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Racial Discrimination of Interracial Couples

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    Interracial couples, even in 2014, are often viewed with scorn and dislike from traditional members of society. Interracial couples face discrimination, prejudice, and outright hatred for their practice of cross-racial love, and can oftentimes be subjected to harassment and other forms of vocal hatred from members of their communities. This is  one a sample essay that focuses on the hate, prejudice, and harassment of interracial couples in the United States. Whether or not you feel that the cause of interracial couples is something society should be considered about, we highly recommend that you continue reading to gain more knowledge on this important social issue. 

    Hate, prejudice and harassment of interracial couples

    General consensus defines hate as an extreme, deep rooted dislike that is directed against individuals, entities, or specific ideas. The definition of prejudice is an unfavorable opinion that is formed without reasoning or complete understanding or knowledge of an individual or situation. Harassment covers a wide range of behavior that is usually considered offensive in nature. It is commonly understood that harassment is intended behavior of a repetitive nature when examined through the legal lens. Each has played a significant role in how interracial couples are treated globally, but especially in the United States.

    Mixed race dating in America

    Interracial dating has become more prominent as of late and marriage between two races in the United States has been legal since the 1967 Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. The United States has many ethnic and racial groups, and interracial marriage has and continues to be fairly common. As of 2010, interracial marriages in the United States climbed to 4.8 million, with 15% of new marriages likely to be interracial (Yen; "The Two or More Races Population: 2000"). One would think that given the movement of marriages towards blending or acceptance of interracial relationships that this would diminish or decrease the forms of hate that have been directed at couples; yet it has not.

    It has been long noted that different types of ethnic groups are the targets of varying forms of prejudice and discrimination. Research on hate emphasizes and demonstrates quantitatively how different groups are victims of hate. Interracial dating and marriage is still rather inviolable, at least indirectly among certain circles and groups of people. The thought process behind it is rather complex in its theorizing.

    Theorists have stated that hate crimes against African Americans is usually the result of the perceived threat to integrity and hegemony of the ingroup, but what about other ethnic groups. Ezekiel (1995) argues that racists often fear their own survival as a group and hate gives them comfort and assurance that their survival will be met or achieved. Much of the discussion surrounding research into hate against interracial couples has reflected generic statements regarding the reasons why. There has been no definitive understanding as to why it occurs or one specific reason taken into account.

    Scenarios in research have been promoted to try and analyze the reasons why interracial couples and marriages are still perceived as wrong or taboo (Glaser et.al). With all of the hate that is still directed at interracial couples, most if not all couples are attribute a surge in interracial marriages and relationships to the four stages of interracial relationship development.

    "In the first stage, racial awareness, partners reconcile inconsistent beliefs between themselves and with larger racial groups. In the second stage, couples learn to cope with discrimination through protective and/or defensive communication skills. In the third stage, partners discover and manage their identity as a couple and in the final stage; the relationship is maintained by re-examining the role of race" (Dawkins).

    So can it be reasoned that interracial relationships in spite of the hate dismantle racism as a whole? Not necessarily. Despite the rise of interracial relationships and marriages as of late, hate still looms as aforementioned because of the inherent survival mechanism that many racial groups want. It is a form of protection almost. The justification for hate, while ludicrous in argumentation does reaffirm the fact that while interracial dating and the thoughts that many people in the United States have about it has been elevated to a better understanding; there is still a long way to go.

    Within the context of prejudice, interracial couples have received the short end of the stick. Much of the reasoning that provides examination into the hate of interracial couples applies to the prejudice of interracial relationships. The ideal of interracial couples is often misunderstood by society because of America's history. It as if tolerance has crumbled beneath the surface in spite of the 1967 laws that the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional.

    While different cultures have different prejudices, it can be stated that people need to have a greater understanding of why interracial relationships begin (Underhill). People see the good in all cultures and at each and every one of our cores is an acceptance that we are the same. Interracial relationships unearth this truth and this is the reason for much of the prejudice.

    Ezekiel (1995) argues that much of the prejudice that is present in society is mere representation of internal threats or perceived ones that occur on the personal, local and national levels. Individual ethnic groups find selective reasons to be prejudice. Racially motivated prejudice is a mere response to the ignorance rampant in society and how a greater understanding needs to be reasoned.

    When specifically examining prejudice of interracial couples within the context of African Americans, Ezekiel (1995) advocates, that history has been a horrid representation of integrated relationships. Much of the country's understanding of African Americans dating outside their race has been viewed through the miscegenation of the 19th-century Deep South. Prejudicial attitudes were derived during this time and have continued to run rampant throughout society. (Glaser et.al).

    Societal views on interracial relationships

    The history of integration and reception of interracial relationships has mostly been discussed within the context of African Americans dating Caucasians. Interracial relationships have expanded since the onset of social networking as the level of interracial contact has increased. Individuals can now feel comfortable dating outside of their race despite the prejudice.

