"Who can feel sympathy for Desdemona? A woman who, born and educated to a splendid and lofty station in the community, betrays her race, her sex, her duty and her country, and makes a runaway match with a blackamoor." —John Quincy Adams
A common source of conflict for a set of married protagonists (or a couple of Star-Crossed Lovers) is for the couple to be of different races among very unaccepting folks. They will be pressured to divorce by family, bullied into leaving a community, ostracized, threatened and maybe even attacked.
Their children will be likewise persecuted, perhaps more so than the parents, for being a mixed. Even if the adults are fine, other Kids Are Cruel after all. Expect the child to eventually pop the question about why they don't look like mommy or daddy, or why mom and dad don't look like each other.
And of course, sometimes it's not a mixed race marriage, but a mixed species marriage. All of the above applies plusFantastic Racism. On the plus side, the kid is likely to be The Chosen One, a Half-Human Hybrid, a Dhampyr, or perhaps even a Hybrid Monster with really cool powers. That makes up for it, right?
Some examples of interracial marriages that earn disapproval can be found in Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow, Black Gal on White Guy Drama and Where Da White Women At?. For mixed species marriages, see also Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle.
In Real Life, mixed-race marriages can be everything from completely accepted to something you only do if you've got a death wish. Thankfully, in most places it's skewed towards the "completely accepted" end of the spectrum, and a great way for someone to reveal himself as a severe jackass is to show bigotry towards a mixed couple. Mixed-race marriages seem to be one of the last bastions of racism. Many opponents of interracial marriage will claim to oppose all other forms of racism and have friends of other races. Their most common argument is that mixed-race children are subjected to prejudice and identity crises. In general, mixed-race children tend to have about the same level of trouble that their parents have — less if they look like one race or the other instead of an obvious mixture, or live in an accepting society.
In stories that take place in communities where race isn't a defining factor in classifying humanity (like the 19th century USA, East Asia or Russia), a "mixed marriage" could mean many other different things: mixed ethnicity ("ethnicity" here being vaguely synonymous with "nationality"), mixed religion, or mixed class. Due to Values Dissonance, many of these other "mixed" marriages tend to be Dead Horse Tropes in fiction (at least to Americans), though they do surface occasionally: consider My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which mines humor from the "scandal" of a (white) Greek-American woman choosing a (white) Anglo-American man as her husband... a thing no longer scandalous in the 20th century, but most certainly was just a century previously.
Truth in Television, of course, as there are still people who feel this way.
And just to be clear, this trope can cover any romantic relationship, not just marriages. We just like alliteration here.
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A few years ago, there were no U.S. commercials featuring mixed couples even though there was the occasional movie or tv show. The reasoning was most likely fear that this trope would lose them business. Some only included mixed groups in obviously friendly situations, and some would re-film the whole commercial to have two or three monoracial versions to play to different customer bases. It wasn't until E-Harmony and then Match.com started displaying happy mixed race matches and no one seemed to mind that other advertisers followed suit including explicitly romantic or sexual elements between people of different races.
A Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple with their mixed race child attracted a number of racist comments online.
Anime & Manga
Van and Folken Fanel's parents in Vision of Escaflowne were human and Draconian, much to the outrage of the royal court due to the racism against Draconians.
Shiori's parents, a human woman named Shizu and a bat-youkai father, suffered a great deal of persecution, even costing the father his life at the hands of his own father, Taigokumaru.
Jinenji's human mother was an outcast from the village and persecuted for having had a youkai husband and therefore a half-breed son. It's not until Jinenji finally has a reason to fight and ends up protecting the bullies as well as his mother and Kagome that the villagers accept both him and his mother. It's implied that Jinenji's mother's bitterness lasts a little longer, however.
A good part of the conflict in Lady comes from Lynn Russell/Rin Midorikawa being born from one of these. Her dad Sir George Russell is an English nobleman, her Missing Mom Misuzu Midorikawa was a Japanese woman. For that not only she's bullied by her distant cousins Mary and Thomas, but she's rejected by her paternal grandfather Lord Warbawn. At some point Warbawn promises to meet up with Lynn and fully take her into the Russell clan... but in the condition that George marries his prospect Meal Ticket, Mary and Thomas's Rich Bitch mother Madeleine. George ultimately refuses to be a Gold Digger, and Warbawn doesn't aknowledge Lynn officially until almost the end of the series, when she has proved herself to be a good addition to the clan.
Also a major source of conflict in Ah! My Goddess. Its made clear early on that Urd's father is The Almighty and her mother is Hild, Queen of Hell, and that she faces significant issues because of her mixed heritage. Turns out a rule enforcing this trope is why, and that the protagonist's sex drive was suppressed without his knowledge at the beginning of the manga to keep him from breaking that rule.
In Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and it's counterpart the second generation of Robotech, the human Bowie and the alien Musica have a very difficult time with the opinions of others, much more so than Max and Miriya (Millia) did earlier in the Macross series.
Averted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and it's Robotech counterpart) with Roy (white male) and Claudia (black female). No one had a problem with them dating; the only drama was with Roy's reputation as a playboy.
In Haikara San Ga Tooru, Shinobu's parents weren't allowed to marry because the father was a high-ranked officer in the Japanese military and the mother was a German woman. She was forced to leave a very young Shinobu in the care of the Iijyuin family and leave the country forever.
