Interracial marriage and darker skin tones

by Alex Castro on September 10, 2015 - 3:14pm

            “A Bias More Than Skin Deep” is an opinion article published by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times on July 13, 2015. The article is a commentary on interracial relationships and how it affects the world’s perspective on ethnic minorities, particularly darker skin tones. The author addresses a feature on the National Geographic website from 2013 depicting 2 portraits of boys using a variety of colors for hair, skin, and lips. The feature is a reference to the ever-growing percentage of interracial marriage in America and how it will skew the concept of race or what Americans should look like in the near future. The author points to a Pew Research Center report from 2012 showing 15% of new marriages were that of an interracial nature. The author states the purported “browning” of America is not only a result of immigration factors or racial/ethnic variances in birth rates but also interracial pairing and racial identifications. The author then argues the increase in interracial marriage does not contribute to a change in the views of individuals on minorities or darker skin tones nor does it affect the bias towards ethnic minorities. For example, many cultures around the world wish to ‘preserve’ their lighter skin tones. The author uses the example of Chinese individuals wearing ski masks to the beach to maintain their skin, or individuals in India using ‘whitening cleansers’. Furthermore, choosing partners, many Hispanic and Asian men/women still prefer men/women that do not highlight “black” as part of their racial or ethnic profile. The author then closes off the article by saying people around the world should find peace with dark skin itself, and to not impose or assume character based on color.

            The author of the article understands the difference between race and ethnicity but appears to use both terms for accessibility’s sake. The use of racial words does not hinder the quality or the point of the article, but merely serves to cater to peoples’ current understanding of race in interracial relationships. I agree with the author’s notion stating if we truly want to have a healthy America, people need to work towards the elimination of their bias towards ethnic minorities and darker skin tones. The article, however, does not contribute to a better understanding of the concept of ‘race’ or ethnicity, but offers an argument on how this variation in interracial partner preferences is but a “socio-evolutionary sidestepping” to anti-black and anti-dark racism, not an overcoming. I draw evidence from Curnoe’s article on Human races to state skin color preference is a superficial method of choosing a partner, as human beings are too similar in terms of actual biology to draw any real discernable differences between darker and lighter individuals. Curnoe states the data used to divide races were retrofitted, making those categories poor indicators of racial superiority. In turn, there is absolutely no reason for human beings to have racial or ethnic bias towards each other and the increase in interracial marriage does not automatically assume a lack of problem on the international level regarding the perspective on darker skin tones.


I chose to comment on this post because the topic of interracial relationships and marriages is very relevant in today's society as they are becoming more and more common. I believe that this is due to racism slowly yet consistently becoming less common as society progresses as a whole. As a result, I disagree with the author when he argues that the increase in interracial marriages does not contribute to a change in the views that people have on minorities or people with darker skin tones. I believe that over time as there are more and more interracial relationships and marriages, racism will slowly die out through generations of children with parents of different races and cultures. Through my experience, I think that people who were exposed to different races at a young age are less likely to be racist or to have racial assumptions on a particular group of people. The effects that interracial relationships and marriages will have on racism may not be fully felt today or tomorrow but over time, I believe that it can only help diminish racial segregation. I think the question is not if interracial marriages will help neutralize racism but in fact how long it will take to do so? More importantly, will it be in time to reverse the damages that racism has already done to our society or are we simply too far gone for that?

About the author

Alex, 19, myth of race & reality of racism student.