When Two Races Unite

Believe it or not, it wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court made it illegal to make interracial marriages a crime.   Some states already had opened the door, but most of the country still clung to the notion of "racial purity".

In 1960, there were approximately 25,000 black husbands with white wives, and 26,000 white husbands with black wives.  Ten years later, the number of black husbands with white wives nearly doubled, but the total actually went down for white husbands with black wives.... that doesn't make sense to me.

And get this - in another ten years, the number of black men marrying white women nearly doubled again; meanwhile the number of white men with black wives was only 1,000 more than before it was decriminalized in 1960!

For some reason, between 1980 and 1990 the number finally starts to move up.  The number triples to 75,000 in 1990.  As usual, the black man to white woman marriage continues to steadily increases to 156,000.

So, where are we today? Well, the 2010 census statistics show 390,000 black men married to white women, and 168,000 white men married to black women.  It would appear Generation X, who would be getting married around 1990-2010, are more open to it than the previous generations.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I find it interesting that the B/M - W/F marriage has far outnumbered the W/M - B/F marriage since day one.  What's going on here? Are B/M and W/F able to look past skin color; whereas, the W/M and B/F still have hang-ups?  It would certainly seem to be the case.

It's interesting question, and I'd be curious to hear your own theories.


  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2011

    I've seen research to suggest that this is partly due to image portrayals of black women from "mammie" to "welfare queen". The have the double-whammy of being female and African American, too, and we live in a still sexist and racist society. SO, while each relationship is personal, the messages that shape our desire and attraction are there in advertising and peer-reflective identity shaping. (sorry- i'm a sociologist :))

    1. I'm a black woman in a r'ship with a white man, and we both agree with you.

  2. It's hard to say, but it seems like culturally, there is no difference in the public's perception. When Star Trek aired the first interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhuru in 1968, it was positively received by the viewing public. It seems that in pop culture, tv and film, there is no distinction between the two. But in real life, there might be (as the poster above stated). My brother in law is white and his wife is black and they don't feel in any way exceptional, even though the stats might indicate otherwise. It seems the census might not be all that representative of the actual demographic out there. I would venture to say the same holds true in the gay community. Census figures might be a little lagged in terms of their current relevancy.

  3. I could indulge in pop psych, but it walks a fine line with racism on questions like this, so I prefer to avoid it.

    (I would say that you might want to look at para. 2 and 3, and fix some of those "whites" - that's a justifiable correction, there.)

  4. Corrected. Thanks, Cynic.

  5. This is a whole "can of worms" you may not want to open given the general flavor of this blog.

    The reasons for the disparity are probably more varied than simple "racism." It is always easier to slap that on something you don't want to pursue to a greater degree. It is an argument stopper that avoids a real look at situations.

    It is like the phrase "Chauvinist Pig" that was thrown around in the 70s when someone questioned the social consequences of Women's Liberation.

  6. AnonymousMay 08, 2011

    seems to me the number is fairly static considering the rise in population of the past 40 years.

  7. I have no idea why, but in my observations, it seems white men in an interracial relationship are more likely to be with Asian women than black women. Again, I have no idea why that is or if I'm even correct, but I've seen far more of that combination than white man/black woman.

  8. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  9. AnonymousMay 10, 2011

    White women like black men because they're well-hung. White men don't like black women because hung they don't want to deal with black women's hair issues.

  10. AnonymousMay 10, 2011

    Perhaps because both white and black men generally find white women more attractive? I do know that of myself and other male white friends, most of us prefer white women (and my black friends generally feel the same way). And those black women that we do find attractive generally have what are considered white features. Feel free to ponder why this might be, but its my guess.

  11. AnonymousMay 11, 2011

    Duh...The reason is black people are ugly unless they have white features and some white women are easily conned or guilted when it comes to pairing up.

    Also, white people's good looks are a product of their evolutionary selection, whereas blacks in Africa this wsa probably not as true.

  12. old.nationalreview.com/14july97/feature.html

    This is old, but still on point, I think.

  13. I think a lot of it has to do with pop culture. There's a long-standing trend of both white and black males being depicted in media as handsome, virile, etc. But it hasn't been until the rise of hip-hop culture that we've seen widespread depictions of black females as attractive, sexy, etc. (and some would argue that even in the present day, the black women depicted as attractive in the media are still attempting to adhere to the "white" standard of beauty - straight hair, lighter skin, etc...) Up until recently the only times you would see depictions of attractive black women (who were adhering to a "black" stereotype of beauty - afros, full lips, dark skin) is in advertising or other media that is specifically targeted at a black audience.

    All in all, I think the media has a large role in this - the standard of desirability for a man is much broader in U.S. culture. Essentially, for a man to be attractive (according to the media), he needs to be clean, strong, well-dressed, and have money. this has changed very little from one decade to the next. But the standards for attractiveness for women are almost entirely based on looks, and that look has been defined for the past 50+ years as a busty white girl.