Kristi Nelson, NBC 5 News
The number of interracial marriages in the U.S. is higher than ever before. Acceptance is also higher than ever before.
It's not uncommon to see celebrities in interracial relationships, but for many families, an interracial relationship can still be a major event.
However, the concept is not as groundbreaking as even just a few years ago. Recent census and poll numbers show interracial marriage is at an all-time high.
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, one in 12 new marriages in 2010 was between couples of different races – double the number in 1980.
Asians and Hispanics have the largest percentage of those who marry outside their race.
Newlyweds Ade Hazley and Veronica Torres of Dallas see their racial and cultural differences as part of the excitement of life.
Hazley is African American, and runs his own fitness business.
Torres is Mexican American and part of the Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and works for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
There was a time when she felt she couldn't bring the man she loves around her family and community, and she admits it was stressful. She waited two years before she told her family her boyfriend was black.
"So I was scared to tell my grandparents,” Torres said. “My grandfather told us, you know, “You'd better not bring a black man home!” They were okay with a white man, but not a black man.”
And in Latino circles, Torres said she felt scrutinized.
"I do a lot for the Hispanic community -- more than most,” she said. “And it was really hard for me. I didn't want to bring him around to my events or whatever because I already knew what my community would be saying and some of them did say it.”
Hazley felt it, too.
"I could see the body language of people, how they would kind of turn off,” he said.
Ericka and Chris Alvarez of Plano met online and after their first date knew they’d be solid.
"I knew the next morning when I floated into work -- literally floated -- I knew I’d met the right person,” said Chris.
They’ve been married for several years now, but say they still occasionally notice people giving them and their children double takes.
"Even when we first started taking our kids to preschool some of the parents would look at him, look at me, look at him, look at me,” said Ericka, laughing.
Ericka is African American, and Chris is Mexican American. Both grew up in Dallas.
"Initially we did meet with some trepidation from family,” Chris said. “As I was explaining to her, especially with the older people in my family, they just come from a different era, a different time. You just didn't do that back then -- you didn't marry outside of your race."
Dustin Doan of Dallas says it’s a good thing when more people open their minds and hearts to people of other races.
"Don’t be afraid -- live life, that's my motto,” Doan said.
Doan is a white man who is dating a black woman. And his daughter from a previous relationship is half-black. Dustin and his girlfriend, Stephanie, say they are aware of the skeptics.
“I do have friends that are like, “Why would you go to a white guy? -- stuff like that,” she said. “It's weird comments, but it's my choice."
All of the couples say they believe their children will hold the keys to a better society -- little bundles of understanding drawing from the experience of different cultures.
"Mexican American culture and history needs to play as big a part as African American culture and history in their lives,” said Chris Alvarez. “They have the best of both worlds, I think.”
"I really feel that racism is something that we can either pass down to the younger generation, or we can change it right now,” Doan said. “Each generation can change it."
Torres and Hazley don’t have kids yet, but plan to.
“We’re going to teach them to be confident,” Torres said. “My kids are going to say I’m biracial, speak Spanish and speak English.”
“We’re going to the barrio,” Hazley said, “and we're going to the hood."