Monday, March 24, 2008
In this article, Heather Wood ponders interracial relationships, and to what degree people accept them today. She admits that we are improving, with the amount of interracial couples in the U.S. increasing from .07% in 1960 to 7% today, but she maintains that there is still too much social stigma around partners of different races.
Bob Jones University in South Carolina only dropped its ban on interracial dating in 2000; a year later 40 percent of voters objected when Alabama became the last state to remove a ban on interracial marriages from its constitution. So, yes, we've still got some work to do.
I agree. To me, just the fact that people still use the phrase "jungle fever" shows that we still have some work to do. People are too quick to settle - just because things have improved and people are more accepting than they were 40 years ago doesn't mean that we can sit back and say that our work is done. Heather Wood also talks about the lack of racially-mixed couples in mainstream movies and TV shows. Very true. No one can seriously argue that there isn't a lack of interracial couples in Hollywood. And on many films and shows that do feature interracial couples, the plot is often entirely about the repercussions of being in a "mixed" relationship.
However, many people maintain that race is only such a big issue because we make it a big issue. At the end of her piece, Wood explores some of these alternative views. Author Carine Fabius claims:
"The reason so many find it so hard to be in interracial relationships is because, in my opinion, there is still entirely too much emphasis on and preoccupation with race. Obviously, racism still exists, but everything isn't about race -- unless we continue to make it so."