another occurrence, Fred and Anita Prinzing, both white, were aware that interracial

marriage brought problems. Both their son and daughter married African Americans. Fred

and Anita believed that they were not prejudiced, but as far as their children were

concerned, they couldnt justify the prejudice they felt for their children marrying African

Americans. The only way they believed that they could have been persuaded from

prejudice was the fact that they had been exposed to it growing up around their parents


Religion is another major barrier that African American and white couples encounter. In A

survey done by Earnest Porterfield on interracial marriages shows this point. The

majority of couples actively involved in Christian churches before marriage, discontinue

church membership and attendance after marriage (yahwehshalom). An increasing

number of couples in America are crossing this racial and cultural ditch. He later states

that A close look at the Old Testament reveals misinterpretation. Opposition to

intermarriage arises when people of God many those who worship a God other than

Yahweh. These couples are searching for churches that feel like home. If national trends

are any indication, the American churches need to be prepared to face a growing

phenomenon. Until that happens interracial married couples will meet with resistance from

religious people who have been reported as saying that if their own children married

African Americans, they would kill them.Myra adds …the church must repent not only

for bad theology but also for failing to protest racist laws in the past (yahwehshalom).

Troubles do not stop here for interracial married couples. The problems that are faced by

interracial parents are mirrored in their children. On one occasion the Bronzes had sent

their daughter, Shelly, whos physical features resemble an African American, to a party.

The Bronzes had never met the family, who are African American, that put up the party

and decided that one of them should go to say hello. Chuck, Shellys father, knocked on

the door and was met with disbelief. The family was surprised that Shellys father was a

African American (Newsline). Older children of interracial marriage parents also face

problems. They have to make a choice as to which parents culture to adopt. Halle Beny

stated that it is important that multicultural individuals make a choice about race early in

the life because even if they identify themselves as interracial they will still be

discriminated against as a person of color in this country (Ties that bind). Knowing all

these barriers and problems, what brings African American and white people together?

A study of thirty nine middle class African American and white couples in New York

found that most of these couples had experienced being pulled over by police who

suspected either the African American women to be a prostitute or the African American

man to be a rapist (Ties that Bind). Edger, a white Jewish man, and Jean, a African

American Baptist women, on more than one occasion have been stopped and arrested by

police because they were walking arm in arm (Newsline). Races have mixed, going back

to the early days. Over time, other races have blended with whites without question.

African American mixing, however, has been accountable for the one drop theory, which

has defined a way to permanently separate African Americans. The one drop theory was

reinforced in the landmark Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling in 186. The

Plaintiff, Homer Plessy, argued that segregation was wrong and he should not be

discriminated against because, after all, he was only one-eighth African American. The

justices, however, ruled that he must ride in the separate but equal coaches reserved for

coloreds. Almost I 00 years later, in 186, the Supreme Court, upheld a decision forcing

a Louisiana woman who was only one-thirty second African American, to be legally

declared as African American. (Halloway).

According to a study done, one consistent sign associated with intermarriage is social class

and/or status. One reason that black women marry white men is to increase their station

in life (Staples). African American out-marriage becomes gradually more common when

moving up the occupational scale and more common among higher educated African

Americans. Among whites the pattern is reversed. It is believed that whites are more likely

to marry a African American spouse when it allows them to marry a partner of high

socio-economic prestige (Timeline). The appreciation of a partner is the beauty and the

common ability to communicate. The main reason for marriage and love is what brings

them together (Times that Bind).

It is often said that religion, family and the attitudes of other people, generally are the main

causes to the problems we see in interracial relationships as well as marriages. It is said to

be difficult, if not impossible, to change parents attitudes along with the attitudes of the

earlier generations, to influence society into accepting the patterns of the new generations

identitys. The older generation will never change. They have believed this to be true since

the day they were taught it. This present generation, whos guilt comes from causing

friction, proves the next generation must be open-minded to accept and understand future

patterns of new marriages. While these attitudes of prejudices in peoples minds are

suppressed and, hopefully soon done away with, the only way to make changes involving

opinions on segregation is to teach and reinforce it in our children.

Works Cited

Afgen. 101 Ban on Interracial Marriages. Online. America Online. Internet. 8



Greenwood. Crossing the Line. Online. America Online. Internet. 8 September,


Newsline. Interracial Marriage. America Online. Internet. 8 September, 1.

Sistahspace. Interracial Ties That Bind. America Online. Internet. 8 September,


Staples, Robert. Interracial Relationships A Convergence of Desire and Opportunity. p


Canada, 1.

Websters New World Dictionary. Pretence Hall 14.

Yahweshalom. The Prohibition against mixing the races. America Online. Internet. 8

September, 1.

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