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This case, along with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, was one of the pivotal events building up to the Civil Rights movements of the s. In better understanding the context in which Mildred and Richard Loving went to court we may better understand the world civil rights leaders were coming from, yet on a much more personal and intimate level.

Before 'loving'

In the s, the vast majority of whites condemned interracial marriage and went to great lengths to make it undesirable, unwise, difficult and illegal. Blacks on the other hand had more complex and varying views on it. Yet across the racial divide, two trends existed in s interracial marriage politics: first, men and women were treated differently when it came to interracial marriage; secondly, there was stronger top-down suppression, contributing to the counterculture and resistance of earlier generations that erupted in the 60s.

Whites in the s were almost universally against interracial marriage. In the 50s, whites were just as horrified about interracial marriage as they were in 3.

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This was further codified in miscegenation laws and lateth century theories of eugenics 5. Because whiteness was defined as not being black, associating with blacks could change your racial definition, especially in the segregated world of the 50s. This caused a decrease in interracial marriage between blacks and immigrants because of the security and status whiteness afforded them 7. Defining whiteness in contrast to blackness is a reoccurring theme that we will revisit. A few whites reasoned that God created the races so that they would not mix but most saw it as corrupting the white race and detrimental to family honor The ways in which whites expressed their disapproval ranged from deep displeasure or disappointment to severe physical punishment.

This sentiment rang true for many whites as intermarriage was social suicide.

Economic analyses of interracial marriage find that, for the white counterpart, there is always a cost as whites are already at the top of the american hierarchy By associating with blacks in such an intimate way, whites would open themselves up to increased job insecurity, social and familial rejection and less legal protection including the loss of death benefits Occasionally one parent or relative sought clandestine relationships A of white parents, with the help from law enforcement, forced their daughters to see mental health professionals.

They ultimately disinherited her after she married.

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Although many white daughters were subject to severe punishment, drastic measures were rarely used, if ever, on white men Interracial marriage was not the same for black male-white female partnerships as it was for white male-black female partnerships. The idea of sex between black men and white women repulsed whites, while casual and often exploitative sex between white men and black women was ignored or accepted because it was normalized during slavery when the white master did what he pleased with his property.

This urge to domesticate combined with sexualized stereotypes of black men as lustful, uninhibited, and virile made white women marrying black men a disgrace Popular media from the period reveals a general antipathy towards intermarriage within the white community.

Although attempting to remain unbiased, they failed. For example, one researcher, Albert Isaac Gordon polled college students on their views toward interracial marriage. Blackness was all consuming because to be black you only needed to have a drop of blood, but to be deemed white was to be purely white. Further, you can be black and mixed but not white and mixed.

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Mental health professionals and behavioral scientists, hid their biases by questioning the mental health of whites that decided to marry across racial lines rather than explicitly saying interracial marriage was inherently bad. Although this source is more reliable because it was published in an academic journal rather than being a sensationalized article for the public, the impress of s racial politics is evident.

Predicting bias

Some psychologists had Freudian explanations citing sexual deviancy or dysfunction as a motivation for intermarrying. More blamed unhappy childhoods, rebelliousness, distant parents or economic gains for poor white women Little presented whites who intermarried as those with masochistic tendencies not daring enough to end their life. The opinions of the black community about interracial marriage were mostly ignored until because it was assumed that only whites felt strongly about it.

Most information on the attitudes of the black community on this topic come from the black press Unlike whites, they were not concerned with racial purity because they already had mixed roots, nor was it a matter of being discriminated against because that was already a fact of life. Interracial relations and sex were associated with abuse and exploitation They were suspicious of whites that would make themselves vulnerable to racial hatred.

Study finds bias, disgust toward mixed-race couples

Most blacks were not blatantly against interracial marriage because of community principles of individual freedom regardless of race Some saw it as a positive step towards ending racial discrimination or that it proved that blacks were humans capable of being loved Thus, there was not outspoken disdain for interracial marriage. Thus, when interracial marriage was touched on in the newspapers it was with a much more tolerant attitude. Let us have more such marriages. After all we are all humans and in many instances Americans alike.

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Why let color of the skin be a barrier. Graph from Gordon text. Up untilcases tried at the Supreme Court upheld miscegenation.

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Yet on the state and local level it depended: some bans were enacted as early as Marylandyet some states repealed it as early as Pennsylvania Black men were chastised for talking to white women Black students received harsher punishment for interracial interaction. Graph from USA Census.

What does each race think?

Whites, at the other extreme, make up Graphs from Fryer text. As seen in these graphs, interracial marriage did see an increase in the decades after From the data he found on how college students felt about interracial relations Gordon should have been able to predict this.

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This goes to show how strong the countercurrents were brewing in the 50s which exploded in the 60s. The 50s were the ultimate turning point where the suppression of new thought in teens and the unequal treatment of women began the stirrings of dissent. This applied to interracial marriage which was approached differently for men and women and caused different reactions in the white and black communities.

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Although America has made great progress in this area, there are still many prejudices and skewed views when it comes to interracial marriage today with the hypersexualization of mixed people and nicknames for mixed people and couples. Looking back at this history can help us recognize the microaggressions associated with mixed race and put an end to them. Randall Kennedy et al.

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New York: Pantheon, Why whites were against interracial marriage Whites in the s were almost universally against interracial marriage. How whites expressed their disapproval The ways in which whites expressed their disapproval ranged from deep displeasure or disappointment to severe physical punishment. Gender inequality Interracial marriage was not the same for black male-white female partnerships as it was for white male-black female partnerships.

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Allison Skinner does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


From the time of the Loving decision to now approval of interracial marriage has only gotten higher.