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”’ “Making friends here has been really, really tough,” Kim said.“I’ll go five years at a time with no white friends at all.” Yet some of the worst friction has been with her black in-laws.Michelle Cadeau, born in Sweden, and her husband, James, born in Haiti, are raising their two sons as Americans in racially diverse West Orange, N. “I think the children of families like ours will be able to make a difference in the world, and do things we weren’t able to do,” Michelle Cadeau said.“It’s really important to put all their cultures together, to be aware of their roots, so they grow up not just as Swedish or Haitian or American, but as global citizens.” Meanwhile, though, there are frustrations — such as school forms for 5-year-old Justin that provide no option for him to be identified as multiracial.“I live a wonderful life as a nonracial person.” Meier says she occasionally detects some expressions of disapproval of their marriage, “but flagrant, in-your-face racism is pretty rare now.” Cox — an Army veteran and former private detective who now joins his wife in raising quarter horses — longs for a day when racial lines in America break down.“We are sitting on a powder keg of racism that’s institutionalized in our attitudes, our churches and our culture,” he said, “that’s going to destroy us if we don’t undo it.” Sometimes, a blend of nationalities In many cases, interracial families embody a mix of nationalities as well as races.About 6.8 million described themselves as multiracial — 2.4 percent of the population — adding statistical fuel to the ongoing debate over what race really means.Kerry Ann Rockquemore, professor of African-American studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is the daughter of a black father and white mother, and says she is asked almost daily how she identifies herself.

“There’s stuff that’s been working for a very long time in this country that is not going to work anymore.” Ticking more than one racial category The boom in interracial marriages forced the federal government to change its procedures for the 2000 census, allowing Americans for the first time to identify themselves by more than one racial category.'Encouraging development' Kelley Kenney, a professor at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, is among those who have bucked the black-white gender trend.A black woman, she has been married since 1988 to a fellow academic of Irish-Italian descent, and they have jointly offered programs for the American Counseling Association about interracial couples.“She was absolutely right.” Al Stamps said he is less sensitive to disapproval than his wife, and tries to be philosophical. Major Cox, a black Alabamian, and his white wife, Cincinnati-born Margaret Meier, have lived on the Cox family homestead in Smut Eye, Ala., for more than 20 years, building a large circle of black and white friends while encountering relatively few hassles.“I don’t feel it, I don’t see it,” said Cox, 66, when asked about racist hostility.

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