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Interracial Marriage

interracial marriage essay

The world is divided between supporters and opponents of interracial marriages. Opponents say that such relations will lead to the loss of individuality of each race. Those who justify mixed families, on the contrary, are sure that it will strengthen the process of globalization and make people more versatile. Science and medicine are against interracial and interethnic marriages, which points to the fact that the results of genetic crossbreeding of animals show that a cross between a donkey and a horse is not able to give a birth. In other cases, it is more difficult for hybrids to adapt to the environment and survive than for genetically pure individuals. They consider that the same is with people. For children from mixed marriages, it is harder to adapt to people since both relatives of their fathers and mothers consider them as foreigners who do not belong to their group. Philologists also underline that a strong family can be created when a husband and a wife have very much in common ‑ common views, interests, culture, language, religion, nationality, mentality, habits, etc. Interracial marriage has both advantages and disadvantages. Many people who live in intercultural marriages face different problems; however, they underline that it is possible to make the advantages and disadvantages work together for eventual good. This can be achieved if both people in the relationship have the same position.

Here we should enumerate some advantages of intercultural relations. The first is that people from dissimilar cultures who live together have the opportunity to gain knowledge of another culture. This is true if family members hold to their traditions and customs. In this case, a family lives according to two cultural habits, and a person learns about different holidays, religious practices, beliefs, etc.

It is a well-known fact that people first notice physical appearance; that is why the second advantage of such families is that for people who are naturally attracted to the looks of another race, it is a great opportunity to find an ideal partner (Root 2001).

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Another advantage of intercultural marriages is that children born from parents of different races will be more culturally educated as they will have an opportunity to experience two cultures at the same time. This is also implemented in learning several languages without difficulties, better compared with children from ordinary family socialization and educational background.

However, there are also many disadvantages of interracial relations that depend mostly on external factors. Here, the first and the biggest disadvantage is that not all family members will support marriage with a person from another culture. It is very often when some races hold a strong sense of heritage regarding their race. This is reflected in physiological tension and not healthy relations in the family. Even if the husband and wife love each other, not all people can withstand constant psychological pressure.

Another problem may occur if both partners are not eager to learn about one another's racial heritage and do not treat other beliefs and traditions with respect (Judice 2008). If a family consists of representatives of different cultures, both spouses are to respect each other’s national peculiarities and not to demand by force to abandon beliefs or take another lifestyle. Such families can live happily only if there is understanding and support between partners.

Society can become a barrier to happy interracial relations, because not all people will justify such families, and there will be always opponents who will pass judgment upon the couple. (Clark 2012)

Today, interracial marriages are legal, but in 1966, less than 50 years ago, such relations were illegal in the United States. Interracial marriage was legal in 17 states before the Supreme Court struck down mixed marriage laws in 1967. (Madison 2013) In short, the history of the legalization of interracial marriages looks like this. In 1664, the first British colonial law strictly banned any relations between the whites and the slaves. Women who married black men were enslaved. In 1691, the Commonwealth in Virginia banned interracial marriages. The whites were exiled if they married people of another race. In 1705 in Virginia, massive fines were expanded on any minister who permitted marriages between a black and a white person. In 1780 in Pennsylvania, the blacks were given equal legal status with the whites. In 1843, Massachusetts adopted anti-miscegenation law, “further cementing the distinction between Northern and Southern states on slavery and civil rights” (Head 2013). In 1871, there was the first attempt in the U.S. to put a constitutional amendment that banned interracial marriage between the whites and the blacks. However, in 1883, the U.S. Supreme Court proclaimed that “rules that state-level bans on interracial marriage do not violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution” (Head 2013). In 1912, a “second attempt to revise the U.S. Constitution in order to ban interracial marriage in all 50 states” was made (Head 2013). In 1922, the Congress exceeds the Cable Act. In 1928, a third attempt to revise the U.S. Constitution failed. In 1967, the freedom to marry was recognized by the Constitution and from this point on, interracial marriage became legal throughout the US. In 2000, Alabama officially legalized interracial marriage.

