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Nadra Kareem Nittle

New Poll Finds Mississippi Republicans Oppose Interracial Marriage

By April 10, 2011

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There's no racism in Mississippi anymore, right? After all, just last month the New York Times reported that the state's "home to one of the country's most rapidly expanding multiracial populations." Between the 2000 census and the 2010 census, the number of people identified as multiracial there rose by an astonishing 70 percent. To boot, during that timeframe, Mississippi topped all states in the spread of interracial marriage, the Brookings Institution stated.

"Racial attitudes are changing. Day in, day out, there is certainly not the hostility there was years ago," University of Mississippi Professor Marvin King, himself in an interracial marriage, told the New York Times.

But perhaps King spoke too soon, as did the others quoted in the Times article who hyped Mississippi as a multiracial mecca far removed from its Jim Crow past. That's because results from a Public Policy Polling survey conducted in late March reveal that 46 percent of Mississippi Republicans not only oppose interracial marriage but believe it should be legally banned. So, how many Mississippi Republicans actually think that interracial marriage should be legal? Shockingly, just 40 percent. That's right. In the year 2011, more Mississippi Republicans support a ban on interracial marriage than support the legality of it. Given that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ban on interracial marriage more than four decades ago, this finding proves particularly distressing.

It's uncertain why these Mississippians feel the way they do about interracial marriage. Maybe they subscribe to the same views as the Louisiana judge who made headlines two years ago after refusing to marry an interracial couple because he believes the children produced by such unions suffer. Yeah, they might even grow up to be president one day like the mixed-race Barack Obama. It's mind-boggling that people continue to buy into the "tragic mulatto" myth when it's clear that having parents from different races doesn't cause multiracial people to suffer. Racism causes multiracial people to suffer.

Why else might Mississippi Republicans oppose interracial marriage? There's the fact that Mississippi's situated in the so-called Bible Belt, and there's a prominent misperception that the Bible forbids interracial marriage. Evidently, those who believe this are unaware that the Bible features interracial romances and cross-cultural relationships throughout. Moses, for example, married an Ethiopian woman. And Galatians 3:28 declares that there's "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Now, I'm no theologian, and I certainly don't want to start a religious debate with anyone about interracial marriage, but if you're interested in learning more about the mainstream Christian take on interracial marriage, I suggest reading John Piper's views on the matter and a Cornerstone Magazine analysis of the subject, not to mention About.com Christian Teens guide Kelli Mahoney's take.

Another reason Mississippi Republicans may oppose intermarriage is because the state's not as mixed as it seems. While the multiracial population there has risen exponentially, mixed-race people only account for 34,000, or 1.1 percent, of the state's total. As more and more Mississippians are exposed to mixed people and their families, opposition to intermarriage will likely decline. In the meantime, Republican leaders such as Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour should use their platforms to promote cross-cultural acceptance instead of divisiveness. That's a move Barbour neglected to make when he remarked last year that the notoriously segregationist Citizen Councils were no big deal.

If Mississippi's to become a state where multiculturalism is embraced on all fronts, its leaders cannot downplay segregation's tragic failings.


April 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm
(1) Robert says:

Hi Nadra….

I am not surprised that 40% of republicans in Mississippi would ban interracial marriage. I am a little surprised that you are. They are living up to their long standing reputation. No matter what a few recent articles say

But Life is a progress and not perfection. We will likely always have a portion of the population that will be reactionary on any topic.

April 10, 2011 at 9:58 pm
(2) Robert says:


You are wise not to get into a scripture debate with christians… they tend to use the bible to justify whatever their position is. I believe Southern Baptists separated from the Baptists because they supported slavery and used bible quotes to do so. They used the mark of cain as their justification.

case in point… a year ago… I was curious about the “church” my ex joined. it is called Mosaic in LA… and presents itself as being very progressive… I thought is was a good for my ex… he is a very lonely, scared person with alot of self loathing… So I thought him getting involved with a nice group of people would be good for him… that and years of therapy.

and then I listened to a pod-cast by its leader Erwin McManus… in the pod-cast he stated gays are as natural as “pigs eating their young”. Or baby killers and cannibals.

I felt like someone had punched me in my stomach.

It was disgusting. Vile. Hateful. Evil.

And this is in LA.

