In all societies in the world today, there is none that leaves the decision on a marriage partner absolutely to the discretion of an individual. There are rules and regulations that govern ones choice of their marriage partners. Among such rules, there is the existence of endogamy and exogamy marriage considerations in the society today. Endogamy marriage system is a system that allows and encourages marriage within a given group. It is worth noting that the group could be in line with a tribe, religion, race, socioeconomics, a clan, and a caste among the other parameters. Thus, the group expects the individuals to source their marriage partner strictly from that group failure to which it is deemed as a taboo. This system of marriage is not highly prevalent in the United States of America. On the other hand, exogamous marriage system is the one that requires an individual to obtain their marriage system outside the group they are the part of. Exogamous system of marriage is highly common in numerous societies in the world today (Brian 2005). However, it is also worth noting that when we talk today of such a group as exogamous marriage, many people relate it to the blood relationships between people. Thus this means that the exogamous marriage is a kind of a marriage system that encourages people to get a marriage or sexual partner outside their blood relatives. This paper endears itself to an endogamous marriage system in the United States of America. Specifically, it is to address itself to two patterns of endogamous marriage systems that are highly prevalent in the United States of America.
Patterns of Endogamy in the USA
Specifically in the United States of America there exist near two definite patterns of endogamy. Firstly, there is the cultural endogamy and, secondly, there is the socioeconomic exogamy. This discussion is to start with cultural endogamy first. As the United States of America is a well known home to thousands of people from diverse countries in the world, thus there exist diverse cultures amongst the inhabitants. This is thanks to slave trade and the colonization of America. The existence of diverse people has resulted into the infamous racial discrimination that is well embedded in the history of the United States of America. This was very much pronounced especially when it concerned the black bulk of the population. This vice was deeply rooted in the American culture so that it became part and parcel of their culture not recognizing the non-whites and especially the people who are of non-American origin. Amongst the institutions worst affected was the marriage institution. It was absolutely culturally immoral and illegal to marry or be married to somebody who was not of American origin. It was very much stipulated in the laws of some American states governments. This highly had an impact on the endogamous pattern of marriage as such endogamy was twofold. A white man could not engage a spouse from other races and cultures, equally as a non-American could not obtain a spouse from the American whites. This is what fuelled racism most in the United States of America because the racial tolerance was prohibited and people could not understand each other since they could not interact freely.
Interracial marriages remained prohibited until the late 1960s when the supreme court of the United States legalized marriages between people of different races across America. In this regard marriage system could be viewed as endogamous because it only allowed marriage between members of the same group. Group in this context refers to the racial parameter where one can only source a marriage partner from their very own race. Since the Supreme Court had passed a decision legalizing marriages between races many people got married outside their race. However, there still exist racial considerations amongst some people, especially in the northern region. It is so because in the south of the United States there exist huge chunk of population who are not natives of Americas. In the United States today, it is not very common for a black to marry a white and vice versa, (Nadelson 2011).The popular and common practice is that a couple either has both whites or black partners. It is worth noting that this is only due to ill-conceived perception that some races are superior to others, something that is so retrogressive in this century.
The second parameter that is used to further and propel endogamy is a socioeconomic factor. This is whereby one chooses a marriage partner from an economic background that is similar to theirs. This basically means that a partner from a rich family may opt to marry somebody from an equally rich background. It is the same as those from poor families marry their fellow poor partners. This form of marriage further leads to creation and existence of unequal society in the United States of America today. Thus, it is uncommon for a man from a poor family marrying a lady from a rich family. This habit is not existent in America only but is also common amongst many societies in the world today. This system of marriage should be discouraged at all cost because economic considerations should not inhibit interactions amongst people in a society.
In conclusion, we can see that endogamous marriage system in the United States is guided by such factors as culture and socioeconomics. An endogenous system should not be allowed in the society because it denies offspring the benefits of exogamy. These benefits include hybrid vigor and prevention of incestuous tendencies. Mating with the one who does not share the common ancestry or blood relationship, the couple is to reproduce the offspring who has better improved qualities because of genetic diversity. Thus, such people are better adapted to different conditions. Exogamy, on the other hand, is seen as the best system because of the genetic advantages explained above. In addition, it enables to bring the integration amongst the races, tribes, and social classes. Consequently, this is a good uniting and integrating factor.
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