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.
is a bit of a piece I read off the Internet that gives some background on
we were truly color blind, we accept interracial marriages. Nearly 500 years after America was
discovered "Americans" are still preoccupied with race. Today, America is still billed
internationally as one of the best multicultural societies in the world. Nevertheless, most Americans would
so many marriages happening in the United States, it is hard to believe
that as recently as 1966, 17 states actually had laws against interracial
marriage. And all of the
states regulated marriage between whites and other races. The Supreme Court overturned every
states antimiscegenation laws (laws against marriage between different
races) in 1967 (Myra 18). In the legal case of Loving vs. State of Virginia, a white
man and black woman won the right to return home after having fled their
state to avoid a year's jail sentence for getting married (Myra 18). "But as late as the seventies
at least twelve states still had laws forbidding marriage between whites
and other races" (Perkins 30). Why
have such laws? A person
should not have to worry about a law when marrying the person they love. If the United States is really a melting pot, then citizens
should not have to worry about falling in love and having laws that could
that the idea of race itself is now under attack by scientists who are
attempting to decide a definition for what constitutes a different race is
important. What they use now
as a definition simply refers to the observable differences such as skin
color, hair texture, and the shape of one's eyes or nose (Morganthau 63).
all the biological differences within the human species these are at best
superficial, and they cannot come up with any significant set of
differences that distinguish one racial group from another. Why do interracial couples still
have trouble being accepted simply as two humans that love each other?
racial and cultural differences put pressure on the relationship. With two different cultures, a
family has to recognize such differences in order to understand each
other. Some couples embrace
interracial love for rebellious, escapist, or other negative reasons (Mira
19). Parents want their
children to be happy, but in a racist society, they know what happens to
black-white couples and their children.
do not accept the children in society because people do not know how to
treat them. Unless
interracial families live in cosmopolitan cities where interracial
marriages are becoming more common, they face challenges monoracial
couples don't experience. "They need to use more energy and imagination to balance
and celebrate two cultures. They
must be strong enough to endure the stares, tough enough to keep working
at their cultural differences and confident enough to raise confident
children" (Perkins 33).
raising such children, the parents need to realize the child needs to
embrace both cultures and teach him or her who they are. Most Americans would like to
consider themselves as modem idealists who are not prejudiced. Americans do not mind the idea of
interracial marriage but when children are involved the issue changes.
would like to place these children in one class such as black or white. We do not understand the way being multiracial accepts these
children in our society. We
think of the children as not knowing who they are or where they belong. Americans feel that they have to
place the child in one race or the other no matter how the children see
this persistent thinking the country will perceive this child as black. With this specific label, the
child grows up learning from others that he is black and experiences that
life. The child needs to grow
up in an environment where he or she can experience life through both
parents. Lisa Jones dedicates
her writing to exploring the African- American culture.
she said, she feels comfortable and historically grounded. She has found family there,
whereas no white people have embraced her with their culture. "I choose this class because
if I call myself interracial I would need my "white" mother s
presence to validate my half-whiteness" (Jones 80). Lisa Jones grew up not learning
about both cultures so she has lived her life as black and not white. It is also important to note that
not all blacks embrace interracial marriages themselves.
parents object as much to mixed marriages as do whites. They feel that the person entering
such a relationship is trying to deny his heritage and that they will lose
their culture and identity. They
see it as assimilation into the melting pot. African Americans also resist it
because of the shortage of marriageable black men (Myra 19).
women feet betrayed or deserted when a black man marries a white woman. Black activists feel mixed marriages weaken the
African-American solidarity. Yet,
interracial marriage is increasingly common. According to a recent Time
Magazine poll, 72 percent of those polled know married couples of
different races. In our own
neighborhoods we see even more black-white couples. In America today, there are 242,000 black-white couples;
almost four times as many as in 1970 (Interracial Baby Boom 54). Such marriages are now common
enough to cause the Census Bureau to consider adding the category
"mixed" to its racial classification to describe the children of
interracial marriages. The
Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget are receiving
pressure from multiracial individuals and their parents to reexamine the
18-year-old method of classifying people.
Census Bureau will not decide until 1997 and then the change would take
affect in the 2000 census. Only
four states require a "multiracial" category on their school
form (Norment 108). It is
still primarily a black-white issue.
Half the female Asian immigrants are married interracially, but
many don't consider that an interracial marriage. Black-white marriages receive the
most negative reaction because of the 40-year history of hostility and
recent poll in The Futurist the number of mixed-race married couples
increased from 3 1 0,000 to 994,000.
