Intermarriage, whiteness, and blackness in the 21st century.

Racial Equity, Talk About Race — By Mark Harris on June 14, 2010 at 08:01

Among others, Matt Yglesias had an interesting post on Tuesday about trends in interracial marriage. He referenced a Pew Center report on interracial marriage, specifically the two following graphs:

Growth of interracial marriage 1960-2010

Intermarriage types among newly married couples 2008

He comes to the conclusion that “the country will be “whiter” in 2050 than naive demographic projections suggest and that will largely be because a very substantial portion of the descendants of today’s Hispanics and Asians will be considered white.”  His implication is that the point at which the nation becomes majority-minority is further down the line than Census projections tend to account for because of how people will self-identify.  However, this blanket statement ignores its converse.

The graph also reveals that 44% of interracial marriages are between two non-white persons, a Black and White person, and among “other” defined as “American Indian, mixed race, or some other race.”  In short, this means that the country will also be more brown, because it is likely that the descendants of all these other marriages will likely be viewed as non-white, if not outright “Black” as it was understood in the twentieth century.  It is important to understand the economic circumstances and cultural attitudes towards race that will inform this growing “brown” group, because it will be critical for the pursue of economic and racial justice and equality in the 21st-century US.

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Author: Mark Harris (7 Articles)

Mark Harris

Mark Harris, Jr., is a Graduate Research Associate at the Kirwan Institute. He received his B.S. in Political Science from Howard University and recently completed a Master’s in Public Administration at The Ohio State University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in City and Regional Planning at OSU. Mark previously worked as a community organizer, as an Americorps member with Columbus Housing Partnership, and for Columbus City Council.

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