Miscegenation (/mɪˌsɛɪˈnʃən/) is the interbreeding of people who are considered to be members of different races.[1] The word is derived from a combination of the Latin terms miscere (to mix) and genus (race) from the Hellenic "γένος".[2] The word first appeared in "Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro," a pretended anti-Abolitionist pamphlet David Goodman Croly and others published anonymously in advance of the 1864 U.S. presidential election.[2][3] The term came to be associated with laws that banned interracial marriage and sex, which were known as anti-miscegenation laws.[4]

Opposition to miscegenation, often framed as preserving an ethnic group's distinct heritage and cultural identity, is a typical theme of racial supremacist movements.[5] However, interracial marriages are often disparaged in racial minority communities as well.[6] Data from the Pew Research Center has shown that African Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to believe that interracial marriage "is a bad thing".[7] There is a considerable amount of scientific literature that demonstrates similar patterns.[8][9] However, most of the scientific research that is conducted on public attitudes towards miscegenation is almost exclusively interested in white people's attitudes on the matter; very little of the research is focused on the attitudes that non-white ethnic groups have towards miscegenation. Although the notion that racial mixing is undesirable has arisen at different points in history, it gained particular prominence among white communities in Europe during the era of colonialism.[5]

Although the term "miscegenation" was formed from the Latin miscere "to mix" plus genus "race" or "kind", and it could therefore be perceived as being value-neutral, it is almost always a pejorative term which is used by people who believe in racial superiority and purity.[10] Less loaded terms for multiethnic relationships, such as interracial or interethnic marriages and mixed-race or multiethnic children, are more common in contemporary usage.

In Spanish America, the term mestizaje, which is derived from mestizo—is a term used to describe a person who is the offspring of an indigenous American and a European. The primary reason why there are so few indigenous peoples of Central and South America remaining is because of the persistent and pervasive miscegenation between the Iberian colonists and the indigenous American population, which is the most common admixture of ethnicities found in the genetic tests of present-day Latinos.[11][12] This explains why Latinos in North America, the vast majority of whom are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from Central and South America, carry an average of 18% Native American ancestry, and 65.1% European ancestry (mostly from the Iberian Peninsula).[13][14]