In 1958, Richard Loving, a White man, and his wife Mildred, a Black woman, were arrested for the crime of being married. Although the couple had been legally wed in the District of Columbia, they became outlaws when they moved to Virginia, where interracial marriages were then illegal. This incident eventually led the 1967 landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriages.
Today, about 12% of American couples are interracially married. Nevertheless, negative social attitudes about “mixed marriages” still abound. According to Wesleyan University psychologist Roxie Chuang and colleagues, it’s not just the White majority that looks with suspicion at interracial couples. Indeed, interracial marriages are often disparaged in racial minority communities as well.
Chuang and colleagues start with the observation that there are quite large gender imbalances in American interracial marriages. The most common combination is a Black man married to a White woman, with the reverse pairing of a White man and a Black woman being quite uncommon. The second most likely type consists of a White man married to an Asian woman, again with the reverse of an Asian man and a White woman being much less frequent.