I did a little more research and found out that it is a southern baptist church… but it hides this fact because it targets young people with a lot of glitz and self help BS.

So it is wise that you stay out of the scripture debate. Once a person resorts to using the bible or god to prove their point… all serious communication is over.


p.s. My ex is still in this cult… eventually he will have to honestly deal with who he is… I only hopes it happens before he hurts someone else in the process… truth always seems to come the surface…

April 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(3) OSEI (osay) says:

I’m not the least bit surprised either Nadra; no one should be. “As the twig is bent the limb shall grow”. We’ve had generations of mis informed, miseducated people who to a great extent are still ignorant. As a matter of fact many are as dumb as a box of corn flakes. I might add many of them are politicinas who wear shirt and ties. I’ve accepted the fact that the most dangerous criminal in this society is probably a Southern Baptist whose been taught the same hatred as the Klan and other extremists groups. The real problem is “they reproduce”.

April 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm
(4) Hans says:

I have three question about this survey.
1) Who are opposed to interracial marriages? Is that republican white folk only?
2) Did they differentiate between white-black, white-asian and asian-black marriages?
3) If in the USA the child of an interracial marriage, which is not completely “white”, is automaticaly black or asian (all with a negative connotation), is it not understandable that people want to spare these children the burden of this incorrect stigmatization?

Another remark: I think interracial relationships produce the most healthy and most beautiful persons.

April 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm
(5) Robert says:

Just read this on Yahoo news…

Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex–a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.

seemed sort of relevant…

April 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm
(6) Tom Head says:

As a Mississippian who was horrified by this statistic, all I can say is that Democrats outnumber Republicans about 2:1 here, so 46% of 1/3 amounts to the most regressive 15% of the population. But it’s still troubling.

April 18, 2011 at 2:40 am
(7) Nadra says:

Tom, thanks for pointing that out. It’s good to know that these Republicans don’t constitute a majority of Mississippians. I see that you covered this topic on your blog, too!

April 17, 2011 at 11:13 am
(8) Robert says:

I’ve been thinking alot about racism and the brain tendency to classify things. I looking in my closets today and noticed that for the most part I have organized it according to size and color. There was a pattern to it. This surprised me a little because (1) it was unintentional and (2) I am not over organized. I also noticed this pattern occurring in my kitchen and bathroom. I consistently put like with like based on size, function and color/material.

I am not a scientist, but I have a feeling that we, as human beings, have this tendency. It is natural.

The problem lays in when we think our “organizational systems” are the best, are better than other people and/or are deemed the best/better than others by god. (Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.)

I don’t believe that the way I organize my closet is the best way to do (am pretty sure a professional organizer could due a better job of it). Nor do I believe my moral/spiritual organizational system is the only one or the best (the Dali Lama seems to have me beat there).

I do believe my moral/spiritual organizational system is better than others… (i.e. close minded/judgmental systems like the church my ex joined).

But in the end, I understand that they are people, like myself, struggling with difficult existential questions. I understand where I embrace complexity and the questions… others need the security of concrete, simply answers… (it is just too bad that they loose there sense of shared humanity along the way).

April 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm
(9) Veronica says:

To those of you from Mississippi: Something to think about: your representative (or is it former?) Trent Lott, when he was in college, worked hard to keep blacks from joining his fraternity. That should give you an inkling as to the kind of politician he would become later on.

April 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm
(10) Raymond says:

Nadra, This is not surprising to me. Much of the South are really know nothing idiots, sorry, I take back the idiot namecalling.
I was born in an average sized town in South Carolina and I was always in the minority in my take on issues. Like one of the ideas that some racist apologists use to denigrate African Americans, when they say the real black person that has no white in him/her that came from Africa(not sure they come from anywhere else ultimately) are inferior intellectually and should not be considered equal to the white European Anglo Saxon.
I left SC years ago because I tried to no avail to change attitudes about racism, miscegenation, bigotry, war as an answer to conflicts, and so on. Obvious bleeding heart liberal that I am, some are ashamed to be a liberal, but not me, I wear it proudly.
The point I want to make is that in the South new ideas and attitudes take many years to effect change to a more egalitarian viewpoint. The typical conservative by definition is on the side of the status quo and does not like change very well. I once told a Southern friend that I thought that many Southerners were intolerant of new ideas and were behind in much of the world’s adoption of these new ideas. He said to me that, “I don’t think that’s true at all.” The odd thing to me that I found in his response, of course, was that this notion I presented to him, was to him, “a new idea,” therefore, he fought me the whole way in the discussion, which just proved the point that I had made, but he was incognizant of the nature of his dissonance, and could only respond emotionally with his feeling that what I was saying just was not what he was accustomed to hearing, and was therefore a new idea which I’m unsure if he ever accepted.

