While it may seem shocking, interracial marriage was not even legal in the United States until 1967. Children born of interracial relationships before that time were considered a scandal. With celebrities like Halle Berry and Thandie Newton on the scene today (both children of interracial parents) it’s hard to believe the country was ever that closed-minded.
Since then, though, roughly 1.6 million interracial marriages have occurred and more than 70% of all Americans have no problem with interracial marriage. Over 40% of Americans have dated someone outside their own race and that number is expected to continue to rise as society becomes more accepting, more people immigrate here and Hollywood’s depiction of interracial couples has become commonplace.
Marrying someone who has a different culture or background from your own can be fascinating. You learn a lot of new things about the way another group lives, you are able to incorporate new traditions, and you learn to be more open-minded. It can also be a huge nightmare, if not right away then when you decide to have children. Will the children be raised with his religion or hers? What culture, race, or culture will they identify with?
Even before you get to the “big” questions of raising kids with someone who has a different cultural or racial background than you do, you have to plan a wedding together. What type of ceremony will you have, which church will you hold it in, what family traditions do you incorporate? Where do you give in and what don’t you compromise on?
A lot of times, it’s not even the bride and groom who are concerned, but their parents and family members who are concerned or perhaps even overly involved. Will it be a wedding day or World War III?
Language barriers, religious differences, ignorance, bigotry and family expectations can all play into the success of a relationship that reaches outside your familiar culture or color. There is a reason the quote “love is blind” is so often used. When you meet someone with whom you have much in common, someone you ‘click” with, someone you’re madly in love with – enough to consider spending your life with them and raising children with them – making a decision about your future based on things like skin color or religious preference may seem petty.
It’s not always simple, but there are things you can do tohttp://www.socialmoms.com/parenting-2/raising-kids/. Here are some rules to follow:
- Allow enough time for your families to get to know your partner.
- Always honor and respect the differences in your backgrounds. It is part of what has attracted you to each other in the beginning and being disrespectful or making comments about a certain tradition being “stupid” or “silly” will only worsen the situation.
- Talk to each other and have realistic expectations in place about resistance you might experience from parents or family.
- Support each other.
- If you will have guests at the wedding who do not speak the language being used in the ceremony, it is ok to have a translator. As well, printed information like a program can also have a translation.
- Enlist the help of your clergy if they are supportive. Often if two religions are involved, one clergy can host while allowing others to be involved in the ceremony that incorporates both faiths.
More than anything, though, you must communicate. There will be added stress. Be sure to take time for each other. Talk about your concerns. Respect each other’s insecurities. Even if parents and relatives say offensive things or get out of hand, maintain a calm and respectful attitude. Talk before you get married about how you want your children to be raised. Be willing to address racism and bigotry issues and agree on how you will handle those issues with children, because they will occur, regardless of the progress that has been made.
The more people become aware of racial stereotyping and discrimination, the less likely it will occur. Because there will be more and more children born from interracial unions, future generations will be much more likely to have more complex racial and cultural histories. It won’t necessarily be as easy as checking a box to describe your race or skin color. Multicultural relationships are set to become the norm of the future.