Interracial Relationships Essay, Research Paper
Interracial relationships between white and black Americans have been a topic of controversy in the United States since the time of slavery, when slave owners had relations with young, black female slaves. As the years went on, many whites felt themselves to be superior to Africans and African Americans. Whites hated blacks immensely because of their race, color of skin and their culture and treated them as though they were lower in class. Segregation and laws were created to separate blacks from whites. This separation was a social aspect as well as mental. Interracial relationships were frowned upon by others and thought of as a sin. Those who were not interracially mixed believed that the couples that were racially or culturally mixed were a disgrace. Interracial relationships have been criticized for many years, however times are changing and thoughts about miscegenation are now becoming less critical and more reasonable.
In the years that slavery occurred, many laws and rules were set to keep interracial relationships from occurring. As historian Albert Gordon says, In the United States restrictive legislation against miscegenation originated during the period of slavery designed to protect the right of slaveholder of the offspring of slaves. (Intermarriage, Interfaith, Interracial, Interethnic, page 3) This quote means that many whites wanted to make sure that the slaves reproduced more slaves, rather than half slaves. All babies who had one slave parent and one free parent was only considered free if the free parent was the child s mother. Gordon demonstrated that people were afraid about the differences between races or cultures and wanted to protect their slaves. Whites were scared that they would lose their population of slaves if they didn t control who slaves could reproduce with and needed to feel superior to blacks, so whites frowned upon interracial relationships.
Many whites felt that they needed to demonstrate their superiority and many areas created laws to segregate public places, and this caused those in interracial relationships to not feel allowed and that they belonged. Historian Gary Nash demonstrates this segregation when he says Segregation in hotels, restaurants, parks and every facility open to the public Atlanta even required separate Bibles for African Americans and whites to swear upon in court. (American Odyssey, page 282) This segregation caused interracial relationships to be critized because they were now different and causing problems because the races were not thought of as equal. Laws were created to keep the different races separated, and this created conflicts when interracial relationships were seen in public. Jim Crow Laws were enforced which made interracial marriages illegal. If a white person was found in the act of fornication with an African or African American they would have to pay a fine of 500 pounds of tobacco. If one was caught marrying an African or African American then the regular fine was doubled to 1000 pounds of tobacco. The KKK was a group of white males that felt they needed to use physical violence, including lynching, to intimidate African Americans and keep them in their place.
Times are now changing and thoughts are different. As sociologists Paul Almonte and Theresa Desmond point out Today interracial couples have the legal right to marry, and do not experience the harshness that couples felt before in the previous years. (Interracial Marriages, page 12) Now in the new millennium, interracial couples are not being segregated as before. The Thirteenth Amendment in April of 1864 declared the end to slavery and many people do not frown upon them because now they are considered equal. Americans now understand the freedom of choice that one has. It is more common to see an interracial relationship between two people then it was before. Through commonality, interracial relationships are becoming accepted and considered reasonable.
Interracial relationships have caused a commotion and have also led to false assumptions. Differences in race or cultures caused people to have beliefs that suit their satisfaction. They create beliefs that interracial relations cause problems and have less of a chance of working out. As sociologists Almonte and Desmond say Some people felt that interracial couples faced an increased chance of divorce. (Page 44) These assumptions about interracial relationships show that many misunderstand that there is no difference from a regular relationship, both people have to try to be fair, equal and understanding to their partner s needs and feelings. This belief shows the critism that interracial relationships receive because of the minor difference of culture or race. It shows that people have a hard time accepting change and do not want to give interracial relationships the best of luck, but instead create false accusations to make change and difference seem undesirable. Others thought interracial relationships were acts of rebellion towards others. People who do support interracial relationships truly believe that those who were in miscegenation were going against their values and morals. They were using excuses to not face life, but to live in denial and not have to stand up for what is right. As sociologist Kathyln Gay says, Interracial couples, no matter how open, are always not part of the real way of life, and are part of a rebellious act. (The Rainbow Effect: Interracial Families, page 92) A person should not be judged because of with whom they are seen, or what color their skin is. Under the Constitution, all men are created equal and because of taboos, and false assumptions on interracial relationships, many people look down upon them.
Today beliefs towards interracial relations are different because they have proven most false accusations wrong, while others have come to their senses about how they were wrong in judging interracial couples. As sociologist Gordon says, Intermarriage is not always an act of rebellion against parents or their values rather product of urbanization, mobility, propinquity and other factors that play in our society. (Page 54) Many are seeing that through the freedom of choice and will, people are becoming more open with their choices in relationships and everyday life. They are basing their partners on who they surround themselves with, and the situations they find themselves involved in. Interracial relationships are no longer looked as rebellious because there are so many diverse people in the world today, it is no longer radical to know and be with someone of many or different races. Many people are thinking more positively towards the subject of interracial relations. Times, and beliefs are changing in the millennium and views and opinions are becoming less critical. People react to how the world is evolving; life today is high paced and less opinionative to interracial relationships. These relationships are becoming more common and accepted in everyday life. In 1960, 25,00 couples were married interracially with black husbands and white wives. In 1993, 182,000 couples were married interracially with black husbands and white wives. The times are changing and marriages with mixed cultures and races are more common then marriages who are single raced. (John Francis, Common Link). This drastic increase just proves that life with interracial relations is becoming less critical and more reasonable.
Teens in the new millennium are no longer thinking about the differences in race because it is so common to come from a mixed race and/or a cultural background. They see everyone as equals though one might have a harder time in life, than others. Virtually all teens (97%) say that they or other teens date interracially because they find the person attractive, and because they care about the person they are dating, not because it is an act of rebellion or to be different. (Karen Peterson, Teen Relationships , The Detroit News, Page 14). Today, teenagers see things differently than others did in previous years. Skin color differences are accepted and diversity is welcome. Color is no big thing when it comes to being with the people you like. (Kathlyn Gay, The Rainbow Effect: Interracial Families, page 86). Teens are supporting the idea of diversity and interracial relationships and are thinking more about whom they love as a person rather than what type of person they are and how they appear to be. Love transcends all bounds, and it will not be stopped by the malicious views of a few students more people are attempting to break down the color barrier that exist. (Tabitha Suarez, Color Barrier No More , The Herald, Page 7)
Teenagers today seem to agree that interracial relationships cause diversity and change. They understand that people nowadays are different and that is good because they are their own person, not something they are supposed to be. Teenagers believe that sharing the differences has helped make their differences seem smaller and make their relationships interesting. (Almonte and Desmond, page 21) Miscegenation is more accepted among the youth and the barriers are breaking down.
Interracial relationships have been a topic of controversy since the times of slavery. The thoughts of critism have now changed for the best, and interracial relationships are now more accepted. Africans and African Americans have been tortured and treated badly for many years, because of their color of skin and cultural differences from whites. Interracial relationships have been viewed as disgraceful and sinful even though in the Constitution all men are created equal. In the new millennium, teenagers and many others are forming less critical opinions on the topic of interracial relationships. As teenager, Lise Funderburg says, It is very clear that race is fluid, it s changing, it s dynamic. ( I am what I say I am , page 82) Teenagers and youth today are more understanding towards differences and see no problem to the difference of race.