The Ethics of Lust: On Interracial Relationships and Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Last week’s inaugural Ethics of Lust piece inspired some intellectual and encouraging comments from you all, and I am just tickled pink triangles that you are so eager to engage in these conversations about the laws and sexuality with me. I just want to give everyone a big electronic, consensual, non-sexual hug. *group hug!*

Today’s subject matter – as most future posts will be – was inspired by comments made on last week’s post. Turns out, many of you were upset to see that a black man having sex with a white woman was on the Cambria List of potentially obscene pornographic subject matters. You were probably upset because, well, racism is actually very upsetting and has led to multiple horrific laws enacted to enable its existence.

Today, we’re focusing our discussion on one particular type of racist laws: anti-miscegenation laws, or laws outlawing the mixing of different racial groups in marriage, cohabitation or sexual relations.

I should state right off the bat that I’m in an interracial relationship, so I’m quite biased when it comes to this subject. In the same way that being a big ol’ gaybo apparently makes me unfit to objectively talk about gay rights, being an exogamist – or someone who “mates” outside of their race – must make me unfit to objectively talk about how messed up anti-miscegenation laws are. So to hell with objectivity, I’ll be just subjective.

It probably shouldn’t, considering how often other civil rights are taken away by voting and legislation, but it shocked me to find out that 46% of Mississippi Republicans would vote to ban interracial marriage if given the chance. While I was unable to find out how much of the overall population that is, I know that it’s a scary amount of bigotry. Luckily, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, they won’t get the chance to vote on that particular subject.

via Stus

However, despite the 1967 outlawing of all race-based marriage restrictions, in 2009 this asshole judge:

via CBS

refused to marry this adorable couple:

via CNN

solely because they were of different races. He justified his racism by stating that he was doing it to protect the children, because children of mixed races have too hard of a life (for proof, see Barack Obama, Devon Aoki, and all children of Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs). He went on to state that he wasn’t racist because he had a black friend once. Ok, he didn’t really say that, but that’s pretty much the same things as saying he marries black couples occasionally, which is what he really said.

via BigQueer

Gay marriage activists are rightfully finding connections and similarities between the anti-anti-interracial marriage movement and the gay marriage movement, but their mistake is often referring to anti-interracial oppression as a thing of the past that we’ve already overcome. Despite the fact that interracial marriages are at an all-time high in the United States and support for interracial marriage is high (at least among 18-25 year olds), interracial couples of all cultures and creeds still face major discrimination and obstacles.

For some quick examples: Bob Jones University in South Carolina waited until 2000 to remove it’s ban against interracial relationshipsin 2005, a group of men spread toxic mercury around an interracial couple’s house in Cleveland to encourage them to leave the neighborhood; and in 2008, four marines killed their superior officer because he was involved in an interracial relationship.

via zazzle

So why is it that interracial marriage pisses people off so badly? I remember when I was young my mom told me that kids of interracial parents have it rough and pointed to my good friend as an example. I then poignantly pointed out that his dad was an abusive alcoholic and blaming his rough childhood on his mixed race was, well, racist. She stormed away offended at being called a racist.

Is this adversity to mixed race children solely a racist concept? Is there actually proof that mixed race children have more issues than those whose parents come from the same race and culture?

via amazon

Every study I found on the subject was wrought with so much racism and stereotypes that it was impossible to weed out any valid scientific data supporting this. I did, however, find some compelling arguments suggesting children of mixed race parents are healthier and more attractive than their same race counterparts and that genetic diversity actually helps weed out disease.

If not for the kids, then why? I hate to just rely on the obvious argument of racism, but I’m afraid that’s all anti-miscegenation laws come down to. So sorry, folks, but I think all we’ve really learned today is that racism still exists, despite multiple laws condemning it.

Maybe the gay marriage movement can learn a bit from the anti-anti-interracial marriage movement and focus less on the government given right to marry and more on the discrimination surrounding laws limiting marriage. Because, as Loving v. Virginia shows, marriage does not equal acceptance.

via Autostraddle's awesome article on Kirk and Uhura

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: L.M. Fleming is a writer, sexpert, recent law school graduate and occasional burlesque dancer. Although she currently resides in Portland, Oregon, she often travels the world in search of colorful queers and frothy beers. When not volunteering, cooking or attempting to be crafty, she does logistical consulting for creative projects, manages a nonprofit dedicated to making promotional documentary films for other nonprofits and runs, a site dedicated to the Seven Deadly Sins.

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Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is Queerie Bradshaw. She loves shoes, social justice and sex. Born a farmer's daughter, she believes everyone deserves a good roll in the hay, and feels empowered by her feminine sexuality. She frequently travels both domestically and abroad, exploring women and wine from all regions. A recent law school graduate, she fights for international rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of good porn. When not studying sex and the law, Lauren Marie Fleming is a freelance writer, speaker and consultant, owner of Creativity Squared, LLC, a digital publishing and consulting company and is Editor-in-Chief of, a site for Frisky Feminists and Politiqueers.

