Interracial Dating: Are Our Brows Still Raised?


There’s no denying that society’s come a long way in terms of love. Believe it or not, there was actually a time that interracial couples had to hide out of pure shame.  In a time where a white judge could tell an interracial couple that God placed different races on earth because he “did not intend for the races to mix.” A time where a father who read an article on interracial marriage wrote to the magazine himself stating that if his daughter ever entertained the thought of marrying a black man he would personally kill her and himself. A time, according to CNN, where “White judges and politicians talked openly about protecting the “purity and integrity of the white race” and the evils of “race-mixing” and miscegenation — a pejorative term for intimate relations between people of different races.” It’s a miracle we’ve moved from then to today’s society which has grown to embrace interracial relationships and marriages with welcoming hands. 


It’s crazy to imagine that before June of 1967, interracial marriage was illegal.  The US Supreme Court unanimously struck down an anti-miscegenation law in the Loving v. Virginia case. The case was the marriage between a white man, Richard Loving, and his wife, a black woman Mildred Jeter.  Since then, the public has grown increasingly accepting of both interracial relationships and marriages. This very evident shift has been driven by an attitude change and the undeniable fact that adulthood has been reached with more race-friendly views than previous generations. It’s been said that there’s an “overwhelming majority of Millennials, regardless of race, say they would be fine with a family member’s marriage to someone of a different racial or ethnic group. Asked about particular groups to which they do not belong, Millennials are about equally accepting of marriage to someone in any of the groups.” With the high rate of acceptance across the board, no difference can be spotted in acceptance of say, a black and white interracial relationship versus a black and Asian coupling.   


Twelve years ago via Pew Research‘s research it was noted that, “Not surprisingly, given the high levels of acceptance of interracial marriage among Millennials, nearly all 18-to-29-year-olds (93%) agree with the statement “I think it is all right for blacks and whites to date each other.” Pew Research has tracked responses to this question for more than two decades in its study of American political values, most recently in April 2009. These surveys have found Millennials very accepting of interracial dating since the opinions of this generation first were tracked in 2003 (in 2003, 92% of Millennials agreed that it was all right for blacks and whites to date).”  Their research goes on to highlight the journey to the level of acceptance as we’ve come to know it today. “When the first Generation Xers began to be tracked in the late 1980s, about two-thirds of this generation (those born between 1965 and 1980) agreed that it was “all right for blacks and whites to date each other.” By the time all members of that generation had reached age 18, fully 85% agreed with the statement — about the same proportion as does so today (86%). The opinions of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) became more accepting of black-white dating in the early 1990s and have steadily become more so; in recent years, Boomers have become almost as accepting of interracial dating as Gen Xers. The oldest generation currently being tracked, the “Silent” generation (those born between 1928 and 1946), has steadily become more racially liberal over time, though they remain significantly less likely to approve of interracial dating than are those in younger generations (68% in 2009).”


Today, there’s new data compliments to Pew Research that supports the approval of interracial newlyweds. It says from 1967 to 2015 approval ratings increased from 3% to 17%. That “Americans have become more accepting of marriages of different races or ethnicities. One measure reflecting the shift is that, according to a Pew poll, the percentage of non-blacks who said they’d oppose a relative marrying a black person dropped from 63 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 2016. The Chicago metropolitan area’s rate of interracial marriages is 19 percent, slightly higher than the national rate of 16 percent, according to the study.  Asians and Hispanics in the U.S. are by far the most likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity. Almost one-third of married Asian-Americans and about a quarter of married Hispanics are married to a person of a different race or gender, according to the study.”


Are our brows still up? According to Gallup, “Ninety-four percent of U.S. adults now approve of marriages between Black people and White people, up from 87% in the prior reading from 2013. The current figure marks a new high in Gallup’s trend, which spans more than six decades. Just 4% approved when Gallup first asked the question in 1958. The latest figure is from a Gallup poll conducted July 6-21. Shifts in the 63-year-old trend represent one of the largest transformations in public opinion in Gallup’s history – beginning at a time when interracial marriage was nearly universally opposed and continuing to its nearly universal approval today. The U.S Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage nationwide in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case. A year after that decision, Gallup found support for the practice increasing, but still, only a small minority of 20% approved.  Approval of interracial marriage continued to grow in the U.S. in periodic readings Gallup took over the following decades, finally reaching majority level in 1997, when support jumped from 48% to 64%.  Support has increased in subsequent measures, surpassing 70% in 2003, 60% in 2011 and 90% in the 2021 reading.” 


At the end of the day, the bottom line is this, approval for interracial relationships and marriages has soared. Yet, even though it is quite small, there still exists opposition to interracial unions.  Either way, it’s nice to note that our brows aren’t as skyward as generations before.  


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