In the original OVA series of Tenchi Muyo! this factors into the backstory of Yosho aka Katsuhito Masaki twice over. First, his mother and the Emperor's first wife Funaho was a native of Earth who was distantly related to Juraian royalty, but some traditionalist members of Jurai's upper class were not happy when he was made crown prince. Secondly, while officially engaged to his half-sister Aeka, in part to help quell those unhappy with his heritage, he entered a Secret Relationship with Airi, a native of the rival planet Airai, and unbeknownst to him she eventually became pregnant by him. He wound up fleeing to Earth, using Ryoko's attack as an excuse to disappear. Airi eventually tracked him down with their daughter Minaho in tow and the two got married on Earth using common law, with only a few people on Jurai knowing where he was.
In ElfQuest, white forest elf Cutter ends up choosing black desert elf Leetah as his lifemate. This is never commented on by anyone in the comics (although, in a novelization, Leetah initially finds the pale complexions of the Wolfriders unnerving and Moonshade is chagrined at the thought of tanning) as skin color is considered purely an "evolutionary benefit" (the elves evolve fast) and just kind of pretty. However, the fact that Cutter has animal ancestors (and is mortal as a result) is considered absolutely disgusting by some characters, including Leetah's former boyfriend Rayek, who tries to separate them.
Occasionally revisited theme in Horndog, played with a semi-metaphor (a white dog named Bob and his black cat girlfriend, Charlene), sometimes has this couple as targets of racism. But they're not married.
In Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact, a comic book distributed in American Catholic schools, the "Chuck White" feature explored a mild religion-based version of this trope (Chuck's father was a Protestant.)
Luke Cage had to deal with an heir to the Power Man name who was throwing all sorts of shade his way. When the second Power Man learned that Luke was married to Jessica Jones (a white heroine), and implied this made him less of a black man, punching ensued.
Saga: Alana and Marko's home civilisations (planet Landfall and its moon Wreath) have been at war for so long that no one can remember a time when they got on, and the war has effectively been outsourced to most of the galaxy, ravaging hundreds of planets and dragging billions of people who'd otherwise be minding their own business into the conflict. Alana and Marko consensually having a healthy child together is, thus, of interest to the highest political powers in the galaxy for all the wrong reasons.
The 1954 version of The Comics Code stated "Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed." This could be, and probably was, used to effectively ban portrayals of interracial relationships in comics, in conjunction with other "perversions" such as homosexuality. Nevertheless, a few instances of interracial relationships were depicted under the Code by the 1970s — most prominently, that between white hero Immortal Iron Fist and black heroine Misty Knight, who first kissed in 1977.
In the Discworld fic The Black Sheep, Balthazar Smith-Rhodes was exiled from Rimwards Howondaland not for being a rogue and a confidence trickster, but for repeatedly breaking the Racial Separation Acts. In fact, he has left one officially unacknowledged mixed-race member of the Smith-Rhodes family behind him to further embarrass the whole family. Based in Sto Kerrig, he further appalls his countrymen by setting up home with Sissie, who claims to be a Zulu Princess. Neither they nor their more liberally minded Sto Kerrigian hosts give a damn about this, but expat White Howondalandians have their eyebrows more than raised.
Just at the start of reciprocating an unrequited crush is Princess Twilight and Flash Sentry's relationship, which is again forbidden due to being of different social classes. That being said, Twilight starts investigating whether their caste system is truly justified and Princess Cadance isn't enamored with the idea of restricting true love, so there's hope for their romance yet.
In the final three fics of Tammy Billingham's Emergency! series, John Gage faces this. His fiance/wife's parents let go of their hate eventually, but the tribesmen who already tormented John as a child and adult with Half-Breed Discrimination due to his being half white won't let up until they nearly kill him and are arrested.
Sayonara (1957) features an American serviceman falling in love with a Japanese woman. He marries her, but federal laws prevent him from taking her to the United States, and the Air Force has strict regulations against intermarriage. This was probably the first American film to depict racial intermarriage at all, much less depict it sympathetically.
In The Letter, Leslie is not embarrassed to say that she cut Geoffrey Hammond out of their social circle after finding out he'd taken up with a Chinese woman. Everyone else in Singapore cites this as the reason why opinion turned against Hammond (the murder victim) and in favor of Leslie (his murderer) in her trial.
It's the reason behind the Vampire/Lycan war in the Underworld series. Lucian, a Lycan, falls in love with and secretly weds Sonja, who happens to be the daughter of a Vampire Elder. Said Elder has Sonja (and her and Lucian's unborn child) put to death, Lucian swears revenge, and it's all downhill from there.
In Chocolate the main character is the product of one of these between a Japanese yakuza and an enforcer in the Thai mob. They eventually part ways in order to avoid their enemies, even though they still love one another.
Something New has a successful black businesswoman falling in love with a white landscaper and her parents not exactly approving as they'd prefer her to be with someone of her own race (and class.)
The Royal Tenenbaums has Angelica Huston and Danny Glover's characters get married, and again the mixed-race thing isn't a big deal.
Except on the part of Royal himself, though he may have just been upset about her (re)marrying ANYONE and simply been playing up the race angle in order to offend and provoke Glover's character.
The short mockumentary White Face is premised on the idea that performers who appear to be wearing white greasepaint (clowns, etc.) are not wearing makeup; that's a racial trait, and they suffer Fantastic Racism for it. In the film, various "Clown-Americans" are interviewed, including a Vietnam War veteran, a college professor, and a recent immigrant (who communicates in his "native language" with a bicycle horn). There's also a Racist Clown Grandma who is upset that her grandchild is about to marry....a mime.
In the movie version of The Wall, Pinks's Hammer army attacks a mixed race couple, viciously beats the black man, and rapes the white woman. This goes very well with the nazi-esque themes that appeared in the previous song (In The Flesh).