Queerie has written 9 articles for us.


  1. Your quick examples made my jaw drop. Maybe my naivety can be chalked up to living in Canada, but I am appalled that 40+ years later, interracial couples are still a big deal.

  2. i’m kenyan and my brother married a wonderful girl from maryland eastern shore. we were talking about how they were being treated as a couple and she said they wanted to move because of the ammount of barely concealed hostility they faced when they are togethor. I think my brother was better prepared than she was because we have a lot of close relatives with interracial marriages. I wont forget her saying that since she met my brother she has never been afraid of the police, leaving in cambridge md for 6 years she has only been pulled over once. my brother meanwhile gets pulled over often and if she is in the car they ask her if she is okay. she doesnt trust them police know.

    its all good though they are leaving the life in florida.

  3. This is craycray.

    I guess my girlfriend and I are an interracial couple, I’d never thought about it that way before. (Race doesn’t apply to human beings in my language but yeah, by your standards we’d be called arab and caucasian).

    I do not understand why this is a thing. Of course it can get a little bit more complicated family and social circle-wise because of background differences but it’s the exact same problem with financial backgrounds, religion, politics etc etc… Why is this a special thing?

  4. “Maybe the gay marriage movement can learn a bit from the anti-anti-interracial marriage movement and focus less on the government given right to marry and more on the discrimination surrounding laws limiting marriage.”


  5. i think if there’s anything mixed race children have to overcome is the constant “so, what are you” type of questions. our family comes from a pretty ethnically mixed background (way way back) so my brothers and i have slightly different features that make people (where I live at least) question what race we are. I get asked if i’m italian, hawaiian, or what type of asian (really papi??). my middle brother gets asked “so are you black, or just one of your parents?” very offensive and technically neither are. my younger brother got asked if he was jewish a couple of times (ftw?? just because he has a super curly fro)

    anyway, if there’s anything tough about being biracial or just a different race it’s definitely dealing with other people’s stereotypes and ignorance. at the end of the day you just have to say i have no fucks to give

    • I’m a little confused – not because I disagree or think you’re wrong, just wanting for a bit more clarification – on why it’s so offensive for somebody to ask you what’s your ethnic background. Although both my parents are the same (non-Caucasian) ethnicity, I also get asked this question a lot due to my admittedly odd eye shape. I’ve never minded clarifying “which Asian” (although I agree that “what type” sounds really uncomfortable) I am, and enjoy the opportunity to explain a little more about my culture. Once again I’m not saying you’re wrong, just explaining how I’ve personally felt about this.

      Obviously if they’re asking the question in a pointed, rude, way, or if it’s not at all relevant to the situation at hand, then I understand how you’d hate it – but are you saying that the question itself is inherently unlikable to you?

      • i don’t mind explaining things,usually this is what happens

        s: dude, so what are you again?
        m: well i guess i’m mexican
        s: whaaatt??? no way!!!! you look asain or like hawaiian. omg no way your mexican and your speak english really really good
        m: yeah actually i am. my parents are from mexico but i-
        s: OMG like your english is soooo good and you don’t even look mexican. whoa. like you dress like a white girl and look asian but your mexican??? no way!!! can speak mexican?
        m: well i can speak spanish yeah.
        s: omg, say something in mexican!!!
        m: i DON’T speak mexican, i CAN speak SPANISH!!! and what does a white girl dress like?!?!?!?

        it’s just stupid statements like this that get to me. to be fair i have made friends with a few of these kids, but they had to drop a lot of their stereotypes. not everyone asks like this but it bugs me how frequent this convo actually is.
        diversity is awesome, it always gives you something to talk about (culture wise, different perspective, etc.) and people are always eager to learn new things like. i love the cultural melting pot talks i just have a problem with the initial statements made.
        by talking about it you kind of make people drop those stereotypes, so that’s always a plus.

        • it’s even more fun when people you don’t know come up to you asking to translate into spanish for someone when you’re black+white but DONT speak spanish.

          but i do agree, but i find it is almost more annoying than rude most times. and its amazing how people don’t understand they are being rude/annoying because “i must be used to it” and “shouldn’t expect anything else”

          • omg…..if i had one measly dollar for every time i’ve been asked to translate for people, all of my tuition would be paid off. it gets more annoying the more the question is repeated, but hey at the end of the day i get to come home to this


            …yeah just the picture…… but still, this fixes all things

          • You should take the money and then just make up a translation. They will pay for your education with their ignorance =D

          • i should just become a professional translator to pay for college.. i used to temp as a translator a while back,it was easy as pie. ahhh the awesomeness of being multilingual.
            by the way who’s ignorance are you speaking of exactly? it’s happened in both sides of the aisle for me so sorry if it came across as one sided.

            p.s. did you guys know that the u.s. doesn’t even have an official language???


          • Lilyv – I can’t reply to your comment, I think it’s too nested? But anyway I just meant the ignorance of anyone who ever asked you to translate something for them without knowing anything about your heritage and your ability to speak multiple languages aside from what they assumed based on your appearance.

