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Miscegenation (from the Latin miscere, meaning "mix," and gens, meaning "people") is a term that refers to romantic relationships, marriages, procreation or sexual liaisons between those perceived to be of different races or ethnicities. The term was coined by the authors of a hoax pamphlet in 1863 promoting the act. In pr0n speak, it's "interracial," and it's remarkably popular.[note 1]
Despite the exceedingly close genetic similarities between all known humans, the concept is very widespread as a result of nationalist or religious pressure, and general racism, traditionally to promote coherence between a defined group of people. Misleading interpretations of biology are also used to justify disapproval of miscegenation. For example, Adolf Hitler condemned mixed-race sexual unions in Mein Kampf, likening them to matings between different animal species, which produce weak or sterile offspring or none at all. Ironically, having "purity" is most prone to having "weak" offspring as genetic bottlenecking has shown, preserving genetic disorders and other undesirable genetic traits.
While no longer banned in most Westernized countries, anti-miscegenation lives on in North Korea, where all marriage and sexual contact with non Koreans is banned as racial purity is state policy, and Saudi Arabia, where women may not marry non-Arabs without royal permission and figures into the citizenship laws of some countries like Egypt.. It is still forbidden by some fundamentalist religious beliefs, particularly some fundamentalist Protestant denominations in the United States who refer to the "Curse of Ham"[note 2] as a justification for separating white from black. (As a result, miscegenation is a common theme in pornography due to the perception of outsiders being more sexually alluring and/or more powerful.)
The increasingly powerful Israeli anti-miscegenation group, Lehava, protests weddings between Palestinians and Jews that attract many hundreds of angry Lehava supporters. Lehava is funded by the Israeli government via its sister organization Hemla. Late in 2015, the Israeli education ministry banned a novel about a romance between an Israeli and Palestinian on the grounds that it encouraged miscegenation between Jews and non-Jews.
The case striking down miscegenation laws in the United States, Loving v. Virginia, was extremely influential in developing "substantive due process." Today, the fight against miscegenation legislation is often invoked as precedent in the current fight for same-sex marriage. In February 2014 this view gained some judicial sanction when Judge Arenda Wright Allen struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages in an opinion which cited Loving frequently and at length.
Racialism took on a unique form in Brazil during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When Brazilian elites learned of "scientific" racism, they reversed the approach taken in other nations and promoted miscegenation as a means of "perfecting" the inferior races. They called this ideology "racial whitening." Anthropologists and historians believe that white supremacy led to an assimilative ideology in Brazil because its population was already a majority black and mixed race (i.e., a mix of white, black, and native peoples) by the late 19th century, so segregation would have been extremely difficult. The majority of the population in Brazil today is still of mixed race, probably dooming any return of white supremacy there.
In 2014 it was discovered that non-African living humans have DNA from archaic humans like Neanderthals in their genomes. This blatantly debunks the concept of "racial purity" and shows that miscegenation is natural among humans and beneficial as miscegenation broadens and diversifies the gene pool.
- The Miscegenation Hoax, Museum of Hoaxes
- Marriage to Saudis, State Department
- Cairo court rules on Egyptians married to Israeli women, BBC
- Officials ban book depicting love story between Israeli and Palestinian from Israeli classrooms, Daily Telegraph
- Loving Virginia’s move on gay marriage, The Washington Post
- Fact and Myth: Discovering a Racial Problem in Brazil, University of Notre Dame
- Fifth of Neanderthals' genetic code lives on in modern humans, The Guardian