Interracial marriages are now allowed in terms of laws, but another vital question concerning intercultural marriages is “What if a Chinese person were to marry a Polynesian, or an African with black skin were to marry a Japanese, or a person from India were to marry a person from America with white skin – would these marriages be in accord with biblical principles?” (Ham 2013) Today, there are many Christians who do not support intercultural marriages and claim that God condemns such mixes, and “interracial’ marriages directly violate God’s principles in the Bible”. (Ham 2013)

That became the question of discussion even in the science world. Firstly, to give a correct answer to the question of the allowance of mixed families, it should be learned what constitutes a race. From the very beginning, there was not a distinct division into races. In 1895, Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life changed the perception of evolution and introduced, as many researches considered, “racist philosophy, teaching that different groups or ‘races’ of people evolved at different times and rates, so some groups are more like their ape-like ancestors than others” (Ham 2013). These conclusions had far-reaching consequences, and from that time some races began to face “the terrible prejudices and injustices towards” them (Ham 2013). As a result of Darwin’s ideas, many people started to perceive various groups of people that live in different parts of the world as races. This idea conflicts with science, because biologically all human beings in the world are classified as Homo Sapiens, and therefore only one race exists in the world. In addition, ‘more and more scientists find that the differences that set us apart are cultural, not racial. Some even say that the word race should be abandoned because it is meaningless’(Ham 2013).

That is why it is clear that the division into races is just a convenient way for some people to put others into some categories. According to the Bible, there is not even any mentioning of the term ‘race’ there. It describes all human beings as being of ‘one blood’ (Acts 17:26). That is why no one can conclude that the Bible prohibits intercultural marriages. The problem is just in that fact that some people are not tolerant to other cultures and they were brought up in a specific to their culture way that predetermined in some way their perception of the world. A real problem is when people are representatives of dissimilar religion groups. That can give a key to understand such mixed opinions. “The biblical basis for marriage makes it clear that a Christian should marry only a Christian” (Ham 2013). That means people of some definite religious confession “should not impose non-biblical ideas such as ‘no interracial’ marriage onto their culture” (Ham 2013). Here is the answer to the question of intercultural marriages.

However, interracial marriages happen very often, especially in the US. Most people are for such marriages (Carroll 2007). According to statistics made by Pew Research Center, more than 200, 000 whites marry a person of another race each year (TNO Staff 2013). “Of the 2,096,000 marriages in the US in 2010, some 275,500 were interracial” (TNO Staff 2013). More than 9 million Americans list their ethnicity as mixed. An interesting fact is that interracial couples are not so stable as families of the same race and have higher divorce rates. The explanation is that many spouses do not manage to cross a racial, or better to say, cultural barrier.

Really, even in everyday life, people constantly face the situations of cross-cultural communication, and misunderstandings and disagreements often arise on the basis of different perceptions of the world through the prism of diverse cultures. Due to different values and stereotypes manifested in the behavior of people, interracial families may have more problems than traditional, but people who are really eager to create a family must be ready to come to a compromise. Moreover, if a family is interracial, this must be done in each sphere of life.

Works Cited

Carroll, Joseph. Most Americans Approve of Interracial Marriages. Blacks more likely than whites to approve of black-white unions. 2007. Web <http://www.gallup.com/poll/28417/most-americans-approve-interracial-marriages.aspx>

Cheryl Y. Judice. Interracial Marriages Between Black Women and White Men. Cambria Press. 2007.

Head, Tom. A Short Timeline History. 2013. Web <http://civilliberty.about.com/od/raceequalopportunity/tp/Interracial-Marriage-Laws-History-Timeline.htm>>

TNO Staff. Interracial Marriages in the US: Facts and Figures. 2013. Web <http://newobserveronline.com/interracial-marriages-in-the-us-facts-and-figures/>

Ham, Ken. Interracial marriage: is it biblical? 2013. Web <http://creation.com/interracial-marriage-is-it-biblical>

Moore, Madison. The Problem With Interracial Marriage. 2013. Web <http://thoughtcatalog.com/madison-moore/2013/03/the-problem-with-interracial-marriage/>

Clark, Melissa. Interracial Relationships-Pros and Cons. 2012. Web <http://www.examiner.com/article/interracial-relationships-pros-and-cons>

Root, Maria. Love's Revolution: Interracial Marriage. Temple University Press. 2001.