The current paper focuses on the issue of interracial marriage in the U.S. The historical analysis shows that it was impossible for the society to approve the marriage between the Black men and the White women or vice versa fifty years ago. However, there exists an opinion that the situation has constantly changed. Thus, it is important to make an analysis of the attitude towards the interracial relationships in the modern American society.
The data yielded by this study provides convincing evidence that fifty years later after the film “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner”, attitudes toward interracial marriage have transformed dramatically. Statistic data shows public support for interracial marriage has steadily grown with each successive year (Root, 2001). This research revealed that Black Americans sincerely approved the interracial marriage at a rate of ninety-six percent, which is almost universal. Moreover, the percentage for the Whites, while not as high, was also overwhelmingly supportive at eighty-four percent. The study made it understandable that Black approval of such interracial unions has always been higher. However, it is possible to mention that the gap between the races has significantly decreased. For instance, in 1958 just four percent of White Americans gave their support for interracial marriage while nowadays only eleven percent of all American citizens polled expressed their disapproval.
The reason of such changes lies in the fact that younger Americans have grown up in a specific environment where they interacted with multicultural images from television, sports, music, gender, and literature. They have also experienced political events, when the nation elected a biracial man as President. Furthermore, many people of this age are biracial or even multi-racial and are the children of mixed marriages themselves. The current situation shows that the events from the film “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner” could seem even strange in the aspect of the modern interracial relationships (Guess Who is Coming to Dinner, 1967). Thus, the critic of the relations of the two main heroes by their fathers looks inappropriate.
On the other hand, older Americans in their childhood inhabited the country, which was rigidly segregated by class, race, and, in some cases, religion. It is important to highlight that the residential segregation is still problematic today in various places of the country. Needless to say that fifty years ago, the segregation was the norm and was absolutely legal in many cities and towns (Richardson, 2000). Therefore, a big percentage of the current population grew up with the notion that racial segregation was justifiable, normal, and the appropriate way for the U.S. citizens to live their lives. It means that segregation tomorrow, segregation now, and segregation forever was a dominating sentiment. However, a number of people in this demographic group have evolved in their views over the last time. The example of this situation is shown in the “Monster’s Ball” movie, where the main hero experiences the serious changes in his life view due to the changes in society (Monster’s Ball, 2001). Evidently, this film story is a cultural narrative of white masculinity’s evolution from the atrocities of racism and discrimination through an interracial love experience. The author of the movie uses the nexus of race, sex, and desire in order to produce a new ideology emerging national multicultural logics of racial equality. The dialogues of the main heroes show that the changes in the American society are inevitable.
It is important to highlight that the national support for interracial marriage differed seriously by geographic region. Needless to say that the South is the most resistant region considering its long history of embracing segregation and slavery. The Midwest and East has identical percentages of the interracial acceptance while the West has the highest level of support. Evidently, such results dispel the wrong image of the northeast of being the most racially progressive region. It could happen due to the fact that over the past twenty-five years, many younger people from multinational families have moved to big western cities such as Phoenix, Denver, Santa Fe, Portland, Seattle, etc. Furthermore, many adventurous-minded and entrepreneurial men and women of all ethnic groups participate in the internal migration to the West. Obviously, people with such attitudes usually tend to be more morally and socially flexible in their habits and values, which include dating and marriage.
Taking everything into account, it is possible to conclude that although the U.S. Census data illustrates that the interracial marriage is still relatively rare, there are serious changes in the general transformative attitudes of the U.S. citizens on a number of issues in the aspects of the racial matters, including interracial marriage. However, the phenomenon of the racism is still a sensitive topic. Thus, many people are reluctant to evaluate different reasons for their own beliefs about discrimination in the interracial relations. Therefore, future researchers could develop a qualitatively new measure of symbolic racism, which is similar to the racism illustrated in the “Guess who is coming to Dinner” film but is applicable to some other races besides the Blacks. This could allow making appropriate conclusions about the social trends in the U.S. interracial relations.
Guess Who is Coming to Dinner.Dir. Stanley Kramer. Perf. Spencer Tracy, Sindey Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, and others. Columbia Pictures. 1967. Film.
Monster’s Ball.Dir. Mark Forster. Perf. Billy Bob Tornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Peter Boyle, Sean Combs, and others. Lionsgate. 2001. Film.
Richardson, Brenda. (2000).Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Celebrating Interethnic, Interfaith, and Interracial Relationship. Wildcat Canyon Press. 216.
Root, Maria. (2001).Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage.Temple University Press. 240.