It used to be mostly high-profile athletes, Robert De Niro and the Kardashians: now it seems to be everywhere. I’m speaking of Interracial dating and marriage.
You see it in commercials, at neighborhood restaurants, TV shows. Most recently, it received the royal stamp of approval from the House of Windsor.
In 1967, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Loving v. the State of Virginia (which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriages), some 3% of U.S. marriages were bi-racial. According to Pew Research, in 2017 it was 17% for the newly married.
In some places, the percentage is even higher among newlyweds — 30% in Santa Barbara; 31% in Las Vegas and 42% in Honolulu. So, no, it’s not your imagination, the taboos have lifted.
While I have long believed that bi-racial children are universally beautiful — as if God is sending us a message, I also acknowledge that marriage is difficult. Doesn’t crossing racial and ethnic lines make it more so?
Ayla came to this country from Turkey when she was 24. She met Damon, who’s African-American soon after. That was 10 years ago. They’ve been married five years and have one child, a toddler.
Ayla believes their differences stem more from age (Damon is 14 years older) and culture rather than race. He is less interested than she in going out a night. And he doesn’t understand her desire to support her parents in their retirement years as is common in Turkey.
Race, however, hasn’t been an issue. Her family welcomed him with open arms at their wedding in Turkey, and the couple currently lives in a Chicago suburb, where they’ve had a cordial reception from neighbors.
Anna, is Filipino, while Andy is first-generation Greek. She describes his family as being exactly like the one in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
“He didn’t move out of his parent’s two-flat apartment until his mid 30’s,” she explains, “and then he moved only one floor up.
When she spent the night, she’d pass his mother in the morning.
The couple dated for 10 years, before getting married this past July when she was 39 and he was 48.
Their biggest bone of contention appears to be food. He thinks Filipino food is disgusting, so she’s learned to cook a few Greek dishes.
Food is less of an issue for Vanessa, a 27-year-old Latina, and Scott, who is 31 and Polish. He doesn’t like spicy food, so she has embraced stuffed cabbage and beet soup with pierogi.
Both families accepted their marriage whole heartedly. Vanessa’s family is a large mixture of black, brown and white; while Scott’s emigrated to the United States as refuges from a Communist country and have adopted the American ideal of tolerance.
The young couple, who have been together for five years, feel they have something else going for them.
They’re both Catholic, believe in a higher power and share common values. They’re also willing to compromise. She’s vegan, and he’s learning to like vegetables.