Race

Love: Still Not Colorblind

February 22, 2012

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Keeping those caveats in mind, Pew’s gender gap for blacks in interracial weddings in 2010 still winds up the same 2.5x as I saw for 1990.

In Britain, the black-white marriage gender gap is smaller than in the US. It was reported at 1.4x in 1991 and 1.5x recently. This suggests that American culture is more masculinizing than British culture. In the interracial mating market, perhaps our cult of black machismo gives advantages to African American men while disadvantaging their sisters.

For Asians who wed interracially in 2010, the ratio of Asian brides over Asian grooms was 2.2x, down slightly from the 2.5x I saw in 1990 marriages.

One change over the decades is that South Asians, who tend to hoard their womenfolk, make up a much larger share of all Asians than 20 years ago.

Still, long-term trends appear hopeful for Asian-American men. The gender gap most afflicts Asian immigrant men, while among Asians born in the US it was only 1.34x in 2010. Being born in America appears to be masculinizing for East Asians, which increases their odds of snagging a wife.

Using a Census Bureau survey of one percent of the population, Pew fills in some new demographic details. Over the last 30 years, white/Asian couples have become increasingly upscale in educational levels. In contrast, black/white marriages have headed down-market.

Back in 1980 a noticeable fraction of white-husband/Asian-wife couples were veterans with war brides, so only 17 percent of white husbands in white/Asian marriages then had college degrees. By the time I was at UCLA in the early 1980s, though, white/Asian couples were becoming an upper-middle-class Californian cliché. Today, 41 percent of white husbands with Asian wives have college diplomas.

Not surprisingly, white-husband/black-wife interracial couples tend to be better educated and have a higher income than black-husband/white-wife couples. Back in the day, a remarkable fraction of the white guys I saw with black girls had professorial beards, which are handy for covering up a jawline that is less than turbocharged by testosterone. In 1980, one-third of white men with black wives had college degrees, but that recently fell to 22 percent. And black-husband/white-wife couples are significantly less educated.

Although American commentators frequently praise interracial marriage as a cure for inequality, these trends”€”plus Latin America’s long experience”€”suggest that American society’s upper reaches will become increasingly Eurasian and the lower reaches increasingly mulatto.

 

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