Read More

If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Interracial Relationships
Ashley Penn
Antelope Staff

How far have we come since Loving v. Virginia in 1967?


Imagine that you are in love with your soul mate, but everyone else is against the match. That was the reality for many in interracial relationships during the 1960s.

During 1964, the state of Maryland and numerous other states banned interracial marriage.  In following years, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina instituted laws banning interracial marriage.  

It wasn’t until 1967 that the Supreme Court, in the case of Loving vs. the Commonwealth of Virginia, ruled that laws against interracial marriage and dating were unconstitutional and invalidated.

Cynthia Smith, a 74-year-old former housekeeper, saw the antagonism of a white family against interracial relationships during her days as a caregiver for her white employers.  “I remember my boss’ daughter taking a romantic interest in a young man of color, and her parents were literally blue in the face about it,” Smith said. “They would let the dogs out whenever he would come around, shout the most demeaning words that you wouldn’t even tell an animal, and most of all they would threaten to move away whenever their daughter would mention her colored love interest.”

Dr. Claude Louishomme, associate professor of political science and director of ethnic studies, and a black man, lived through some of the social unrest in the 60s. “There was interracial dating in college, and everyone was pretty much acceptant of it from what I can remember.  However, it is still a problem.  I can remember one of my students saying that her brother dated a black woman and she could never attend family functions because their grandparents would just lose it,” Loishomme said.

The harsh reality hits home for many when they realize that a boyfriend/girlfriend can’t come to a family function because they are a different race. The debate over interracial relationships is controversial because it touches on the sensitive areas of family, cultural heritage, religion and racism. However, the mixing of races and cultures in American society has never been promoted and rarely accepted.

Since the 1960s, there has been a vast increase in interracial dating and marriage. The number of interracial marriages has more than tripled. Between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of African-American marriages involving a white spouse more than tripled.

Both black and white still have problems with interracial dating, however, feeling that these relationships constitute cultural betrayal. Opponents of interracial dating argue that those who date or marry outside of their race are betraying their families and abandoning their cultural heritage.  According to recent online polls, many African-Americans believe interracial marriage erodes the solidarity of the African-American community.

White middle-class Americans feel coupling between interracial couples when they decide to have children creates a bad situation for the United States often referred to as “Browning America.” Interracial couples run into trouble in social situations and at work.  Some families try to minimize their contact with the public because at home they are normal and are not reminded of their differences.

Many people who were brought up during the Civil Rights Movement have a more open mind to interracial relationships than do those who were raised before that time.

Louishomme said, “I think that we should be free to have a relationship with anyone we want to, and if we live in a country of liberty, then we should be able to choose who we are in a relationship with.”  

“But the good thing about it is, we are evolving as a nation in partnership of the world and times are definitely changing.  There is no doubt in my mind that more people will become more acceptant of interracial dating,” Smith concludes with a grin.

Comments

Developed by UNK Advertising & Creative Services
Copyright 2009 The University of Nebraska at Kearney | 905 West 25th Street, Kearney
UNK is an ADA & Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution
Terms of Use and Copyright Violations |
Contact the webmaster at: webmaster@unk.edu