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October 15, 2012

Essay on Interracial Marriage, State Laws, and Racial Purity

11:46 AM

Interracial marriage, state laws, & racial purity
The American society is the combination of different races, culture and ethnicities. History of America has the long history about the races, ethnicities and their struggle about the equal rights. However, as far as the issues regarding the interracial marriage, state laws, & racial purity are concerned, they also have the entangled historical background with the American history. The term interracial marriage is about the marriage among the different races. Historically, the Interracial marriage is belong to the marriage between the white and blacks and concept of interracial sexuality was about the having sex with the black woman by the white men that was acceptable but vice versa were don’t hold at that issue.
In that connection of Interracial sexuality, the writer Adele Logan Alexander did a marvelous and groundbreaking work, The book: Ambiguous Lives: Free Women of Color in Rural Georgia, 1789–1879. In this book Adele Logan Alexander focused the history of America, its slavery conditions, race and gender issues by demonstrating her own family experience. Her work about the sexual exploitation and harassment with the salve southern ladies is a useful discussion: “ While bi-racial sexual contact was most likely a frequent occurrence throughout the colonial Georgia low country, we have no precise method of gauging its extent.
The ‘mulatto’ population is testimony to a significant degree of mixed-race intercourse, with many sexual encounters involving the abuse of black women by their white owners or overseers. Some members of the white elite explicitly discouraged relationships between overseers and slaves, preferring to employ married men precisely because of this concern.  In 1768 Henry Laurens wrote a ‘friendly admonition’ to Mr. McCullough, his overseer at Broughton Island, advising him ‘against keeping a wench in the house in open adultery.’ Perhaps this relationship meant a great deal to him, or perhaps he viewed the sexual exploitation of enslaved women as a privilege of his position.
Whatever his motivation, Mr. McCullough felt so strongly about this letter that he tendered his resignation, though it was later withdrawn. Another of Laurens’ overseers kept his slave mistress as a house-servant, despite his recent marriage to a white woman.” (Alexander 20-35)
Besides, the key aspect is that during the beginning period of sixteenth century, people who are involved in the interracial sex have to face the sanction, punishments as well as social boycotts. In that connection even white ladies who were involved in love and in sexual activities with the black men were also punished.
Furthermore, before the era of 1691, Miscegenation and interracial sexual relationship used to discourage and considered as the socially deviant issue. However, historically, there were varied legal restrictions in varied American States but the Virginia was the first state that inked to legislation the first statue in the connection of miscegenation. The notion that was propagated in support of anti interracial sexual relationship and marriage can easily be understood by the wordings of Francis Galton who present his ideology in 1863, according to him “if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring." (Riggs).
However, by the passage of time, several so-called American “race scientists” further tailored these ideas, according to him, apposite notion regarding the Francis Galton is also true because gene or gene group could further be polished and improved by removing the faulty ones.
During the period of 1920s and 1930s, several states were followed and implanted the banes on interracial marriages and obligatory sterilization.  In that regard, Racial Integrity Act of Virginia restricted to have the sterilization for those persons who are categorized as “feebleminded” including the epileptic, idiotic, insane and imbecile. By the era of 1956, there were twenty four states that following the involuntary sterilization process (Riggs).
However, the aspect is that anti-miscegenation laws about the anti-miscegenation were enacted in the different states with the different forms. According to the California Law Review, 1944: ““Although originally the statutes were directed wholly against Negro-Caucasion unions, the scope of the legislation now extends to interdictions against marriage between white men and Mongolians, Malayans, mulatto, or even American Indians. The ban on marriages between negroes and whites is still the most common one: the unions are banned throughout the South, the Southeast, and the West except for Washington and New Mexico; the interdictions are non-existent in New England, and the Middle Atlantic States outside of Delaware, and in the North Central States except Indiana; and, in the “great farm belt,” typical is the situation of states like Nebraska and Iowa living side by side one with a miscegenation statute, and one without. Mongolian-Caucasian marriages are prohibited in fourteen states, mostly in the West but a few in the South. Some five western states prohibit Malay-white marriages. South Dakota especially names Koreans in its miscegenation statute. Five states, scattered throughout the South and West, place Indian-white marriages in their prohibited classes. In all the states which have miscegenation statutes, except California, these marriages are not only void’ but are subject to criminal penalties. The penalties fall upon all persons, white and “colored” alike, either for attempting such a marriage or, as the attempted marriage is void, for engaging in illegal extramarital relations.” ("MercatorNet")
The key theme of all these polices and procedure is to support the notion about the racial purity as discussed above. It should be noticed that The Racial Integrity act of 1924, was the outcome of eugenics activities. Furthermore, the Virginia also passed the Eugenical Sterilization Act (SB 281).  ("MercatorNet")
However, in the lawsuit of Buck V. Bell, 1927, upholding action of Supreme Court in the connection of the constitutionality about the in voluntary sterilization act, 1924 was the key turn. The Oliver Wendell Holmes who was the Supreme Court justice expressed the historical remarks that are, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough”. (Riggs)
The rules and regulation about the interracial love and marriage were in the quest until the 1967 and then these legislations had to face the outlaws by the US congress.


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