This is subverted in The Feast Of All Saints (movie and book) as placage (an "official" relationship between a white man and a free woman of color in antebellum New Orleans whereby he was required to take care of her and any children in exchange for sex) was fully supported while marriages between people of color of different stations was seriously frowned on.
Hinted at in The Sixth Sense, when Cole sees three hanged ghosts: a black man, a white woman, and a child who is clearly meant to be their own.
Hairspray sort of emulates this trope between Penny and Seaweed, except they're dating, not married. Penny's mother is a racist who shows disgust at her inter-racial relationship, and it is mentioned that they'll have a lot of aminosity from the residents of bigoted Baltimore, but don't care.
Zebrahead is about a white high school boy and a black girl controversially dating.
The Hays Code forbade interracial relationships from being shown on-screen.
In A Man for All Seasons, the Catholic Thomas More objected to his daughter marrying a heretic. He eventually approved of their marriage when said heretic moderated his views.
Save The Last Dance: It's played with in the dating relationship between the characters portrayed by Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas. Julia's dad gives some meaningfully unpleasant looks but otherwise doesn't really try to counter it. Stile's best friend (played by Kerry Washington, ironically enough considering her future role-see above), however, bitterly calls her out because she thinks white girls are responsible for "stealing" the few decent black men around.
In Hancock, it's implied that the majority of troubles that have plagued Hancock and Mary's relationship is because of their races.
In Disney's The Haunted Mansion movie, the owner of the titular mansion was going to marry a black woman, who died before their wedding. It turns out she was murdered by the disapproving butler.
From the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Lungbarrow, Leela and Andred's relationship. The other Time Lords find it rather embarrassing that Andred is with a 'non-Gallifreyan'. Leela and Andred, however, don't mind at all.
In the Timeline-191 series by Harry Turtledove, Achilles Driver marries Grace Chang, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, much over the objections of her parents. Said parents refuse to speak to either of them for years. Achilles says this is because he is black, but Grace says they would have reacted the same way had he been white; the important issue is that he's not Chinese.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, human-elf marriages are widely accepted. But the very first such couple, Beren and Lúthien, first had to overcome the Fantastic Racism of Lúthien's father Thingol, who considered any mortal beneath his daughter and made totally impossible demands (go to Hell, cut a Silmaril from Satan's crown, and give it to me). Considering Thingol himself was married to an angel (one who didn't object to her daughter marrying a human), you'd think he'd be more accepting, but nooooo. However, after Beren and Lúthien did the impossible anyway and got married, subsequent elf-human marriages met no opposition. Their descendant Elrond merely expected Aragorn to help defeat Sauron and make Middle-earth a safe place to live before agreeing to leave his daughter Arwen there for the rest of her life (and considering his wife was once abducted and tortured by orcs while on vacation, his concerns look pretty understandable).
But at The Silmarillion Elf Gwindor warns Elf Finduilas to not fall in love with human Túrin, because a mixed race marriage is something that is unnatural, and Gwindor could see that Túrin is not Beren.
Even in this case, it's not so much that mixed marriages are morally or socially wrong - Gwindor is simply reminding Finduilas that falling in love with Túrin is likely to cause both of them grief, since one is immortal and the other isn't.
In In The King's Service, predictably enough thanks in part to Fantastic Racism, the marriage of Lady Alyce deCorwyn and Sir Kenneth Morgan is condemned by both humans and Deryni mages. Hostile clerics and other humans don't like to see a wealthy and beautiful "sorceress" wed and reproduce; High Deryni Lords and Ladies who worry about protecting their heritage against hostile forces would prefer she wed another mage instead of a mere human, who will only father "inferior half-breeds".
Some people, most notably the Dragon King At Arms in Feet of Clay, believe that Carrot being in a relationship with a werewolf should prevent him becoming king (not that he wants to be king anyway, of course).
"The city knows how to deal with ... inconvenient kings. But an heir to the throne who is actually called Rex?"
A patriarch in Lancre is named Miscegenation Carter as part of as not-completely understood naming process (his descendants have names like Bestiality Carter, Murder Carter, et c). This suggests the concept of miscegenation is known on the Disc and at least in the past attracted the same opprobrium and social stigma as murder, rape, bestiality, et c.
Mixed-species marriages are discussed in the latest (as of Feb '14) Discworld novel, Raising Steam, and are condoned except by religious and racial extremists; a Dwarfish version of the KKK is seen to disrupt a wedding of a Dwarf woman to a human man. There's also a moderate-traditionalist dwarf present who seems to take the view that he might disapprove, but it's none of his business - and fights the grags on behalf of the wedding party.
In The Full Matilda by David Haynes, Rodrick is black and his wife Katie is white, and both their families disapprove. There even is a class element, with Rodrick coming from a middle class black family and Katie coming from old money. This causes problems for his son Jacob who is Ambiguously Brown and can't decide which race he identifies with.
Bridge to the Sun is the autobiography of an American woman who married a Japanese diplomat... right before World War II. It was made into a movie.
In the world of A Fox Tail interspecies relationships are about as controversial as homosexual ones. Making Vulpie (male fox) and Polar's (male wolf) marriage particularly newsworthy.
Song in the Silence has the kingdom of the Kantri going mad because their leader has fallen in love with a human woman, and consider forcing him off the throne because he's obviously gone mad. She attempts to defend herself in front of their council. It ends... well!Eventually.
In The Sharing Knife series, Dag Redwing's immediate family and to an extent his entire camp were more opposed to his marriage to Fawn Bluefield than her family and hometown, to the point of the couple being effectively exiled from the former.
