Arun Prabhakaran’s family was not accepting of the white woman he intended to marry. Family tensions countinued for years, but their union helped begin to change attitudes in a tight-knit Indian community where arranged marriage was the norm.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned state laws banning interracial marriage. Richard and Mildred Loving were a white man and a black woman who married in the 1950s — even though it was against the law in their home state of Virginia. They were forced to leave Virginia until the Supreme Court issued its ruling on June 12, 1967.
Over five decades, interracial marriages have become more common across the United States. But people in mixed race marriages still face some unique challenges.
“The Loving Project” podcast features some of those couples telling the story of what it’s like to be in an interracial marriage today.
Arun and Carrie
Carrie Young and Arun Prabhakaran have been married since 2001. The both grew up in Northeast Ohio and moved to Philadelphia in the ’90s. Now they live in Mount Airy, where they’re raising two children.
Arun is Indian, and Carrie is white. Carrie’s family accepted Arun, but his family was part of a close-knit Indian community, where arranged marriage was the norm. When he finally brought Carrie to meet his parents at their home, she was asked to leave.
“My dad said, ‘Leave, and don’t come back,'” says Arun.
After that, the family tensions countinued for years. During that time the couple’s love and commitment to each other didn’t waver.
Finally, his parents agreed to meet with Carrie and accepted her.
“It had been four years of trying to marginalize me out of a choice that I had already committed to,” Arun says.When they got married, it was one of the first-mixed race marriages to be accepted by at least some of Arun’s Indian community, and their union helped begin to change attitudes.
The couple are raising their children to be aware of their multicultural heritage, celebrating holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Diwali. Sometime soon they hope to take the children on a trip to India.
Do you have a story about your interracial marriage that you’d like to share? Send an essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story is part of a collaboration with “The Loving Project,” a podcast produced by Brad Linder and Farrah Parkes. Listen to the entire interview at LovingProject.com, and subscribe via iTunes for more stories.