Where Are Politics' Interracial Couples?

More Americans are open to mixed marriages, but few government officials marry outside their race.

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He explained that while black voters may look at a black woman married to a white man and assume perhaps she simply did not meet the right black man, they see an accomplished black man married to a white woman and assume perhaps he married a trophy wife. This makes visiting black churches and other locales to which black candidates often go a challenge. For instance, as a candidate for the senate in Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford was the target of an ad featuring a white woman suggestively telling him to "call me," which many viewed as a racially coded reference to his interracial relationships. Ford later explored running for the senate in New York, but by that time his white girlfriend had become his wife.

Though New York is not Tennessee, it still would have presented a challenge for him, Smikle explained. "I don't think it is something he could not have overcome," he added. Yet Smikle did conclude that "If Obama had a white wife it is unlikely he would be president."

Despite the challenges their unique family may bring in the political sphere, de Blasio and his wife are optimistic about where our country is headed when it comes to race. They recalled that they met weeks after the racially charged Crown Heights riots in New York, and it was love at first sight. Yet after the Spike Lee film Jungle Fever was released that year they were harassed by a group of teens that cornered them while shouting, "jungle fever."

Now, two decades later they are preparing to possibly become New York's first family. "Today we feel broadly respected and embraced with a few exceptions," he said. His wife pointed out, though, that there are still times when people see their family together and treat them like they couldn't possibly be a family, what both of them referred to as "awkwardness."

"The day I look forward to is when we are a country without awkwardness, where people just accept people in every configuration," de Blasio said. "You would think that by having a biracial president that would be the end of the chapter and we could all go home now, but nothing could be further from the truth. We have a long way to go."

Keli Goff is The Root's political correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.

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Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.