Friday, November 16, 2007

Difficulties in Interracial Marriages

The problems encountered by interracial couples are often the result of negative societal attitudes about interracial relationships. Black-Caucasian unions have the lowest frequency of occurrence because of longstanding negative beliefs about these marriages. In general, Caucasians tend to disapprove of interracial marriages, and blacks tend to approve.

Asian Americans have also experienced difficulties in their interracial marriages. Asian Americans engage in more interracial relationships than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Laws forbidding interracial marriages between Asians and Caucasians were common in the United States. Even though the results of these cases made interracial marriages legal, the negative societal perspective on such unions has been slow to change.

Interracial relationships and marriages remain controversial for several additional reasons. Many Asian Americans are alarmed because of the rising number of interracial unions, which they believe reduces the pool of eligible men and women who could otherwise engage in same-culture unions. Some Asian Americans are concerned that, because of the high number of out-marriages, distinct groups of Asians may disappear within a few generations. Additionally, whereas so many Asian women are out-marrying, there is the fear that many Asian-American men will remain unmarried because of the dwindling number of available Asian-American women . A similar fear is expressed by African-American men and women. As African-American men and women increase their level of education and move to higher economic levels, fewer and fewer members of their race are available for marriage. This often leads to frustration on the part of African Americans who seek to marry someone of their own race, and also leads to increased levels of out-marriage, as increases in income and educational levels occur.

Some of the difficulties experienced by interracial couples are unique and a direct result of the interracial experience. The myths that surround interracial couples can also be stumbling blocks to a healthy marriage. When engaged in interracial marriages with black males, they often receive the following messages: "Black men belong with black women because they will treat them better than white women" and "Biracial children will always be referred to as black and, therefore, should have a black mother." The problems and difficulties are also experienced because of the mythical messages received from the Caucasian culture. These include: "Black men only marry white women for status symbols or upward mobility," "Interracial marriages do not work; therefore, you will lose your spouse to someone else," "Those who engage in interracial marriages must hate their parents," and "Those who engage in interracial relationships or marriages must have psychological difficulties." The problems faced by couples involved in black-Caucasian unions are also experienced by those involved in other interracial unions. However, many couples state that the reasons they got married are not that much different than same-race couples.

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