    Prejudice is being replaced with understanding in certain areas of the United States because of the prominence of races that are immigrating here and the apprehension that races are starting to wake up to regarding the similarities rather than differences between them (Daniels). Much can be said regarding the harassment of interracial couples. The proverbial question is often asked as what one would do if they saw an interracial couple being harassed. The answer is not so clear-cut.

    Harassment of interracial couples

    It is shocking that even though interracial relationships and marriages have increased significantly over the last 40 years or so, that harassment still occurs. The Associated Press has noted that the majority of support for interracial marriage comes from younger people. Some interracial couples and relationships are perceived as different or not of the norm and as a result, interracial couples potentially have to face mistreatment. As a result, research has suggested that interracial couples and marriages often or rather are more likely to fail.

    "Over a span of 10 years, there is a 41% chance an interracial couple will separate compared to a 31% chance between two people of the same race" (Sierra).

    Does that mean that harassment is thereby warranted? 

    Harassment is never warranted when examined, but attitudes towards interracial relationships especially ones that have an African American component to them lend themselves to harassment issues. It can be stated then that many interracial relationships never make it due to the potential harassment that they may face. It takes two strong individuals to be in a relationship of an interracial nature and have to potentially face the ridicule and harassment that may result.

    The value of interracial couples

    It is interesting that many people are not seeing the value of interracial relationships and the potential that they have in society. While it is true that interracial relationships may not solve the racism factors in America, it is a start. Perhaps our color line must give way to a color continuum. A more integrated culture is the result of interracial marriages and relationships.

    "The mingling and the mixing of race is a sign that we are evolving toward a higher, more integrated state as a culture. One indication of this is the fact that, as the French theologian Teilhard de Chardin put it, union differentiates. The smaller the differences are between people, the more they insist on them. Anthropologists have long observed that as people and cultures evolve, they become more and more distinctive. They don’t shed the qualities that make them unique, they refine and develop them. Diversity appears to be a function of social evolution" (Grapes).

    Does this make interracial relationships a good thing? Yes, based on research. 

    The relationships between African Americans and Caucasians have gotten better as a result of interracial relationships. Research in this vein consistently finds that the relaxation of social boundaries has persisted over the last 40 years in spite of the riotous nature of these types of relationships. It is important to note however, that when a couple finally opts to enter into a romantic union, they have to deal not only with their own perceptions and feelings but of outsiders as well.

    The uncomfortable nature of romance expression may be a potential limiting factor to interracial relationships. There is strong evidence to suggest that public interactions between interracial couples, while better has been a stressor and consequence of the hate, prejudice and harassment experienced (Daniels). 

    Conclusions

    Acceptance of this type of relationship is very difficult. The onus is on society to come to better understand why interracial relationships are better for it in the long run, than not. A deeper understanding can be gleaned through interracial relationship acceptance rather than hate, prejudice and harassment that still exists. As the culture progresses, interracial relationships will inevitably occur given the influences and diversity conceptualizations that younger individuals have. Society needs to be more accepting of relationships of this nature so the hate, prejudice and harassment that has existed since interracial dating began, does not continue for many more generations.

    Works Cited

    Daniels, Amanda. "Interracial Romantic Relationships Struggle for Acceptance." Yahoo Voices. Yahoo.Com, 22 Jan. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://voices.yahoo.com/interracial-romantic-relationships-struggle-acceptance-7676790.html?cat=41>.

    Dawkins, Marcia. ""Loving," Hating and Interracial Relationships." The Huffington Post, 6 June 2010. Web. 29Mar.2013.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-alesan-dawkins/loving-hating-and-interra_b_602313.html>.

    Glaser, Jack, Jay Dixit , and Donald P. Green . "Studying Hate Crime with the Internet: What Makes Racists Advocate Racial Violence?" Journal of Social Issues 58 (2002): 177-193. Print.

    Grapes, Byron J., ed. Interracial Relationships. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.<http://www.dikseo.teimes.gr/spoudastirio/E-NOTES/I/Interracial_Relationships_Viewpoints.pdf>.

    Sierra, Cinthia. "Love Life: Interracial couples still face discrimination." The Bridge. 27 Mar. 2010. Web. 29Mar.2013.<http://www.thebridgenewspaper.com/2.9031/love-life-interracial-couples-still-face-discrimination-1.1284131#.UVY9KhdJOAg>.

    "The Two or More Races Population: 2000." Online posting. Census 2000 Brief. US Census Bureau, Nov.2001.Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-6.pdf>.

    Underhill, William. "Interracial couples still misunderstood by families, society." The Ranger [SanAntonio,TX]17Feb.2008:Web.29Jan.2013. <http://www.theranger.org/2.13548/interracial-couples-still-misunderstood-by-families-society-1.1855890#.UVZEkRdJOAh>.

    Yen, Hope. "Interracial Marriage In The U.S. Climbs To New High, Study Finds." The Huffington Post, 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/interracial-marriage-in-us_n_1281229.html>.

     
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