History of Interracial Relationships in America

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History of Interracial Relationships in America

Interracial relationships in America go back to the beginning of this country. For many years, settlers settled down with Indian woman because there was a lack of European women. In addition, Indian women proved to be a valued resource in race relations in the earlier Frontier. Indian Chiefs used their beautiful women as ambassadors of goodwill.

In today's society, there are many different types of interracial relationships. They come in many different forms such as black and white, red and yellow, black and yellow, and white and red. Society is so diverse that the racial make-up of a couple could be any combination.

Antimiscegenation Laws

In the beginning little social distinction was made in America on the base of race. However, as the racial reason for slavery developed, there began to creep into the mores a distinction between blacks and whites. One of its first sign was the passage of laws against intermarriage. When black servants were reduced to slavery, the colonial governing classes redoubled their efforts to exclude racial mixing. Miscegenation in this time was not only a serious violation of Puritan morality, but also a serious threat to slavery and the stability of the servile labor force.

The earliest record available against the cohabitation of black-white servants was the case of Hugh Davis, a white servant in Virginia who was sentenced to a public beating on Sept. 17, 1630, before a group of Negroes and others for ruin himself with a Negro. It was required that he confesses as much the following Sabbath.

The first law to deter racial intermarriage was enacted in the early colonial period. The General Assembly of the Colony of Maryland in 1661 deplored the fact that there were many cases of intermarriage between white female servants and Negro slaves. It legislated that if any free born white woman intermarried with a Negro slave; she would have to serve her husband’s master as long as the slave lived.

In 1681, a new Maryland law decreed that any freeborn white woman who married a Negro slave with the permission of the slave’s master could retain her freedom. However, the master or mistress of the intermarried slave and the clergyman performing the ceremony were to be penalized by a fine. This law was an attempt to prevent racial intermarriage by changing the penalty to those allegedly responsible for the action of slaves.

After the adoption of the 14th amendment to the constitution, July 28, 1868, the question immediately arose whether or not state laws prohibiting intermarriage denied colored people the equality guaranteed to them by the amendment. Most cases were decided in State courts and the laws were encouraged.

Despite the arguments, good or bad, there still exists a conflict in standards regarding the right of an individual to select his own marriage partner irrespective of race. A large proportion of American society is prejudiced of interracial marriage. In almost every other large and racially mixed society in the modern world such marriages are accepted, both legally and socially. No other nation has ever been as determinedly race conscious as the U.S. other than South Africa.

Changes in Antimiscegenation Laws

There has been a rise in mixed marriages as many antimiscegenation or intermarriage laws in the U.S. have changed. As of 1967 16 states still had laws against it, mostly southern and western, and as recently as this year Alabama still had a law against it, but that law is no longer in effect. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1924 Virginia law forbidding interracial marriages as unconstitutional in 1967 saying it denied all persons their 14th amendment.

However, despite the lack of legal support for bans on interracial marriage, the customs and standards of the white majority, and to some extent the black minority, make interracial marriage a rare and unexpected sort of behavior.

Those that oppose it

When a person becomes addicted to hate and racism, they can easily find fault with anything. After years of hating people because of race, religion, or whatever, it is almost impossible for that person to change. These days, however, people do not usually spout in front of crowds of people about their hatred. But, they do voice their hatred of others once they are in a group of people that somewhat agree with their views. People who hate usually seek out other haters, and then try to convert other people to their hating ways.

In the Beginning

When entering into an Interracial Relationship, there are a few things a person has to consider. One of the problems that occurs in an Interracial Relationship is old friends might stop visiting. Since there are a lot of black and white issues in America, a lot of people believe that Interracial couples choose to stay neutral. Can a black husband come home to a white wife and say, "Those ignorant white people at work are getting on my nerves?" Where does this leave the wife? How does she reply to his rage when she cannot relate to the anger that her husband feels? Moreover, how does the husband release his anger without criticizing his wife? If an Interracial Relationship has any of these problems, the best solution is to talk calmly about racial issues. In addition, the husband has to look at his problems objectively and not compound the problems with obvious exaggerations. The wife, in all this madness, is not the enemy, but a teammate in finding a solution to the problem.

When Interracial couples learn to handle their emotions and work as a team, absolutely nothing can stand in their way. But on the other hand, when couples cannot get passed the little stuff, they usually don’t make it.

