Racism in Interracial Marriages:
A Phenomenon of the Past or a Pressing Issue Today?
In the past two decades, the rate of interracial marriage has more than doubled in the United States, reaching a record high of 8.4 percent of all marriages in 2010—a stark contrast to 3.2 percent in 1980 (Jayson, 2012). For those inhabiting racially and ethnically diverse, metropolitan communities such as Los Angeles or New York City, interracial couples represent a frequent, if not common, observation. Despite its perceived frequency and, therefore, presumed acceptance in the broader American society, interracial marriage continues to incite resistance, prejudice, and controversy today, nearly 50 years after the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling, which denounced state bans on interracial marriage as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Head). The recent case of the Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni, an African and Caucasian couple who were banned from membership in a Kentucky church in 2011, exposes the deeply-entrenched systems of racial inequality persisting in the U.S. In a racially hyper-sensitive society where outspoken negative attitudes on race are dismissed as taboo, it is difficult to surface and address such systems. By highlighting current issues in diversity, the new media, therefore, represents a critical and strategic instrument in the endeavor to move towards a more inclusive and equitable society that embraces both the individuality and common characteristics of diverse peoples.
In December 2011, Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni, Stella’s then boyfriend and now fiancé, were denied of participation in a small, all-white Appalachian church in rural Kentucky (Daily News). During the couple’s second visit to the church in June 2011, Ticha sang a song for the congregation. After the service, Dean Harville, Stella’s father and church secretary, was approached by a church member, Melvin...