AREN’T THERE MORE INTERRACIAL COUPLES?
a change of pace, I drove up to Prince Edward Island (Canada)
to see the musical Hairspray at the Charlottetown Festival.
As you may already know, Hairspray is set in 1962 and
takes a rather cheerful look at segregation in the world of
entertainment. At the end of the play, we are left with the
sense that a new era of integration has begun -- the birth of
which is personified in the relationship blossoming between
two of the main characters, a white woman and a black man.
forward 50 years, and back into the real world, and one place
we have notably failed to see integration is in sexual relationships.
For example, if we randomly assigned people in the U.S. to their
marriage partners, we would expect 44% of marriages to be between
two people of different races. According to the 2000 Census,
however, only 4% of marriages fit that description. New evidence
from speed-dating trials can help us to untangle the reasons
for this persistent segregation in dating and marriage.
of the reasons why speed-dating trials are so interesting is
that they help us to separate preference for a same-race partner
from other factors that might lead to this segregated outcome.
For example, socio-geographic segregation between the races
might explain dating segregation if people date others who are
like them in terms of income, education -- or simply people
who live in the same geographic area. Dating trials tell us
that if we removed these barriers to interracial relationships,
same-race preferences in dating would ensure that interracial
marriage would continue to be rare. The question is: What the
source of these preferences?
speak louder than words, so speed dating trials are more informative
than simply asking people who they would, and would not, be
interested in dating. For example, an online dating website
filter might ask the question “Which of the following
races would be willing to communicate with?” We find that
answers to that question are often not consistent with choices
made after the fact (i.e. people say they want to communicate
with many other races but then only communicate with their own
race). Creative people need to find alternative ways to observe
those choices in action, making speed dating the perfect tool.
for example: You are at a speed dating event. You have a chance
to meet someone of the opposite sex for a total of four minutes
to determine if he or she is someone you wish to meet again.
You can accept or reject potential partners, and that information
is used to determine your preferences for a mate without relying
on surveys. The results of a recent trial, and in fact all studies
I have seen on this topic, suggest that men and women have a
distinctly different set of racial preferences. Same-race preferences
for a partner are almost completely driven by the preferences
of women, regardless of race. Black women appear to have a stronger
same-race preference than anyone else. White women also have
a same-race preference but men, regardless of race, exhibit
no preference for a partner of their same race. This suggests
that if preferences are driving the lack of interracial couples
in the U.S. that outcome comes from the choices made by women
and not by men.
this particular study participants were asked to rate the attractiveness
of the people they were meeting on a scale of one to ten and,
while women at least have a preference to date men of the same
race as themselves, they don’t find men of their race
any more attractive than men of a different race. So same-race
preference doesn’t appear to be driven by notions of what
is considered attractive in a mate. The same result is found
for a measure of shared interests.
in the study that came from racially intolerant places show
a stronger same-race preference then people who come from a
tolerant place. (Tolerance in geographic areas is measured by
the share of those surveyed in that area that answered “yes”
to the question: “Do you think there should be laws against
marriages between Negroes/Blacks/Africa/Americans and whites?”).
Despite the fact that all the participants in the speed dating
trail were in one place (in fact they are all students at Columbia
University) their roots played a role in the choices they made.
magnitude of the effect of coming from intolerant background
is very large. For example, a participant from a low-tolerance
state such as South Carolina (where 28% of those surveyed feel
that interracial marriage should be banned) has same-race preferences
that are 16% points higher than participant from a state such
as New York (where 22% feel that interracial marriage should
be banned). Also, familiarly with a particular race does not
increase an individual’s willingness to date someone of
that race, the greater the share of the home population that
is that race the less a participant was willing to date them.
rates of black women in the U.S. are the lowest in the country;
in 2007 only 33% of black women were married. This marriage-gap
has been explained by high incarceration rates among black men,
reducing their income and marriage prospects for the future,
and the growing divide in education rates between black women
and black men. If you have ever wondered why, given the shortage
of marriage material, black women don’t just marry white
men this research suggests that it isn’t because white
men are not interested in dating black women. Unlike the girls
in Hairspray, it seems that many black women would
prefer to be single than to become a "checkerboard chick."
