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Seretse was the chief of an eminent Botswanan tribe, and Ruth an English student.The pair married in 1948 but experienced frequent discrimination from the onset of the relationship, including Seretse's removal from his tribal responsibilities as chief.The couple lived in Virginia yet had to marry outside the state due to the anti-miscegenation laws present in nearly half of the US states in 1958.Once married, the pair returned to Virginia, and were both arrested in their home for the infringement of the Racial Integrity Act, and each sentenced to a year in prison.The prevalence of interracial couples demonstrate how attitudes have changed in the last 50 years.A case that has perhaps received heightened publicity is that of Mildred and Richard Loving.Prior to the repeal of these laws in 2000, several attempts were made to void the sentence, ultimately the couple resorted to relocation to avoid further prejudice.
In 1968, 73% of US citizens disapproved of the right to marry inter-racially, whereas this figure dropped to 17% by 2007, illustrating the reduction in discriminatory attitudes towards interracial dating.
Although discrimination among partners based on this perceived racial identity is characterized by some as a form of racism, it is presented as a matter of preference by others.
The origins of sexual racism can be explained by looking at its history, especially in the US, where the abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction Era had significant impacts on interracial mixing.
The Southerners who were used to being dominant were now no longer legally allowed to run their farms using slavery.
Many whites struggled with this reformation and attempted to find loopholes to continue the exploitation of black labour.