Introduction An interracial marriage is a marriage between members of different races, known as as Mixed marriage: marriage of two people from different races or different religions or different cultures. Miscegenation: reproduction by parents of different races (especially by white and non-white persons). Exogamy: marriage to a person belonging to a tribe or group other than your own as required by custom or law. Multiracial: made up of or involving or acting on behalf of various races, and Biracial: consisting of or combining two races.
Interracial marriages are still a growing concern in the society. Over the time, the number of interracial marriage has been multiplied to a large number. After all these years, interracial marriage is still considered as a taboo according to some religious and cultural reason. Where at the same time, it is very common in some cultures, but whatever the situation maybe, interracial marriage has both pros and cons. Interracial marriage is the term used to describe marriages that take place between people who are from different racial or ethnic groups.
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Intercultural marriages are defined as marriages between people who come from two different cultural backgrounds. A marriage between a woman from China, whose culture emphasizes the needs of the family over the needs of the individual, and a man from the United States, whose culture emphasizes individual autonomy, would be an example of a intercultural marriage. Whereas relationships between people from different ethnic and cultural groups are becoming increasingly common, there are substantial increases in the number of individuals engaging in interracial or intercultural marriages.
However, even though the number and societal acceptance of interracial marriages is growing, little has been written about these marriages, the reasons for their increase, or their strengths and liabilities. Interracial marriages have a hard go at it. They suffer not only from the prejudice of others, but also from inherent problems of differences between their respective cultures which combine with those already present in a marriage. Ethnic groups bring variety and richness to a society by introducing their own ideas and customs.
Interracial marriages introduce such variety. In a perfect world, everyone should celebrate this. However, the world does not look at all marriages as love between two people without regard to their race. The Three Stages of Marriage Regardless of the race of the parties involved in a marriage, the marriage usually undergoes three distinct phases. These three phases either aid the couple in developing a stronger bond or the stages simply contribute to weakening or breaking the marriage.
The phases may be distinguished by the following categories: the honeymoon stage, the setting-in phase, and the resolution phase. The first stage of marriage is the honeymoon stage. This is the stage when everything is new and wonderful. Both parties are optimistic and confident about their future together, they believe they can overcome any obstacle. They value their differences, and they work together to try to make the most out of everything and anything. In this stage interracial couples are at ease with each other, they face minimal if any problems between themselves.
Unfortunately, this stage must and does end. This stage ends with the intrusion of an outsider who strains both persons. The outsider is usually somebody in the immediate family. If there is no outside intruder, then the marriage moves into the second phase when the individuals in the marriage stop valuing each other’s differences and begin to see their differences as obstacles. The couple begins to realize what each difference means in terms of spending their lives together. The second stage of marriage is the setting-in phase.
In this phase both members of the marriage expose their behavior. The politeness between the couple is reduced and the couple finds it constantly arguing because they have begun to defend their own ideas, and disregarding the ideas of their partner. The different types of qualities the individuals bring to the marriage are visible to each person during this stage. There is a revelation of love vs. compatibility in this stage, which relates to differences vs. similarities. The more differences the less compatibility, the more similarities the more love.
In this stage interracial couples face more obstacles than couples of the same race, because there are more elements that need to be discussed. This is the stage where couples either make it or break it. The third phase in the marriage is called the resolution. In this stage couples have either mutually agreed to stay together and ignore each other’s differences as well as each other, or they pretend nothing is wrong, or they are in a constant state of anger towards each other and the issues they face. Many nterracial marriages don’t make it past the end of stage two and the beginning of stage three, unless they make arrangements that they can both understand and respect. Pros of Interracial Marriages There are plenty of benefits that accrue from an interracial marriage. The first and foremost is that the children of this relationship are likely to be better global citizens than those born from marriages/ relationships of the same race. There is more tolerance towards the diversity of religion because the partners learn to respect the differences and nuances of each religious tradition they follow.
Their children would grow with a broad outlook on God and the importance of religion. Again, this is the need of the day. More people have died as a result of religious hatred than all the wars put together. Religious tolerance and sensitivity is sorely needed in today’s world. One of the most positive aspects of this type of marriage is that each of the partners gets the opportunity to learn and experience another culture and racial aspects, which other people are deprived of. Interracial marriages also provide an opportunity to know other cultures and learn how similar most of the races and cultures are.