            Language activism is something I care about a lot, and I get all up on my soapbox when people (like my conservative white grandfather from North Dakota) say things like “this is amurrica, i shouldn’t have to press one to hear english” and blah blah blah. Props for the graphic =D

          • i have had someone get angry with me and tell me that i need to know my culture because i don’t know how to speak spanish. i had to tell them that i do since i am black and white, and at no point any spanish speaking culture. he looked like he was about to cry.

        • Oh, all right! Here I was assuming there was something wrong with the question itself haha. I guess I’ve been very lucky not to have received many of those comments – even though I’m from Texas, the city I live in is SATURATED with Asians, so there’s more awareness. There was one time when I met my friend’s grandma when I was nine, and she said, “You have such good English!” I was confused (back then I didn’t realize fully that I was Asian lol) and I said, “Thanks, yours is great too.”

      • I get asked this question quite a lot, and it bothers me a fair amount…

        Firstly, no-one asks me “what is your ethnic background”. They ask me “what are you” or “where do you come from” or “what nationality are you”. I’m an Australian born and bred, but if I tell someone “I’m Australian” or “I was born in Australia” they are never satisfied… I get “no but what are you REALLY” or “where are you REALLY from”.

        Personally I find it offensive that just because I am obviously not Aglo-Saxon or Anglo-Celtic people think I am not a ‘true’ Australian or I’m not Australian… I was born here, I grew up here, have degrees in Australian law, politics and history. I’ve been working for the Australian government for several years. I have vegemite for breakfast and kangaroo for dinner. I am so Australian it’s embarrassing. But because of my appearance people insist I have to be something else, in fact one librarian even tried to make me leave a public computer (which was only meant to be used by citizens for some reason because) ‘you don’t look like you’re from Australia’.

        Err… sorry for the rant :p I think I needed to get that off my chest, haha.


          Please excuse my ignorance of Australian culture but I totally did not know that was a thing! Also please excuse the fact that this comment makes it look like I am completely missing the point. I love (sarcasm) the “REALLY” questions. How absurd. Like, what, you’re lying? Guh. Learn to say what you mean and say it respectfully, people.

      • Well, it’s almost always *irrelevant* in context when you’re asked. It’s usually just because J.Q. *feels like* asking. S/he’s *curious* or *uncomfortable* and would like to be able some pre-judgments and assumptions to take home. It helps them feel better about having seen you in public and that’s pretty much all.
        Seriously, unless the stranger’s next question is: “I’m involved in this multi-cultural xyz, would you like to come?” It’s doubtful there’s anything not lamesauce (mildly commodifying to slighlty dehumanizing in that you have to explain that yes, you are indeed human, even though you are of “dubious” ethnicity) on their minds.

    • Yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of “so, which one of your parents are white?” Which is weird because it’s always asked by random strangers (once a girl in the bathroom washing her hands in the sink next to mine)– never someone I know. Also, neither of my parents are white. Once I say that though, people say, “okay so what is your family mixed with? You can’t just be black.” WHAT? I don’t know you; why do you feel that you have a right to a lesson on my family’s linage?

      Oddly enough though, I think my mom can deal more with me dating outside of my race because I’m gay. Her thinking is that “There just aren’t many black lesbians. Black girls know better than to choose that lifestyle.” Which is still flawed logic as I didn’t choose much of anything, so it’s an ongoing battle there.

      • Ha! That’s kind of the “logic” my girlfriend’s mom has too (except for her it’s only Nigerian girls that know better!)

  6. An American-born friend of mine of Asian parentage got into a lot of trouble with her family when she married a European. Prejudice works in all directions.

  7. one of the many things that annoy me about things people say/think when talking about interracial marriages/relationships: think about the kids. I’ve had I don’t know how many disagreements/arguments with people because they think it’s wrong for people to have mixed kids and these people know that I’m mixed myself (but apparently I don’t count because they say I’m just korean because that’s “obvious” about me—though a majority of people don’t say that last part; they will hint at it).

    And the whole “think about the kids” argument is a moot point because usually they base it on how the kids will be treated by everyone else. On top of that, a person shouldn’t have to not fall in love with someone just because they are a different “race”. Because, honestly in my own personal experience, it’s certain other people who have the identity crisis around a mixed person/interracial couple (for whatever reason I’ve noticed this) and they seem to enjoy acting like ignorant assfaces instead of treating someone respectfully.

    • The “think about the kids” argument is just a lame cover-up for their own discomfort with people of other “races”. How the kids may or may not be treated has nothing to do with them. As long as both parents are loving and supportive, nothing else matters. Does the child love either parent any less because their skins are not the exact same colour? There are some very poorly adjusted kids of interracial couples, just as there are some very poorly adjusted kids of non-interracial couples. It’s not a race issue.

