5 Reasons People Are Still So Prejudiced Against Interracial Relationships

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interracial relationships
Love

Things have changed ... but we still have a long way to go.

Out on my book tour, I've received applause for my two characters from different cultures. I've also come across a few frowns.

Why is there still such obvious disapproval of interracial romance and relationship?

We're in the twenty-first century connected world. The percentage of non-blacks who said they'd oppose a relative marrying a black person dropped from 63 percent to 14 percent in less than 20 years, according to a recent Pew poll. One in six people is married to a person from a race different than their own.

Why are there still people opposed to interracial love, romance, and partnership — despite integrated neighborhoods and even television series that feature such couples as the norm? Despite those great cereal commercials, which sadly, were controversial? Why does it take so long to move society?

Why do we humans perpetuate a belief that may be based on false evidence? Why does it take so long to change a belief?


RELATED: 10 Massively Stupid Things People Say About Interracial Dating


I'll let the frowners speak for themselves. But I've included my responses:

"It used to be against the law," said an acquaintance. 

That American law was rescinded fifty years ago. 

"It's against the Bible," said someone on social media. 

Come on now, really? No way! I can quote some Bible verses, too, and here's one: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (NIV, Galatians 3:26-28) 

"They moved in and wouldn't move out. He finally got a job," sighed someone who wasn't sure they'd like my story. 

How far we've come, and how far we have yet to go. We need to make our value judgments of people based on who they are, not the color of their skin or what language they speak. Yes, there will be some cultural challenges along the way, but it takes a while to get to know anyone we fall in love with, to adapt to and adore all their quirky idiosyncrasies.

I'm pretty sure there are bunches of jobless young white people living in their parents' basements, too. 

"They met where?" asked a person at a signing. 

This one was directly about the characters in my book. I admit I wanted to turn the Arab Muslim stereotype and good little southern girl stereotypes on their heads with my novel. I obviously succeeded. I made my protagonists do something outrageous as compared to a societal norm, right at the beginning of my novel. I made them HUMAN, not just Arab and American, not just Muslim and Christian. Readers might think two characters meeting in a disco ballroom is immature, even dangerous, but it happens. Where did you meet all your romantic partners? 

"Too many differences mean the relationship won't last. I don't want to see my child hurt," said someone in the midst of reading my novel.

OK, this one has the ring of truth to it. Parents don't want their children or grandchildren judged, stereotyped, or subjugated. Yet most young adults have already been labeled or pigeon-holed.

As a blonde woman, I had to listen to at least one dumb blonde joke a week well into adulthood. Did that hurt my feelings? Yes. Did it destroy my life? No, because I caught on early that people were expressing fear, jealousy, or some other emotion.

Their reaction to blonde hair was theirs, not mine. It's the same with skin. Blondes, consider the source. Parents, let your children make their own choices! 

And finally, the one that shocked even me... the woman who messaged me about white women finding Arab men exotic and alluring without "enduring" the realities of being Muslim themselves. 

Enduring? Did she really say that? Say that to the 10 percent of non-Muslim Americans happily married to a Muslim American. Say that to happily married Muslim couples.

True, people of any faith do tend to marry a person of that faith. And very religious people marry within their faith. But come on, we've got to get over this mistake that all Muslims are the same, or that all African Americans (13 percent of whom are Muslim) are the same, or that the extremists in any religion are the entire religion. 

Yet we all need to be calm about it in the meantime. Because here's what science and psychology tell us about changing any belief. 

Most experts agree that these outdated beliefs linger because of the following reasons:

1. We want to feel safe as humans. Safety is a basic human need

2. We all conform to some things in our culture. We conform to feel safe. 

3. People discard factual information if it doesn't jive with their prior strong beliefs and discard their weak beliefs in preference for the information. 

4. We like to hang out with people who agree with us. Those in smaller, more ethnically diverse neighborhoods hang on to past perceptions more often.

5. Yet people do change their minds; it depends on how strongly they connect a particular opinion or belief with their personal identity

It's obvious that I think interracial relationships are fine. If I didn't, I wouldn't have written a book about intercultural relationships (I'd say interracial, but 41 percent of Muslim Americans self-identify as white, and this statement is backed up by the Pew research.) I'm not in a multicultural marriage, although I do live in a multicultural family, having adopted from another country.

I've seen what racism and prejudice have done to my Asian American daughter. I've also witnessed how it fractured some of my previous relationships. I also know some of my beliefs about caring about ALL our neighbors and about multicultural relationships will continue to fall on deaf ears and create more judgment, even fear.

Writing and speaking about a couple who has differences will continue to get pushback. I'll continue to stand up for my beliefs.

Change happens over a very long period, and racism will stick around for as long as people fear people who look different or act differently than themselves.

It might be a while — based on the time it took humanity to believe Galileo and apologize to him!

It's only been 50 years since 1967, only 154 years since the Gettysburg Address, not 350. It's obvious to me from my book tour how raw this topic still is. It's a complex, emotional, layered one. If the issue is still that heated, then I'm prouder than ever to remain calm and keep the discussion going. 


RELATED: 5 Problems Interracial Couples Face That Threaten To BREAK Them Apart


Want to get in on the discussion? Follow Kathryn Brown Ramsperger on Facebook or read her blog. You can find her novel The Shores of Our Souls, here