What are anti-miscegenation laws?
Dates of repeal of US anti-miscegenation laws by state
Antimiscegenation laws are laws that were in place to keep people of different races from marrying... and they were still in place less than 40 years ago! Black people couldn't be with White people... It was taboo. It’s fascinating how long these laws were kept in place – and how recently – because of the number of factors that contributed to that fact.
These laws and how long they were enforced set a social precedent for what kinds of relationships are acceptable between what kinds of people. They served as a powerful group sanction by the government that discouraged interracial relationships.
Another important factor is history. European-Americans, as the “majority” group of power in the United States, have had the ability to dictate that there are well-defined, different races, that some races are more superior than others, and that it was good for European-Americans to rule over the “inferior” races. This lead to the oppression of many minority races, including African-American, and this stigmatized those races and really set the stage for the creation of discriminatory legislation and so forth.
Also, education is something to consider as well. Education can affect the way people learn about others and how to refer to them. If you are not as educated, you are more likely to misunderstand labels and language, and not just how they communicate prejudice, but also the very prejudice behind them. Children learn such language from parents, who may have learned it from their parents, and thus they pass on the messages and beliefs behind it.
All of this and more results in societal privilege, which makes it so people benefit from unearned entitlements and fail to understand the lack of equality between people. Such a mindset, of course, makes it difficult for people to see how people are really being treated and that something should be done to change the unfairness of antimiscegenation laws and other such legislation.
The issues of antimiscegenation laws and interracial relationships is basically parallel to the current issue of same-sex marriage. Today, same-sex marriages are often stereotyped as taboo and even inappropriate, as interracial relationships were (and maybe continue to be in some circles). Group sanctions are a huge part of what the two kinds of relationships have in common. Institutions such as the governments in many states, as well as parents, disapprove of same-sex marriages. I watched a TV movie “Prayers for Bobby,” in which the main character was gay and longed for his mother to love him for who he was. His mother, who was a staunch Christian, could not bring herself to accept his orientation and would make attempts to set him up with women, offer advice and present him with psalms against gay relationships, and even refused to talk to him at many points. These actions aligned exactly with the items on the list of what parents could do to sabotage interracial relationships.
Also, factors such as education, history, and privilege allow for such stereotypes and discrimination to occur. Disapproval of interracial marriages as well as same-sex marriages and relationships are in many ways the result of many factors. As antimiscegenation laws prevented interracial marriage, Proposition 8 and other legislation keeps same-sex marriages from being legal, and the people who put that legislation into place and support it most likely have been raised in families or societies that do not approve of such relationships because of their religions, backgrounds, education, and so on. Racial locations and standpoints make it difficult for people to fully understand other groups and see commonalities.
- Anti-miscegenation Laws - Encyclopedia of Arkansas
- Loving v. Virginia
- Interracial Dating & Marriage : Asian-Nation :: Asian American History, Demographics, & Issu
Article and statistics from the 2000 Census about the history and contemporary characteristics of interracial dating and marriage among Asian Americans.
More by this Author
In the film "Crash," there are a wealth of interracial interactions on many levels that you see develop throughout the film. Interracial friendships can improve race relations and are a real predictor of...
For anyone who hasn't seen Lee Mun Wah's film "The Color of Fear," it's a truly eye-opening experience. The film shows eight men of various ethnicities discussing the issue of race together. They are all of...
Sharon Hays, who wrote the 1996 essay "The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood," described "intensive mothering" as being self-consciously committed to child rearing. It involves being dedicated to...