      And if people are so concerned about interracial children due to the notion that the child won’t know where he/she “belongs”, what are their feelings on intercultural couples? For example, an Irish person and a German person. Both “white”, but different cultures. Won’t the child suffer from just as much an identity crisis as an interracial child?

      Ridiculous. It’s 2011.

      You’ve got people in the Ozarks who don’t bat an eyelash at their neighbour Silas sodomizing his flock of goats, but in a heartbeat will condemn love between blacks/whites/Asians/everything in between. Sad.

    • I’m so sorry that happened to you. How awful. :(

      I come from a “purebred” Ukrainian family myself, so I can’t understand what it’s like to be of mixed parentage. Kids don’t know any better, so it’s terrible that adults have to impose their own ignorance and bigotry upon children in insisting that they need to choose a side with which to identify. The way I see it–diversity is a beautiful thing, and kids from mixed backgrounds should consider themselves lucky to be able to sample the best aspects that each of their cultures has to offer.

    • Yes, totally true. Sadly even though I told someone this is basically why her argument against mixed coupling by saying “think about the kids” is wrong and that she’s the one who has the issue with it and by her making prejudice comments were what would make the child feel confused/bad in the first place, she would not consider a different viewpoint. In the end, she ended up saying that she was proof that people would think/say ignorant things like she would about mixed couplings/kids and therefore she was “right”—O.O

      And I feel you about how cruel people can be about it. I never felt an identity crisis like you described, but it seems like I always seem to meet people (from all kinds of different backgrounds but not mixed) who have an identity crisis themselves. They will try to tell me why I’m wrong in how I identify over and over until they’re blue in the face, trying to get me to agree with “what” I am. Seriously?! People have tried to choose my identity for me in the past and it only ever confused/annoyed/saddened me. Please tell me why does someone else (most often a stranger) get to choose how I’m “allowed” to self-identify?

    • “Think about the kids.”

      You mean like my mixed-race partner, who is awesome in every way despite – maybe even because of – her heritage?


  8. my girlfriend and I are an interracial couple but we’ve never had any hostility directed towards us for that, only for being gay.

  9. The gay community to me seems largely a lot more accepting of interracial relationships. I know more gay interracial couples than straights ones, despite the fact that I know more straight couples overall. Race is one of those things I can’t understand why anyone would bother worrying about it. Not everyone will be attracted to every race and people may run into cultural differences, but whatever works for someone else, who cares?

    I’m reminded of the Diversity Day episode of The Office. The office needs to go through sensitivity training because Michael accidentally told racist jokes. Michael doesn’t like the diversity expert taking control of the office and jumps in with a brilliant idea.

    Michael: Why don’t we go around and everybody say a race that you are attracted to sexually. I will go last. Go.
    Dwight: I have two, white and Indian.
    (Kelly, Indian girl, looks concerned)

    • I think it depends on where you live. Where I’m from, there’s still tons of racism in the queer community and interracial relationships are discriminated against.

      • Probably true. I’m a liberal yankee. I’m learning the south still has some fucked up feelings about race (sorry to generalize here).

    • And yet my bi Asian dude friend hears “I don’t date Asians” regularly from gay dudes…

    • As a person currently living in the south I would have to agree with you. Recently though I have noticed a lot of people seem to have more of a problem with people of Hispanic background than blacks…. I think there is a lot of the “they’re taking our jobs” mindset which drives me nuts!

      I think some of the reason there are more interracial queer couples has to do with just the fact that there are fewer lesbians than straight people so one is forced to look outside their race for a partner, where as a straight person may not be. I think the same thing happens with age gaps and queer couples as well to an extent.

      • And *that’s* why the comment is racist, folks. Nicely put. (No sarcasm.) Also, they can’t NOT pay taxes and live here, unless they never buy anything or use a toll road…

        People genuinely don’t understand how that sentiment is inherently racist, with absolutely no caveats or excuses (ok; maybe 1: pro-union, but notice how it never comes up) and you pointed it out. Thanks. Been looking for a way to say it.

        Drop the I word!

  10. My parents were an interracial couple, and had to defend their relationship more than once, even to their own families. To the black side of my family, I’m still known as the “checkerboard baby.”

    I grew up in Virginia and interracial couples are not a huge deal, but people definitely notice and judge still.

    • “checkerboard baby” is better than “gray child” i think. though ghosts are cool.

      thats crazy that even your family has problems with it. my (black) grandparents didn’t like the idea of my dad, but when they met him they liked him and that overcame it, which is great. on the other side my cousins and uncle(by marriage) definitely treat me and my mom differently, but i’ve always attributed that to the fact that we are the only non-white people they know personally, which is a whole other problem entirely.

      • i just always got oreo. i like to think of myself more as milk chocolate or mochachino if you are going to get foods involved.

        • yes! my nephews (who are half American and half Nigerian) are chocolate milk babies. They are adorable.

  11. I loved this article. My girlfriend and I are an interracial couple, but it’s usually looked over due to the fact that we’re gay haha

    The only ~problematic~ thing that came to mind while I was reading was the the link to “Breeding Between the Lines: Why Interracial People are Healthier and More Attractive.” This, to me, is in itself kinda racist.

