Latina women chipping away at the stigma of interracial marriages

NBC LATINO – Natalia Walker’s mother was shocked when she learned her daughter was dating a black man.

“My mom and I were very, very close and then she stopped talking to me for three months. Every time my husband would come and pick me up, she would say something degrading,” she says.

The tension between them even caused backlash from the rest of the family. That was 5 years ago. But despite the family drama, she stayed with him. Now they are happily married.

Though miscegenation has been legal in the United States since 1967, and interracial relationships are common in our lives and in the media, many publically continue to criticize these couples. As recently as 2010, a Louisiana justice of the peace in New Orleans refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple. He claimed he wasn’t racist, but did it out of concern for their future children. In 2011 a Kentucky church even voted to ban interracial couples from their congregation.

Sometimes the biggest challenge a couple faces is not criticism from their families, but the negative reactions from strangers.

Lily Hernandez, 27, a Mexican American woman who has been dating her white boyfriend for a year now, says that her mother was initially worried about how his family would treat her, but that both of their families turned out to be open-minded. Surprisingly, strangers are actually the ones who seem the most worried about their relationship.

“We get stared at more at places where most of the people are Hispanic,” she says. And recently, an older white man at the mall became visibly upset after her boyfriend gave her a kiss. “He was so disgusted and shook his head.”

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