Reasons for Interracial Marriages

Several theories have been proposed as to why people may marry interracially. One theory is the sex. We all know the myth about black men; another not so well known myth is that black women are sex freaks in bed. Another theory is that people do it to prove to society that they will defy prejudice. Yet another theory is that a person hasn’t been completely included into their social group, so that person seeks elsewhere. The 4th theory is that people do it to rebel against their parents. However, most interracial marriages are just like any other marriage in that they marry for the same reason same race couples do.

In fact interracial marriages tend to last longer than same race ones because people going into interracial marriages are prepared for a rocky road and are prepared to stick with it, while same race couples may have not experienced that same hardship, and at the first sign of struggle, back out of the marriage.


What can you do when your parents tell you not to date outside of your race? It is almost impossible to discuss this issue with racist parents, because they do not want to listen to you. Parents believe that you are too young and naive to make complicated choices about race. They usually use lines like, “When I was a kid, I was never interested in any blacks.” Due to parent’s one sidedness, they are incapable of understanding love that crosses the racial lines. As far as racist are concerned the racial boundaries are too relaxed, and need to be strengthened.

Interracial dating and marriages, in 2001, are still socially unacceptable. People continue to frown on interracial relationships today just as they did 20 years ago. The majority of folks in interracial relationships will receive some form of discrimination whether it is visible or not. Perhaps the “maĆ®tre d' ” at a restaurant spits in your food or the auto mechanic doesn’t fix your brakes properly. But by no means should you fool yourself, and believe the possibilities aren’t there. Sometimes you’ll notice people staring and pointing as if you are a sideshow. Needless to say, some of you cannot go home because of whom you chose to love. In America, interracial relationships, on some level, brings each person who participates in it some form of pain, if you do not notice the people around you doing these things, you probably just aren’t paying attention.

White women that marry interracially, especially with a black man have a higher risk of being alienated by their family. This is due to the bad reputation the black men have that society created for them. Most black men had a hard time getting their families to accept their white spouse.

White men, who marry interracially, tend to have a very high acceptance rate among family members, while black women who marry interracially don’t have quite as high an acceptance rate.


In general society tends to view black women-white men marriages as less disgusting than white women-black men marriages, and as a result both relationships are met with different attitudes.

Also white men-black women marriages tend to live in a white or a racially mixed area, while black men-white women marriages tend to live in black neighborhoods.

No matter where you go however there will always be negative reactions, which include staring, rude comments, neighbors that ignore you, isolation, and occasionally violence. Stares mostly occur in public rather than in a neighborhood.

In the church, most churches tend to be accepting of any type of marriage, except homosexual marriages, and tend to welcome people in interracial marriages with open arms.

Occasionally in hospitals people will make innocent comments asking if that dark skinned or light skinned baby is adopted, not even thinking that it could be a product of an interracial marriage, however occasionally there is a nurse who will voice their opinion on these types of marriages.

As usual the police get a bad rap. In general they will harass people in interracial marriages and can be very humiliating. There is really nothing you can do about it though.

As for housing, it can be harder to find an apartment if the landlord has a bias against interracial marriages, however, it is a problem that will occasionally happen. It won’t be impossible to find housing but it may be more difficult. It really depends on the neighborhood too.

As for employment, certain types of harassment can occur when employees find out about your spouse of a different color. It can even include job dismissal, but if a job was to dismiss you for who you married, then it probably wasn’t worth working there anyway.

Relations with the black community tend to be easier with a black woman-white man relationship; they are received, in general, with open arms, while there is unfriendliness, especially with black women, with respect to black men-white women unions.

Black men-white women unions are also generally less well received in the white community while like in the black community black women-white men unions are generally well received.

The Future for Interracial Marriages

These days there is such a focus on skin color that it is hard to be in an interracial relationship. However even so, interracial relationships are becoming more and more common. The only sure fire way to kill the stereotypes is for more race-mixing to occur. When everyone is everything there is no way to single someone out because of his or her color. While this scenario is ideal we are a long way away from having that occur. It took us 4 million or so odd years to finally get to a point where races can mix, it’s only occurred really for about 350 years. However being the melting pot that we are, we are in great shape for something like this to occur here. With a nation that is arguably the most color conscious country on the planet, this will be hard to achieve, but all the tools are in place to make this country the Interracial States of America.

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