Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is love colorblind? - public opinion about interracial marriage

National Review, Steve Sailer

Just three decades ago, Thurgood Marshall was only months away from appoint- ment to the Supreme Court when he suffered an indignity that today seems not just outrageous but almost incomprehensible. He and his wife had found their dream house in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., but could not lawfully live together in that state: he was black and she was Asian. Fortunately for the Marshalls, in January 1967 the Supreme Court struck down the anti-interracial-marriage laws in Virginia and 18 other states. And in 1967 these laws were not mere leftover scraps from an extinct era. Two years before, at the crest of the civil-rights revolution, a Gallup poll found that 72 per cent of Southern whites and 42 per cent of Northern whites still wanted to ban interracial marriage.
Let's fast-forward to the present and another black-Asian couple: retired Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel Eldrick Woods Sr. and his Thai-born wife, Kultida. They are not hounded by the police -- just by journalists desperate to write more adulatory articles about how well they raised their son Tiger. The colossal popularity of young Tiger Woods and the homage paid his parents are remarkable evidence of white Americans' change in attitude toward what they formerly denounced as "miscegenation." In fact, Tiger's famously mixed ancestry (besides being black and Thai, he's also Chinese, white, and American Indian) is not merely tolerated by golf fans. More than a few seem to envision Tiger as a shining symbol of what America could become in a post-racial age.

Interracial marriage is growing steadily. From the 1960 to the 1990 Census, white-Asian married couples increased almost tenfold, while black-white couples quadrupled. The reasons are obvious: greater integration and the decline of white racism. More subtly, interracial marriages are increasingly recognized as epitomizing what our society values most in a marriage: the tri- umph of true love over convenience and prudence.Nor is it surprising that white-Asian marriages outnumber black-white marriages: the social distance between whites and Asians is now far smaller than the distance between blacks and whites. What's fascinating, however, is that in recent years a startling number of nonwhites -- especially Asian men and black women -- have become bitterly opposed to intermarriage.

This is a painful topic to explore honestly, so nobody does. Still, it's important because interracial marriages are a leading indicator of what life will be like in the even more diverse and integrated twenty-first century. Intermarriages show that integration can churn up unexpected racial conflicts by spotlighting enduring differences between the races.

For example, probably the most disastrous mistake Marcia Clark made in prosecuting O. J. Simpson was to complacently allow Johnny Cochran to pack the jury with black women. As a feminist, Mrs. Clark smugly assumed that all female jurors would identify with Nicole Simpson. She ignored pretrial research indicating that black women tended to see poor Nicole as The Enemy, one of those beautiful blondes who steal successful black men from their black first wives, and deserve whatever they get.

The heart of the problem for Asian men and black women is that intermarriage does not treat every sex/race combination equally: on average, it has offered black men and Asian women new opportunities for finding mates among whites, while exposing Asian men and black women to new competition from whites. In the 1990 Census, 72 per cent of black-white couples consisted of a black hus- band and a white wife. In contrast, white-Asian pairs showed the reverse: 72 per cent consisted of a white husband and an Asian wife.

Sexual relations outside of marriage are less fettered by issues of family approval and long-term practicality, and they appear to be even more skewed. The 1992 Sex in America study of 3,432 people, as authoritative a work as any in a field where reliable data are scarce, found that ten times more single white women than single white men reported that their most recent sex partner was black.

Few whites comprehend the growing impact on minorities of these interracial husband-wife disparities. One reason is that the effect on whites has been balanced. Although white women hunting for husbands, for example, suffer more competition from Asian women, they also enjoy increased access to black men. Further, the weight of numbers dilutes the effect on whites. In 1990, 1.46 million Asian women were married, compared to only 1.26 million Asian men. This net drain of 0.20 million white husbands into marriages to Asian women is too small to be noticed by the 75 million white women, except in Los Angeles and a few other cities with large Asian populations and high rates of inter- marriage. Yet, this 0.20 million shortage of Asian wives leaves a high propor- tion of frustrated Asian bachelors in its wake.

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