In the United States, the federal government lifted bans on interracial marriage in 1967 with the historic Loving v. Virginia ruling. This resulted in a dramatic increase of interracial marriages from 2% of all married couples in 1970 to 8.4% in 2010. This figure fits with the Pew Research statistic stating that, as of 2012, more than 17% of the black American population married someone whose race was different than their own, contrasted with 9.4% of white Americans.
Much of the American view on interracial is overwhelming popular in the 21st century, with the phenomenon of growing exogomic trends being seen as a morally superior reaction to the United States’ history of institutional racism. However, despite the self-righteousness that we all may feel as we sing “Kumbaya” around the campfire of multiculturalism, there is an ugly side effect to rampant exogamy in the United States.
The offspring of ethnically diverse couples are genetically inferior to the offspring of couples whose racial groups are closer to each other. Nick Glasgow, a 28-year-old man from California who contracted leukemia in 2009, was one-quarter Japanese, and due to his mixed racial heritage could not find a bone marrow donor. Glasgow passed away in October 2009.
“The truth is, when people of different backgrounds marry and produce offspring, it creates more types that are harder to match,” said Michelle Setterholm, a healthcare professional. “The probability just gets lower when you have people of mixed ancestral DNA.”
Had Glasgow possessed only one racial genotype, he would have possessed a nearly 90 percent chance of finding a corresponding donor. Unfortunately, medical science is racist, and because Glasgow was of mixed racial descent, his leukemia was beyond the ability of any doctor or nurse.
In additional to medical complications, interracial children have been found to be more susceptible to psychological problems, notably identity disorders, depression, substance abuse, reckless behavior, and suicidal tendencies. Dr. J. Richard Udry, Dr. Rose Maria Li, and Janet Henderson published an article in the American Journal of Public Health detailing the health and behavioral risks of adolescents with mixed-race identities.
Data in the article was derived from “self reports of race using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which provides a large representative national sample of adolescents in grades 7 through 12.” The academic results of the study found that “mixed-race adolescents showed higher risk when compared with single-race adolescents on general health questions, school experience, smoking and drinking, and other risk variables.”
In a separate article published in 2014 titled, “Mixed experiences: growing up mixed race – mental health and well-being,” 21 interracial individuals shared their experiences growing up with an unorthodox identity.
“I was surprised at how much racism, from black and white people, had come their way,” stated the author, Dinah Morley. “A lot of children were seen as black when they might be being raised by a white single parent and had no understanding of the black culture.”
Because of the inevitability of misidentification, many interracial children develop psychological issues due to their inability to establish or understand their racial identity. According to Morley, the strongest common experience was the “too white to be black, too black to be white”.
Identity crises, medical issues, and various psychological problems are latent in children born from two parents of varying ethnic racial paradigms, which may lead one to believe that exogamy is inherently unhealthy to a society. Certainly, a portion of the issue is inherent in social structures that will likely never fade away, yet, there is an insurmountable biological component that proves that there is an intrinsically negative aspect of interracial marriages; namely, the children that struggle to thrive.