January 22, 2009
Interracial Relationships: Then and Now
Interracial relationships have made tremendous progress since early colonial settlement. With the first anti-miscegenation laws enacted in 1661, (Maryland), and for the following four-hundred years, whites and their colored partners have suffered scrutiny, discrimination, and sometimes even painful deaths until just 1967, when all anti-miscegenation laws were repealed. Ruth Frankenberg, author of The Social Construction of Justice, analyzes how interracial relationships have been and, to certain extent, remain a controversial issue today through interviews with white women. In chapter four, Frankenberg highlights that over the hundreds of years of discrimination against mixed couples, interracial relationships have influenced American culture, politics, and law.
The first Anglo-colonizers rationed that white superiority existed and was underlined “in the language of Christianity” (73). They emphasized “racial purity” and economic excellence of the white population; their structural racism soon became an innate part of biological theories of white hierarchy underlying the birth of anti-miscegenation laws. Anglo-Americans were concerned about interbreeding “mongrel races” into the United States (73). They even claimed that the only reasons Native Americans had even made progress toward civilization was due only because of race-mixing with Caucasians. Miscegenation laws were first established to draw the line between White and Black races, but with Westernization expanded to also target any other non-White race.
White people have used miscegenation laws to ensure the continuance of slavery and to restrict economic and political power to the Caucasian population. White slave owners often raped black women—their children would be classified as slaves despite the fact that the father was a slave owner. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these...