Cross-cultural marriages contribute to racial tolerance

Updated: Oct 31, 2016

Since the 1980s, the percentage of cross-cultural marriages has risen. Many younger people and people who have family and friends in these marriages accept them.

Cross-cultural marriages contribute to racial tolerance

According to the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of U.S. newlyweds in 2010 were in marriages to people of another race or ethnic group and eight percent of all married people were in these cross-cultural marriages. This is up significantly from four percent in 1986. The growth in the number of these marriages contributes to racial tolerance. Intermarriage strengthens tolerance for reasons related to family, age, and mass media and social platforms.

Familial Ties Influence Tolerance of Interracial Marriage One reason cross-cultural marriages contribute to tolerance is because of family bonds. Thirty-five percent of Americans report that someone in their family married outside their race, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center study. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said they would be comfortable if someone in their family married someone from another race or ethnic group.

Some people who have a hard-hearted attitude about cross-cultural marriage softened their views when they realize acceptance is the only way to maintain a good relationship with their child, sibling, relative or friend who has entered into one of these marriages. And even though people over 65 are less accepting of these marriages than younger people, not too many are willing to cut off a good relationship with their child because he or she entered into such a marriage. Certainly, most grandparents will want to stay connected with grandchildren who are the offspring of these relationships.

Young People Are More Likely To Accept Cross-Cultural Marriages

Age is a factor in who is more tolerant and accepting of intermarriage. While a Pew Research Center study about Millennials—defined by Pew as people ages 18 to 29—found that people over 65 were less accepting of cross-cultural marriages, it reported that large numbers of African-American, white and Hispanic Millennials would accept someone in their family marrying a person of another race or ethnic group.

The study, "Almost All Millennials Accept Interracial Dating and Marriage," also reported that 93 percent of the respondents said they would be okay with a family member marrying an Asian-American, 92 percent with a white American, 91 percent with a Hispanic-American and 88 percent with an African-American. Eighty-five percent said they would be okay with a marriage to any other group. Millennials are now the largest population by age in the U.S. At 75.4 million, they outnumber Baby Boomers (people ages 51 to 59) whose number is 74.9 million. For these reasons, more cross-cultural relationships can be expected.

Talk in Communication Outlets Influences Tolerance

The media's focus on celebrity couples is another reason tolerance moves forward. In bombarding people with images of famous people and their marriages, some of which are cross-cultural, mass media and chatter on social platforms foster acceptance. This coverage of celebrity couples is akin to advertising these marriages. The more people see celebrities in cross-cultural relationships, the more likely they are to accept them. In additional to some professional athletes, other famous people who have intermarried include Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, Audra McDonald and Will Swenson and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

In conclusion, tolerance is fostered by intermarriage. Since the 1980s, the percentage of cross-cultural marriages has risen. Many younger people and people who have family and friends in these marriages accept them. Discussion about intermarriage in all forms of communication also contributes to the acceptance of these relationships. Within 30 years, nonwhites will outnumber whites, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To avoid debilitating conflict within this country and to get along better with other nations, it is good for U.S. residents to look to successful cross-cultural marriages for inspiration about harmony and facing and overcoming the challenges of people's differences.

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