Love, Self

Why Do Some People Still Oppose Interracial Marriage?

interracial couple

The United States is a nation built on the foundation of progress—change is often viewed as a good thing here. Here at YourTango, we're big proponents of positive change, especially when it comes to dating and relationships, so we're happy to report some positive shifts in marriage trends over the past few decades.

Back in the 80s (you know, the time of frizzy hair, neon jackets and waking you up before you go-go), few people were willing to cross racial and ethnic lines to say "I do." In fact, only three percent of marriages and less than seven percent of all new marriages during that decade were between people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. 

Thankfully the times have changed. The Pew Research Center is reporting that "intermarriage," as they call it, is on the rise. Based on their data (some of which comes straight from the U.S. Census), 15 percent of new marriages in 2010 were between spouses of different races or ethnicities. On top of that, just over eight percent of current marriages are interracial or interethnic — an all-time high in the United States.

Even better to report: the public attitude toward intermarriages has become increasingly more positive over the years. About half (43 percent) of all Americans agree that the rise in interethnic and interracial marriages is a change that is good for our society. 

For some reason, though, one in 10 it's a change for the worse. That's something difficult to grasp, in our opinion—that 10 percent of people still believe intermarriage is a bad thing. Of course, considering some of the current struggles surrounding the definition of marriage these days, perhaps it's not so shocking that some would be apprehensive to date someone of a different color or ethnic background. The most conservative of opponents may argue, "marriage should be between a man and a woman (who share the same upbringing, skin color and cultural background)." But you know what? We're not buying it. Love should be colorblind (and gender-blind, thank you very much).

Of course, though the numbers aren't ideal, it's still a vast improvement over public opinion in the 80s. As late as 1986, more than one quarter of Americans (28 percent) felt people of different races marrying each other was absolutely unacceptable; meanwhile, 37 percent said it would be fine for others but not for themselves personally. Isn't that outrageous? How far we've come.

What are your opinions on intermarriage? Why do you think some still oppose it?