American's Legal Acceptance Of Miscegenation

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Miscegenation refers to the marriage or interbreeding of races, particularly of whites with nonwhites. The Spanish equivalent is mestizaje, from which we get the Spanish term mestizo, whose English equivalents, derogatory or otherwise, include terms such as half-breed, half-caste, mulatto, or hybrid.

The Connection between Anti-Miscegenation Laws and Gender

In theory, anti-miscegenation laws were supposed to be applied equally, regardless of the specific race/ gender pairings in question. However, in practice, anti-miscegenation laws often were enforced more vigorously when the “violators” were black male/white female pairs than when the “violators” were white male/black female pairs. The selective enforcement of anti-miscegenation laws as a function of specific race/gender pairings may help explain why white male/ black female marriages outnumbered black male/ white female marriages in the United States prior to the 1960s.

Despite the current controversy over the prevalence of black male/white female marriages over white male/black female marriages, it was not until the 1970s—the first full decade after Loving v. Virginia was rendered—that black male/white female marriages outnumbered white male/black female marriages in the United States. To the extent that Loving v. Virginia paved the way for a dramatic increase in black male/white female marriages, it might seem ironic that Richard Loving and Mildred, the protagonists in Loving v. Virginia, was a white male/black female couple. Then again, when one considers the depth of public resentment that has been directed toward black male/white female sexual unions throughout the history of the United States, it comes as no surprise that a court decision involving a white male/black female pair would lead to the end of all legal barriers against interracial marriages in the United States.

Lingering Support for Anti-Miscegenation Laws in the Post-Civil Rights Era

Loving v. Virginia was one of a series of cases that the U.S. Supreme Court rendered ...
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