Intermarriage Isn't All That Radical Anymore

PHOTO: WWII Nurse, Elinor Powell and German soldier, Frederick AlbertChris Albert
WWII Nurse, Elinor Powell and German soldier, Frederick Albert

The conversation around interracial dating has become boring to many young people who shrug off the topic with an eye roll and a collective sigh of "who still cares." (Full disclosure: I'm a half Hispanic woman dating a half Asian man.)

But how quickly things have changed. Fifty years ago, marriages between blacks and whites were still illegal in some states. That ended in 1967 when a black woman, Mildred Loving, and her white husband, Richard Loving, fought for their marriage all the way to the Supreme Court, overturning laws prohibiting such interracial marriages across the country.

Nowadays, more than one in six new marriages take place between individuals of different racial or ethnic groups, and almost 1 in 4 Asians and Hispanics marry someone outside of their "group," according to data from Pew.

The rapid increase in intermarriage rates is a direct result of changing attitudes on race. Not only are millenials the most likely to have friends of different races, nine in 10 millenials support the idea of interracial dating and marriage, according to a recent Pew study. Millenials are also the first generation to grow up with a large portion of parents that also support such relationships.

As a result of immigration and the high number of interracial marriages, almost half (49.8 percent) of children under the age of one were a member of a racial or ethnic minority, according to the 2010 Census.

But that doesn't mean that everyone is progressive. Try typing into your Google browser "interracial marriage is..." and you'll find the most popular suggested results are "wrong," "disgusting" and "a sin." Even millenials are still more biased against some groups than others. Only 88 percent of young people saying they'd be "okay" with a family member dating a black person, in contrast 93 percent say they would approve of a family member dating an Asian person. And fifty-five percent of people between ages 50 and 64-year-olds say they would be fine with a marriage of any two ethnic groups, while only 38 percent of those ages 65 and older said the same.

Even after their wedding day, some interracial couples still feel they struggle with discrimination from the rest of society. Last week, a mixed race Virginia couple was outraged when the local police showed up at their house to inquire if a white father had kidnapped his biracial daughters.

"I sat there for a minute and I thought, 'Did he just ask us if these were our kids knowing what we went through to have our children?'"said their mother, who only wished to be identified as Keana, in an interview with Fox5DC. "I was dumbfounded."