Many times a person from an interracial marriage finds it easier to get adjusted with his or her in-laws, compared to his or her family, race or culture. Another positive thing about interracial marriage is that children born out of this marriage are tending to be healthier, which is an evidence of increase genetic diversity. Cons of Interracial Marriages There are potential pitfalls in any marriage whether the couple is interracial or not but there have been some common trouble spots that interracial couples have identified in their marriages.
Some of the common trouble spots include: values, eating habits, sex, gender roles, friends, in-laws, and raising children. Some of these issues overlap, but there are some specific distinctions between each. Although these are potential trouble spots for any type of marriage, the degree to which they affect interracial marriages is greater. Value is what is seen as good or bad, right or wrong, true or false, important or unimportant. Values tell us a lot about who a person is.
Couples from the same racial group sometimes have different value systems, and couples from different racial groups almost always have different value systems. Value differences cause disagreements and misunderstandings between the couple, which may lead to many conflicts. In order for interracial couples to overcome value differences, there needs to be tolerance from both parties. It helps when there are more similarities than differences in their value systems. Food and drink also become a problem in some interracial marriages.
Food and drink does not only consists of what is going to be consumed, it also takes into account how the meal is prepared, what time the meal is served, where the meal is eaten, and how it is eaten. People from different races usually prefer different types of foods, even people from the same race who are from different locations have a problem with food, imagine what people from different races go through. How would an American feel about eating tortillas with all their meals, or how would a Mexican feel about eating rice with all his meals? Eating customs from different races can cause problems.
In some races the time a woman takes to prepare a meal is significant of how much she loves her spouse, and in other races the spouse won’t care if the wife picked up the meal at the drive through as long as he gets fed. So if food is really the way in to a man’s heart, what is a woman to do when the man does not like her specific choices of meals, and she doesn’t like his, should she sacrifice herself and eat what he prefers? For some races mealtime is family time, yet for some others mealtime may just be whatever time the person gets hungry.
If the person is used to eating at specific times during the day and making a feast out of every meal, they may find themselves in trouble when the spouse is eating at random times of the day, not in the dinner table, but on the sofa watching TV, or the spouse simply does not eat at home but instead takes it on the go because his busy schedule does not permit him time to sit down and eat with the family. What if the couple does not share the same manners or etiquette at the dinner table, who is to say which one is the correct form, and how will the argument be settled?
For many eating is a common and non-threatening event of their daily lives, for others, especially interracial couples, eating can become a form of pitfall in the relationship. Even sex can become an issue in interracial marriages. Some of the issues that arise in sex matters are: contraception, menstruation, masturbation, number and importance of children, virginity and chastity, family honor, machismo and femininity, hygiene, premarital relations, marital fidelity, sexual practices, homosexuality, incest, dating, dancing, romance, holding hands, using cosmetics, and the way an individual dresses.
One of the biggest reasons that sex can become an issue in interracial marriages is because the young couples don’t expect it to be an issue, so they don’t discuss many of the previously mentioned issues before marriage. If anything they are both under the impression that sex will be one of the few things they won’t have problems with. Unless the multiracial couple holds the same moral values the topic of sex will usually become an issue. Gender roles will cause problems when each individual holds different beliefs about how the other person should behave.
In western societies women are given more liberties and freedoms, but in non-western societies the female is heavily expected to serve the man. When the races from these different societies unite some problems arise, especially if the man of a western society is marrying a woman of a non-western society and he is under the impression that she is going to serve him when no other women from his same race would do this, and the woman from the non-western society is marrying him because she believes he is going to offer her more liberties and freedoms, like no other man in her race can offer.
Usually men and women want to take on the roles from the other race that they benefit from, and this becomes the problem. Outside expectations and pressures from family members can contribute to the problems. If a man from a non-western society marries a woman of a different race from a western society and accepts her liberties and freedoms, his family will usually become judgmental of the circumstances until they convince him to be different and thus he begins to have problems with his wife, and the woman’s family may find it rare for their daughter to become a “servant” to the man.
