I found an interesting article to write about!
It's published by CNN and written by Dianne Farr, a white woman. She recounts her experiences with interracial dating. In particular, her experiences dating both black and asian men.
I will explain my own views about interracial dating/marriage. But first, for context, let's see what Farr writes:
"Seung then added that I would never be welcome in his family's home. Seung had been told, all his life, more or less, that he was not allowed to marry someone like me."
Is this attitude common these days?
I conducted some research into interracial dating/marriage. Let's see the results:
As far back as 1999-2000, a study of people age 18 and over found that 35.7% of white Americans had dated interracially.
I don't find that to be surprising, considering that someone could primarily date members of their own race yet still experiment by dating members of other races. (I don't even like to use the word "experiment", because I don't want to imply that the best course of action is to necessarily date only members of your own race. But I don't want to explore my views just yet, I want to continue with Farr's example first!)
Did I find anything about the study surprising? Yes: The race most likely to date interracially were asian Americans: 57.1% of them had done so!
Now, these figures don't tell us the views of the families of these interracial daters, but they do show that there is widespread demand to at least experiment with interracial dating. Right?
So, it's true that interracial dating is common. But is interracial marriage as common?
No. Only 14.6% of new marriages during 2008 were interracial. However, the number has risen quite a bit since 1980, when only 6.8% of new marriages were interracial.
But remember, those figures refer only to new marriages. The percentage of total marriages that were interracial, as of 2008, was only 8%.
Let's take a closer look at the 2008 Census Bureau figures:
You may be surprised to find out that the rate of interracial marriage varies dramatically depending on which race is in question!
"Thirty-one percent of Asians and 26 percent of Hispanics had interracial marriages in 2008. By comparison, the figure was 9 percent for whites and 16 percent for blacks."
That's quite interesting.
Even more interesting is the fact that the rate varies quite a bit between asian males and asian females: 40% of married asian females have married someone of another race, while the comparable figure for married asian men is only 20%!
Now, thinking about the interracial experiences of Dianne Farr, is it possible to determine what the interracial marriage rate of Korean Americans is?
Yes. First, let me provide some context, because interracial marriage rates also vary dramatically depending on whether a person was raised in the USA. In Farr's case, her Korean spouse was raised in the USA. Farr, I assume, was also raised in the USA.
This analysis of 2006 Census Bureau data shows the following:
When you look at married men of Korean heritage who were raised in the USA, and who married someone also raised in the USA, only 52.0% of them married someone of any asian heritage, while 40.3% of them married a white woman! Surprised?
Although this doesn't speak to family sentiment, it surely shows that it wasn't at all uncommon for someone like Farr's husband to choose a white wife!
I find it interesting that asians, especially asian females, have such a high interracial marriage rate: 31% for asians overall. Why is it that the rate is so much higher than the rate of other races?
If anything, I thought that the Asian rate might be lower than that of other races. My experience has been that asians tend to be less sociable and more studious than members of other races. Wouldn't you think that both factors would reduce their opportunity for potentially romantic interracial contact?
And why is the interracial marriage rate much greater for asian females than it is for asian males? Is it that asian females tend to be more attracted to white males than to asian males? Is it that asian males are less attracted to asian females than to non-asian females?
Given that many women prefer to have the man initiate romantic contact, I would assume that the white male/asian female unions are typically initiated by white men contacting asian females. Right?
Let's take a closer look:
1) Are a large percentage of white men more attracted to asian women than to white women?
Well, given that the white population greatly outnumbers the asian population, it would take only a small percentage of white men (favoring asian women over white women) to result in the high interracial marriage rate among asian women.
Nevertheless, it may be true that many white men are more attracted to asian women than to white women. Why do I say this? Again, my experience is that asians tend to be more studious and less inclined to extraversion and partying. Therefore, such traits would make it even harder for white males to initiate contact with asian females, meaning that white males would have to be especially attracted to asian females in order to make the effort!
2) Are a large percentage of asian women more attracted to white men than to asian men? Perhaps. If you assume that the union is usually initiated by the white man, meaning the union requires the white man to show the initial interest in the asian woman, the union also requires the asian woman to be receptive. Right?
3) Unless asian men are, for whatever reason, not initiating as much contact with asian women as would normally be expected.
If that's the case, then you would expect that asian women would be more likely to marry members of whichever race happens to be most numerous among the population: Whites!
This is because the gap left by asian mens' lack of contact is most likely to be filled by white males, simply because there are more white males than there are other non-asian males!
4) White males and asian females may earn salaries that are more similar than those of any other pairing possible among the races and genders.
As a result, asian females may tend to mix more with white men, relative to asian men, at work. Being more likely to meet each other, of course, means they are more likely to date and marry!
The increased interracial mixing at work would at least partially make up for the relative lack of interracial mixing in other social areas (I'm referencing the lower sociability and extraversion of asians).
So, why do I think white males and asian females may earn more similar incomes than other pairings?
1) Overall, males earn more income than do females.
2) Asians earn more income than do whites.
Although I don't know what the male/female, white/asian earnings gaps exactly are, the direction of the gaps suggest there would be similiarity in earnings between white males and asian females.
Here's an example of what the average earnings might be, given that males earn more than females and asians earn more than whites:
Whites overall: $40,000
White males: $45,000
White females: $35,000
Asians overall: $60,000
Asian males: $70,000
Asian females: $50,000
So, you can see how a similarity between the incomes of white males and asian women could arise!
5) I've left my strongest point for last. Although the following point doesn't explain the specific gap between asians males and asian females, it partially explains why minorities are more likely than whites to interracially marry!
Look at these 2010 US Census Bureau figures:
Whites make up 72.4% of the population
Blacks make up 12.6% of the population
Hispanics make up 16.3% of the population
Asians make up 4.8% of the population
Picture what a typical workforce, school class or social event might look like: Large numbers of whites mixed with small numbers of minorities.
Now look at it from the perspective of the minorities. Let's use asians as an example:
For every asian female in the population, there are 15.08 white males ( (72.4/2) / (4.8/2) ), versus only one asian male. That means asian females are exposed to contact with far more white men than with asian men! Therefore, it's to be expected that a high percentage of asians might marry whites!
In contrast, for every white person in the population, there are 71.4 other whites, versus only 27.6 non-whites. That means whites are exposed to contact with whites almost three times as often as with minorities. Hence, it's to be expected that whites would marry interracially at much lower rates than do minorities (I'm aware that other factors would skew my proposed rates of interracial contact. For example, people are more likely to live in neighbourhoods and attend schools that include greater proportions of members of their own race. However, these factors aren't likely to come close to equalizing extremely large racial differences, such as the 72.4 to 4.8 gap, or the 72.4 to 12.6 gap)!
So, there you have it. I bet this is the first time you've ever heard anyone explain the interracial dating figures in the manner I have. Stick with me...I'm sure some of my future articles will also surprise you!
In the meantime, Part Two of this series will venture into my views about interracial dating overall, not limiting myself to the asian female/white male dynamic. In addition, I will comment on whether I think interracial dating is right or wrong, list consequences of interracial dating, and put it all into an evolutionary perspective!