I am a 27-year-old white female and my boyfriend is an African American. We first met in college and have been together almost 2 years. We recently became engaged. While no one seemed to mind that we were dating, the fact that we are getting married now has some people telling me that I shouldn't. My own mother who adores "John" now says that I shouldn't get married because our children will be "mixed" and will be made fun of by other kids. John is wonderful, nice, thoughtful, and has no faults whatsoever. Even some coworkers have made the same type of statements about "mixed" kids. I'm not having doubts about marrying John, but just need to know what can I say when people say things like this? Do you think our kids will have problems with being teased?
Dear Mixed Up,
Racial bigotry, stereotyping, and hatred are still alive in many unenlightened people. Not that long ago interracial marriage was banned in dozens of states in the U.S., until June 12, 1967, when "the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down a Virginia statute barring whites from marrying nonwhites" (MSNBC, 2007). In the U.S., interracial marriages have increased from less than 2% in the 1970's to over 10% in 2010 (U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov).
Most people already have a mixture of races, ethnicities, or cultures in their backgrounds. Don't worry about your kids being made fun of. Teach them to be proud of both their heritages, and also teach them about bigotry and discrimination. Some notable multi-racial people are President Barack Obama, golfer Tiger Woods, actor Keanu Reeves, actress Halle Berry, and baseball player Derek Jeter.
You can also remind people what you learned in biology or genetics class about hybrid vigor and Mendel's pea plant experiments. Plants cross bred will produce healthier, stronger, and bigger plants than those inbred. You'll have super kids!
For more information from the Census Bureau go to: