Tuesday, November 18, 2008
On Interracial Math
This is going to be a short post. Short, because there's not a whole lot to say about the matter - but that doesn't make it any less important.
Over the years, I've often heard people speak of interracial relationships and mixed children as a key to "changing the world" and making current racial designations obsolete within the next 50 years. I've already discussed - at length - why I disagree, but I just want to ask one simple question regarding these magical multi-racial babies and their interracial parents:
Who do mixed (specifically white-plus-another-race) folks end up dating or having kids with most often: white people, other mixed people, people sharing the race of their non-white parent, or another race entirely?
Now, really think before answering.
Guess what? Biracial kids are more likely to end up having white partners than any of the other groups.* And it's not too shocking really.
The reasons? First of all, there are more white people in this country than there are any other race, so if you're somebody that crosses different racial barriers, you're still more likely, statistically-speaking, to run into white people - therefore a higher chance of randomly ending up with a white person.
Of course, it's not just random. Because biracial kids with one white parent generally grow up more immersed in white culture than their other culture. Part of this is the fact that we live in the U.S., which is dominated by white culture. But it's also because white culture is more "acceptable" and "normal," and the white partners are less able to actively subdue their own "normality" to enable their child to have an even immersion in both racial cultures of their parents. So - if a kid is raised in white culture, white people are who they are going to be around more often, and have more in common with, culturally, than another race - thus making it more likely for them to date white people.
Also, biracial kids are seen as more "acceptable" partners for white people than mono-racial "others." We're "exotic" and all that, a more comfortable middle ground for white people that want to "date dangerously," but don't really want to cross the racial line. We're less-threatening and more user-friendly, and so white people are more likely to be attracted to (and be okay with dating) us than somebody "more ethnic."
The end result? Within three generations, the descendants of an interracial union are basically white (I don't believe in the "one-drop" rule when we're talking fourths or smaller), making them more likely to date other white people, etc. So that - really - the majority of interracial relationships between a white partner and another race are the first step in white-washing the non-white partners racial lineage. So, in spite of all these arguments to the contrary, many interracial relationships are actually reducing racial diversity and color in the long-run. Now ain't that a crazy concept?
And for those who don't buy my argument - do a bit of snooping around, and tell me what you find. Find families of bi-racial (white and non-white) couples and see what the grandchildren look like. Personally, my cousins have pretty much drained all the Chinese blood from our family line, already. My brother is marrying a white girl. A large number of the mixed kids I knew back in the Bay have married white people (in fact, all the ones that I am aware of that have gotten married).
One possible exception to this rule is biracial (white/black) women. Partly, this is due to the fact that biracial folks with black heritage are a lot more likely to be considered just "black" on a general level. More importantly, it involves various racial stereotypes about black women, etc. which makes this the one exception where my proposed trend may not fall out (although I'm not entirely sure about that).
So, look around. Read up on some statistics. Do the math. And please don't tell me that interracial dating is a cure for racism until you have some proof. Because I'm not buying.
* I had actual numbers on this at one point, but lost them - anybody?