Monday, 11 April 2011

Mixed Marriages

During the Second World War when Japan was one of the three Axis powers and nations including Australia, Canada, China, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States along with many other nations that were at war with Japan, looked down on the Japanese people as war mongers who were unworthy of our respect. Perhaps then, our disrespect for the Japanese people was justified then but since the end of the war sixty-six years ago, our attitudes have changed. Although we still condemn the actions of the Japanese leaders and armed forces that they undertook during the years between 1931 and 1945, most people nowadays have great respect for the Japanese people, respect which is richly deserved.

If I was a racial bigot and let my childhood hatred of the Japanese linger on beyond the Second World War, I would have missed out on meeting and marrying the love of my life; a Japanese woman who was born in Japan six years after the war ended. We have been married since 1976 and we have two daughters, four granddaughters and a grandson. Our oldest daughter lives common-law with a Caucasian and our youngest daughter married a black man. My wife and I, including our daughters and their spouses and their children are all one happy family. The blood that runs through our grandchildren’s blood of one of our daughters is Caucasian, Oriental, and Black and the blood that runs through our grandchild of our other daughter is Caucasian, Oriental, and Hispanic.

When my mother and aunt met the woman who was soon to be my wife in 1976, they were both pleased with my choice of a mate. That wasn’t originally how my wife’s family felt. Japanese society, with its ideology of homogeneity, has traditionally been intolerant of ethnic and other differences. Men or women of mixed ancestry, foreigners, and members of minority groups faced discrimination in a variety of forms. In 2005, a United Nations report expressed concerns about racism in Japan and that government recognition of the depth of the problem was not total. In 2005, Japanese Minister Taro Aso called Japan a "one race" nation. Despite that, there are mix-marriages in Japan and elsewhere.

Jean Ping, the Deputy Prime Minister of Gabon who has a Chinese father and a black Gabonese mother was elected as Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union on February 1, 2008. Jerry John Rawlings, the ex-President of Ghana is the son of a Scottish father and a black Ghanaian mother. Ian Khama, the son of a Botswanian black leader and a white mother is the President of Botswana and the paramount chief of the Bamangwato people. Former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario who is a black man married a white woman. President Barack Obama is the son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father.

President Obama’s answer to the race question on the 2010 census was that he was black. Because his mother was white, tne president could have checked the boxes of both races. The fact that he didn’t check off the box that referred to him as ‘white’ could be that Americans per se generally tend to think of themselves in singular racial terms. This can create a problem for people who are of mixed races. For example, should a Census form include the word, ‘mulatto’?

Interracial marriage occurs when two people of differing racial groups marry. Laws banning "race-mixing" were enforced in Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg Laws) from 1935 until 1945, in certain U.S. states from the Colonial era until 1967 and in South Africa during the early part of the Apartheid era. All these laws primarily banned marriage between spouses of different racially or ethnically defined groups, which was termed "amalgamation" or "miscegenation" in the U.S. The laws in Nazi Germany and many of the U.S. states, as well as South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals. In Germany, the Nuremberg Laws classified Jews as a race, (when in fact it is a religion) and forbade marriage and extramarital sexual relations between persons of Jewish origin and persons of "German or related blood". Such intercourse was condemned as Rassenschande (meaning, "race-disgrace") and could be punished by imprisonment (usually followed by deportation to a concentration camp) and even punishable by death.

Interracial marriges in the United States has been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967 Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia as being unconstitutional, although many U.S. states chose to legalize interracial marriage at much earlier dates. There was however at one time, 29 States in the U.S. that actually prohibited mix-marriages. Prior to 1961, fewer than one in a thousand U.S. marriages involved black and white partners, now it is one in sixty. A recent Pew Research Centre analysis shows that the trend has spread across races and anthnicities with mixed unions reaching a recorded 14.6 percent of new marriages in 2008.

Anti-miscegenation laws were edicts that made it unlawful for African Americans and white people to marry or engage each other in intimate relationships. The measures first appeared in the United States in colonial times and had two functions. First, the laws helped maintain the racial caste system necessary for the expansion of slavery and the idea of white supremacy. Second, anti-miscegenation statutes gave white men greater power to control the sexual choices of white women. In the colonial period, white patriarchs used the laws to discourage white women from choosing African Americans as husbands and paramours.

Relative to anti-miscegenation edicts in other Southern states, the Arkansas law was mild. The measure had no punishment provision, nor did it specifically define ‘Negro or mulatto.’ For example, the tepid nature of Arkansas’s first anti-miscegenation law stemmed from the fact that Arkansas had fewer than 500 free African Americans when the law was enacted. Because other Arkansas laws denied slaves the right to marry, legislators probably deemed it unnecessary to establish a more stringent law that would include punishment as a deterrent. It is quite conceivable that had I married an Oriental woman prior to 1967 and we traveled through some of those states, we might have been arrested, tried and upon conviction, sent to prison.

In 2000, seven million people in the United States which is about 2.4 percent of the population reported being more than one race. According to estimates from the Census Bureau, the mixed-race population has grown by roughly 35 percent since 2000.

The 2006 Canadian Census counted 289,400 mixed unions (marriages and common-law unions) involving a visible minority person with a non-visible minority person or a person from a different visible minority group.

As of 2005, it is estimated that nearly half of British-born African-Caribbean males, a third of British-born African-Caribbean females, and a fifth of Indian and African males, have white partners. As of 2009, one in 10 children in the UK lives in a mixed-race family and two out of five Chinese women have partners of a different race.

What I find rather interesting is that among White-Asian couples, their offspring tend to be better educated and have higher incomes according to Reynolds Farley, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan. My two daughters are proof of that. They both have university degrees and one of them earns more than my wife and I do together. However, along those lines, the education and incomes earned by offspring of mixed marriages between whites and blacks are much lower but that can be attributed to the communities they live in where there is more bias against blacks to begin with both in educational and employment opportunities.

What follows is a some figures with respect to the intermarriages in the United States in the year 2008.

Whites and Hispanics: 116,000, 53% white bride; Whites and Asians: 43,000, 74% white groom: Whites and blacks: 32,000, 75% white bride; Whites and American Indians: 14,600, 52% white groom; Hispanics and blacks: 12,699, 73 Hispanic bride; Hispanics and Asians: 6,700, 58% Hispaninc groom;; and Blacks and Asians: 3,700, 80% black groom. Although immigrants tend not to intermarry, their children do. White and Hispanics are most likely to intermarry because their populations are most widespread and intertwined.

Mixed marriages are here to stay and undoubtedly, the number of such marriages will continue to grow world-wide unless of course, certain groups of people are isolated in a jungle somewhere. No one can really forecast just how much intermarriages will grow but there is one thing I am convinced of. By the end of this century, there will be a vast majority of the people in our world whose skin colour is light brown. Don’t get me wrong. That isn’t bad at all. By the end of the century following this century, I strongly suspect that almost everyone one earth will simply be one race; and be referred to as the human race. The one thing that will differentiate them is their religious beliefs and that too is not bad.

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