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Interracial marriage: Your stories of the good, the bad and the ugly

Kenny Dornhoefer stands with his new wife, Jaya Ganaishalm, after being wed during a group Valentine's Day wedding in West Palm Beach, Fla. A Pew report finds that marriages between people of a different race or ethicity are at an all-time high in America.

A Pew Research Center report out Thursday finds that Americans are becoming more accepting of interracial marriages, and your stories seem to bear that out – most of the time.

Msnbc.com asked our Facebook followers to share their experiences of being married to a spouse who is of a different race or ethnicity, and more than 400 people responded. Most said they did indeed find more tolerance today among family, friends and strangers. But many also shared stories of stares and glares in public, disowning by family members and discrimination by businesses.

We feature some of your stories below. But first, a little background:

The Pew report found that marriage between races and ethnic groups has reached an all-time high in the U.S. Couples of different race or ethnicity made up a record 8.4 percent of all married couples in 2010, up from 3.2 percent in 1980. About 15 percent of all new U.S. marriages in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity. The report also said nearly two-thirds of Americans say it “would be fine” if a member of their own family were to marry someone outside their own racial or ethnic group. In 1986, the public was divided about this.

Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, says the findings aren't surprising and reflect the continuation of a trend seen over the past few decades. 

“Racial intermarriage was very effectively suppressed in American society in the past, and so there’s still a lot of room to go up,” Rosenfeld said.

But Rosenfeld also notes that race is still the biggest “barrier in the marriage market” in the U.S. today – that is, people are much more likely to marry outside their religion or social class, for example, than they are to marry outside their race.

Msnbc's Thomas Roberts discusses the study with TheGrio.com's David Love.

“You’re still several hundred times more likely to be married to a black person if you’re black,” he noted.

In fact, the Pew report noted, interracial marriage in the U.S. wasn’t fully legal in all states until a 1967 Supreme Court ruling that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

Here are some of your Facebook stories, some of which have been edited for length, clarity and style. You can read more of them on our Facebook page.

‘Long-legged blonde’
I am African-American and have been married for over 35 years to a fantastic long-legged blonde :-) We met in Cali in our 20s. Two kids and four grandkids. We are one in each other’s thoughts and minds. We never gave a rat’s ass what anyone thought. Before her dad died he told me that he could not have had a better son-in-law. It made me cry. I used to think he was a bigot. But he turned out to be my other dad. If you love someone don’t care what other people think. Live your life for you and your family. Thirty-five years and counting! Yes, we’re both over 55.
Dennis Ravy

Getting carded
I'm white, my wonderful, hardworking husband is black. We overlook the very obvious judgments that are passed on to us by people of all races. We live in a predominately white city. By the way, HE grew up here, as the second black family here, I did not. One very obvious example of our daily lives for us and our four now-grown children is this:

I use and carry my husband’s debit/credit card with me, because I do majority of the shopping. Mind you, HIS name is the only one on the card and account. When I use as a credit card, I never ever get carded, even though my name is quite obviously NOT David. Now, if he goes to use his own card at the same exact stores, they card him every single time! Go figure. So sad to me, but so true and relevant on what we go through over stereotypes ... not including, looks, stares, shaking of heads.
Brigette Riche Hood

Still a ways to go
I am white and Mexican though you cannot see the Mexican in me. My wife is black. We live in the Tampa-area suburbs not far from the biggest stupid Confederate flag in America. Our day care that we take our son to has lots of interracial kids. As far as problems, it has been mostly old people of both sides that you see looks from. Some young black guys once in Ybor City asked my wife what she was doing with me. But they were just talk. And we were at Busch Gardens once when there were two losers drinking in the parking lot with mud and Confederate flags all over their truck who said ‘gross’ as we walked by. When I asked what they said they started on some racial slurs. As bad as I wanted to drop them I had my 4-year-old with us so I just reported them. So, yes, things are better but still have a way to go.
Frank Mendoza

Marry your own race?
I am a white women married to an Asian man, and for me in my community people are very accepting of us. But when we go to Sacramento, Calif., where he is from, we get a lot of comments from other Asian people, usually people who are older, who think he should have married in his own race. I sometimes even catch his mom saying things about it, but it hasn’t caused us to view our relationship any different. We love each other and have a beautiful kid together and that’s all that matters.
Lorna Bryce

