When I was in high school I had a few nicknames. Dently was my most popular one. Milkman was probably the funniest one. The most hurtful one, was WWL, which was based on the girls I dated. WWL stood for white woman lover and it was based on the relationship I had with MT. She was the one person, who truly understood what I went through as a kid in a predominately white school and just accepted me for being Keith.
I never could fully understand why people felt the need to call me this. What did my classmates expect. I went to a predominately white school. You can’t help who you fall in love with in high-school. At that time, you were just glad to have someone from the opposite sex to talk on the phone, or go to the movies.
As I graduated high school, our relationship ended not based on the fact that we weren’t compatible, but at that time the possibility of maintaining the relationship until marriage wasn’t even considered with the acceptance of interracial marriages at about 40% for whites and about 70% for African-Americans. I knew the type of pain and scrutiny I felt in high-school, who wanted to continue that into adulthood.
Today, is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s – I Have a Dream Speech. Not only have we come a long way in regards to Civil Rights, Voter’s Rights and a general love we have for one another as a nation. We have come a long way in regards to interracial marriages.
Americans’ attitudes about interracial marriage have changed dramatically over the past 50 years, moving from the point in the late 1950s when disapproval was well over 90%, to the point today when approval is approaching 90%. Census data indicate that black-white marriages in reality remain fairly rare — although they have increased from 167,000 in 1980 to 558,000 in 2010, they still represent less than 1% of all married couples. The major shift in attitudes about such unions, however, is a telling indicator of the general shift in views of racial matters on many fronts in the U.S. over the last five decades
These data are from Gallup’s Minority Rights and Relations poll, conducted June 13-July 5. The poll surveyed 4,373 Americans, including 1,010 non-Hispanic blacks.
Approval of marriages between blacks and whites is up one percentage point from 2011, when this attitude was last measured. Approval has generally increased in a linear fashion from Gallup’s first measure in 1958, reaching the majority threshold in 1997, and crossing the three-quarters line in 2004. Eleven percent of Americans today say they disapprove of black-white marriage, compared with 94% who disapproved in 1958.
Blacks’ approval of black-white marriage (96%) is now nearly universal, while whites’ approval is 12 percentage points lower, at 84%. Blacks’ approval has consistently been higher than whites’ over the decades, although attitudes among both racial groups have generally moved in a parallel manner since 1968 — when Gallup first was able to report reliable estimates of each group’s opinion. The gap between black approval and white approval in recent years has been smaller than it was prior to 1997.
Like all married couples, you face challenges in maintaining happy and healthy relationship. It can be an ever bigger strain if you have to face challenges that have nothing to do with your marriage at all, but based the fact that you have different skin color. The best way to protect your marriage is to create an environment where open communication and establishing a strong family mission statement t with your partner will help you to overcome any obstacles you face. Here are five tips to strengthen your marriage.
- The strength of your marriage will depend on you. Refuse to let what other people may say or think about interracial marriage bother you. As an interracial couple, you may be forced to deal with negative stereotypes –or hostile or derogatory comments from other people in your community who do not understand your relationship. Remember that the things these people say cannot get in the way of the love you two share and if they do, take time to talk to your partner immediately.
Show respect for each other’s cultures and family traditions before and during your marriage. Interracial couples still can face rejection or stress from their own families because of traditional beliefs that people should marry only other people of the same cultural background.
- Lay down boundaries regarding your marriage with any family members or friends who try to interfere. Though it’s important to respect your family’s beliefs, it’s also necessary to defend your marriage to anyone who may try to change your mind about your marriage
- Embrace the things that you and your partner have in common as well as your differences. The different parts of your racial backgrounds and cultures are likely to be some of the most enriching parts of your marital journey. Bringing these difference should prove to be even more fulfilling for both of you. Create your own traditions or cultural beliefs that you consider most important with your partner as you build your life together.
- Remember that standing up to racism does not need to be an aggressive confrontation. This act can also be accomplished simply by making it clear that you will avoid interactions with someone who continues to be negative regarding your marriage. Firmly tell the person you will not spend time with anyone who expresses racist or insensitive views.
I a great day to know that I can finally put WWL to rest.
Let’s keep the dream alive!
Strivers! How have your views changed in regards to interracial marriages? If you are single would you consider dating someone of another race?