Interracial relationships show America’s true colors
May 5, 2016
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Lauren and Harrison are your average high school sweethearts, they started young, and have grown together. They have done it all as a couple, traveled together, fought together, loved together, and most importantly they’ve built a relationship together. The only thing that sets them apart from other couples, according to society, is the color of their skin.
Lauren Hamilton and Harrison Kratz are an interracial couple; Lauren herself is the product of an interracial marriage, and Harrison is a spirited German-Jewish redhead. The couple is engaged to be married in June 2017 and has been together for over eight years, having started dating in their senior year of high school.
Less than 100 years ago it would have been unheard of for the couple to be together, and 50 years ago before the Loving v. Virginia case that eradicated laws prohibiting interracial marriages, it would have been impossible for the couple to get married.
Now Lauren and Harrison will be a part of the more than 12 percent of newlyweds who are marrying someone of a different race according to the PEW Research Center.
Lauren, the product of an African American mother and white father, says that she always viewed being in an interracial relationship as normal. “I am aware of our differences, but that has never weighed on our relationship, nor influenced either of our decision to be committed to one another.” She added lovingly, “I do love his red hair though.”
Fortunately the couple’s families were very supportive of their relationship and racial background was never a factor.
Lauren and Harrison face the normal problems of any couple, but they’ve also been exposed to judgment from society for their blended backgrounds, despite living in very diverse and liberal areas such as NYC and Los Angeles.
“I don’t think comments we’ve received are all malicious, but we’ve certainly been exposed to rude statements and questions; they’ve ranged from mocking what our children would look like, questioning how to raise a mixed child, to even questioning our sex life, as if any of that is anyone’s business but our own.”
She continued, “When asking these questions, many seem to forget I am myself, biracial. I already grew up and am living a very normal life. Even if it comes from a place of true curiosity, it’s important think first how it would feel if people were constantly asking you such personal questions.”
Lauren and Harrison hope that one day society will come to evolve and will accept all relationships and people. Harrison stated, “The worst comes from the side of hate. We have been very lucky to avoid many instances of discrimination that others have encountered. However, we are not blind, we see many people stare or grimace at us, and that is something I hope will end one day.
According to Gallup’s Minority Rights and Relations poll that surveyed 4,373 Americans, the approval of black-white marriages, has increased over the years. Only 11 percent of Americans today disapprove of black-white marriages. This is a huge decrease compared to the 94 percent of Americans who disapproved in 1958.
Many of those that still disapprove are over 50, and in the southern parts of the country.
Lauren and Harrison are among many people age 49 and below that believe that color shouldn’t be a factor anymore.
Amanda Laster, a Caucasian woman, has been married to her African-American husband for almost two years now, after having known each other since fifth grade then dating for six years. She says race never mattered to her. “I always tended to steer toward interracial relationships but it wasn’t something I had to have. I dated who I had a connection with, no matter their race. Just so happens, they were usually a different race.”
Heather Schrey is Caucasian and has been with her Guatemalan fiancé Jeesee for over three years, but said she never saw the relationship coming. She says, “Never in a million years would I expect to be in an interracial relationship especially growing up with a racist father. But love is love and it happened unexpectedly at first sight.”
Many of the barriers that interracial couples face are often not just in society but in the home with their families as well.
Mina Ebrahimi is Iranian and has been in a six-year long relationship with her African-American boyfriend Claudwin since she was 15. Mina admits that the biggest obstacle that they have faced has been her family. “My father did not want me to date at all until I was done school. Iranian people typically stay with Iranians because there is not a lot of diversity in Iran, as you can imagine.” She continued “It’s been hard seeing the true colors of some of my family members and it has really caused me to question who I consider family.”
Sadly, she admits that things have not gotten easier, but in fact harder for them when it comes to her family. “Things have gotten more difficult from a family standpoint, because the longer we are together, the more my family realizes we’re serious aren’t going to break up. This has forced them to face their issues about us instead of hoping it will go away.”
She says that they have yet to face any societal judgement because of their mixed race relationship, but she credits that to the community and environment that they are in currently in. However she realizes that if they were to change environments and be around more Middle Eastern people than things would definitely be more critical.
As interracial relationships become more prevalent society is beginning to see the offspring of these relationships, and how they are infiltrating society.
Anjali Rajan, a high school senior, is the offspring of an interracial Hyderabadi Indian mother and British Jewish Caucasian father. Her parents have been together for almost 25 years and married for 20.
She says that she has been more sheltered from the judgment her parents may have faced over the years saying, “Very often, people won’t realize my parents are together because they’re of two different races. But thankfully I haven’t seen too much racism, though I’m sure they’ve witnessed much more.”
Anjali says that personally race is not a factor for her or her relationships, “I would be open to entering a relationship with anyone, regardless of their race, I really feel that interracial relationships expand people’s minds and help them to grow.
Anjali says that regardless of the ridicule she faced as a child for being Indian and white, and bearing an Indian name, she is proud of who she is. “I am proud to be mixed, and I love to be able to take part in both cultures. Being mixed has allowed me to view the world in a unique way.”
Despite the statistics that show the growing approval of interracial marriages, there are still those highly against it. Recently a Cheerios commercial featured an interracial family, and later an Old Navy ad showed another interracial family. In response, some vowed to boycott the companies.
Robert Pattinson and FKA Twigs, Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery, Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego, Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim Cage, are all among some of the many interracial couples in Hollywood that have faced backlash for their mixed backgrounds.
This backlash has ranged from hateful messages through social media, down to death threats because of their union. However despite the everyday judgement they receive, the couples have all remained strong and proud of their interracial love.
However, four-in-10 Americans say that “more people of different races marrying each other has been a change for the better in our society,” while only about one-in-ten think it is a change for worse. The other five-in-ten had no real opinion on the matter.
Younger age and higher levels of education were associated with favorable views of mixed relationships.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s recent projections predict that by 2050 minority races will be the majority in America, making up 54 percent of the entire U.S. population.
So despite the apprehensions of some, interracial relationships are growing, and here to stay.