The reaction softens somewhat according to region. In the (more conservative, less populated) north, a romance like Dag and Fawn's is completely unknown. In the south, where there are larger farmer communities, it apparently happens once or twice a year. However, while the southern Lakewalkers have given in to the inevitability of such things happening, farmers still are not allowed to live in Lakewalker settlments, so a Lakewalker who marries a farmer is leaving their society forever.
There are several examples of this trope in the Harry Potter series with wizards or witches who marry muggles or muggle-borns.
Andromeda Tonks was part of the notoriously pure-blood Black family until she married muggle-born Ted Tonks and was literally burned off of the Black family tree.
Similar things happen whenever a human marries a non-human; Hagrid's parents, Tonks and Lupin, etc.
Surprisingly, Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour get a free pass in spite of Fleur being a Half-Human Hybrid of some sort (exactly what Veela are isn't really addressed in detail) and even worse, French.
Not that surprising, considering that Fleur and her sister Gabrielle are the daughters of a Veela and a human man and nobody bats an eyelid at them.
While it's only a single reference and not relevant to the plot, Star Trek: Hollow Men features a Lissepian criminal mentioning his upcoming marriage to a Nausicaan woman. Her family are trying to put a stop to it, unable to accept the validity of a mixed-race marriage.
White supremacist novels The Turner Diaries and Hunter predictably attack mixed-race marriages. The former involves the "Day of the Rope" in which promoters of race-mixing are executed en masse. The latter involves a lone serial killer targeting mixed race couples.
Deconstructed at The Great Gatsby, when known cheater Tom suspects that his wife is cheating on him, he shows this kind of thinking:
"Self control!" repeated Tom incredulously. "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out. . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white."
Flushed with his impassioned gibberish he saw himself standing alone on the last barrier of civilization.
From the Temeraire series, we have Tharkay, the product of a white Englishman marrying an Oriental woman, with the result that Tharkay was excluded from both societies and mistrusted on principle. He began acting subversive and would take on a mocking tone when talking to people so that people would have a reason to dislike him beyond his mixed-race heritage.
In Middlemarch, Will Ladislaw's English grandparents disowned his mother for marrying a Polish man.
Maya Witherspoon, from Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series, is the daughter of a British Army physician and a Brahman priestess. She and her mother are looked down in British society and barred from pretty much all of the social organizations among the British in India. And for all that, the British are still more accepting of the marriage than her mother's people, who essentially throw her mother out and refuse to have any more to do with her after she married Maya's father. It's strongly implied that her mother's twin sister actually had both of her parents killed in order to erase the shame of their marriage from the family line.
Bias against mixed-class marriages is brought up in Phoenix and Ashes — when Reggie tells his stepmother that he loves Eleanor, her first reaction is that Reggie's mother won't approve because Eleanor is "common".
Helo and Athena from Battlestar Galactica. Mention that Helo is in love with a Cylon, and everyone thinks he's crazy. Athena's initial seduction of Helo is part of an elaborate Cylon plot, and only later did she betray her kind and tell the truth and fall in love with him for real. Their daughter Hera is the only known successful progeny of a humanoid Cylon; the Cylons literally consider her a "miracle from God". The finale also reveals she's the mother of modern humanity.
An episode of Reno 911! featured a KKK member who proposed marriage to his African American fiance. The joke of course was that the two were somehow so madly in love that the woman's race and the man's bigotry were made completely irrelevant.
In Charmed Piper fell in love with her whitelighter; this was initially forbidden, but Piper managed to out stubborn the Powers That Be into accepting a marriage. Throughout the series, the problems with this marriage kept coming up.
Not to mention Phoebe falling in love with not only a demon, but the Source of All Evil.
The relationship between Delenn and John Sheridan in Babylon 5 gets a lot of flack from both humans and Minbari (with the Fantastic Racism rather justified in that a mere ten to fifteen years before, the two species had fought a war in which the Minbari kicked the humans' asses and then surrendered, satisfying nobody), but they make it work; being two-thirds of The Chosen One helps. They eventually have a son named David and lead the galaxy together.
On Flash Forward, it is implied that Demetri's parents do not approve of his impending marriage to Zoey because she is not Korean.
Scrubs has Carla (Latina) and Turk (Black). Turk even pulls the race card when they go to pick up their wedding cake.
Turk: Carla, there are white people on top of that cake.
Carla: Hush honey, they don't make tiny interracial cake topper couples.
Baker: I.. could color the groom in with some chocolate?
Also, JD and Turk once treated a gay white man who was marrying a black guy.
Turk: Tell the truth, how pissed are your parents?
Joy and Darnell on My Name Is Earl. Lampshaded several times during the series. (Including at their wedding, where they had a "cake" made of Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes)
Another episode (from Earl's stint in Prison for a crime Joy committed) featured a couple consisting of a black man and a Latino. They were from rival gangs, but eventually fell in love during a month in the hole, and decided they would stage gang fights (which their gangs thought were real) so they could be together. Earl has to get them together in order to restore some semblance of peace to the prison yard.
Subverted in the House episode, "Fools for love." A young white man has married a black woman, even though his dad absolutely hates the idea (to the point of beating his son). As it turns out, the dad doesn't hate his son dating a black woman because of her race, but because said woman is a product of an affair he had, making the relationship incestuous.
On Farscape, D'Argo (Luxan) married Lo'laan (Sebacean), and they had a child, Jothee, together. Macton, a Peacekeeper and Lo'laan's brother, disapproved of the relationship (Peacekeepers believing interspecies unions to be "evil"). This ended badly, as Macton's attempts to convince Lo'laan to leave D'Argo resulted in his accidental murder of her. His framing of D'Argo for the murder, however, was not accidental.