July 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm
(11) Thierry Koffi says:

As Robert mentioned it,i am wondering why you’re surprised by the fact that a good number of republicans opppose multiracial marriage…Who’s the president,right now? Which party is belong to? Nadra,you know better…

August 1, 2011 at 7:46 am
(12) Antonia says:

I think your statement is too broad, based upon the study with which the article is concerned. Like many (not necessarily most, nor all) liberals tend to do, you generalized a viewpoint attributed to fewer than half the Republicans in Mississippi, and chose to attribute it to “Republicans” in general, which is a nationwide group.

You have absolutely NO scientific footing upon which to make this generalization! I would wager that most Republicans, as a national sample, are fine with interracial dating and marriage. I know I am (and I’m Republican). I married a Jew, but prior to that, my boyfriends were of so many different cultural backgrounds that my mom (also a Republican) kidded me around in good fun, calling them “the rainbow coalition.” I had a black boyfriend with an black American mom but whose dad lived in Africa, I had a Japanese-American boyfriend (first-generation of the family born in America), a Chinese-American boyfriend (same), and another Jewish guy. White, non-Jewish boyfriends were quite rare for me. And, this was in a state which didn’t have many ethnic backgrounds living there other than white!

My church, which is Baptist but not Southern Baptist but is theologically very conservative, contains interracial married couples, and no one blinks an eye about it.

We are very conservative Republicans when it comes to premarital sex, abortion, Biblical theology, gay marriage, etc. But please don’t paint us all as “racist” in one fell swoop. The research was done in MISSISSIPPI!!! My GOSH!! Not across the rest of the nation. The rest of us are pretty much with it, as far as interracial marriage is concerned! I’m offended and sad that you would paint with such a broad brush. I could generalize similarly about “liberals” over-generalizing, but I will refrain from doing this, especially here, as I wish to set the example.

September 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm
(13) Debbie Draffin says:

Your statement, “Moses, for example, married an Ethiopian woman” is incorrect. Moses married Zipporah, a Semitic woman descended from Abraham. See Exodus 2: 16-21. After Sarah died, Abraham took another wife, Keturah, who bore a son named Midian from whom Zipporah descended. See Genesis 25:1-2.

October 31, 2011 at 1:20 am
(14) lisa says:

while i may agree with just a few points w/nadra, i have to ask you something..why should whites be forced to accept other cultures and races and not other races?? i’m not a big fan of interracial marriages or dating, but i mind my own business. i live in nyc, and there’s tons of asian women with white men, i don’t see that many black women with white males, just a few i’ve seen here and there. it also seems that lots of black males tend to aggressively pursue white women and are very pushy to date them. there are some whites who don’t wish to date out of their race, why is that wrong? i couldn’t care less if some states want to ban interracial marriages. it’s best for the future of the white, black, asian races. this way we will have true diversity and beauty, not some one monotone browned out race, pretty boring if you ask me.

November 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm
(15) Goku389 says:

Ok Lisa if you so call mind your own business when it comes to interracial dating then stop spewing your racist views about biracial people’s skin color. What if two people really love each other? Their race should not matter. What is wrong with you and your warped ideas! No ones trying to force anything on you or anyone else. It’s idiots like you who should go crawl under a rock because I bet you my life that you would never in a million years go up to a couple and say what you said on this forum. Obviously your stupid parents did not raise you to be accepting to other cultures. If you don’t want to date outside your race then so be it, but don’t spread your hate talking about how people’s monotone brown skin is boring. Maybe no one wants to see your pale ass. You must be a neo Nazi or something. You disgust me and I wish nothing but the worst for you.

