Whilst the thought of interracial marriage being an outright criminal act might seem alien to some of the younger generation, it will still be a vivid memory for many of their parents, grandparents, and other relatives. The fact of the matter is that this kind of institutionalized racism is not yet part of a murky history which we can brush off as being ‘way back in the past.’ It was not until 1967 that it became legal for interracial couples to wed in America.
It is clear to see that much has changed since then – interracial couples and interracial families are now not illegal or even unusual. Yet, there still exists a stubborn stigma around this kind of family makeup (not just in the US but in other countries too). Even though scores of studies have shown that children growing up in interracial households are not given any less love, support, attention, and care, they are still perceived as ‘unfortunate’ and less likely to achieve.
So, the question is, when will interracial families be the norm? It is an important question and one which is, perhaps, even more fundamental that it first appears. After all, it is a clear and immutable fact that, as more and more people kiss, romance, love, and start families with people of different races, the more the lines will start to be blurred between them.
Yes, anthropologists all agree that, at some point in the future, the human race will begin to take on a much more ‘universal’ skin tone. It will be harder to distinguish between races and the majority of people will be somewhere in the middle of the scale, as regards color. Once we reach this point, interracial families will not only not be unusual, they will be the norm.
What about now? What is life like for interracial families in western societies right now? How quickly are we progressing? Well, in 2010, a record 8.4% of all marriages in America were between two people of different races. Whilst this might sound like a tiny amount, the figure was a lowly 3.2% in 1980. In 1987, only 48% of Americans believed that it was okay for ‘blacks and whites to mix.’ In 2012, that figure reached 83%, which is a massive increase in a relatively short space of time, anthropologically speaking.
There are some interesting trends which appear within this kind of data too. For example, Hispanic and Asian people are the most likely to marry a person of another race. Plus, black people are, at this point in time, far more likely to wed white people than ever before – despite continuing fluctuations in their overall level of social segregation.
If we look at what really lies at the heart of the issue – children – it seems impossible to see interracial marriage as anything less valuable or magical than any other kind of union. As already outlined, there is no evidence (and never has been) to suggest that interracial families are fundamentally any different to others. They laugh, cry, play, bond, and grow in exactly the same way as any family does.