In 1960 there were about 51,000 black-white married couples in the United States; in 1970 there were 65,000, in 1980 there were 121,000, in 1990 there were 213,000, and by 1998 the number had reached 330,000.In other words, in the past four decades black-white marriages increased more than sixfold.Despite some ongoing resistance (a subject to which I will return), the situation for people involved in interracial intimacy has never been better.For the most part, the law prohibits officials from taking race into account in licensing marriages, making child-custody decisions, and arranging adoptions.the inestimable blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."The great but altogether predictable irony is that just as white opposition to white-black intimacy finally lessened, during the last third of the twentieth century, black opposition became vocal and aggressive.In college classrooms today, when discussions about the ethics of interracial dating and marriage arise, black students are frequently the ones most likely to voice disapproval.Over the years legions of white-supremacist legislators, judges, prosecutors, police officers, and other officials have attempted to prohibit open romantic interracial attachments, particularly those between black men and white women.From the 1660s to the 1960s, forty-one territories, colonies, or states enacted laws—anti-miscegenation statutes—barring sex or marriage between blacks and whites, and many states ultimately made marriage across the color line a felony.
According to 1990 Census data, in the age cohort twenty-five to thirty-four, 36 percent of U.
S.-born Asian-American husbands and 45 percent of U.
S.-born Asian-American wives had white spouses; 53 percent of Native American husbands and 54 percent of Native American wives had white spouses.
It should be stressed that black-white marriages remain remarkably rare—fewer than one percent of the total.
In 1998, when 330,000 black-white couples were married, 55,305,000 couples were married overall.