I have two problems with interracial dating/marriages in America;
both of them specific. 1. If there is a huge religion gap. The
bible speaks against the practice; it was Solomon's downfall,
if I'm not mistaken; when this happens, the philosophies by
which you are governed are very different! Either you argue
all the time (and divorce or murder is possible) or one person
is forced to soften his/her stance to appease the other. The
kids are also confused! I have a problem with this anywhere
that it happens. 2. In America, BMWF relationship is a unbalanced
marriage. Here's why: Racist whites are far more progressive
with racism than blacks and, for them, black men are enemy number
1! Racist whites poison, give dirty handshakes, kill black men,
germify food, disown their kids/grandkids, mistreat mixed kids,
etc. That's the only two problems that I have with interracial
couples; anything else is doable
I cannot tell, from this study, if the unwillingness of women
to date across colour/ethnic lines is basic preferences of the
women, or if the preference is derivative of women's perceptions
of the willingness of men to marry [or just responsibly and
reliably cohabit with] women. Thus, if a black woman dates to
get married, and if that black woman believes that white (or
Asian or Hispanic) men will date but will not marry black women,
the black woman may not be interested in dating across racial
lines. Thus, the dating preferences we observe are purely an
artifact of women's beliefs about men's willingness to marry.
Men, on the other hand, might date as an end in itself (at least
some of the time). Or, men might believe that women of all races
are equally likely to be willing to marry.
For example, a significant minority (10 to 15%)
of the marriage licenses pulled in Los Angeles County are 'interracial,'
according to how the couples fill out the forms. This is, to
my knowledge, the highest rate of any county in the USA. I would
hypothesize that if the women date to marry hypothesis is correct,
one should see a higher rate of women willing to date across
colour and ethnic lines in Los Angeles than in places where
interracia" marriage is less common.
Do you have data that bear on alternative explanations?
I would be interested to meet some one who is so caring and
lovely and good looking maybe possible leading to marriage.
Please if there is some one with the same interest feel free
to contact me.
I am a black woman and my husband is a white man. We have been
together for years and every where we go black women a ways
ask me: "What's it like to be with a white man?" The
reason they ask is because they want to date white men but they
just don't know how to approach them or they will say: "Can
you find me a white guy?" Black women want to date white
men but some are afraid of rejection and humiliation
I am a black woman and I would much rather not marry at all
than marry a white person. My reasoning is in their culture.
They have proven through media projection that they are interested
in black women simply for the thrill.' There has often been
a lack of wanting to care for these women they seek so hard
to degrade. I find the same truth in white women/black men.
White men, in my opinion, don't want to love us. They want to
use us. White women, also in my opinion, don't want to love
black men. They want to use them ($, status, appeal, or sex).
Just my thoughts on what I've seen.
Part of the problem are the terms of reference. It shouldn't
be about wanting to or preferring to be with someone who is
white or black. Doesn't "content of character" count
for anything? Mixed couples are colour blind; however the relationship
goes, it has nothing to do with skin colour. Yes, we know the
skin colours are unlike, but like unlike hair colour it's only
a data point -- and nothing more than that. From the above comments
I see that too many woman are trapped in the prison of colour,
which is sad because when it comes to dating and romance, that
is one area where there is no racism/prejudice.
Interracial relationships are a thing of the past. Most black
men like me now want to stay in our race and take care of our
black women. These days all the guys I know no longer want to
get involved with white women because of two reasons: 1. The
knowledge of black men regarding slavery is now deep and we
now do not want to give the white women the idea that they are
in any way preferable to our black women. 2. A lots of us these
days can travel to our ancestral continent Africa and when we
do we are amazed at the women of that continent. Their unique
beauty is beyond words and so many do marry over there. Black
men are now not looking for white women. Too sad our black woman
in these parts are now looking for white men. They need to educate
themselves that the white man will always consider them as the
slaves that they used to rape in the outhouse and in the slave
ships on the mighty waters. Black women are superiorly more
beautiful and sexy than white women. God gave us black men the
best. Thank you God.