Interracial Marriages:The Social Taboo Essay, Research Paper
America, a country thriving on differences, still struggles with accepting all the different walks of life. The history of this nation shows the racial tension existing between the American society and outsiders. Presently society while slowly becoming more racially tolerant remains reluctant to fully accept interracial marriages.
Many opinions exist concerning the motivation for interracial marriages. Some think interracial marriage has made such a rapid increase due to the increase of immigration into America. Studies show:
“One reason for this increase is that the color line in the United States is changing. Desegregation throughout the 1970’s increased the likelihood that blacks and whites would interact more frequently on the job, in schools, and during leisure activities”(Majete 1).
Before the desegregation acts, interracial marriage was unheard of. However after this, an increase of 46.8 percent was recorded. Reasoning for this statistical climb roots from the mixing of the once segregated white and African-American communities (French 1). A second motivation for interracial marriage is for upward mobility. When interracial marriage first made is seen in America, one of the partners might have been looking to obtain higher class or status (Majete 2). If an African-American woman wed a Caucasian man she probably was well educated, but was seeking the high social status that this union would provide (French 2). Rebellion from society also is a motivation for interracial marriage. When a child is pushed and forced into one state of mind they might become rebellious and marry someone to hurt their parents (Majete 4). All of these motivations are only theories. Each person’s motivation for marriage is different and unique.
Interracial marriage, though considered a social taboo, can possess many advantages. “Most people however, view this change and the blend of new people as healthy… the mixture of language and culture help people to view things differently”(Smith 20). The blending of people and races creates new ideas and make life more exciting. Secondly, our society pushes for same-race marriages, but marriage itself is based on the difference of sex between the partners (Sailer 32). All of America is based on differences. Also another advantage of mixed race marriages is all the unique experiences the two go through together (The Strengths of Mixed Relationships). When one marries into a different way of life they are immersed into all the new aspects of that life.
Like most marriages, problems do exist. Some of these problems affect the immediate family. For instance, clashing cultures is on major problem impacting the nuclear family. Most express that the foundation for a solid marriage is a result of the spiritual beliefs the couple shares (Cook 144). If there is no foundation like this the marriage has nowhere to stand and grow from. The couple cannot share values or customs that surround their religion when they come from separate beliefs. From a child to an adult, a person’s “religion is ingrained in (their) culture”(Smith 3). This creates problems all throughout the marriage because the spouses are always butting heads. Children are also affected by problems in the immediate family. All the discrimination the parents experience echoes on to their children (Majete 5). Another issue of bi-racial children is the problem of self-identity (Majete 5). A child may not know what race they are if they are mixed. The question of self-identity also leads to adjustment problems later in life. Research shows bi-racial children have a harder time coping with all the factor of their surroundings and in turn adjusting to them (The Strengths of Mixed Relationships).
Problems also exist within the extended family. Not only does society discriminate, but discrimination come from the extended family. “Family alienation is one of the many hurdles interracial couples may have to jump”(The Strengths of Mixed Relationships). The family may not approve of the marriage, and react by excommunicating the couples from the family. This disapproval also places more stress on the couple (Cook 144).
Problems are presented to the mixed couple from society at large. Due to the views formed during times of segregation, ” society…has a history of frowning upon cross-cultured marriages”(The Strengths of Mixed Relationships). This manner of society is found in the workplace, school, and community. A partner of a mixed race marriage may have a drastic change of friends when they enter into an interracial marriage. The discrimination of society also makes it difficult for the couple to fit into a local community. Finally society also places pressure that affects the couple’s day-to-day activities.
Historically, interracial marriages has been hushed and opposed since the seventeenth century. Whites were not allowed to eat with African-Americans, much less marry them (Majete 1). The older generations share these views and therefore are less accepting. They believe marriage should be between same-race couples. However the younger more liberal generations are more accepting. Statistics show that “60 percent of teen-agers approved of biracial marriages compared with 52 percent in 1977″(French 2). This growth of acceptance will fuel more interracial marriages in the future.
Interracial marriages share many problems, yet experience many advantages like most marriages today. This social issue still remains a common topic for debate. Hopefully one-day discrimination to races and mixed raced marriages will disappear.