One researcher explained that this trend is happening with all
racial and ethnic groups but each individual pattern is different. With the upward trend of more
mixed births, this could show a sign that the social meaning of mixed
births is undergoing change in the United States (Up to Separatism 30).
multicultural society shows how much diversity is in America. People from all over the world
have immigrated to this country. With
so many cultures present today, everyone needs to be excited that others
are sharing their way of life with us.
As the children of today grow up they have to have an open mind
about the people around them and what they can learn from them.
the increase of interracial marriages maybe they will become more accepted
and not looked at as something that is not right".
my wife and I were married in Korea in 1983 we attended a pre-marriage
seminar. We were told at that
time that more than ninety percent of Korean-American marriages end up in
divorce before the first five years is over. Not exactly encouraging
information for a new couple.
we have made it and so can you. All
it takes is learning how to communicate and understand the differences
between the two of you. This
is beyond the differences inherent of male and female, but is also
cultural as well.
instance you might find in the beginning of the relationship that
everything is new and fresh. But
as time goes on you begin to notice differences in the way you both look
at things. Men and women are different for sure, but add cultural
differences and there are even more magnified problems than those in
When you have two people from two different
countries, or from two different races, you have vast amounts of
difference from many different angles.
First, there are established differences because of the different
ways that people are brought up. For
instance in my own marriage there is a marked difference between the way I
was brought up here in the U.S. and the way my wife was brought up in
Korea --the difference between eastern thought and customs and those of
the West are huge.
For instance there is a difference in the way
women in the east view the marriage relationship and specifically the role
of the husband and the wife, and how a marriage is viewed in western
thought. How this difference
affects a marriage is determined by the expectations each partner takes
into the marriage. If for
instance the woman is from a country where women were traditionally
housewives, with no aspirations of a career of their own, when they marry
a man from the west they may immediately run into a problem. While the landscape is changing,
much of the older world is still involved in playing specific roles. That is, the role of the man and
the role of the woman - as in husband and wife. In the west, while still extent to
this day, these roles have for the most part disappeared.
That is because many men in the west while
having an expectation or at least a desire that their wives will be home
to take care of the roost, many more would like their wife to work to
supplement the family income.
So in asking their eastern mate to work they
might find a conflict. It is
not that she is lazy; it is just that it goes against all she was taught
or expected of her marriage. Later
as she learns the ways of the west this may change and if possible goes
into her own career.
More closer to home there are racial
differences that are not specific with marriage relationships. They are the differences that
occur across the board regardless of relationship, which happen because of
prejudice and ignorance. Prejudice
which has existed since the beginning of time along with it's twin sister
Take these common cultural differences
combined with a marriage relationship with its own kind of problems and
there are all the ingredients necessary for conflict. Each person in an interracial
relationship has taken a chance. They
have entered into a relationship that might not be acceptable by the
prejudices of their own family or friends.
For myself bringing my new Korean wife home in 1983 met with a lot
of indifference from my family while other accepted her into the fold.
I wish now that I would have known then what I
know now, and then I wouldn't have made so many mistakes. There were a lot
of things that l took for granted then. Like she would adjust to the
American way of life with ease. I was wrong. While she adapted to many things
rather easily, there were other things that she had great difficulty with. Because I lacked the knowledge on
how to help her in those areas there was a great amount of friction.
For instance, in Korea families are close knit
even long after the person leaves the house to start their own life. Yet in America, depending of
course on that family's cultural background, the nurturing stops sometime
after puberty. The theme of
the times and the environment is individuality. There is a separation of family
unity at this point where a person begins to gain more individuality. In fact individuality is the theme
of our western culture. It's
in all the media -magazines, songs, movies and TV. While in older cultures
individuality is frowned upon and in some cases completely swallowed up in
the mesh of the family unit.
This separation of affections affected my wife
profoundly and for the most part negatively.
After a few years though she grew to
understand it and accept it. But
it was a rough and really unnecessary road to travel. I could have helped her through
the transition if I would have known how
the Prejudice and the Problems
How do you overcome the problems if you are in
an interracial marriage? First
by understanding that your situation isn't unique. Your relationship is one of
millions. Therefore there is
help and support. You can
find some of those supports here on Hubbynet
Some of the other things you can do are to
find out as much as you can about your mates culture and background as you
can. It will help you to
understand your mate's problems if you can determine the conflict between
your culture and theirs. The
bookstore is loaded with cultural books that explain fully what the other
culture is all about.
Be patient and teach your partner your customs
and culture. Not your
prejudices and beliefs! Donāt
expect that just because they are in YOUR country they should adapt to
your ways. They probably will
over time, but donāt apply the pressure. Let them grow on their own with
your help and understanding.