    People often look at mixed race people as exotic and even more attractive than the so-called “purer” raced people. I remember that when I was growing up and even today, in the black community especially, they considered mixed race children to be more beautiful, have “better hair,” and lack the qualities (lip size, nose) that some black people dislike about themselves. Many kids just feel jealous that they lack the qualities of a white person, so pushing that someone mixed with white is “more attractive” is all kinds of no good.

    Just my two cents. I love writings on this stuff and I can’t wait to see more in the future!!

    • Yeah, definitely, there are many (Asian) cultures that value Caucasian features above their own, so if anyone looks more “white”, they’re automatically beautiful. Look at the celebrities in Japan, Korea, the Phillipines – all the celebs are mixed or alter their appearance to look more Caucasian. It’s…creepy how extensive it is.

    • Awesome comment.

      One of my best friends is Chinese and even her family encouraged her to have children with a white guy… because they would be ‘better looking’ i.e. they would have more caucasian features. Crazy and sad.

      • Eurgh, fail. I should say she’s an Australian born in China, though she sometimes calls herself Chinese she identifies primarily as Australian… racial sensitivity fail.

      • I had a Chinese friend who said she’d never date/marry another Chinese guy and that she’d have kids with a white guy because they’d be “cuter”.

    • Yeah, I totally agree, the “mixed people are more attractive” thing makes me feel squicky. Like, yeah, I see that the research indicates that people generally think so, but let’s talk about WHY they think so and break down what sort of racism is probably hidden in the motivations.

      I feel like exoticism and eroticism of “foreign” cultures/races is pretty problematic and contributes to the continued viewing of different races as unequal. “Diluting” a certain race’s characteristics makes them more desirable? Also not great.

    • Glad you loved the article. I agree that the title of that book is a bit upsetting. I don’t think I did a great job of linking the sentence about the book and the sentence before it where I mention all the articles on this were wrought with racism and stereotypes, which includes the ones saying children are “more attractive and healthier.” I was attempting to show that even the so-called positive “features” of biracial children are racist while also pointing out that most people think biracial children have these positive features, so why are they so concerned for their well-being. Thank you for pointing out that this did not come across so I could clarify.

  12. sadly, some children of interracial couples do have problems. like kids (often girls mostly) who are black/white (AKA ‘gray’) where their mom is white have hair that turns out ALL TYPES OF TERRIBLE. ITS SO BAD. i want to kiss them and tell them it will all be okay and buy them conditioner and send them to my hair dresser.

    on a vaguely serious note, my mom’s black (and my dad’s white), so i had this problem less so. but still interracial hair can’t be treated as any of it’s elements, but experimented on until something works out. also:

    • I don’t even know how to respond to that. My mom’s white and I like my hair? My siblings have “good” hair?

      If I’ve had any problems as a bi-racial child, it was because society has tried to make me pick one race, and everyone puts their two sense to tell me I’m different. I’ve been told by many Black people that I’m “white” and many white people that I’m “Mexican” (which makes NO sense! Yes, I speak Spanish but only because I learned it in high school). Reconciling my racial identity in the face of the bs of societal pressure is something I considered to be an actual challenge or “problem”, not dealing with different textured hair. But that’s just me.

      • Celeste has a point that is terribly worded in that post and the point is that women of afro ancestry/parentage inherit a BUTTLOAD of hair issues in childhood and adolescence that create moments of panic and self hatred in adulthood. I’m confident that this is true for the majority of afro-identified women because of a most thorough job done by colonization. For instance: (deciding whether to “corporate” my hair is a weekly freak out session. But enough about me.

        That said, I do get really, really turned off by parents (of varying genders) who think it’s okay to be completely blind to the issue. It’s not okay to send your black baby girl to school looking like a cat chewed on her tresses. I’m especially annoyed with white parents who allow this to happen to their children of color after choosing to go through the lengthy process of adoption (I’m willing to bet there was some time for research and some due diligence in that process).

        The INTERNET exists! And there are a million resources that can teach one how to properly care for, and nurture self love in children with mixed parentage and or/ black ancestry with non-mainstream hair.

        Here’s one on my ultimate favorites ( Full Disclosure: I have no children, and read this blogs for tips on my own hair):

        • Thanks for elaborating on this and for that website! I have major issues with my hair because of how it looked throughout my childhood. My mom definitely tried, but I never stood a chance, really. When she finally did send me to a black beauty shop, all they did was give me a relaxer and that was no good for me either. Yikes.

        • I completely understand where you’re coming from, and your point is totally valid. I was just extremely turned off by the poorly worded, over simplification of the post to which I originially replied.

  13. The “Portraits of Mixed Kids” book is by a professor at my university! He spoke to our freshman class at convocation. He talked a bit about being mixed race and how it relates to the poetry and photography he creates, it was a cool speech.