The hidden camera show What Would You Do? has a few bits where actors pose as interracial couples and other actors harass them. The camera crew then interviews bystanders about their reactions.
Played somewhat straight in the Lifetime series Any Day Now- Taking place in Montgomery, Alabama and highlighting events and sentiments from the 1960's as well as the present day, it's easy to see why the protagonist's sister's marriage to a Vietnamese man is not well taken by her parents at first. Mind you, said sister was portrayed as very bigoted (at least toward African-Americans) during the 1960's flashback segments.
It gets better. Near the end of the series, her teenage daughter becomes pregnant by, and later marries, her African-American boyfriend. Mom was unhappy about it, but just from the "you're too young to be doing this" angle. Her usually easygoing and racially-tolerant husband on the other hand, was so enraged, he threatened divorce. He got better, though.
The West Wing has Charlie Young, the President's personal aide, and Zoey Bartlet, The President's Daughter. Although they never marry in the show, they still get similar backlash- up to and including an assassination attempt, which ends up with the President and Deputy Chief of Staff getting shot.
Happens in the backstory to the "Series/Supernatural" episode Route 666. Dean gets a call from his mixed-race ex-girlfriend, Cassie, who suspects a racist ghost just killed her father. Once in Missouri, Sam and Dean discover that the ghost is that of Cassie's white mother's white ex-boyfriend, who had always been racist but turned violent after she left him for a black man. Among other things, he burned down the local black church to prevent their marriage. Eventually Cassie's father killed him in self-defense, and conspired to cover up the incident because he feared lynching. The writers Fail History Forever, though: interracial marriage was illegal in Missouri at the time that the backstory took place, so rather than burn down the church, the ex-boyfriend could've just called the police!
In the episode's present, the trope is averted with the Dean/Cassie relationship. No one objects or even comments on the race difference and, in fact, they are the subjects of the series' first sex scene.
In Grimm, Monroe's parents (well, mostly his dad) are very traditionalist Blutbad, and while Monroe assures Rosalee that they won't have a problem with him marrying a Fuchsbau, he turns out to be completely wrong. By the end of the two-parter that introduces them, they've accepted the situation, but his dad still isn't happy about it.
On The Hour, we have Sissy and Sey – she's white, he's black, it's 1950s Britain. All the main characters are very accepting, but Sissy's father and some of their less-than-friendly neighbours aren't, and they have to deal with rude messages scrawled on their door and constant harassment. When they get married in the second season, Sissy's dad refuses to give his blessing and it ends up a very small affair. For all that, they do seem to be genuinely happy together.
The Jeffersons had Tom and Helen Willis, an interracial couple (white man, black woman) whose daughter Jenny was married to Lionel Jefferson. George's distaste for this arrangement was a recurring theme, especially in the show's early seasons.
Spock's parents in Star Trek, to the point even completely logical Vulcan adults (and children) are incredibly racist towards him and his parents. Spock also had some issues in the original series, but Amanda seems to have been fully accepted, even becoming an initiate of Vulcan's ancient mystical discipline. Illogical but understandable; a human choosing to live according to Vulcan ways is a compliment; a Vulcan who isn't quite on the other hand is kind of creepy.
Star Trek: Enterprise and several novels in the Expanded Universe have gone on to explore Vulcan culture in considerable depth, and one of the key facts about the Vulcan ideal of logic and rationalism is that it is just that, an ideal. Not many Vulcans actually live up to it, and a non-trivial percentage manage to come up with totally "logical" (to themselves) justifications to be arrogant, self-righteous and bigoted. They are, in fact, Not So Different from us.
Averted with Worf (Klingon) and Jadzia Dax (Trill). Everyone is happy for them. At least until they are about to get married and the matriarch of his Klingon House announces she doesn't approve of an alien joining their family. She gets over it pretty easily once Jadzia swallows her pride and kisses the other woman's boots.
The folk song "I'm in Love with a Big Blue Frog", first recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. It's also been performed by The Muppets.
The song "Embarrassment" by Madness, Based on a True Story: the sister of one of the band members was ostracised by his family after she became pregnant with a black man's child.
The Cher song "Halfbreed" is told from the perspective of a child of a maligned Native American and white marriage. The very first line is 'My father married a pure Cherokee/My mother's people were ashamed of me'.
"Society's Child" by Janis Ian.
"Brother Louie" by Hot Chocolate.
"Long Way to Go" by Gwen Stefani.
"Interdite" by Monsieur Nov
In Dick Tracy, Moon Maid's father, the Moon Governor, was not at all happy about her marrying a human. At the time, many readers agreed. Currently, the comic is openly making references to the "Moon Period" for the first time in many years, and the readers are being teased about whether Moon Maid may return. The new creative team is handling it skillfully enough that readers seem like they may be okay with it, after all this time.
This is referenced in James McBride's memoir The Color of Water, when his Orthodox Jewish mother married a black man (his father) in the 1940s, they had a funeral for her.
There's the story of Phinehas, a priest who simultaneously speared an Israelite man and a Midianite woman he was having sex with in one thrust. Some interpret this to be an anti-intermarriage story. However, the killing may have had something to do with the fact that they were having sex on the steps of the Tabernacle.
For what it's worth, Jewish tradition claims that Phineheas' mom was a Midianite (a daughter of Jethro), so the race thing was presumably not that important.
