The Rhetoric of Racism and Anti-Miscegenation Laws in the United States

Author: Ashok Bhusal, The University of Texas at El Paso, United States of America
Published: December 8, 2017

Citation: Bhusal, A. (2017). The Rhetoric of Racism and Anti-Miscegenation Laws in the United States. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(2).


Systemic discrimination against minority groups in the United States’ justice system has been unremitting, abetted by a veil of rhetoric that demands a closer look at the stark social and historical realities that produced it. State anti-miscegenation laws were the product of entrenched beliefs born of white supremacist notions. Such legislation endured because the Constitution of the United States left the regulation of marriage under the jurisdiction of individual states. In this muddled scenario, state laws differed substantially concerning the severity of the punishment for interracial couples. In the present article, I review some cases and questions that predated the Supreme Court ruling on this matter (1967), discuss the rationale for the creation of anti-miscegenation legislation along with the effects of anti-miscegenation laws on the couples, and suggest new approaches in the struggle against racism. Herein, I propose to analyze just how these state anti-miscegenation laws contributed to the social exclusion of minority groups, how their design furthered the preservation of the “purity and superiority” of whites, and how they ultimately guaranteed the whites’ privileged access to financial matters.


race, racism, anti-miscegenation, justice system