I am the product of an interracial marriage; my dad is white and my mom is Korean. And because of my experience as the biracial child of an interracial couple, I have always felt like race should have no place when it comes to love. Call me naive, but it confuses and offends me to to hear people talk about how they wouldn't date or marry a person of such-and-such race. Of course, attraction and love are tricky, complicated subjects when it comes to race (i.e. when does attraction cross over into fetishism?). But, ultimately, it makes my head explode to consider the idea that I would refuse to fall in love - or refuse to marry somebody I loved - if that person were of a different race than me. The idea is to me - a biracial person - personally hurtful.
Ultimately, however, I married a Korean American man. Being Korean was not on my Future Husband Checklist, but marrying my husband and starting a family with him has connected me more deeply to my Korean American identity. I am both proud and grateful for that. I like that my husband and I share a culture, identity and experience as second generation Korean Americans and I love being able to share that with our kids, but I know also that neither or marital bliss nor our familial strength are based predominately on those commonalities.
These experiences - as a mixed-race person married to a somebody of my own race (sort of) - make the recent report on the rise in interracial marriage by the Pew Research Center endlessly fascinating to me. Even more exciting perhaps is the section of their report on the Millennial Generation (teens and 20-somethings, that would include me) that reports on the near-universal acceptance of interracial dating and marriage among my generation. The first report on interracial marriage claims that 1 in 7 U.S. marriages is interracial or interethnic and this has got a lot of people very excited. As groundbreaking as this might seem, this CNN opinion piece by Cornell professor Daniel T. Litcher suggests that everybody calm down, take a deep breath and realize that the reason we've seen such a rise in the first place is that the baseline was so low to begin with. It was only in 1967, after all, that interracial marriage became legal. In other words, we've come a long way, but only because there were virtually no interracial marriages a couple generations ago.