The gender role expectations and pressures from outsiders have a great influence on the decisions and actions of each individual in an interracial couple; it helps lead the couple into conflict and problems. Last but not least, in-laws are a frightening issue in any marriage. Disapproving in-laws are an issue in the majority of interracial marriages. The problem with in-laws is that depending on their race; they hold different views regarding what rights they have over their children, even after their children marry.
In some races the parents believe their children are owners of their life and have the right to decide anything for themselves once they marry or turn a certain age. In other races parents hold the belief that since they raised and took care of the children when they were young, the children owe them eternal respect and gratitude, part of this respect and gratitude is conceived as parents having the authority over their child and the spouse of the child. Patriarchal authority becomes an issue if one person holds customs where their parents do not have any say in their children’s married life.
Interracial families find it beneficial to move away from both of their families to avoid this type of problem. Distancing themselves from the family may help alleviate the in-laws problem, but it can also contribute to issues of separation from a main source of support. Couples need to take into consideration the pros and cons of being away from the in-laws before they make the final decision to move away. Types of People Who Choose to Marry Interracially There are many types of people who chose to marry interracially.
The most common people who choose to marry interracially share the following traits: highly educated, professional middle class or working class, marry at an older age, similar status, other interracial marriages exist in their family, and they are people who have been married before. Many of the people who marry interracially are placed into a category to try to explain their reasoning for marrying interracially. The types of categories include but are not limited to: outcasts, rebels, mavericks, compensators, adventurers, escapists, and unstable.
The outcasts are those people who do not feel comfortable with their race because they don’t agree with the norms. They are often questioning why they have to do certain things, and are not happy because they don’t fit in with the social groups of their race. The outcast will usually find a culture within another race that appeal to their needs. This provides the outcasts with the opportunity to marry interracially and begin a family within a different racial context. The rebels are those people who disagree with the basic values, beliefs, and politics of their race.
For them marrying outside of their race is not only a form of a long-life commitment to another person, but it is also a long life commitment to a form of protest. They disagree with one or more aspects of their race and they don’t care what anyone around them might think if they marry outside of their race. The maverick may be seen as the non-conformist. People in this group are usually independent. Although the people within their race usually accept them, they would rather not belong to the “in group. For the majority of the time these people are sufficiently detached to the different aspects of their race that they are happier not belonging to it, much less belonging to the “in group. ” Marrying interracially allows the maverick to feel freed of the pressures to join and conform to the values, beliefs, politics, etc. of a race that they do not accept. The compensator is the person who is always looking for their “other half. ” These are the people who feel incomplete by themselves, who do not want to be alone, and long for a loving relationship.
This may not sound exclusively for people who marry interracially, but it is because this type of compensator is under the belief that they can only find what they need with a partner from a different race. The compensator attributes the deficiencies in their life to their race. Many times the compensator belongs to a broken family where neither of the parents is present, physically nor emotionally. The compensator is not negative about their own race they are just under the impression that someone from a different race can provide what they feel they are missing.
The adventurer is the person who is always daring to be different. Adventurers marry interracially because they need the excitement from those who are different to them. They are risking their life with a race that is unknown to them, they don’t want a predictable relationship instead they want a marriage that will stimulate their life and make them feel special. Many adventurers cross all boundaries: race, class, religion, age, etc. Each additional difference makes the marriage and their life more exciting.
The escapist is the person who marries outside of their race in order to improve the quality of their life. The escapist may be marrying a different race to move up the social or economic ladder, they marry for the benefits. The majority of interracial marriages include some type of trade off between the parties involved. Unstables can be described by deviance. They marry outside of their race to defy authority. The authority they are usually trying to defy is their parents. Once they marry outside of their race the family will consider them to be abnormal and unstable people.
Not many people marry under this type of circumstance, but it does happen. Outside of these seven categories where people can be placed to explain why they choose to marry interracially, exists love. Some people do marry outside of their race because they have simply “fallen in love. ” Love can sometimes become a problem because in the cultures of many races, romantic love is simply not a valid reason to join lives in matrimony and begin a family. Yet love is usually all it takes for many people to undergo marriage.
