DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Interracial marriages have hit a new high. According to a new Pew Research Center study, they’ve more than doubled in the last two decades so that now, 1 out of every 12 marriages is a mixed race marriage.
While experts say they are becoming less of a rarity, there’s still a long way to go. Joanna and Jeremy Ridge are an interracial couple from Denton.
She’s Hispanic. He’s African American. She remembers the looks she got when they started dating.
“When we were dating, we would go to restaurants and a lot of older people would stare at us,” she said.
That did not keep them from marrying in 2010, a record year for interracial marriages.
There were nearly half a million mixed race marriages in Texas that year.
As a boy, Jeremy Ridge thought he’d marry an African American.
“99 percent of my family is African American. So, I think that’s what you grow up doing,” he said.
Pew found those who view intermarriage as a change for the better were: minorities, college-educated, residents in the West and Northeast and young adults.
Jonny Carroll of DTXWeddings.com is a 25-year-old wedding photographer who’s seen the uptick in interracial marriages firsthand.
He said, “When I went back to the photos, I was surprised to see how many different couples were not the exact same ethnicity.”
From a marriage counseling standpoint, Denton Bible Church Senior Pastor, Tom Nelson said, race is rarely an issue.
“We have never had any problem in any counseling in our church because of races. We have had bunches of problems on same racial couples that one will obey the bible and one will not,” he said.
“It’s the contrast on what you think on moral conduct. That’s what gets you in trouble,” he said.
Experts say mixed-race children grow up as bridges in the race divide but that America still has a long way to go.
According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics and Asians remained the most likely, as in previous decades, to marry someone of a different race.