Way back in Old Testament times the Jews were of the same ethnicity as most of the surrounding peoples they were forbidden to marry but 'intermarriage' was forbidden in order to stop their assimilation of local religious practices (there were positively regarded cases of intermarriage where both spouses practiced Judaism or at least reverence of Yahweh). As with many other laws the restriction was progressively emphasized over the years while the reasons and context faded into obscurity.
And of course, there were exceptions— Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of an Egyptian priest, without raising any eyebrows; Moses is described as being married to a Midian woman named Tzipporah and a Cushite (possibly the same person, possibly a case of polygamy), while the Midianitess Ruth married two Jewish men. Both cases were controversial, but God never disparaged Moses and Ruth is the ancestress of King David.
Then, of course, there is Solomon and his many paramours, who include an Egyptian princess, other pagans and (in popular tradition) the Queen of Sheba.
And this is still a huge issue among Jews, in particular in Israel, where there were state-sponsored commercials made to avoid having Israeli Jews leaving the country to marry a non-Jewish foreigner. Fortunately there were a lot of protests against those, but the problem is still incredibly prevalent.
Druze who marry non-Druze are promptly excommunicated. This is particularly bad, as they are usually Arabic speakers, which makes settling in Jewish areas (if they’re Israeli) much more difficult if not altogether impossible, and settling in an Arab area would subject them to stigmas.
Until relatively recently, this same stigma was attached to Catholics who married non-Catholics.
A Christian marrying a non-Christian is known as being "unequally yoked." Some Protestant churches have been known to refuse to marry a Christian to a non-Christian, though this policy varies from church to church.
Christianity not being limited to race though, most churches avert judgmental attitudes towards racially mixed marriages.
Traditionally, Muslim men are not allowed to marry non-Muslim women. However, the Qur'an makes exceptions for Jewish and Christian women so long as the children are raised Muslim. Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men under any circumstances.
Irish comic Dara O'Briain has a great bit in his stand-up parodying people's attitudes towards marriages between Catholics and Protestants. Can be seen here.
Comedian Dat Phan was criticized by his mother for dating a white girl. He's also made a video about it.
This trope was taken to ridiculous extremes (ridiculous for 20th and 21st-century audiences, at least) in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Millie (the heroine) is scolded by one of her sisters for deciding to elope with Adam (the hero, whom she has just met) because "you don't even know if he's Presbyterian!"
In Fiddler on the Roof, Chava marries Fyedka, who isn't Jewish. Her parents sit shiva (mourn) for her as if she were dead.
In Robert Bolt's radio and stage play A Man For All Seasons, Sir Thomas More is a Roman Catholic (this was just before King Henry VIII broke England away from allegiance to the Pope) who at first objects to his daughter's fiancé, William Roper, because he's a Lutheran. The two men have a fairly bitter row about the matter early in the story: More declares that the man whom Roper now follows, Martin Luther, is an excommunicate; and Roper retorts, basically, that it's a mark of pride to be excommunicated from a bastard church. Ouch.
And of course one of the most tragic mixed marriages in all of literature is that between Othello and Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello. Iago and his friend Roderigo apparently consider Moors to be subhuman, because they ask Brabantio, a senator and Desdemona's father, if he is prepared to have animals as in-laws.
Tony (Polish-American) and Maria (Puerto Rican) from West Side Story are in love and have a mock wedding. They never do get their real wedding due to racial prejudice from friends and family, being too young and Tony being too busy being dead.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a relationship between African-American Kendl and Hispanic Cesar. Her brother Sweet has trouble with the relationship. The fact that Cesar is from another gang does not help.
In Fire Emblem Tellius, Beorc (human) and Laguz being is a relationship highly looked down upon, and their children are considered outcasts in both societies. This ends up setting up a lot of plot in Radiant Dawn.
Similarly, if Lyn gets together with Eliwood, it's mentioned that some nobles got up in arms because of her heritage. Curiously, it's not the same if she marries Hector, though the fact that Hector is the most powerful man in the Lycian League and an already well-known Rebel Prince may have something to do with it.
Two of Eliwood's three love interests go up in arms if he marries them (Lyn as mentioned, as well as Fiora, although it's more because she's a commoner), but bizarrely, nobody seems to mind that one girl he can marry is Ninian, a human-dragon hybrid who looks a bit strange, even by series standards.
In the first game of the Elibe series, Eliwood's son Roy (who can be potentially Lyn's son) gets exactly the same spiel from other Lycian nobles if he marries Sue, Rath's daughter/Dayan's granddaughter and the Badass Princess of the Kutolah tribe. (Who alternately could be Lyn's little girl. That's how these prequels roll.) And bizarrely (again), nobody bats an eyelid to him potentially marrying either Shanna (a commoner and a mercenary from Ilia like Fiora) or Sophia, a young woman who comes from the desert and who like Ninian, is a human-dragon hybrid with highly unusual looks).
Mostly averted in Fire Emblem Awakening. If Chrom's daughter Lucina marries a guy like Yarne (Taguel), nobody raises an eyebrow. Similarly, Yarne's full-Taguel mother Panne and the dragon girl Nowi can marry all the guys in the army (save for Chrom but that's more because of gameplay) and no one really objects to either girl's heritage.
It's also averted for the four (or five) women that Chrom can potentially marry, although it helps that three of them are Ylisseans of repute: Sumia is a Pegasus Knight-in-training and hinted to be at least of noble rank, according to Gaius' supports with her, Maribelle is the daughter of a duke, and Sully is the latest of a long line of respected Ylissean knights. While Olivia is a Feroxi dancer, she's technically Basilio's ward, and he's one of Ferox's two rulers. Not even a Female Avatar, despite having shady origins, will warrant any objections, although it probably has to do with the fact that the Avatar is the Shepherds' tactician.
