Interracial Relationships have been part of the United States since the times of slavery. However, for most of its history, it has not been considered acceptable. Most interracial relationships in history were between a white male and a black female. If children were produced, the man did not have any legal responsibility over them. Mixed race children who had white parents where not considered legitimate children of them. In years after World War II, attitudes towards interracial marriages have changed for the better.
The Civil War and Post Civil War eras were times of great hostility towards the ideas of interracial relationships. There was fear that there would be an increase of interracial relationships without a world filled with slavery. And they especially feared that these relationships would become sexual. They created segregation laws which they felt were justified because of the need to protect white women from black men. Democrats in the 1864 presidential campaign developed a new term for sexual relationships between white females and black males. This term is miscegenation. Blacks were denied political rights because of the fear of interracial marriages. In all areas of the country, including the North and West, interracial marriages were treated as a social disorder. These marriages were forbidden, sometimes by the law of the state, but always by the customs. With the Great Migration of the blacks to the Northern cities, Whites feared that Blacks would take their jobs and social positions. They kept them in separate black neighborhoods, and out of the white neighborhoods. Between the years of 1909 and 1921, there were twenty-one laws created to prohibit interracial marriages. There were also laws other laws to prohibit the marriages of Blacks and Whites. One of these is the Mann Act. This law prohibited a man to take a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes.” This was probably created in order to prevent a black man taking a white woman across state lines so they could marry in a state where interracial marriage was allowed.
World War II was the beginning of a time where interracial contact was more acceptable. Most interracial couples of the 1940’s would not have met if it were not for the war. During the war, southern born black men were allowed to move to a place that was less racially restrictive and also allowed white woman to act on her own without her families supervision. This allowed for a black man to move to a state where mixed marriages were legal. For black American soldiers overseas, it was more difficult for them to marry a white European woman. An example of this is an anonymous black soldier had gotten his white British girlfriend pregnant. He had her parent’s permission to marry and also his superior officer’s permission to marry. Usually with the permission of the commanding officer, they are allowed to marry with no problems. However this black soldier was denied the permission to marry. He was among other black soldiers overseas who had difficulties receiving authorization to marry their girlfriend who he had met overseas.
The 1960’s started a time of changing opinions of Interracial Marriages. At the start of 1967, sixteen states considered interracial marriages illegal. However, that would change with the court case of Loving vs. Virginia. This was the case that ended laws prohibiting interracial marriages. The Supreme Court declared that these laws were unconstitutional. A recent court case in Milford, Connecticut, forced a white couple out of their house because they were harassing their interracially mixed couple next door. Before this case, in was common for the interracially mixed family to have to move out. Also, in a recent survey, 40% of interracial couples have experienced discrimination because of their marriage. The most common way was unfriendly service in restaurants and stores. In the past couple of decades, interracial marriages have become more and more acceptable. The American society has come a long way from the 1800’s. However, there is still racism. Hopefully Americans will come to realize the unacceptability of racism.