Incidents in the History of Interracial Relationships in America

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Incidents in the History of Interracial Relationships in America

Interracial marriage occurs when two people of differing racial groups marry. This is a form of exogamy (marrying outside of one's social group) and can be seen in the broader context of miscegenation (mixing of different racial groups in marriage, cohabitation, or sexual relations) (

Although interracial relationships and related issues receive much attention today, they’ve taken place in America since colonial times. In fact, America’s first “mulatto” child was born in 1620. When slavery of blacks became institutionalized in the U.S., however, anti-miscegenation laws surfaced which barred such unions, thereby stigmatizing them. Considering that anti-miscegenation laws remained on the books until the latter half of the 20th century, it’s no wonder that stigmas continue to enshrine interracial unions. (Nadra Kareem Nittle 2011) The major reason interracial relationships continue to carry stigma is their association with violence. Although in early America, whites and Native Americans, Native Americans and blacks and blacks and whites openly procreated with one another, the introduction of institutionalized slavery changed the nature of such relationships entirely. The raping of African American women by plantation owners and other powerful whites during this period have cast an ugly shadow on relationships between black women and white men. At the same time during this period, African American men who so much as looked at a white women could be killed, and brutally so. (Nadra Kareem Nittle 2011) Author Mildred D. Taylor describes the fear that interracial relationships invoked in the black community in the Depression Era South in Let the Circle Be Unbroken (1981), a historical novel based on her family’s real-life experiences. When protagonist Cassie Logan’s cousin visits from the North to announce that he’s taken a white wife, the entire Logan family is aghast. “Cousin Bud...
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