Two new articles were published today, expanding on data from the latest 2010 U.S. Census statistics on mixed-race families. First comes a piece from USA Today reporting that interracial marriages in the country is at an all-time high, with one in ten married couples have partners of different races. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nationwide, mixed-race marriages have increased by 28% in the past decade. Western states, such as California (12.8%), Nevada (13.3%), Washington (10.9%) lead the way. Surprisingly, the highest rate of interracial marriage is in Oklahoma, where 17.2% of unions are to a spouse of a different race.
Not surprisingly, there are also more mixed-race babies being born, according to a story from the Washington Post. Notably, the number of children born to Asian and white couples almost doubled, as it did for white and black couples.
But the most surprising part of it all? Both newspaper articles quoted bloggers who write specifically about their interracial families, with Christelyn Karazin of Beyond Black and White being interviewed for the USA Today article, and Thien-Kim Lam of I’m Not the Nanny quoted in the Washington Post. You see, the Census data only confirms what we already know: there is a growing community of people with mixed-race marriages and families, yet even though these relationships are increasingly common, they are not without their challenges.
As I’ve been spending the past few days at the America Healing conference in New Orleans with hundreds of other advocates and journalists with an interest in racial issues, it’s crystallized the idea that race in America is not something that can be summed up in one article, or even a book. Racial identity — and especially when it comes to multiracials — is not monolithic. In the USA Today article, Karazin attributes the rise in interracial marriages to the Internet, saying she and her husband “would never have met” otherwise.
If it weren’t for the Internet, we wouldn’t be hearing about stories such as Thien-Kim’s or Christelyn’s. When I started HapaMama in 2008, I couldn’t find much information or on line support for parents of mixed-race kids. Since then, the community has grown to include many blogs each telling their unique stories about their mixed marriages or multiracial children, and it keeps growing. These are the narratives of our generation and our children’s generation.
For more information about interracial married couples on the United States Census Bureau website.