Whites favor law against interracial marriage where?

Update: Readers pointed out that these results are from the cumulative data set from 1972-2002. So the % who favored laws against interracial marriage were ~40% in 1972, and ~10% in 2002, averaging out to ~25% across the years. The relative differences though seem to remain the same across categories. The nature of party identification in the 1970s also likely explains the peculiar results there.End Update

The GSS has a question of the form:

Do you think there should be laws against marriages between (Negroes/Blacks/African-Americans) and whites?

The sample sizes are huge for this question, on the order of N = 25,000. So I decided to break down the opinions of American whites on these types of laws (which were the norm two generations ago). The question in the title is answered below the fold (no surprise).

i-6c2dcaa15046057bc4941ba9e43fb54e-racmarage.png
i-dc529e12e0f0eb018921bfc77a4b66b1-racmardegree.png
i-8b27e90ac7945129e5e2b9c72d37ab3c-racmarbible.png
i-5da3640f597b75daadb016ff4f81bf92-racmarpartyid.png
i-174c80f370c7c02a888fbe7a21d417f6-racmarpolview.png
i-cc141b31954e5b3e53854b89805ef8a0-racmarregion.png
i-49e5d5ea08a0d8bb73404dc20be86282-racmarsex.png
i-6c8cc73e1335e5d91521b470b7fa5c4c-racmarwordsum.png

Here are the Census Divisions:

i-9fbfb9dd57a897e5fc56baeb2af7850c-censusdiv.png

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Interesting. I suspect that if you took a poll where no one lied, the biggest group against racial intermarriage would be black women. That's why it's a really bad idea for whiter people to try to convince black women to support gay marriage by comparing it to interracial marriage.

Surprised New England came ahead of Pacific, which does have some rednecks in the southern interior. Also surprised Mountain was only a point ahead of New England.

Speaking of explorable demographic data, have you heard of the Simple Online Data Archive for POPulation studies (SODAPOP)? I just found it recently, but haven't explored it much.

Before I'm horrified by those statistics (I would have expected maybe 1% of Americans would want to make interracial marriage illegal, rather than 25%), when was that survey taken?

By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Apr 2009 #permalink

I think that this should be the test question to set the bottom line for racism. There are other vaguer negative racial attitudes which may or may not be racist, but this one is pretty definitive. What is it nationally, about 25%?

W Virginia, Maryland, Florida and Delaware South Atlantic is a rather mixed area. My guess is that NC, SC, and GA are much like E SO Central.

I'd also like to see a breakdown of the racist Democrats by location. You'd guess that these are the ticket-splitting Democrats everywhere who usually vote Republican in the Presidential elections.

By John Emerson (not verified) on 18 Apr 2009 #permalink

A few things stick out in those graphs. The surprising one is that Democrats are more likely to be against inter-racial marriage. But then remember what fed the Republican party, disenchanted Democrats.

The other thing is that education appears to change attitudes regarding the issue. But then it's been shown again and again that education has a liberalizing effect on students. Nothing wrong with that mind you, just an observation.

And then the final observation, the regional breakdown. New England, Mountain and Pacific. In other words, the blue states.

Some of this does not make sense. Religiosity is positively correlated with bigotry, but estimated ed level (vocab) is inversely correlated. Or am I reading the graphs wrong? (Those two depend. vars. should be correlated with each other... they generally are, anyway)

Before I'm horrified by those statistics (I would have expected maybe 1% of Americans would want to make interracial marriage illegal, rather than 25%), when was that survey taken?

i think now. 25% is the percentage in the gallup polls now too. you need to meet more people :-)

greg, smarter you are the more against these laws you are. think you're reading wrong.

looking at partyid, i'm pretty sure it's due to a correlation with age. older people are notionally partisan, while younger people like to list themselves as 'independent.' the reality though is that it's semantics; dem and rep leaning young independents are as reliable dems and reps quite often as those who are 'strong.'

The literacy graph is based on how many right.

Those that got none right were half in favour of a ban, while those that got them all right were almost universally opposed.

By Rick Pikul (not verified) on 18 Apr 2009 #permalink

Anonymous,

The survey was taken every couple of years from 1972 to 2008, and the last time this question was asked in the survey was 2002.

Among whites, in 1972, 36.8% answered "yes". In 2002, that number was 10.8%, and there was an almost monotonic decline over the years.

diana,

Among black women, 6.6% answered "yes" versus 6.2% of black men. We don't have a way of taking a survey in which we can ensure no one lies, so the best we can do at the moment is look at the results of an actual survey.

