Americans are more accepting of interracial marriage than they were more than two decades ago, according to a new study released last week by the Pew Research Center, which called it the “fading of a taboo.”
Thirty five percent of the people surveyed said that they have a member of their immediate family or a close relative that is married to someone of another race and 63 percent said it “would be fine” with them if a member of their own family were to marry someone outside their own racial or ethnic group.
But this was not the case in 1986. Back then the public was heavily divided on this issue, the Pew Center discovered, with only one-third of the public approving of marriages between people of different races or ethnicities. Three in ten Americans found interracial marriage completely unacceptable.
Ben Sandler, who owns the Kickshaw restaurant in Astoria with his wife, Jennifer Lim, said he had no qualms about marrying outside his race — he is of eastern European descent and his wife is Asian — and they have not experienced any racism since they took their wedding vows in 2009, he said.
“I grew up in New York City with its multiculturalism, so intellectually it was not a concern,” Sandler said Wednesday. “My father was a hippie.”
When asked why he thinks people have become more accepting of mixed marriages, as the Pew study indicates, Sandler replied, “Time is working its magic. There are a lot of amazing people out there making progress on these issues.”
In 2010, about 15 percent of all new marriages nationwide were between people of different races or ethnic origins — that’s double the amount it was in 1980. Some 28 percent of Asians, 26 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks and 9 percent of whites married outside their race, according to the study.
The public remains divided, however, when it comes to less traditional family arrangements. More than 43 percent of people said unmarried couples living together is bad for society — the same amount that agrees that more same-sex or unmarried couples shouldn’t raise children.