Different ethnic groups living in the United States slowly gained acceptance from Americans who had racial intolerance simmering in their families for generations. Interracial dating and marriage was a bit slow to gain acceptance and can even be frowned upon by older generations of many ethnicities across the board today. By the 21st century, the average couple was no longer representing one ethnicity. Now, more families represent the melting pot, but it has become a literal mixture of people.
According to a 2010 Pew research study on interracial marriage, 2010 was the first time the U.S. saw a large, but gradual increase in interracial marriages at any time. Pew last saw 3.2 percent of interracial, American couples in 1980, and by 2010, 8.4 percent of American couples were in an interracial marriage. Fifteen percent of all new marriages in America in 2010 were interracial marriages.
The most accepting groups are actually minorities.
"Being minorities, younger, more educated, liberal and living in the Northeast or Western states are a few characteristics associated with those who think more positively about intermarriage," reported Wendy Wang, research associate at the Social & Demographic Trends project of the Pew Research Center.
The evidence is relatively obvious when one considers big cities, where multiple ethnic groups are able to meet and interact. My experience of going to college in Chicago gave me the opportunity to observe this phenomenon and to speak with people of all ages that were in this category.
Interestingly, most couples dating outside of their ethnic group or race were generally my age, my generation, my peers in the college setting. Most, if not all, of my friends who are in a relationship, are dating outside of their ethnic group and met these people in college.
People who are of higher educational status are also more accepting of the legalization of gay and lesbian marriage, health care coverage of birth control, and other modern human rights issues. Education plays a huge role in social issues, as research starts to find more tolerance among people who have received a higher education.
The groups that receive the highest education are Asians and white people, and interestingly enough, white and Asian couples are one of the most accepted interracial groups in the U.S.
Ritchie King, a journalist and infographic artist for Quartz, did a study on interests of different races between males and females on Are You Interested, a Facebook dating application. King created a graphic that categorizes and expresses the numbers of what each group prefers. He separates them by men and women, and again by the most desired and the least desired.
King was able to to see that Asian women and white men reciprocated their interests in each other, and the other ethnic groups are quite varied.
More social networks and dating websites are starting to look into this trend to see how America has changed socially, and researchers predict that the U.S. can no longer have the face of a singular ethnic group. Individuals are beginning to look for meaningful relationships with a broader scope, and there is still a lot more that plays into why society is changing in this manner.
Regardless of these changes, the U.S. will eventually need to accommodate for these families in many ways. The new American family is already being represented in advertising and media to really convey the message of a true melting pot.
This topic is both interesting to me in the way the U.S. is reshaping itself, and also on a personal level as well.
As an American-born Indian, with parents and relatives who immigrated to America from India, I have had the best of both Indian and American culture. I am also one of the many Americans today who is in an interracial relationship. I am with a man of a mixed European, primarily Polish, background. We fall into the "white male, Asian female" dominant interracial couple that we see in the U.S. right now. My family is very traditional and rejects our relationship, saying that I must be arranged to marry an Indian man within our caste. My boyfriend's family is much more accepting of me and our relationship and understands how the times have changed. Ironically, this is quite the opposite of the Pew study.
Though a fraction of the American population is in an interracial relationship, it's so prominent that it's seen almost everywhere in the country. Struggles with racism and intolerance of other groups are slowly evaporating in our society, leaving room for different people to work together and share customs from across the world.
My boyfriend and I, as well as many of my friends and peers, are just another statistic, but we are becoming the new face of America.