It's been more than 50 years since Loving vs. Virginia, what's changed?
Loving vs.Virginia was barely 53 years ago and interracial relationships have since been on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center "One-in-six U.S. newlyweds (17%) were married to a person of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, a more than fivefold increase from 3% in 1967." This dramatic increase has not only opened doors for couples, but also for their children to be exposed to a wide range of different cultures and identities. One in seven U.S. infants were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015 according to another Pew Research Center study. We caught up with Marisa Peer, world-renowned therapist who specializes in relationships and interviewed three interracial couples who all have varying opinions on what it means to be in a interracial marriage in 2020. We asked Peer her thoughts on interracial marriages:
What can someone learn from being with someone from a different culture or race?
You have to learn to make your love more important than your rules. People from a different race or indeed a different religion, sometimes interracial marriages get a bit rocky because we have beliefs we think our partner understands. For instance, in your culture, it might be a big thing to celebrate birthdays and in another culture, it doesn't mean anything. So you have to have a huge level of understanding of what this means to your partner. There are many cultures that believe that and have conflicting beliefs about how you raise children, particularly when it comes to discipline or religion. You really need to work out early how you're going to do this, how you're going to juggle these two conflicting beliefs or needs.
Are there any cases where marriages don't work because one spouse comes from a different race?
Often marriages can seem to go very well and then change when children come along because one spouse has completely different beliefs about how children, particularly girls, should be raised. And that can be very difficult. In the beginning, we always think love is strong enough to conquer everything, but sometimes it really isn't.
What is the most challenging aspect of interracial dating/marriages?
The attitude of other people. It would always be other people's attitudes and how they judge you and often they can be very negative.
What advice would you give to someone who is ready for marriage with their significant other, but is afraid that the interracial aspect of the relationship will cause issues?
Talk. Talk about everything. Talk to them, talk to friends, get some counseling, find other people in interracial relationships, even online, and ask them what their greatest challenges were.