The Color Love

Lauren Curmi

The latest comedy to hit the theaters, “Guess Who,” starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher deals openly with interracial dating. In the film, a father has difficulty dealing with his daughter’s white boyfriend. Instead of skirting around the issue, this movie deals with it head on in a humorous fashion.

But interracial dating is no laughing matter.

Anti-miscegenation laws, which prevented whites from marrying outside their race, date back to 1661. Interracial marriage was punishable by imprisonment. In fact, it was not until 1967 that the Supreme Court declared laws barring interracial marriage unconstitutional.

Since then, the percentage of interrcial couples has increased, yet the number still remains low. The 2000 Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, revealed that Caucasians and African-Americans were less likely than Hispanic-Americans and Americans of other races to be involved in an interracial relationship. This perhaps is due to negative societal attitudes towards African-American-Caucasian relationships.

Shockingly from the 1950’s to 2000, Bob Jones University, located in Greenville, South Carolina had a ban in place against interracial dating. Christianity Today claims that the university had justified its ban on interracial dating by saying that God created people differently for a reason. In front of millions of people on March 3, 2000, Jones repealed the ban on Larry King Live.

This ban stirred up a great deal of talk on the issue and sparked a passionate debate which still prevails.

Today, media culture promotes acceptance of interracial relationships. Indeed, Seal and Heidi Klum are the hottest new couple. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren along with Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Laine also add to the list of famous interracial couples.

According to New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, one survey found that 40 percent of Americans had dated someone of another race. Additionally, a survey from 1999 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, found that 70 percent of whites and 82 percent of blacks polled approved of interracial dating. Further, 77 percent of non-whites and 60 percent of whites voiced approval of interracial marriage. 

Interracial dating has become much more accepted. Yet, it still seems taboo to some. Within our own collegiate community, students have spoken out on the controversial issue and their feelings about campus acceptance.

Junior Kimberly Fernandes stated that “I don’t think it’s harder to have an interracial relationship here at Villanova than it is anywhere because if you’re in an interracial relationship you surround yourself with people that will be supportive. Those who aren’t are not worth the time.”

Another concerned student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “My challenge has been my own ignorance. I’m worried about saying something offensive. Culture has also been a problem for me. My family says certain things that make me believe they wouldn’t approve of my relationship.”

Studies have shown that college students are open to the idea of an interracial relationship.

Another student stated that “interracial relationships can be challenging at times because of the differences but in general once you have a connection with someone, the rest doesn’t matter.” This philosophy is certainly a good one to live by.