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In the present day, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests that race is a concrete biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships.
The term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval is also a reason why more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.
More neutral terms for mixed-race relationships, such as "interracial", "interethnic", or even "cross-cultural" are more common in contemporary usage.
In Spanish America, the term mestizaje, derived from Mestizo -- the blending of European whites and Indigenous peoples of the Americas, is used for racial mixing.
The differences between related terms and words which encompass aspects of racial admixture show the impact of different historical and cultural factors leading to changing social interpretations of race and ethnicity.
Thus the Comte de Montlosier, in exile during the French Revolution, equated class difference in 18th-century France with racial difference. in 1863, and the etymology of the word is tied up with political conflicts during the American Civil War over the abolition of slavery and over the racial segregation of African-Americans.
The term miscegenation was coined to refer specifically to the intermarriage of blacks and whites, with the intent of galvanising opposition to the war. states, as well as laws in South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals.
in Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg Laws) from 1935 until 1945, and in South Africa during the Apartheid era (1949–1985). In the United States, various state laws prohibited marriages between whites and blacks, and in many states they also prohibited marriages between whites and Native Americans or Asians.
As the different connotations and etymologies of miscegenation and mestizaje suggest, definitions of race, "race mixing" and multiraciality have diverged globally as well as historically, depending on changing social circumstances and cultural perceptions.
The issue of miscegenation, raised by the opponents of Abraham Lincoln, featured prominently in the election campaign of 1864.
In the United States, miscegenation has referred primarily to the intermarriage between whites and non-whites, especially blacks.
(Portuguese also uses miscigenação, derived from the same Latin root as the English word.) These non-English terms for "race-mixing" are not considered as offensive as "miscegenation", although they have historically been tied to the caste system (casta) that was established during the colonial era in Spanish-speaking Latin America.
Today, the mixes among races and ethnicities are diverse, so it is considered preferable to use the term "mixed-race" or simply "mixed" (mezcla).
It was used specifically to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations.