My big event is tonight so I have a guest filling in for me today.
I’ll be back tomorrow to fill you in on all the deets.
In the meantime, please give a Swirl World welcome to Swirler Marcela De Vivo!
Views on race relations in America have dramatically improved over the last several decades, and those improvements have been significant enough to change the way that we look at interracial marriage in our country.
In fact, interracial marriage has gone from being illegal (up until as late as 2000 in some states), to being culturally accepted and encouraged in our society. This is certainly a positive shift as these marriages are producing children that are blurring the lines between race, and causing it to be seen for what it is– little more than a societal construct.
But even up into the 1980’s and 1990’s, biracial marriage, though mostly legalized (it’s amazing that it wasn’t completely legalized by then), was considered in some to be places taboo, and in most places, strange and unusual at best.
The bottom line is that few people would have considered it a “good thing”, which is a major difference between how our culture looked at interracial marriage then, and how we look at it now. Today, 15-percent of new marriages are between spouses of different ethnicity, which is a dramatic increase from the 6-percent in 1980.
This is a visible testament to the shift of public opinion we’ve seen over the past few decades, and suggests that we’ll see interracial marriage continue to evolve and expand in the decades to come.
Becoming Culturally “Normal”
While the legislative process took decades, the process of eliminating the cultural stigmas associated with interracial marriage is just now coming to a completion.
For example, despite the fact that interracial marriage was legal in 1987, it enjoyed a much poorer verdict in the court of public opinion, where only 48-percent supported dating between African Americans and Caucasians. That kind of number sounds crazy in our day, where 83-percent would now say they support interracial dating and marriage.
The major reason for that is because there was still a high percentage of the population who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, when segregation was still a major part of American society. By the 80’s and 90’s, although those individuals were older, they were still able to shape our society. Those who were born in the 80’s and 90’s only see segregation in the history books, and almost universally view it as unacceptable and a stain on our country’s history.
For example, when 18 to 29 years olds were asked if they thought interracial marriage was “a change for the better for society”, 61-percent of them said yes. When the same question was posed to those 65 and older, only 28-percent said yes.
These statistics show a distinct generational gap in the way younger people view race relations compared to how older people view them.
However, it also highlights a big reason for how and why things are changing in our society. Those older generations, as they begin to not have such a great impact on our society, are making up less and less of the population, and those who grew up without any racial bias are beginning to take the reigns of public opinion.
As that happens, multiracial marriage has increased both statistically, as well as in terms of popularity, and will continue to do so until mixed-race children make up most of the country’s demographic– some say as early as 2050. At that point, as more and more biracial children are being born, the racial makeup of our country will essentially be “reset”, where the line between white and black won’t matter nearly as much as it does today.
Human Beings Instead of Societal Constructs
While certain aspects of a race-based society have their place (ethnic backgrounds, heritage, music, culture, preferences etc.), categorizing people solely by race, which is ultimately not their only source of identity, marginalizes them as human beings, regardless of what race they actually are.
A society should view individuals, first and foremost, as human beings and citizens of the country they live in. Racially constructed societal barriers, whether they’ve been by way of the law, culture or popular opinion, at best have hindered, and at worst done significant damage to the relationships between individuals and different groups of people in America.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, mother of three and business owner in Southern California. Over the past decade, she has noticed how much more accepting society is of interracial dating and marriage. She is even in an interracial relationship herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter today!