Interracial marriages have existed in the United States for a significant length of time. However, unions between members of different races tend to suffer from judgment-related issues when interacting with other members of the community. In addition to racism that can occasionally be present in some people, the behavior indicates leaving a social group, many of which are formed predominantly by members of one race. As a result, the couple may become alienated and feel the change due to the different treatment they tend to receive. This essay aims to describe the concept and identify the primary causes behind it through the framework of the social interaction theory.
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Statistics and Trends
Interracial and interethnic marriages are becoming more common in the United States as acceptance of the phenomenon grows. According to Gaines et al., 14.6% of new marriages in 2008 were between members of different ethnic groups (3). Furthermore, Wang states that in 2013, 12% of newlyweds formed different-race couples, and 6.3% of all marriages possessed the same trait (1). As legislation opposing such alliances was eliminated in 1967, the society is slowly accommodating the new norm, and acceptance for the ideas is growing. However, different-race couples sometimes suffer opposition and discrimination, although it is not vocal, as such views would constitute racism.
Examples of Conflict
The factors that can cause interracial couples to feel discriminated against are rooted in the law as well as the personal opinions of some people. According to Schueths, U.S. immigration regulations infringe on the privacy of couples formed from a citizen and an immigrant, particularly an illegal one, and permit state-sponsored discrimination (811-812). Furthermore, Powell et al. note that businesses, particularly those run by self-employed individuals instead of a corporation, would often refuse service to interracial couples in spite of legislation that prohibits such behavior. Interracial couples are seen as deviants and discriminated against in ways that may be either small or significantly life-changing on an everyday basis. The tendency is cause for significant concern, as racism is not an acceptable tradition in any form.
While American norms have nearly eradicated racism in its overt form, the associated beliefs may remain rooted in the minds of many people, particularly members of senior generations. Garcia et al. identify the social distance between whites, who are dominant in the political arena, and other racial groups as a cause for low acceptance for interracial marriage despite overwhelming support for corresponding legislation (2).
Perry and Whitehead support the notion and add that most opposition to the idea of interracial marriage is rooted in Christian nationalism and the associated ethnocentrism (4). Ultimately, social groups tend to value conformity, and as white people are dominant in the United States, their disapproval over perceived deviancy tends to be expressed strongly.
The legislation that forbids interracial marriages has been abolished in the U.S., but the couples that have been affected by the change still face numerous difficulties and challenges. Self-employed proprietors tend to refuse them service, and immigration laws can interfere with marriages between citizens and immigrants. The most likely cause is that racism has not been eliminated from the minds of the people, and as white people are the dominant group, their views are prevalent. However, this study is limited in its scope and may not encompass the full extent of the issue. Future research should investigate the issues of interracial marriage discrimination for distinct race combinations such as white males and Asian women compared to white males and black women.
Gaines, Stanley O., et al. “Interethnic Marriage in the United States: An Introduction.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 71, no. 4, 2015, pp. 647-658.
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Garcia, Ginny E., et al. Most Americans Are Now Opposed to Laws Against Interracial Marriage, but Their Behavior Does Not Yet Reflect These Attitudes. 2015. Web.
Perry, Samuel L., and Andrew L. Whitehead. “Christian Nationalism and White Racial Boundaries: Examining Whites’ Opposition to Interracial Marriage.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 38, no. 10, 2015, pp. 1671-1689.
Powell, Brian, et al. “Denial of Service to Same-Sex and Interracial Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment.” Science Advances, vol. 3. Web.
Schueths, April M. “Barriers to Interracial Marriage? Examining Policy Issues Concerning US Citizens Married to Undocumented Latino/a Immigrants.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 71, no. 4, 2015, pp. 804-820.
Wang, Wendy. Interracial Marriage: Who Is ‘Marrying Out.’ 2015. Web.