Will swirly love end racism??
Study Shows Interracial Relationships May Help Stop Racism
Via Identities reports:
Interracial relationships are on a steady rise. It’s less than 50 years since blacks and whites have been able to legally marry, thanks to the Supreme Court, and 15.1% of new marriages in 2010 were between different races or ethnicities. This brings the share of all interracial or interethnic marriages to a historic high of 8.4%, according to Pew Research Center data. Compare that with 1980, when less than 7% of new marriages took place between interracial couples and the share of overall marriages was just 3%.
Growing numbers have come with growing acceptance. In 1987, Pew found that only 13% of Americans completely agreed that interracial dating was acceptable; that share grew to 56% in 2009. Young people are even more open-minded: Roughly 9 in 10 millennials said they’d be OK with a family member marrying someone of another race or ethnicity.
But the significance of the change goes beyond simple acceptance. When Pew asked about the impact of interracial marriage on society, 43% of Americans said more intermarriage has been a change for the better.
In other words, interracial relationships aren’t just acceptable; they can actively help make America a more diverse, accepting place. Here’s how.
The more visible high-profile interracial couples are, the more normalized they become.
Witnessing interracial couples in pop culture won’t immediately rid Americans of racist ideas, but it helps. Notable fictional examples include Olivia and Fitz on Scandal and Mindy and Danny on The Mindy Project, while the persistent presence of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on our magazine covers show how it’s done in real life.
More positive visibility for cross-race couples in media does make a difference, just as negative racial portrayals contribute to negative stereotypes. We learn through seeing and observing models, as psychologists have shown; the fancy scientific term is “social cognitive theory.”
“Symbolic communication influences human thought, affect, and action,” psychologist Albert Bandura wrote in 2001, and symbolic communication includes mass media. “Human nature is a vast potentiality that can be fashioned by direct and observational experience.”
Interracial marriage can’t on its own end racism (nor should couples who marry outside their race shoulder that responsibility on their own). And achieving a more multiracial society isn’t a goal for beauty’s sake, although so many in our society currently fixate on the physical beauty of biracial individuals. (Recent research shows that biracial singles are the most desired ethnicity when it comes to online dating.)
The significance of more multiracial families, rather, is that the blending helps erode the racial distinctions artificially constructed to begin with. It’s widely held that race has no basis in genetics, and as the census responses indicate, what makes a person one race versus another remains a decision of personal identification, not a science-based designation. “I just say I’m brown,” McKenzi McPherson, 9, told National Geographic. “And I think, ‘Why do you want to know?'”
Interracial dating is on the rise, but it hasn’t ended racism. OkCupid data recently revealed that while users claim to be open-minded, racial background makes a difference for matching. And not all races approach interracial dating in the same way.
Moreover, there are certain races that suffered more from these judgments than others. The OkCupid data shows that black men and women both face the biggest “penalties” from daters of other races, an unfortunate sign of black exceptionalism.