Touchy Subject of Interracial Marriage
The increasing number of Catholic-Protestant marriages in the United States, marriages contracted in the face of ecclesiastical disapproval, stands in sharp contrast to the small number of interracial marriages—marriages against which there are no religious bars. Yet public interest centers less intently on the interfaith than on the interracial marriage, particularly the interracial marriage that unites members of the white and black races. The desegregation movement has brought the once-taboo subject of interracial marriage to the fore. A root cause of opposition by white southerners to integration in the schools and elsewhere is their fear that it will promote such marriages. But religious bodies are frankly acknowledging that Christian brotherhood implies acceptance of interracial unions.
The constitutionality of state anti-miscegenation laws has never been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court; a ruling by the high court that those laws were in conflict with the federal Constitution would introduce a new and disruptive element into the country's race relations notwithstanding an apparent growth of public toleration for mixed marriages of all sorts. Interfaith and inter-ethnic unions among Caucasians have become almost commonplace, and outside of the South the occasional interracial marriage tends to be regarded as a curiosity rather than a public outrage.
The popular entertainment media reflect a growing public readiness to accept presentations portraying close personal relations between individuals of different color. The amended motion picture production code of 1956 removed a ban on the theme of miscegenation. Recent films dealing with romantic relations between blacks and whites have included Island in the Sun and Black Sapphire; an Italian movie, Anna's Sin, soon to be released in the United States, concerns the marriage of an American Negro and a white woman. The Broadway play A Taste of Honey has an episode in which a white girl is attracted to a colored boy. An American scholar recently noted the emergence of a new type of male Negro entertainer whose success is said to depend in part on sex appeal.