Sunday, June 13, 2010

More on intermarriage

In the last post, reader Jim Bowery correctly pointed out that greater disapproval by older whites compared to younger whites of a relative marrying someone from another race might reflect the tendency for people to become more conservative as they age.

Fortunately, the General Social Survey has longitudinal data. Participants were asked: "What about having a close relative marry a black person? Would you be in very favor of it happening (1), somewhat in favor (2), neither in favor nor opposed to it happening (3), somewhat opposed (4), or very opposed to it happening (5)?

The table displays the mean attitude for different age groups measured at three different times: 1990, 2000, and 2008.

You can see two major patterns. First, as we saw in the last post, measured at any specific time, disapproval is stronger among older whites (just look down the columns). Second, if you look along the rows, you can that that approval grew among most age groups over time. The only expections to this are the two youngest groups over the 2000-2008 period: their level of approval remained stable. 

So approval has generally grown over time, and younger cohorts start out with more approving averages than older cohorts. 

But notice that, compared to Pew's numbers, these estimates do not make whites look so gung-ho about a close relative outmarrying. The average (2.73) of the most liberal group in the table--people who are now in their 30s--is much closer to neutral than "somewhat in favor." Most of the groups are currently between neutral and "somewhat opposed."

It seems to me that asking about favoring or not favoring the marriage is more revealing than asking "if you would be fine with it." (By the way, each cell is at least 100 cases).      


  1. One would, of course, be expecting too much of social scientists to ask a question like:

    Would you support a Federal Government deployment of military force against a State that passed and enforced a law against interracial sexual relations within its borders?


    Would you support US participation of a United Nations military deployment against a country that passed and enforced a law against interracial sexual relations within its borders?

    It would _really_ be interesting to see the answer to that one over time.

  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    I have a feeling that many will state they support interracial marriage, but privately wish that their cousin, sister, or brother wasn't interacially marrying. They might want to give the "correct" response, but want a nephew or whatnot that looks like themselves.

    Our elite seems to think that all the world's problems will melt away if humanity would simply intermarry for a few generations until there was no race, and we all looked vauguely like Australian aboriginals or something.

    I take a different view. Ever heard of a "pizzly" bear? There are some polar bears that mate with grizzly bears, resulting in pizzly bears. Pizzlys are not as attractive as either bear, taking the (my opinon) worst features of each. The left thinks there would be no discrimination and kumbaya if we were a world of pizzly bears, with no black, brown, kodiak, or polar bears.

    But humanity is more varied than that. Can you imagine if we attempted to interbreed all the birds so we could someday have an amorphous "bird". No red cardinals or yellow canaries, orange-bellied robins or strikingly-handsome blue jays, jet-black sparrows or yellow-bellied-meadow-larks, ravens or wrens, tri-colored woodpeckers or carolina-bluebirds. Just one greyish-brown "bird". Pretty damned boring in my opinion, even if that greyish-brown bird is a reasonably well-behaved bird that sings fairly well, and doesn't make a bunch of racket like a magpie, but is a decently proficient hunter of insects. It would still be boring.

    True "diversity" is what the elites are _against_.

  3. If you go down diagonally to the right, you can see how same-age cohorts changed over time.

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