Interracial Marriages: A Modern History Essay

1386 words - 6 pages

The American society is a combination of different ethnicities, cultures, and races. Throughout the history of our nation many of these ethnicities and races struggled to gain equal rights. With the issue of interracial marriage, state laws, and racial purity were the concern of many. After many years of discrimination, segregation, and miscegenation laws there came a turn around. The Civil War as well as the Supreme Court case Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia gained marital equality for all races. Though it was legal to marry interracially many people still frowned upon the idea of it. Now in the twentieth century interracial marriages have progressed and couples are living together publicly. Even though interracial marriages are becoming more common, these couples still receive unfair and mixed responses from society. These mixed responses tend to affect these couples just as it did in the past.

Before 1967 interracial marriage was illegal. The reasons for this were simply. As the white race being superior any interracial involvement with an “inferior” race was seen as demeaning the purity and superiority of the majority race (Yancey, and Lewis). Due to this belief many states inforced miscegenation laws. This law nullified any marriages of a white, black, indian, or multiracial person. If any attempted to interracially marry there was a fine of fifty dollars and possibly imprisonment (Yancey, and Lewis). Sexual activity amongst unmarried interracial couples was not typically desirable it was more accepted than an interracial marriage. Many people argue that a partner of a different race would not understand one’s cultural background. This is why many people prefer to marry within their own race. The role of men in women vary within different races and ethnic backgrounds. Commonly in white and hispanic cultures the women stay home and take care of children, while with black and asian cultures you will most likely find the man and woman working. Topics such as food, premarital sex, raising children, and the value of material possessions also drastically vary between cultures. Many people fear that these factors will make an interracial relationship impossible to start or last. As of 2000 41% of interracial marriages ended by the tenth year compared to 31% in same raced marriages (Bratter and King).

Families support this ideology of love as long as their children uphold two conventions in the choice of partner. Marry within your own race and off the opposite sex (Root).

Joy is a physical therapist and Jeff a nurse; they had met at work at the clinic.

Joy’s parents had always wanted her to “marry up” perhaps to a doctor; given Jeff’s race and profession, her parents saw Joy’s marriage as “marrying down.” Since Jeff was their only son, Joy represented for his parents the end to the cultural line. They told him bluntly that he was contaminating their Chinese blood. They saw Jeff’s decision to marry a...

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