Number of Interracial Marriages, Mixed-Race Americans Growing Rapidly

FILE – Alex Diaz-Asper (left) and his wife Rachel Lerman play with their twin boys, Alejandro (center left) and Miguel, 3, at their home in Washington, June 11, 2008. Changing social attitudes are helping increase the numbers of multiracial Americans at 10 times the rate of white population growth. (AP)

Delia Douglas’ experience growing up has been different from the rest of her schoolmates.

“In any of the storybooks that I was reading growing up, I remember the families always looked a certain way. Both parents matched,” she said. “Even it seemed like in many of the storylines that were about animal families, both bears kind of looked the same, and the baby bear looked the same.”

These storybooks did not reflect her family. Douglas’ father is African American and American Indian. Her mother is white. And Douglas is married to William Haight, who is white. They have a 5-year-old daughter who is fair skinned, with light hair.

“Especially in the first three years of my daughter’s life, people often would stop and ask me if I was the nanny. There were days when that would be incredibly frustrating,” Douglas recalled.

Mixed-race background
Life hasn’t always been easy for Douglas’ brother Ronnie Nells, who shares her mixed-race background.

“I was pulled over, I think, once a month for a year, and just asking where I was headed and what I was doing, or another cop would stop me,” said Ronnie Nells.

The Pew Research Center finds that 4 in 10 mixed-race Americans with black as a part of their racial makeup say they have been unfairly stopped by police. Sixty-nine percent say most people see them as black, and that their experience is more similar to the black community.

It was 50 years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that prohibited mixed marriages. Since then, there has been a sharp increase in interracial marriages.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of mixed-race Americans is growing three times faster than the U.S. population as a whole. The U.S. Census projects the multiracial population will triple by 2060. In the 1970s, 1 percent of children were of mixed race. That number has grown to 10 percent.

Many mixed-race Americans, including Damona Hoffman who is Russian Jewish and African American, find living in Los Angeles is much easier for biracial people than in other cities.

Viviane Arlotto, who is South Korean and Belgian, grew up in many different places, including South Korea and the United States, and agrees Los Angeles is more accepting of people of mixed race.

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SOURCE: VOA News, Elizabeth Lee