The Thinking 

Marriage and Race, Cont.

September 28, 2009


New comments have been added to the recent discussion about interracial marriage, with one commenter rejoining the debate to say there were aspects of the phenomenon she was considering for the first time. 

Interracial marriage has increased dramatically since the last anti-miscegenation laws were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967. These unions represented two percent of all marriages in 1970, as compared to seven percent in 2005, according to a Stanford University study quoted here. The divorce rate among interracial couples is 30 percent higher than average.

Whites tend to see interracial marriage as a benign development. Some members of minority ethnic groups do not view it that way. Marriages between Asians and whites typically involve white men and Asian women, leaving Asian men with fewer potential brides. The disparity is similar among black-white couples, with the majority of these unions formed between black men and white women. This leaves fewer marrying men for black women, who already experience very low marriage rates. Steve Sailer explored the issue ten years ago here. He wrote:

Interracial marriage is growing steadily. From the 1960 to the 1990 Census, white – East 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 triumph 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.

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