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Intercultural Marriages in America

By Katie Schultz


It's not uncommon to hear North America be called a "melting pot of diversity". According to the U.S Census Bureau, as of 2014, the total United States population is made up of around 17 percent Hispanics, 13 percent African-Americans, about 5 percent Asian, and 78 percent Caucasian. These numbers are from individuals whom identified only as one race.

In the mid 1900's several states across America had anti-miscegenation laws in affect, outlawing interracial marriages and relationships-mostly between African-Americans and Caucasians. In the 1967 landmark Supreme Court ruling in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional and that interracial couples can marry without legal repercussions.

Interracial married couple households account for 10 percent of all married households in the United States according to the 2010 Census conducted by the U.S Census Bureau. According to a different study conducted by the Pew Research Center, in 2010, 9 percent of Caucasians, 17 percent of African-Americans, 26 percent of Hispanics, and 28 percent of Asians married "out" of their race among all marriages that year.

Also, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2012, 43 percent of Americans believe that interracial marriages has been a positive change in society. On the other hand, 11 percent of Americans believe that it has been a negative change in society, while 44 percent are indifferent.

"I don't see [the 11%] gap in interracial or interethnic relationships shrinking," says Jessica Garcia, a 36 year old married woman. "I think society is more focused on finding the right person for them, and not necessarily the right person in the right race or ethnicity."

"Society has made a lot of advances in this area and I hope to see this continue to grow." Says Jose, 30.

In 2010, Jose and Jessica Garcia married in a quaint, waterside wedding surrounded by family- family that includes Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Caucasians.

Intercultural families might be able to compromise on the differences and be able to represent both cultures equally in their lives, or even choose to represent one over the other.

"We have mutual respect for one another and the cultures we grew up in" says Jessica. "We decided what we wanted our children to have and be a part of, and the rest fell into place."

"I have a huge appreciation for seafood now and all things southern." Adds Jose, whose wife grew up in the South whereas he is from the Northeast.

"I honestly embrace his language [Spanish] probably more than he does. I would like him to use more Spanish with the children much more than he does. I love to hear him speak Spanish and how family is held with such a high regard in his culture" Admits Jessica when they discussed each other's culture and how they represented them in their household. "But, for the most part it's all about compromise and respect and communication [in our household]." Which is a huge part in raising their four children, ages one to ten.

When it comes to practicing religion the Garcia's are both Christian, with Jose being Catholic as well.  "Faith [is] important to the both of us, but where we worship wasn't really an issue. We've done things through his church and some through mine." revealed Jessica, Jose agreed.

When it comes to prejudice against their relationship, both Jessica and Jose admit they nothing extreme has ever been said or done towards them, but that "sometimes you can just tell by their tone or mannerisms how they feel about your intercultural relationship." 

However, Jessica opens up about the struggle of having a Latin surname. "I think one thing people struggle with is my name. Jessica Garcia is a very common Latina name and so people assume that I speak Spanish, which I in fact do not. When they find out I do not and they realize I'm English and Native American they seem to get a little irritated that I've taken one of their own."

The importance of family and the power of prayer is a driving force in making their marriage great. "We've had four of the most amazing children given to us via intercultural relationships. We have both learned a lot about the world through one another and how we were raised. We were definitely raised very differently, but we make it work and bring all of that to the table. We decide as a couple what we want for our children and in the end it's all the same stuff...regardless of our backgrounds and ethnicities, we want our children to grow up and respect humanity, treat all people with kindness and respect and to live their life to the fullest potential. We want our children to know love and the power of prayer above anything else in this world." Jose and Jessica collectively agreed.
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Comments *

1) Re: Intercultural Marriages in America
Written by cateyes on October 19, 2015, 03:36:51 AM
  Interesting article...there are stats I had wondered about

  thanks Katie for the article

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