Interracial Dating: What’s the Big Deal?

Leon+and+Rosina+Watson+were+married+in+1950%2C+just+after+the+California+Supreme+Court+became+the+first+in+the+nation+to+strike+down+interracial+marriage+bans.+The+Oakland+couple+raised+three+children+and+remain+living+in+their+same+home+for+the+past+59+years.+

Karl Mondon/Contra Costa Times/MCT

Leon and Rosina Watson were married in 1950, just after the California Supreme Court became the first in the nation to strike down interracial marriage bans. The Oakland couple raised three children and remain living in their same home for the past 59 years.

Before Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech, blacks and whites were as far apart as possible.  Now that times have changed, blacks and whites co-exist in everyday society.  Some say that it’s just water under the bridge, but in the dating world that’s not entirely true.

When it comes to dating, there are many who still view the world in black and white.  Interracial couples everywhere get a range of general reactions, whether it is an extended glare from strangers, or questions like “You’re dating a black guy?” or “You’re dating a white girl?” from friends or family.

These reactions raise the question “Why does it matter?” Many assume that it has to do with the former generation who lived in a time of segregation and see interracial dating as a foreign aspect of society.

In 1958, a Virginia interracial couple was denied the right to get married.  The couple proceeded to get married in the District of Columbia because there were no restrictions on who you chose to marry.  The couple, named Mr. and Mrs. Loving,  then returned to Virginia only to get indicted by a grand jury on the grounds of breaking Virginia’s strict ban interracial marriages.  The judge sentenced them both to one year in jail; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for 25 years on the conditions that the couple not return to Virginia together but they could return separately. But the case went to the Supreme Court, which found the laws against interracial dating to be unconstitutional. That made all state laws banning interracial marriage illegal.

In 2000, 7% of all couples in the United States were interracial, according to a CNN report.  Now the rates of interracial couples have substantially increased. Eighteen percent of opposite-sex couples and 21% of same-sex couples define themselves as interracial, according to the same report.

With interracial couples becoming more and more frequent, people still feel weird when talking about it.  I myself am currently in a relationship with a white girl. I am black. At first, we got the same general reactions from both friends and family, but we eventually got used to it. We have been dating for eight months. In that time, members of her family have not exactly been thrilled about the relationship. Someone in my family is not happy about the relationship either. To those who object, I say this is 2013; no one is just one race anymore.

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