Averted in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, because, despite the fact that Fantastic Racism is a fairly big part of the setting (The Thalmor, for example, run on it, and the Stormcloaks are fairly vocal about it as well), no one in Skyrim seems to have an issue with people of two different races, or even species marrying.
Inverted with the asari, who prefer that members of their race mate outside their species (as they can mate with any other species), because mating within their species doesn't add anything to their species, and has an increased chance of producing an Ardat-Yakshi, who kills anyone she has sex with. It's also mentioned in the flavor text that asari are strongly exogamic, inclined to seek mates who are outside of their kinship group to prevent mating with relatives. What could be less related than an alien?
Mass Effect 3, an asari who has married a krogan comes under fire, a little bit, for that, though it's more about how krogan are considered mindless brutes than the relationship itself.
In the third game there's an overheard conversation between a (female) human soldier and asari embassy staff. The human is trying to get the asari to give refuge to her young daughter before she goes into combat, as her asari wife has already been deployed. When the staff ask why the daughter can't stay with the human's family, the soldier retorts that they disowned her for marrying an asari; did the staffmember think there was any chance they'd take in her asari daughter?
In BioShock Infinite, Booker DeWitt gets the dubious honor of being the first to throw a baseball at a Negro-Irish couple being paraded on stage through a backdrop set of monkeys while "Here Comes The Bride" plays in the background to mock the couple, basically to set an example about "proper marriages and race relations" within Columbia's society structure.
In The Elder Scrolls Online, while in Grahtwood, you can get a quest from an altmer who's khajiiti husband ran off after eating too much moon sugar candy. When asked about her marriage to him, she talks extensively about what kind of reaction she got in The Summerset Isles. Needless to say, it was quite negative, with many other altmer insinuating she had married a savage.
In Supreme Commander 2, Maddox is a UEF Commander married to woman from the Illuminate. His parents disowned him, and died before they could reconcile. His commander Colonel Rodgers despised it, as he hates anyone not UEF, and was planning to attack the Illuminate on the planet she is in.
There she is!!, featuring a rabbit and a cat in a very unaccepting alternate version of Korea.
The main protagonist in Goblin Hollow is a bear. His wife is a cougar. Certain people don't approve.
Only her grandparents on her mother's side truly disapprove. Her parents understand the problem since the same grandparents had a fit when Lily's mountain lion mother married her African lion father.
Kevin & Kell is about a multi-species family headed by a rabbit (Kevin) married to a wolf (Kell). Society at large doesn't get it. While interspecies relationships are fine (except for the particularly extreme Institute for Species Purity) — the taboo comes from intermarriage between predator and prey species. Other controversial pairings feature a wolf and a sheep, and a cat and a mouse.
One of Kevin's sisters who originated in a parallel reality (of Humans) said that his marriage to Kell is just as controversial back home (though the mix is left unstated).
Of note is that there were actually two wolf/sheep pairings, the first leading directly to the conception of the sheep in the second pairing. And that second pairing got extra controversy cause the wolf converted to herbivorism.
Angelique and RL (another rabbit/wolf pairing) got around the taboo part. Since Angelique's rabbit license was revoked for spilling secrets to RL, she was now considered a long eared rodent. So she got plastic surgery and posed as a rat.
Fuschia receives a good bit of this from Seymour in Sinfest for her relationship with Criminy (although it's more for her just being a Devil Girl than anything else). Blue is also disapproving but willing to accept it because Fuschia is happy. While the strip indicates the Devil doesn't know about it yet, the implication is that it will not likely be pleasant for them when he finds out. Otherwise generally averted.
Due to the Forever War between angels and demons in Slightly Damned, there is quite a bit of tension between the two. It's so bad that one particular Knight Templar tried to kill Kieri, an angel, just for being friends with Buwaro, a demon — so their later Relationship Upgrade is regarded as odd at best. While this trope has yet to actually occur in the comic, Kieri expresses fear about what will happen when her family finds out about it.
Rocko's Modern Life: Cats and Turtles don't mix. That doesn't prevent Filbert and Paula from marrying.
It turns out Paula's father was a Turtle, giving her mom a Freudian Excuse.
Paul and Jean Baptise from Superjail! The two are a very loving and devoted couple despite the fact that Paul is a black gangbanger and Jean Baptise is a former white supremacist. The episode "Gay Wedding" chronicles their rocky but ultimately successful attempt to get married.
It should be noted that they are two of the handful of characters to survive every episode.
Nate Griffin (Peter's black slave ancestor) and Lois-Laura Bush-Lynne Cheney-Pewterschmidt (the daughter of Nate's owners) on Family Guy. They end up having three biracial babies that look like Chris, Meg, and Stewie.
Carter: Lois, how, in God's name, could you embarrass the family like this?
Ironically, Peter would not be related to him at all, despite looking like him, since one episode reveals Francis Griffin was his stepfather.
Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, most famous for their roles in RENT, got hate mail for being married.
R&B singer Seal (a black Englishman) and supermodel Heidi Klum (a white German national who now lives in the USA) are questioned not because they are mixed, but because of the supposed Ugly Guy, Hot Wife dynamic (Seal's features are heavily scarred due to a childhood bout of lupus, which some people think make him unattractive).
A lurid TV movie from The Nineties entitled Bad To The Bone was based (very, VERY loosely) on the true story of a Korean-American teenage girl who committed matricide because her mother wouldn't allow her to marry any boy unless he was also Korean. The girl fell in love with an Irish boy.
As if to show that old attitudes die hard, a small Kentucky church banned marriages and some other services for interracial couples after a longtime member became involved with a Zimbabwean man.
