Another milestone is passing in America's racial journey: The next mayor of New York City is a white man with a black wife.

Even in a nation with a biracial president, where interracial marriage is more accepted and common than ever, Bill de Blasio's marriage to Chirlane McCray is remarkable: He is apparently the first white politician in U.S. history elected to a major office with a black spouse by his side.

This simple fact is striking a deep chord in many people as de Blasio prepares to take office on Jan. 1, with McCray playing a major role in his administration.

"It reflects the American values of embracing different races, ethnicities, religions. I think it's just a great symbol," said William Cohen, the former Maine senator and Secretary of Defense, who is married to a black woman.

Cohen was already a senator when he started dating Janet Langhart, a black television journalist. He proposed several times, but she feared that her race would hurt Cohen's political future. They married in 1996, a few weeks after Cohen announced he would not seek a fourth term.

"There has been that fear (of interracial marriage) on the part of politicians. I didn't have it," Cohen said. He noted that a few white politicians have married Latino or Asian women, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose wife is from Mexico, or Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is married to the Taiwan-born former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

There have been black men in politics who have been married to white women, such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas or former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke. And high-profile women such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose parents are from India, and Mia Love, the black mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, are married to white men.

Yet unions of white men and black women have retained a forbidden aura, Cohen said.

"It's black and white, it's slavery and Jim Crow and the fact you can't talk about it," he said. "Black and white has been more of a taboo in the eyes of enough people to be a deterrent."

The taboo is declining, polls show.

In July, a Gallup poll found that 87 percent of Americans approved of interracial marriage — the highest rate ever — compared with 4 percent in 1958. In 2010, more than 15 percent of all new marriages were interracial, according to the Pew Research Center.




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Excellent article Steph S.  Thanks

Well done. Interracial marriages have become so common so as not to even raise an eyebrow. I live in Texas and if there is a place where such unions would be frowned upon,it should be here, but mixed couples are so common no one even looks.

According to the Pew Research Center:

2013    87 % of Americans approved of interracial marriage; 

1958      4 %

2010, more than 15 percent of all new marriages were interracial.

Just look at how many years it took to overturn slavery for most USA citizens. Well, it is about time. When one considered that freedom was granted during the Civil War, it is taking this amount of time and all the energy to bring good old fashioned common sense and justice to begin to creep into our values. And think of all the blood that has been shed, for what? Well, I am celebrating big time, and when the mark reaches 100% I will be rocketing off to Mars.  

Thanks Steph. I'm reposting. 

Steph, do you mind if I repost to Twitter from your post? It is easier to do, and the drawback is that your name will be attached to the post. Since you don't use your last name and place, I would think there would be no problem for you. And you don't use your beautiful photo in your avatar.  

Looks like a loving couple and a happy, healthy family, at least on first glance.  And it's the kind of scene I'd be utterly unsurprised to see in Mississippi or Alabama ... in the year 2183, maybe...

I have been very little aware of prejudice against interracial relationships.  Once a landlord told a black-white couple to go away, then later he told me he wouldn't rent to interracial couples (but black or white couples were OK with him).  He was hispanic. 

My sister had ONLY black boyfriends for a long time - and likely still does.  I asked her once if she was attracted to black guys because they looked very little like our father.  She went "hmmm"  but wasn't sure. 

There may always be some prejudice against interracial relationships, because people tend to choose others who look like themselves, or look like their parents, for romantic relationships.  What people tend to choose, or their natural tendency, tends to harden into prejudice. 

For example, women naturally tend to have less muscle than men do, because men's higher testosterone level causes bigger muscles.  This has hardened into a prejudice against big muscles in women, and if women lift weights, they tend to do it in a way that won't cause them to get big muscles.  Women tend not to lift weights for strength. 

It's interesting to think about the hierarchy of what people consider "interracial" and what people tolerate, accept, or embrace.

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post was roundly criticized after stating that " “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. ...,” Cohen wrote. “This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.”

I could not link to the original Washington Post article.  The above link is from   In this article in, Cohen claims his assertion was not racist.  Cohen was roundly criticized for his column, in many articles on the web.  I think his article may have brought him, and the Washington Post more readership, which is unfortunate.

Prevalence of Interracial marriages depend on what you define as "interracial" and acceptance depends on ethnicity and sometimes on the gender of the partners.  Also where they are located.  Image from link above.  I think in this article, it refers to heterosexual marriages. 


In my readings, same-sex relationships are more open to interracial bonding.  This USA Today article mentions that difference, chart from that article is below

In some ways, I wonder why it was considered such a big deal that NY's new mayor is in an interracial marriage  It seems to me the press is behind much of the country.



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