Some good news for ethnic relations

Sam Smith – At a time when ethnic relations in America seem in a sharp downturn, there is some hopeful news:

A half-century after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the United States, 18% of all cohabiting adults have a partner of a different race or ethnicity – similar to the share of U.S. newlyweds who have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (17%), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Among cohabiting U.S. adults – those living with an unmarried partner – Millennials and members of Generation X are particularly likely to have a live-in partner of a different race or ethnicity: Roughly one-in-five in each group do. The rates are significantly lower among cohabiting Baby Boomers (13%) and members of the Silent Generation (9%).

Close to 50 years after interracial marriages became legal across the U.S., the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Neither the media nor ethnic groups pay much attention to such a shift. In fact, inter-ethnic relationships are ignored even when a president is a product of one of them. Obama continues to be considered just black even though he spent more time at Harvard Law School than with a black parent.

Part of the problem is that most Americans accept skin color as the most important cultural indicator . Ironically minorities go along  with this even though the concept is, from a scientific point of view, basically racist. The reason the Review favors the term ethnic over racial is that race is a racist concept while ethnicity describes a culture. Considering a person’s cultural background is much more complex than just their skin color.

And the acceptance of cultural complexity attacks the very cliches that lead to racism. Thus bi-ethnic couples not only deserve their share of attention, but should be thanked for their contribution to a world in which cultural complexity helps to reduce racism.

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