Not black and white
My son is biracial, born in 1981. When I went to put his race on the birth certificate they told me I couldn’t put two races on it, I had to choose black. I refused, they marked it anyway. When I registered him for school, it was the same thing. I refused to put just one race. It was tough back then. When I applied for his Social Security card, they point-blank made me mark black. I argued and told them he was white and black. I used to go look for apartments and had to leave my son at home because they wouldn’t have rented to me otherwise. I even had a landlord ask for the key back once he realized I was in an interracial relationship with a biracial child. Nowadays, (interracial marriage) is just common.
Shari Johnson

Jack Kurtz / Zuma Press

Couples gather on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court for their mass wedding ceremony to mark the Valentine's Day holiday. A new Pew report says the number of interracial marriages in the U.S. is at an all-time high.

The look
My husband and I have always lived in South Carolina. In the 10 years of being together, I've had one negative comment directly to me. I notice people ''looking'' at us, if I look for it, but I don't ''look'' for it. There are places in this state you just do not go to if you are in an interracial relationship, or if you are black, period. That's one sad aspect of living in the South. I have received some ''surprise'' reactions that I'm married to a black man, but to us we are just two people in love.
Kelly Cope Browne

No loans
We were married 48 years ago. We avoided the South, especially Virginia. In fact, I have never been to most Southern states because it was so dangerous, lawless like Somalia today. That said, we never had any personal confrontations or incidents. On the negative side, local banks denied us loans, real estate agents red-lined us, and some restaurants gave us very poor service. Once someone dumped garbage on our lawn. But these incidents all occurred in the ‘60s.
Edward E Archer

Elephants in the room
I am white and my husband is black. We honestly have not experienced negativity. Our friends are OK with it (many of them have had interracial relationships). Our families are also OK with it and our church is OK with it (my husband is a minister). We don't even really get looks when we are out, most of the time I forget that we are even different races. He is my husband and best friend and I don't think about him in terms of the color of his skin. I don't go around saying "my black husband" and he doesn't call me his "white wife."

But we don't let our differences be elephants in the room either. We talk about them, joke about them, learn from them. Looking at us, it is obvious in what ways we are different, but on the inside we are so much more alike than just a glance could tell someone, so I am glad we have not experienced others judging us. Honestly though, if people did judge us, we would just go on about our lives and business. We know what we have and what those who want to judge must be lacking, so why worry ourselves about it? People can stand around and hate all they want; they will not separate us or bring us down. We are a team, and a pretty awesome one at that!
Jill Stoneburner Clark

Not so Nicely
When I was an undergrad at ISU in the ‘60s, a white, art student friend, let's call her Nicely, asked me to have lunch with her and her parents, who were visiting from Pennsylvania for the first time. I was a bit befuddled, as we were not particularly close, but I agreed, since she said she really wanted me to be there. So I showed up and had a cafeteria meal with two uptight oldsters who seemed excessively interested in me. We chatted for an hour or so, and then I excused myself, saying I had a class to get to. The next time I saw Nicely I asked her what all of that mess was all about. She told me that when she was in high school in Pennsylvania she fell in love with a black fellow and told her parents about it. They immediately had her committed to a ward of a psychiatric hospital. They let her out when she agreed to break off the romance and go to a good university out of state and never see the fellow again. Sad story, I said, but what does it have to do with me? Oh, she replied, you were my new white, upwardly mobile boyfriend for an hour or two. Thanks for your help.
Ron Hutchison

‘White Rice’
I'm a petite Thai woman married to a white former Marine. The ‘White Rice’ combination hasn't been much of an issue. His Texan extended family was great to me -- once I showed them I can pack a chicken fried steak and a Shiner in like the rest of them. However, I was surprised that his older coworker asked him once if he "rescued" me when he was overseas. He didn't sock the guy, thank God. I told him next time just say what I say, that we met at a go-go bar in Bangkok where HE was dancing. (All kidding aside, we met when we both were working at a dot com during the boom.)

Long tan
Give it 500 years and eventually everyone in the world will be tan, and racism won’t exist.
Ed Post

Read the full Pew report

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