    And I can’t believe people still have problems with interracial relationships in this day and age. What a load of bull, along with the insensitive crap people say to mixed individuals. Sometimes I just want to walk around with a huge sign that says “Get it together America!”

  14. i knew a lot of mixed females in the army, and a lot of the chicks i knew that got pregnant had mixed babies, and it was great because they’re babies were beautiful. i dont understand the hate. mixed celebrities are always the most beautiful, in my opinion. rosario dawson for one, i’ve had a crush on her since the dawn of time. even my racist parents admitted that mixed kids are cuter.

    idk. i guess i’m just sayin i agree with the study that mixed kids are awesome.

  15. Is this a thing? IS THIS STILL A THING? Whatever. My girlfriend and I are in an interracial relationship, and not to get all “post-racial” or whatever, but I’ve never really thought about it like that before. I’m white and she’s Hispanic, and although we acknowledge our differences, I see it as more of a cultural thing than a racial thing. I come from a pretty WASP-y background, so we’re always pointing out how our grandmothers are the ever-loving stereotypes of white and Mexican grandmas: mine is forever insisting on brunch while hers will, at any given moment, thrust a pot of tamales in your face and insist you take them home. My grandma has a display of pewter plates on her wall while hers has a photo of Kennedy with “El primer presidente catolico” inscribed on it. Stuff like that.
    Anyway, I’ve always assumed the occasional nasty looks we get are due to the fact that we’re gay, but I supposed there’s a possibility that it’s related to our interracialness as well. Isn’t that quaint?

    • I’m mixed race and bi-national. I’m half hispanic(to break that down, Mexican, Native American, and Spanish) and half european (English, Scandanavian, French). Dad’s from the states, mum’s from Australia. Funny enough, it’s my mum who got the green card (even though it’s typically assumed the other way around. Growing up I actually never had too much confusion, other than those standardized tests that ask for your race. I remember asking my 5th grade teacher what I was and remember her trying to figure it out for me! I feel like once I hit high school and college it was other people who made me very aware that I was of mixed race. I never thought about it when I was little.

      My girlfriend is also a wonderful mix of races, and so as it is we’re both of white and hispanic heritage(plus a few more thrown in for fun like Italian).

      I will say the thing that bothers me the most is “Well, you don’t LOOK hispanic.” And I feel very insulted, and get this statement more than I’d like. I usually say, “Well, I’m HALF hispanic, so I look like half, get it?” But when people rely on stereotypes that all hispanics (a gigantic group of people) look a certain way can be frustrating. To me, when people say I don’t look a certain way, it’s almost saying I shouldn’t be as proud of my heritage because I’m not fully part of it, you know? I know that’s what they mean (I hope) but still it can be disheartening to almost get called out of not belonging to a specific group.

      Also, my Dad’s side of the family still refers to my mum as “gringa” but in a pet name sort of way. :)

      • Oops, didn’t mean to reply, but actually now I do want to reply! I love the differences in your families. It really is cute. The cultural thing is always interesting. My girlfriend and I joke that I fulfill some stereotypes like owning chihuahuas, listening to lots of traditional mexican music andspanish singers, and eating beans, salsa, and tortillas for basically every meal. But other than that, both of us grew up pretty down-home American, save for some little cultural tidbits. “El primer presidente catolico” heeee, that’s awesome.

      • I’m so glad someone brought up those stupid race questions!!!! Even though I am not biracial (my niece and nephew are and I’m dating someone of a different race) THEY DRIVE ME NUTS! You never get to circle two or three or more! Grrr!

        Also quick side story which I find soooo cute- when Obama was elected my nephew, who was eight at the time, got really excited because “he’s brown like me”. I find it so adorable!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I don’t think the prospect of mixed race kids plays that big of a role with some people’s disdain for interracial couples. I just think it’s something about white women in particular marrying outside their race. Living in the South, I definitely see a double standard when it comes to men and women entering into interracial marriages. Men get a pass for the most part while women’s motives are scrutinized. I can’t recall how many times I hear people say “couldn’t she have found a good, hard working white boy,” the stereotype, or racist view rather, being those of other races are lazy, no good, or somehow not worthy of marrying a white woman.

    In any event, I’m currently in an interracial relationship myself. I’m caucasian, my girlfriend is Indian, but apparently I look Indian or foreign myself so no one really cares – which is good I guess.

    • I think this is a very good point to bring up. I’ve heard a lot of comments about larger white women marrying black men and people saying it’s because black men will actually sleep with larger women, but white men won’t. Or a white man marries and Asian woman because he wants a subservient wife. Or a black man marries a white woman because all black men want to secretly sleep with white blondes (Undercover Brother makes fun of this stereotype quite well).

      It’s infuriating on many levels that people assume stereotypes to justify why someone would actually “breed” out of their race, like there has to be a reason other than just lust or love or pure attraction.

