Danielle Gallman, 22, and Christopher Normann, 19, have been together a little more than a year.
Gallman is black and Normann is white. As a result, Gallman said she has lost several people she used to consider friends over judgments and ill feelings toward her interracial relationship.
“We have gotten pressure from people about our relationship but mainly from people close to us,” Gallman said. “There hasn’t been disrespect from outside people. Some of my very good friends talked about it negatively and questioned whether I was confused about who I was and about how we should act together. I’ve lost a lot of people that I thought were friends and had a lot of broken friendships, but we’ve gained a few, too. There were some people we just had to leave behind.”
Gallman has had her share of tainted friendships and bonds, but the relationship that matters most, the one with her family, remains strong.
“As long as he’s taking care of me and treating me like a young man should treat a young woman, my family is fine with it,” Gallman said.”
With it being 2010 and as the country is under the leadership of a biracial president, the question of whether interracial relationships are now more accepted still exists.
Douglas Blackburn and his wife Maggie Blackburn have been married 22 years. He is white and she is black. Douglas says he has never encountered any kind of racism about his marriage.
Douglas is the higher education editor for the Tallahassee Democrat, and he and his wife met in 1982. His family has never pressured him about whom he chose to marry and he said it has never really been that big of a deal.
“My wife and I met late at night at a bar in New York City,” Blackburn said. “I am from Ann Arbor, Mich., and she grew up in Long Island, N.Y. Her family has embraced me from day one.”
Douglas Blackburn agrees that people have definitely changed over the years in response to couples marrying outside their races.
“I think society has shifted to be sure,” he said. “You just have to ask yourself, am I in love with this person because of who they are, or because of their color?
Gallman agrees that on the surface, society has lightened up on the notion of mixed couples, but there is still an exception with blacks and whites specifically.
However, not only black and white couples receive backlash.
Cyni Winegard, 20, is Filipina and her fiancé, Adam Byrd, 20, is white. They have been together for one year.
Byrd and Winegard met on the campus of Florida A&M. He said he was introduced to Winegard through a mutual friend. The next time he saw her, he asked her out and she agreed. The two have been inseparable ever since.
Although the couple has not been shown any discriminatory treatment from outsiders, Winegard’s mother does not accept her relationship with a white man.
“My mother met Adam when we first started dating and she basically ignores him now,” Winegard said. “I spoke with her last week and she does not even know his name after a year. My brother and sister love him and so does my dad. My mom is just insane.”
Winegard said her mother has a strong dislike toward whites because of a bad experience between her mother and father.
Byrd said he has similar problems with his family, so Winegard’s mother does not easily bother him.
“I have my own dysfunctional family,” he says. “I learned a long time ago to not get upset over things such as this. Cyni and I will be together no matter what anyone thinks and we are extraordinarily happy together.”
More than 70 percent of these hate crimes were motivated by anti-black biases and 81.9 percent of these crimes resulted in destruction, damage or vandalism of victim’s property.
Van Kerckhove also said that there is a generational shift with acceptance of these relationships. She says the younger generation is more open to where race is not that huge of a factor.
Verna M. Keith, Ph.D., is a sociologist at Florida State University. She thinks the aspect of interracial relationships goes a lot deeper than what many think.
“It’s a bit more complicated,” Keith said. “Surveys have shown that people are more accepting of them generally, but at the same time, there is a substantial population of people who don’t accept those relationships.”
Gallman admits the reaction she has gotten from those closest to her has made her a bit apprehensive about her relationship.
She wants people to move past color lines and know that who you love sometimes has no boundaries.
“I would encourage people to look past skin color,” Gallman said. “There are a lot of cultural differences between people of different races, but there is so much that we have in common as humans and so much we can learn in relationships from people in other races about ourselves and about each other.”