Virginia's ban on mixed-race marriages led to the arrest of Mildred and Richard Loving which in turn led to a landmark Supreme Court decision with a hilariously appropriate name: Loving v. Virginia, which declared bans on mixed-race marriages unconstitutional.
Diane Farr of NUMB3RS and Rescue Me fame married an Asian man and got hit with a bit of this early on from his family. She also mentions getting some mean looks from an Asian girl. She spoke with friends on the issue and writes about her experiences here and in her book Kissing Outside the Lines. She found that many parents forbid their children from having interracial romantic relationships while otherwise preaching racial tolerance.
Joseph Paul Franklin was a serial killer who targeted mixed-race couples. His crimes inspired the novel Hunter, described above in the Literature section.
In 1955, two college students named Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali were forced to give up their son for adoption when Joanne's family objected to her marrying an Arab Muslim. Their son's name? Steve Jobs.
Israel is a particularly bad offender in this case, due to the strict religious ban on marrying non-Jews (see ‘religion’ above):
One municipality in Israel wants to create a team of councilors and psychologists to keep Jewish girls from dating Arab boys.
One Israeli company hires Chinese migrant workers and requires that they sign contracts saying that they will not have "contact" with Jewish women, including prostitutes.
The Lehava Organization for the Prevention of Assimilation is an Israeli group that objected to the Jewish Mark Zuckerberg marrying his Chinese girlfriend. They have also criticized Jewish model Bar Rafaeli for dating the Catholic Leonardo DiCaprio. That was just the tip of the iceberg, though: they also make lists of businesses that refuse to hire non-Jews, and give ‘diplomas’ to businesses that hire only Jews.
Israel only performs civil marriages if both the man and the woman are non-religious, so Jews can only marry non-Jews if the person gets an Orthodox Jewish conversion note even completely secular Jews who come from a traditionally Orthodox Jewish family are considered Orthodox Jews by Orthodox Judaism, as long as their mother, their mothers mothers, and so on were not non-Jews; this applies even if said Jew is actually a complete atheist, unless s/he converts to another religion., which can be a rather horrific procedure for men. They can, however, get married abroad, as Israel recognises civil marriage carried out abroad (including same-sex ones); however, they cannot get divorced in Israel after that. This gets even worse as Israelis are not allowed to adopt children of a different religion, unless they’re converted (and again, there’s the danger of the same procedure for young boys...).
A poll found that 81% of Israelis between ages 18 and 22 were opposed to intermarriage.
The Israeli government has funded a TV campaign to discourage marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
The original ending of Romeo Must Die involved a kiss between Jet Li (Chinese) and Aaliyah (African-American) but the studio removed it before the film was released. One of the many rumored reasons for its removal was that an "urban audience" reacted negatively to the interracial kiss.
Only recently has the United Kingdom taken steps to remove the prohibition on a British monarch marrying a Catholic. This was most recently an issue when Autumn Phillips (née Kelly) had to convert from Catholicism; she married Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne, who is in line to the British Crown.
There are many theories regarding the death of Lady Diana, some of which are about how her death was not an accident but assassination. Amongst the reasons presented, it's because Lady Diana had an affair with the Egyptian billionaire Dodi Fayed, and elements in the Anglican Church sought to eliminate the possibility of the future King of England having a Muslim stepfather... although this is a bit on the Fridge Logic side, as Prince Charles has Islamic Arab ancestors [through the Spanish royal family].
In 'How to be Swiss' George Mikes argues that the Swiss avoided plunging the continent into war by using up all their hate within the country, considering each neighbouring Kanton to be as foreign as China. He describes the mother of a mixed marriage who was 'trying to act as if she was one of us'. The mixing concerned two people from towns about 12km apart.
This is the reason why interracial relationships are increasing but interracial marriages are down according to this article.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III caught a lot of flak for having (and eventually marrying) a white girlfriend.
Dutch Catholic noblewoman J.C.P.H. van Aefferden married a Protestant commoner named J.W.C. van Gorkum in 1842. When the husband died, he was buried in a walled-off Protestant section of the cemetery. His widow buried him right next to the wall with a marker taller than the wall. When she died, she had a similar marker and connected the two with a pair of stone hands.
A strange aversion (of sorts) in the pre- and post-war Soviet Union: a major objective of communism was identified by capitalist observers as "the destruction of all races". Intellectual opponents (particularly in the Jim Crow-era United States) used the Soviet government's failure to prohibit interracial marriage by law as a tacit encouragement of it and a sign of communist moral bankruptcy from the 1920s well into the 1950s and onwards (the same period where several western countries had laws prohibiting interracial marriage). Lenin in particular was accused of being the product of 'race mixing'. This argument became less common by the 1970s, when the US and Western Europe began belatedly reexamining their own policies on miscegenation, though it did pop up on occasionally from the fringe after that.
In actual practice, the Russian Revolution did lead, eventually, to interracial marriage becoming officially legal for the first time since Imperial Russia came into being, but interracial marriage didn't really become 'commonplace' until the years during and after the Second World War, when large populations were displaced and migrated through the country (often from forced relocation, escaping fascist invasion, or even just looking for work).
Averted when football player Michael Sam was drafted to the St. Louis Rams and excitedly kissed his boyfriend, diver Vito Cammisano, on national tv. There was such a big furor over them kissing as a gay couple, people forgot that they're interracial as well. Arguably justified since the average American homophobe considers mixed relationships (between straights anyway) a non-issue or a lesser evil at worst, but it does go to show how society's values can evolve over time.