Are People Still Marrying Interracially? Yes, people are still marrying interracially. Actually interracial marriages are in an increasing state of being. Over the last few centuries’ interracial marriages have more than multiplied. Between 1970 and 1994 the number of interracial marriages increased from 310,000 to 1. 3 million. Of the 1. 3 million interracial marriages of 1994, 296,000 were Blacks with Whites. Although these numbers may seem significant they are less than 3 percent of the total marriages population in the U. S.
But they are evidence of a changing America. The reasons interracial marriages have gained popularity include an increasing social acceptance, as well as an increase in interactions between the different races, family influences, and the media. Social acceptance began to grow once laws against interracial marriages were abolished and people began to understand that what matters are how people feel and not how people look. Increase in interactions has developed through many institutions; the most popular is college or the educational sector.
A decrease in family or outside influences has also been recorded, which alleviates some of the problems interracial couples may face. The media is an important source of information in our society, and it has also played and important role in the development of interracial marriages or relationships. A wider acceptance of interracial relationships has been registered in the media through their advertising. Advertising is commonly known for depicting couples of the same race, especially if they are addressing the issue of romance. Yet depicting interracial couples in advertising is gaining popularity.
Some well known brands who are gaining popularity for depicting interracial couples include: Diesel, Club Monaco, Ikea, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Perrier. With the growth of interracial relationships there has been the development of interracial support groups. These support groups have started all across the country, and since they represent a community in the making, their outlook on survival is very optimistic. Examples of these interracial support groups include the following: Kaleidoscope at the University of Virginia, Students of Mixed Heritage at Amherst College, Interracial Family Club in Washington D.
C. , Half and Half at Bryn Mawr, and Mixed Plate at Grinnell. These are definitely not the only ones, and many more are in development. The growth of interracial marriages is slowing among U. S. -born Hispanics and Asians. Still, blacks are substantially more likely than before to marry whites. The number of interracial marriages in the U. S. has risen 20 percent since 2000 to about 4. 5 million, according to the latest census figures. While still growing, that number is a marked drop-off from the 65 percent increase between 1990 and 2000. About 8 percent of U. S. arriages are mixed-race, up from 7 percent in 2000. The latest trend belies notions of the U. S. as a post-racial, assimilated society. Demographers cite a steady flow of recent immigration that has given Hispanics and Asians more ethnically similar partners to choose from while creating some social distance from whites due to cultural and language differences. Although the numbers of interracial marriages in the United States have increased steadily since the Supreme Court struck down bans against them in 1967, they are still far from commonplace. According to the U. S.
Census Bureau, Black-White marriages have increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005. When considering all racial combinations, less than 10% of all marriages in the United States today could be considered interracial. Mississippi had the fastest growth in mixed marriages from 2000-08, a sign of closer ties between blacks and whites though it still ranked second to last in overall share of mixed marriages. Mixed marriages jumped from 2. 25 million to 3. 7 million, or 65 percent, from 1990-2000, as such unions became more broadly accepted in Southern states. Among U. S. -born whites, about 0. percent married blacks in 1980; that figure rose to about 1 percent in 2008. About 0. 3 percent of whites married Asians in 1980 and about 1 percent in 2008. About 2 percent of whites married Hispanics in 1980, rising to about 3. 6 percent in 2008. Conclusion The main problem among interracial marriages is not: their history, their race, their marriage, or their children, the problem is society. If society were not so judgmental and concerned with race, people would live more happily. Relations among groups would be easier to develop if they didn’t have to face the strains from society.
Many things still have to be done throughout the entire world to allow race relation in the world, especially among marriages, to take another path, a positive path. Bibliography Websites http://zebratalesbyhelenwillis. blogspot. com/2010/06/pros-and-cons-of-interracial-marriage. html http://www. hubbynet. com/interracial_marriage. htm http://weddinghopes. com/Interracial-Marriage. php Book We’ve Heard This Before: The Legacy Of Interracial Marriage Bans and The implications For Today’s Marriage Equality Debates by: Greg Johnson