The Pros & Cons of Interracial Marriages
Interracial marriages, also commonly referred to as “mixed-race marriages” and “intercultural marriages,” are becoming increasingly common in the United States and throughout the world. In fact, according to a 2010 Pew Research study, 1 in 12 marriages (5.5%) in the United States are interracial (Huffington Post, 2012). This is a huge increase from the 1980s when only 3% of marital couples in the United States were considered “interracial” or “mixed-race” (Huffington Post, 2012). Moreover, according to Encylopedia.com (2015), the number of interracial marriages between Chinese people and those from other countries has risen approximately 67% since 1992. In fact, in 1996, approximately 3.5% of Chinese marriages consisted of Shanghainese individuals (people from Shanghai, China) and foreigners (Encylopedia.com, 2015).
Truth-be-told, all marriages experience turbulence, from time to time, that is normal, however, interracial marital couples sometimes experience unique challenges, specific to their culture and race. The key to a successful interracial marriage is being able to effectively blend cultural traditions, values, and belief systems together. In other words, the key component is “compromising.” The worst thing that you can do, if you are in an interracial marriage, is devalue and/or degrade your spouse’s beliefs, values, race, or cultural practices. It is important to remember that your values, practices, and/or beliefs are not “better” than your spouse’s. Placing your “values” and/or race above your spouse’s will only lead to the slow destruction of your marriage.
Understanding these issues will not only increase your sensitivity towards your spouse, but also towards those around you. Yes, there are some “cons” to being in an interracial marriage, but there are also numerous “pros.” In fact, any marriage, regardless of race and culture, can be successful with the right amount of love, respect, and faith. Are you interested in learning more about the “pros” and “cons” of interracial marriages? If so, you have come to the right place. This article will provide you with the information needed to “better” prepare yourself for whatever life throws your way!
The Pros and Cons
One of the key elements for a happy interracial marriage is acceptance. Acceptance? Yes, acceptance. Interracial marital couples tend to be more understanding, empathetic, and tolerant towards people of other races and cultures. Children from interracial families also tend to be more accepting towards other races, religions and cultures. These children are more willing to embrace “differences.” In fact, they tend to view these “differences” as assets, rather than disadvantages. Moreover, these children tend to be objective towards new ideas, beliefs, and practices. They learn early on not to “judge a book solely by its cover.”
On the flip side, interracial couples and biracial children tend to experience high levels of discrimination, depending on where they live. People, who do not believe in “race-mixing,” may taunt, criticize, degrade, bully, discriminate against, and/or emotionally/physically harm those in interracial relationships and/or families. It is important to note that although many have accepted interracial relationships and biracial children as a normal part of mainstream society, there are those, who are staunchly against it. These individuals may have grown up in a different era, or they may have had a “bad” experience with someone of another race or culture, regardless, it is important to be alert and cautious around these individuals, if you are in an interracial relationship and/or family.
A “pro” of interracial marriage is that when two individuals from different races create children, the results can be unique and beautiful. In other words, the children may inherit the “best” of each parent. For instance, if a woman of Swedish descent pro-creates with a Hispanic male, they may genetically create a child that has brown/tan skin, blue eyes, and long, slightly wavy brownish-blond hair. To sum it up - when races are combined (blended together), children can greatly benefit. On the other hand, every race has its own unique diseases and illnesses (ailments that are more prevalent in one race then another one). These diseases and illnesses can be detrimental when combined together. Biracial children face an increased risk of developing diseases that are common in each individual race.
History & Cultural Traditions
Yes, you guessed it – history and cultural traditions play a significant role in many interracial marriages. When you are in an interracial marriage, you are “encouraged” to learn more about your spouse’s race and culture. If you are not interested in these factors, then your marriage may not last. Why? Well, because your spouse’s race and culture (i.e. religion, beliefs, values, etc.) are an integral part of your spouse as a human being. If you cannot accept his or her race, culture, etc., you will never be able to fully accept him or her as a person or spouse. To ensure marital success, you will need to embrace your partner completely. View it as learning something new (i.e. language, religion, belief system, cultural traditions and practices, etc.). To sum it up - if you open yourself up to your spouse’s world, you will be a “better” person for it.
Lastly, some interracial marital couples experience differences when it comes to parenting styles. It is important to note that single race marriages also experience conflicts when it comes to parenting, however, parenting styles linked to racial and/or cultural practices and traditions may be more varied and pronounced. For example, an Asian partner may practice an authoritarian (i.e. formal, strict, and disciplined) parenting style, while a Polynesian partner may practice a more relaxed, laid-back parenting style. Both parenting styles most likely stem from childhood experiences (i.e. how they were raised), but the differences can cause clashes in interracial marriages. The best way to handle parenting style conflicts is to focus on “compromising” in the areas that you disagree on, and “coming together” in the areas that you actually agree on. Once again, the key element is “compromise.” To sum it up - practice a “combination parenting style” that encompasses both races and cultures.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Augustin, S. (2010). First places and place rules – Independence and interdependence. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201001/first-places-and-place-rules-independence-and-interdependence
California State University at Fullerton. (2015). Benefits of an interracial relationship. Retrieved from http://www.fullerton.edu/universityblues/interracial/benefits.htm
Encloypedia.com. (2015). Interracial marriage. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Interracial_Marriage.aspx
Frances McClelland Institute: Children, Youth & Families. (2015). Cultural differences in parenting practices: What Asian American families can teach us. University of Arizona. Retrieved from https://mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu/sites/mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu/files/ResearchLink_2.1_Russell_AsianFam.pdf
Huffington Post. (2012). Interracial marriage statistics: Pew report finds mixed-race marriage rates rising. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/interracial-marriage-stat_n_1280511.html
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