This could be one of those examples of ‘two steps forward, three steps back’. A young Australian woman says she was outraged and more than a little saddened to have received a message from a stranger on social media that condemned her choice of partner, because he was of a different race.
Cynthia, a 22-year-old from Perth, told the Daily Mail Australia she discovered the message in her Facebook inbox on October 25 and says it was “one of the worst feelings ever felt”.
“I just want to say one thing. You and your boyfriend do not deserve happiness. You are black and he is white. How could you fall for someone with a different race than you. This is disrespectful and disgusting. I can not believe he went for you when he could have gone for another other white girl in australia [sic]. Im [sic] sorry but this is disgraceful. White people should stay with white people!!!!” the message reads.
While the identity of the sender has been hidden, Cynthia did capture a screenshot of it before deleting it.
It raises an interesting discussion point — is there something wrong with interracial couples?
A study published in the United States earlier this year highlighted that while most people say they are accepting of such relationships, there is some hidden bias.
The study, which surveyed students at the University of Nebraska recorded their brain activity while they looked at hundreds of couples and found that the imagery triggered a part of the brain that registers disgust.
This might be somewhat surprising for some, and not at all worrying for others.
However, it’s worth noting that throughout the last few decades there have been numerous interracial relationships that have changed history.
Take Mildred and Richard Loving for example. They married in July 1958 and were promptly thrown in jail. See, at the time of their union there were laws in 24 American states that prohibited the marriage of people from different races. Yet in 1963 they went to the American Civil Liberties Union to fight their case in court and after an extensive battle the Supreme Court ruled that preventing someone from marrying on the basis of race was unconstitutional. It was a landmark victory for the time.
Relationships are difficult. Marriage is one hell of a journey. If you have kids things become slightly more complicated. However, throw in cultural and religious differences and the list of challenges seems to be endless.
Perhaps what is most interesting is that in a time when gay marriage is becoming more widely accepted, getting into a relationship with someone from a different race, religion, heritage or cultural background than you still comes with judgements and a sense of taboo.