December 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm
(16) MSRaised says:

ATTN: MS. Debbie Although you are right about the woman being a descendant of Abraham you are wrong as to the location. Back in the time that this particular relationship was in effect. Ethophia was part of northern Eygpt which ended in the northern end of Africa. My suggestion is to not use bits and peices research the whole shabang. My veiw on interrracial relationships is as long as you are happy and truly love that person it doesnt matter. We all bleed red, will all turn back to dirt when we die and only GOD has a say in who he wants to be a couple. People will talk no matter whats going on rather itsinterracial relationships or the same race.
If you are against biracial relationships dont get involved in one. You have no right to force your will on those that do. you are not physically or even mentally being hurt by seeing them. If it offends you STOP LOOKING!!!

January 3, 2012 at 2:14 am
(17) jason says:

I like to see many states ban interracial marriages, not just mississippi. I support banning miscegenation, interracial marriages. it seems that some blacks are so eager to marry whites, just a bit obsessed with non-blacks. it’s not a healthy obsession. there are majority of whites and other non-whites out there that prefer to marry/breed with their own race. there’s nothing wrong with that. if people keep mixing with other races, then there will be no diversity in the future, everyone’s the same, bland, diluted. I want America to be diverse, blondes, redheads, asians, indians, pacific islanders, etc, and to maintain it is not to mix with other races. this way we’ll have variety of people from different ethnic backgrounds, races. cherish diversity

January 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm
(18) perry says:

hey goku389- why did you tell lisa that you wish the worst for her? because she opposes interracial marriage? lisa is entitled to her own opinion, and don’t forget we have freedom of speech in america, she’s allowed her opinion. the majority of blacks, whites marry members of their own race, ethnic group. there’s always a few people who don’t mind dating or marry people from other races. just by reading your comments to lisa shows me you’re ignorant of reality. what you think is right for you is not right for somebody else, it is not a one size fits all. not everyone will be comfortable or are attracted to people of other races for dating/mating. let people be who they are. by the way goku, you disgust me and you sound bitter and full of hate.

March 13, 2012 at 11:23 am
(19) Gabriel says:

I don’t understand why people are against interracial marriages. It is ridiculous that people would try to impose their beliefs on others. People who love each other should be allowed to get married. You can’t say that because you come from different cultural backgrounds you don’t deserve the same rights. If you don’t wish to participate in that, it is fine, but to try to deny everyone their right to is stupid. I don’t get the preserve diversity by never mixing. That was the attitude during segregation. It was just a nice way of saying, I don’t want them near my family.

As for the appraisal that black guys are obsessed with dating white women, I would say the feeling is mutual a lot of times. It isn’t for us to decide what is healthy. It is their choice, not yours.

People need to learn that you can’t use the law to inflict your morals on others. That is why same-sex marriage needs to be given the same progress that interracial marriage was. This is a ridiculous argument to be having. Do you deserve to inflict your morals on society like you have for centuries? No. Sorry if that hurts your dominionist view of the world, but we live in a nation that should allow equal rights to all and free will deciding how we utilize those rights in our existence (we should all have the right to marry and marry whoever we love).

This is supposed to be a free nation, not a nation where the most fundamentalist group makes the rules to confine the rest within. If you want to impose a system of morality that doesn’t truly look at whether people are being hurt by an action to determine morality, but instead calls what scares you immoral, then you have no right to look down on radical Islamic societies for doing the same.

July 1, 2012 at 12:44 am
(20) Mike says:

I know racism is bad, however I think so many people especially the darker one, view racism the same with rights to access sex and marriages with different races.

Actually, inter racial marriage could not be an evidence that one is racist or not. A preference for some races to marry, is not considered as racism. Indeed, I found some groups that are from black supremacists groups, often target and organize in medium scale for forcing the people from fairer skinned race for inter racial marriages. I found in some community they even threaten the women, targeting the kids, and other vulnerable targets for inter racial marriages with fairer skinned races, such as white people, east asian people, etc.

For me, this movement is really against the law, and it is a part of genocide, because their movement, even the invisible one, by using softest ways, however the purpose is really based on eliminating some fairer skinned races and absorb them to the darker ones. It is a part of human trafficking operation, aka slavery. So if the senate in missippi set those law, it doesn’t mean that they support slavery, however the miscegenetion which is arranged and planned and organized in some extent, is already breaching the law.

I am not white nor black, however I found so many fair skinned people also complained with this type of operation, I bet thats why the government in USA set those regulations about miscegenetion law. I think all the people should read first the detail of the law.

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