Thursday, August 2, 2007

Interracial marriages common in military

USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education)

Interracial marriages are more likely to occur within the military than outside it. Moreover, these unions nearly have doubled over the last 20 years. Contributing factors include diverse national recruitment, international exposure, and education.

"Immigration and group size are two of multiple factors that predict who will enter into intergroup marriage," indicates Cardell Jacobson, professor of sociology at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. "In general, we found that more United States military than nonmilitary men and women marry people of different ethnicities and races."

The services create an opportunity for interaction among groups in foreign countries and members of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. This situation enables those serving to socialize with and date individuals who live near the base and others who live in the country where troops are stationed. The frequent interaction outside of their own circle allows servicemen and women to be more accepting and nondiscriminatory, as learning about a variety of cultures creates greater understanding and decreases discrimination.

Jacobson's research further demonstrated:

* African-Americans and Caucasians are more likely than Asians and Hispanics to wed within their own race. Because Asians and Hispanics are smaller groups and have higher rates of immigration, they tend not to interact with people of their same background.

* Caucasians marry more Asians or Hispanics than African-Americans. However, white women are more likely to marry black men than black women are to marry white men. Also, Asian women are more likely than Asian men to marry whites or African-Americans.

* African-Americans have a higher incidence than whites to wed outside their ethnic group. Caucasians are more likely to marry people of similar background.

"Society continues to struggle with race; within the military, there are fewer struggles and less competition [among] the various groups," Jacobsoo concludes. "They work co-operatively for common goals, and these factors provide the context in which more intergroup marriages are likely to occur."

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