Poll: More Americans accept interracial couples

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AURORA, Colo. — It seems Americans are more tolerant of interracial relationships than ever before.

New data from the Pew Research Center showed Americans are more accepting of these relationships than same-sex couples or even single mothers.

Aurora residents Perry Drake and Anne Tooley share their daily ritual of cooking dinner together.  The two met through another common interest: their faith

“I was looking for someone who had similar values as far as their religious beliefs,” Drake said.

When they met online, neither had any issue with the fact Drake is black and Tooley is white; but others did.

“I’ve had people just sit and gawk and deliberately trying to be rude at a restaurant,” said Drake.

That’s why new data from the Pew Research Center is so heartening.

“Forty-three percent of the folks surveyed in the study say that they think this represents a positive change for society,” said Jennifer Reich, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Denver.

Among the other findings, 63 percent of Americans said it would be ok with them if a family member married someone of a different race.  In 1986, only 50 percent believed that to be the case.

Reich said society as a whole is changing.

“About half of all Americans have dated outside their own racial group, so we’re seeing greater support in people’s both romantic relationships, but also their friends and networks,” Reich said.

She’s most surprised by how quickly opinions have changed.

“We’ve only had a country without any laws prohibiting interracial marriage since the late 1960s,” she said.

Drake believes the change lies with young people.

“People aren’t raising their children to be racist anymore, they’re raising their children to be open minded,” he said.

As he and Tooley prepare to begin their lives together, he’s sure one day race will no longer be a topic at all.

“Pray about our troops overseas, pray that they come home safely,” he said.  “There’s bigger fish to fry than worrying that her skin is white and my skin is dark.”

The data also showed that 15 percent of new marriages in the United States in 2010 were interracial.  That figure was 6.7 percent in 1980.

You can see the full research here.

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