  17. I tried to look up if the judge that wouldn’t marry the couple was fired or disbarred for not upholding the law, i.e doing his job, and was disappointed to read that after weeks of civil rights groups and some public officials repeatedly calling for his ousting, he resigned. I couldn’t find information on whether he is still an active judge anywhere or practicing law. Nor did I read anything that said an investigation was launched after the news broke that he would not marry this interracial couple. I would feel a lot better if I did find evidence that he was suspended immediately and an investigation was launched; if he wanted to resign in the middle of that, that would be his option, but to just let someone like him continue to hold his job is disgraceful.

    • I was told that his position was elected, and therefore he could not be fired, just either resign or impeached. Considering he wasn’t in a very accepting area to begin with, I doubt he would be impeached, so all that was left was to resign, which he refused to do. The governor called for his resignation, but had it not gotten so much press he would have stayed in office.

  18. Ok, here is a thing I have to say–I think mixed-race people often turn out completely friggin’ gorgeous. Occasionally, I see a person with dark skin and green eyes and it is one of the most beautiful combinations I’ve ever seen.

    Like, I stare awkwardly because they’re so hot (I’M WORKING ON THE AWKWARD STARING OKAY IT’S A PROCESS)

    In conclusion, I am pro people loving whomever they want to, especially if they make or raise beautiful babies.

  19. Where i’m from I constantly get asked what I’m mixed with, and actually I really never thought much of it until right now because it’s just an everyday thing. That being said, people normally ask before complimenting something about me, i don’t think I’ve ever been asked just to be insulted. Although, someone did ask me (after I told them my Mother was African American and my Dad was Italian) if Italian was just English with an accent.

    My Dad left when I was six so growing up with my Mother’s side of the family there has always been a little tension about me dating outside of my race. There are always jokes and they say things like I guess we can learn to accept it, but I truly think they are counting on me bringing home someone black. It’s not like they will disown me or anything, I would just have to live with constantly being teased, which gets really annoying.

  20. I’m half-white, half-Asian (Thai to be exact) and I am proud of it and never feel like my mixed race has brought negative consequences. However, sometimes I do feel exoticized and stereotyped once people find out my racial mixture.

  21. My best friend was half-white, half Thai. My other best friend is half-white, half-Korean. Somehow these people gravitate towards me. I love it.

    • Dammit. I meant to change my wording before I posted this. And now I can’t find any way to delete it, so I just sound redundant. Ignore this, I suppose.
      (There should really be a delete button here)

  22. My best friend was half-white, half Thai. My other best friend is half-white, half-Korean. I feel like I’m destined to only have half-Asian friends.

  23. Wow, I find this weird. I live in Australia and nobody looks twice at interracial couples. My mum is Indian (and has been an Australian since she was 8) and my dad is Anglo (“white”). Because I’m a halfie, any relationship I’m in is automatically an interracial one!

  24. There is also the TNG episode with a race of androgynous people, but there were some who felt more feminine or more masculine. They were considered outcasts in the society (funny enough the title of this episode was “The Outcast”) and were supposed to undergo therapy to correct the aberration. Riker falls for one of the more “feminine” feeling people (called Soren). It was a great episode and originally aired in 92…so kind of progressive for the time.

    From Wiki:
    This episode was intended to address the contemporary issue of LGBT-rights. Jonathan Frakes [Riker] commented that the episode wasn’t “gutsy” enough and that “Soren should have been more evidently male.”

    Star Trek is THE BEST. Basically.

    • You’re close with the hetero affection part, but they didn’t have two genders in their species.

      “Soren explains that since the J’naii are an androgynous species that view the expression of any sort of male or female gender, and especially sexual liaisons, as a sexual perversion. According to their official doctrine, the J’naii had evolved beyond gender and thus view the idea of male/female sexuality as primitive. Those among the J’naii who view themselves as possessing gender are ridiculed, outcast, and forced to undergo “psychotectic therapy” – a psychological treatment to remediate gender-specificity and allow acceptance back into J’naii society.” (wiki)

  25. I think interracial-relationships will always be a problem in this country, but hopefully with time things will continue to get better. “I did, however, find some compelling arguments suggesting children of mixed race parents are healthier and more attractive than their same race counterparts and that genetic diversity actually helps weed out disease.” The sad part about this comment is how common it is to hear that people think that mixed raced kids are the most attractive. It’s that slave mentality all over again.

    • Could you elaborate on what you mean by slave mentality? My brain went in that direction too when I read that comment, but I’m interested in what you mean by that exactly, if you’re interested in sharing. :)

      • The slave mentality of how the mixed/light skinned blacks were pitted against the dark skinned blacks aka “the field negro vs the house negro.” How the mixed blacks were seen as being more attractive because they had some white in them. Just look at Louisiana and how Creole’s had more rights than a dark skinned black person just because they were mixed. That is what I mean when I refer to the slave mentality.

        • Yep, that’s where I was too. I just wanted to see if we were on the same page. And I think you’re absolutely correct in responding that way. I definitely rolled my eyes at that and just couldn’t believe that comment was made in an otherwise decent article. I think it’s sad there is still that mentality. It’s also terrifying that it’s perceived as being ok to just sort of throw out there.

