Accepting interracial marriages: A step towards racial equality

The differences between each individual are what make us unique, and those differences ought to be embraced more. However, people often use differences as a means of looking down on others.

Racism is still a strong force, but in only a few generations there have been serious strides in breaking down the barriers that separate people based only on their color. The American view on interracial dating is perhaps one of the most significant ways in which progress has been made.

According to Gallup, 87 percent of Americans approve of black-white marriage. This is still a large amount of open racism; however, it is one of biggest shifts in American opinion, as only 4 percent approved in 1958. Even better, 96 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in America approved of black-white marriage.

The actual number of interracial marriages and relationships has also gone up over the years, and the U.S. Census showed that nearly 10 percent of marriages were mixed in 2010, which is a boost from 7 percent in 2000.

Such relationships are indicative of both changing opinion and breaking down the barrier of race that still holds subtle and not-so-subtle influences in society.

At UH, it isn’t difficult to find interracial couples all across campus. Physics senior Frederico Paredes gave his perspective on interracial relationships.

“I am 100 percent Argentine, (my girlfriend) is Caucasian from Canada. It’s never been an obstacle,” Paredes said.

“People realized that color of skin didn’t affect who someone was, or their value. It didn’t make them better or worse. It’s what they say and do that matters, not how they look.”

Paredes said he believes interracial couples change social opinion through their existence.

“They show that it isn’t anything to be scared or shunned over, it’s just two people being attracted to each other,” Paredes said. “I think it’s huge, the fact that it happens so easily is great and it shows the people who disagree that they are wrong.”

Interracial couples make a statement through their existence that race is not what defines people. Interracial marriage is a statement of love that looks past race, and that statement is one that is far heavier than that of hate from those who cannot see past color.

It is not enough to mix race; there must also be an acceptance and embracing of that mixture as well. Much of Latin America, along with the Philippines have some Spaniard descent.

Past generations still held onto the idea of a strict line between races, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. Those who were mixed between white and black would be considered black, known as the “one-drop rule.”

Biotechnology junior Armani Authorlee said he believes that acceptance of the mixing of races is equally as important as the actual mixing.

“So (as) long as people are required to put their racial classification and there are incentives to being one race over another, then yes individuals will continue to do so because it’s required to identify despite being mixed,” Authorlee said. “Past mixing was seen more of as a taboo where both individuals involved were seen as disgraceful to their races and it can still be seen now, but not as strongly.”

Thankfully, people are identifying more than ever as mixed race rather than as one race or another; however, it was not until the 2000 census that people were even allowed to mark more than one race. Even if each of your grandparents identified as a different race, you could not express your identity until the turn of the new millennium.

UH takes great pride in its diversity. Many of us have already seen the benefits of a diverse culture and campus, but the families created at UH will also be contributing to a generation that no longer sees race as something that separates people.

Racism can still exist even amidst family members, as history has clearly proven. In times like ours, and in places as diverse as UH, there is a real opportunity for future generations to be created where the artificial wall of race no longer exists.

Opinion columnist Shane Brandt is a petroleum engineering senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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