American society has made major strides in eliminating racial bias over the last 3 decades. This is especially true with regard to eliminating the racial prejudices that fostered the segregation of minorities to their own communities, businesses and social institutions. One area of racial bias that has taken the longest to overcome in American society is interracial marriage. Prior civil rights legislation, many states had enacted laws that prohibited interracial marriage, making marriage between people of two different races illegal. Laws like these no longer exist however interracial marriage is not wholly embraced by American society. Although the concept of interracial marriage most commonly brings to mind marriage between a black and white couple, interracial marriage has become increasingly common among couples of all races and ethnic groups.
Interracial marriage is not only an issue at a community or social level but also at the familial level. Along with many of their white counterparts, many other racial and ethnic groups have historically discouraged interracial marriage. While the laws criminalizing interracial marriages no longer exist, there are still moral and religious ideologies that perceive marriage between racially diverse couples as unacceptable. Some experts maintain that although there appears to be a greater acceptance of interracial marriage, it is more likely that American society has become more tolerant of interacial dating rather than interracial marriage. This claim is supported by research demonstrating much higher rates of interracial dating than interracial marriage.