A new Anderson 360 study on teens and race revealed a major generational divide between adolescents and their parents. The study found that some parents discourage interracial dating among their children and identify it as a source of anxiety.
Jimmy, an African-American middle school student, said that his parents disapprove of his white girlfriends. "They said, 'Why not your own kind?' because all my girls have been white," he told CNN. "It's not like they were like, 'You need to choose a black girl,' it's just they were asking me why I like white girls and I was just like, 'There's no... specific reason.' "
Although Jimmy's father says that he is supportive of his son dating outside his own race, he added: "When you see your kid always steering towards a different race, you want to make sure that he doesn't have a problem with his own race... Because we'd never seen him with a black girlfriend."
According to child psychologist Dr. Melanie Killen, often a parent's primary concern is that their children will marry a member of another race, sometimes claiming that cultural differences can lead to marital challenges. One parent said of interracial partners: "They have great marriages. They also have shared challenges at times. Challenges in the way the families may relate, challenges that they themselves may have either between themselves or the perception of other people."
According to a 2010 study of interracial marriages, more and more people are choosing to date and marry outside their race. Census data by researchers at Cornell University and Ohio State University shows that in 1980, 6.7 percent of marriages were interracial. By 2008, it had risen to nearly 15 percent.
Recently, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney was questioned about his faith and stance on interracial marriage. Although the Mormon church has been accused of taking a stand against interracial marriage, Romney claimed that it was not a sin, in his view.