Sunday, August 5, 2007

Interracial couples see change coming

By Carmen M. Hubbard

NEW MIAMI — Michelle Richardson didn't set out to be different when she crossed the color barrier. She just wanted to find love.

Who she found was a former co-worker and friend, Vince, her husband of six years who is African-American. The significance of their interracial marriage came home to them, they said, with the birth of their youngest daughter, who has blonde hair and green eyes.

"I did notice the stares but it never really bothered me," she said. "It bothers me now more because we have children."

The latest U.S. Census figures show a dramatic increase from 310,000 interracial marriages in 1970 to 59.5 million in 2005. Of that total, most involve a white husband and an Hispanic or Asian wife.

Dr. Rodney Coates, professor of sociology, gerontology and black world studies at Miami University in Oxford, said the phenomenon is nothing new, citing comedy legend Lucille Ball and her Cuban-born husband, Desi Arnaz, of the 1950s.

"(But) we're becoming less of a melting pot and more of a smorgasbord," he said.
Vince Richardson, 45, is a lifelong resident of New Miami and athletic and recreational director at Miami University Hamilton. The couple chose to live in the village outside of Hamilton because "I know most of the people and they know me," he said.

"I'm content with who I am. I'm not going to let people control my life. I do a very good job of educating our kids (about who they are)."

On the other hand, when it comes to stares from strangers, Vince chalks up the attention as "maybe they think I'm very handsome and my wife is very beautiful."

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