          • I agree with everything you both said, and would like to clarify, as I did above in the comments, that that sentence was supposed to link back to the sentence above it that stated that every report I found on the subject was full of stereotypes and racism. I apologize for not connecting the two concepts better, as I definitely understand, and was attempting to showcase, that the “positive” stereotypes are stereotypes still, while also pointing out how hypocritical it is that people worry about the kids yet seem to stereotype them into being “more attractive” and “healthier.”

  26. “I remember when I was young my mom told me that kids of interracial parents have it rough and pointed to my good friend as an example. I then poignantly pointed out that his dad was an abusive alcoholic and blaming his rough childhood on his mixed race was, well, racist. She stormed away offended at being called a racist.”

    As a biracial female, I still struggle with this. Growing up biracial has fucked me up and continues to fuck me up. What it really comes down to is, yes, it’s other people’s ignorance that has fucked me up, not my racial background itself. But I still wish my parents had given it a little more thought? Is that terrible? I feel like they just did it and said, “Hey, it’s practically the 90’s, she’ll be fine! Let’s have this baby!”
    Healthier or more attractive? Certainly not and I am sick of hearing people say that mixed race people are more attractive. First of all, that’s a racist-ass statement in itself and second of all, where was I when they were handing out these magical good looks? I got the worst attributes of my parents (besides the Family Eyebrows, of course.) I’m not even going to mention my many ailments and disabilities. WE’RE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. WE JUST LIVE IN AN EXTREMELY RACIST ENVIRONMENT THAT LIKES TO THINK IT’S NOT RACIST ANYMORE.
    I know that’s not the point of this article, I just get easily upset about this.

  27. I was hoping someone would start a Star Trek conversation after seeing that picture! I threw it in at the end because you can’t talk about interracial relationships and not mention the first bi-racial kiss somehow.

  28. I have friends who are a columbian man (adopted by white american parents) and a vietnamese-american woman. Her family won’t accept their relationship, because of the race issue. A while back, we were talking and he realized that they were living in the closet. They had to do the thing for a while where they pretended they weren’t sharing an apartment, and he had to disappear if her parents came to visit. I pretty much told him “welcome to being gay,” which amused both of them. I think they’re out of the closet now, but her parents are still being ridiculous (though I get the sense they’re ridiculous about a lot of stuff, not just this…)

  29. a) Mom’s Chinese, Dad’s white.
    b) Born and raised in Hawaii where EVERYONE is mixed (though black and Latino communities are essentially nonexistent).
    c) It was pretty sweet growing up in a place where it’s totally natural to have parents from different racial backgrounds (I definitely took it for granted back then) and whites (or haoles) are the ones who are culturally discriminated against.
    d) I pass as white on the Mainland (yes, we call it “the MAINLAND”) and it can be a little irritating when people just assume that I’m white. It’s as though an entire half of my identity is completely invisible to the world. It sucks.

    e) This is completely unrelated but Autostraddle wouldn’t let me log in for some reason. It was kind of like getting dumped, and not getting a reason for the rejection. It hurt.

  30. Great article!

    For as long as I can remember, the whole mixed thing’s been an issue to people. My dad’s of Jewish European/North-West Asian descent, my mom’s of mixed South-East descent – and since we lived in an all-white West-European village, this caused considerable (negative) attention.

    Me, I’m caucasian-ish (light skin, dark blue eyes, brown hair) which led to bullying in junior high (“haha, you’re adopted, cause your mom is black and you’re white”, “your mom is a black witch and she has stolen you from the gypsies”). Even so, I somehow seem to have an eye- & cheekbone-shape that have prompted about a million “You’re not from here, are you?” and “where do you come from, originally”‘s.

    Later, I encountered some negative reactions in relationships. Most notably, when I was in a long-term relationship with a Hawaiian woman of ‘pure’ Japanese heritage. I mean, obviously the whole gay thing was already a cause of enormous embarrassment to her entire family – but at least all her previous girlfriends had been Japanese as well. So her suddenly introducing a haole woman as her partner was received with a lot of animosity. So much, even, that it the end it became too much of a burden on our relationship.

    Right now, I’m in a relationship with a woman of African American/Native American descent. We can’t help but be conscious of our different heritages, because we get a lot of remarks about it. Many of those remarks (especially in the LGBTQIA community) are positive, but somehow I can’t help but be conscious of the fact that positive though these remarks are, they still convey both a distinct lack of color-blindness of the remarker, and the sense of quaintness/otherness/unfamiliarity that a remarker must be experiencing, to have it occur to them to comment on our appearance in the first place.

    As for my girlfriend and I, we mainly deplore that neither of us has any trace of Aboriginal heritage, so that between the two of us we merely cover 4 continents instead of 5… :-)

  31. Pingback: The Ethics of Lust: On Interracial Relationships and Anti-Miscegenation Laws | Autostraddle | MAXIMUM SEX-AND-ROCK-AND-ROLL

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