Interracial Marriages





Interracial Relations: Marriages

The United States has witnessed a considerable amount of social and cultural desegregation between African-Americans and Caucasians. However, despite years of desegregation, social and cultural differences still exist. One of these differences that still exists is in the institution of marriage. Americans have been and are continually moving slowly away from segregation. In the past forty years, a multitude of changes have transformed schools, jobs, voting booths, neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants and even the wedding altar, facilitating tolerance for racial diversity (Norman 108).
In the 1960\'s, when housing discrimination was outlawed, many African-Americans moved into mainly Caucasian neighborhoods. The steadily growing areas in the west and southwest are least segregated, because these areas never had the entrenched African-American and Caucasian sections of town (Up For Separatist 30). Even more visible signs of desegregation can be seen in the areas of education. A study done by the University of Michigan shows that integration on campuses occurs on a regular basis. The racial lines are crossed routinely; about 50% of African-Americans and 15% of Caucasians reportedly study together. Eating patterns also share the same similarities. At a social level, there has been a steady convergence of opinion on a variety of racial issues.
Since 1972, surveys have asked whether the respondent would favor a law making inter-racial marriages illegal. In 1980, the results showed that 30.1% of Caucasians and 18.3% of African-Americans favor such a law. By 1994, the collected data showed 14.7% and 3.2% respectively. Similar trends have also been observed in busing and even integrated social clubs. (Up For Separatist 30) A simple analysis shows that on the surface desegregation is moving in the right direction.
Notwithstanding these examples of desegregation, a deeper analysis shows that there are still signs of racial discriminations, most apparently seen in the institution of marriage between African-Americans and Caucasians. The United States bureau of the Census reported that in 1987 over 827,000 interracial married couples existed in America, of which fewer than 200,000 of them were between African-Americans and Caucasians (Herring 29). These numbers (census) do not reflect the spread of desegregation very well. If there is such a large spread of desegregation between African-Americans and Caucasians from the past to the present, then the numbers should reflect a much larger count of interracial marriages between these races. This however, is untrue; therefore, there are less apparent barriers African-American and Caucasian couples\' face.
One of the major barriers that face these couples does not come from themselves but rather from family disapproval. Lois, a Caucasian woman, and her husband Chuck Bronz, an African-American man, were married in 1960. They have no prejudice about each other and they share the comfortable rhythm of any long married couple. They had no problems with friends because they had a good mix of them from different races, friends who looked at the person not the color. However, they had problems with other people, namely Lois\' mother. Her mother had sat her down and asked her why she could not marry her own kind. Lois, of course, stood firm and married Chuck, which unfortunately resulted in the ties between her mother and herself breaking (Kantrowitz 40). Ruben, an African-American Jewish man, married Mary, a Caucasian Lutheran woman. None of Mary\'s relatives attended the wedding, except for her mother. Mary\'s father was outraged that he was expected to accept an African-American, and a Jew, into the family (Aunapu 65).
It is not the disfavor of strangers that hurts these couples the most, but rather the disfavor of family. Territa, an African-American woman, had broken up with Todd, her Caucasian husband, several times before getting married because of the initial reaction of Todd\'s family (Randolph 154). These people nevertheless survived their family disapproval. Fred and Anita Prinzing, both Caucasians, know the troubles of interracial marriage. Both their son and daughter married African-Americans. Fred and Anita responded that they thought that they were not prejudiced, and were proud of it; but when it came to their children, they could not explain their prejudice towards their children marrying African-Americans. The best explanation they could give is that their prejudice is the left over residue of their parents (Gilbereath 32).
Another major barrier that African-American and Caucasian couples encounter comes from an unlikely source, religion.