Perhaps it would be in the best interests of black women as a whole if such marriages were banned. But, honesty aside, people don't always do things that are in their personal best interest.

What about a law against anyone breeding, in east south central US?

What about a law against anyone breeding, in east south central US?

prejudice as an answer to prejudice? nice.

Restricting to only the 2002 responses gives a quite different picture; the overall number favouring such a law drops to <10%, and the political party correlation changes substantially. However the regional differences are still very much present, with east south central still >30% and the south atlantic and west south central regions at 14%.

Given the very pronounced trend in this variable over time (from ~38% in the 70's down to <10% now) it seems misleading to treat the whole dataset as a single unit.

I am actually surprised by a few things.

- The sheer number of people who told interviewers that they favor laws against intermarriage. I would have guessed single digits.

- That those who did skewed Democrat. I thought the Dixiecrats were dead or Republican by now. Maybe they're po' folk who vote their pocketbook?

Ironically, most of these data points support what one would expect. More education and smarter mean less likely to have a problem. The areas with more objections are about where one would expect also. The religion variable is disappointing. If I had to make a guess I would have guessed a strong correlation between religiosity and racism but it is disappointing to see that that is correct.

The only data point that stands out is political affiliation. However, I know at least one person who has a grandmother who until this most recent election always voted Democrat because she thought of the Republicans as being pro black and refused to listen to what anyone said otherwise. Apparently, having a black candidate managed to drive into her head that that wasn't true anymore. It might be interesting to see how the political affiliation breaks down if one splits it up by age cohort.

I'd also be very curious how many people disapprove of interacial marriage or find that it makes them extremely uncomfortable even as they aren't in favor of making it illegal. I suspect that you would see massive jumps in every category if that occurred.

[[Interesting. I suspect that if you took a poll where no one lied, the biggest group against racial intermarriage would be black women. That's why it's a really bad idea for whiter people to try to convince black women to support gay marriage by comparing it to interracial marriage.]]

The idea black women are against enter racial marriages is due to color of skin racism is totally ignorant of the history of race and sex in this country and how black women have been treated by white males in power in the past and the over sexualization in the negative such that they rarely see love expressed by white males for positive love based relationships(marriage) with a black woman and chafe at the glorification and pedestals placed for white females by black men in the same degrading stereotyping vs selecting a black female partner. Hatred for stereotyping by males of both races in degrading the sexuality and humanity of black women is the main genesis of the dislike of interracial marriage in the black female population and only a group but not all.

As to anti-gay marriage black female attitudes is the complete extreme heterosexualizing in the black community by embracing the conservative German Calvin Baptist religion of the slave owners or the puritan strains. The true native West Africa religions honor women/goddesses and allow for alternative sexuality and bisexuality. This outlook was beaten and ripped from the black heritage and enforced embracing of Western bible morality on sex touted as supreme. When the swapping of men and women in slave camps for breeding was done by white male owners, depriving blacks of a self image as humans needing love and stable families was brutally destroyed. So that lingers and pollutes the truth of natural human sexuality involving same-sex couples and couples of various ethnics groups as normal from being grasped and accepted by a large group black women.

Laws against interracial marriage were NOT the norm in 1959.

9 states never had such laws. 11 more repealed them in the 1800s. 6 more voided or repealed them in 1948-1958. By 1959, such laws existed only in the former slave states, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and five western states. 62% of Americans lived in states where "miscegenation" was legal. Even before the mid-1900s wave of repeals started, less than half of Americans were subject to these laws.

By Rich Rostrom (not verified) on 18 Apr 2009 #permalink

In my opinion the largest threat for California are cataclysms and ecological catastrophes. Not important is how many money we have because one tragedy can us take all.

RE the political affiliation, i noted that the percentages "for" mirrored the population mean. Also that there was not much variation among the categories.

By complex field (not verified) on 19 Apr 2009 #permalink

megan, you need to read David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seeds". The southern "Cavaliers" who set up plantations in the coastal south were generally Anglican/Episcopalian if not crypto-Catholic. It's the damn Yankees who were Puritans/Calvinists! Germans (generally Lutheran or Catholic, i.e liturgical High Church rather than pietist Low Church like the enthusiastic dissenting Protestants) tended to settle in middle regions with Quakers, and later in the midwest. In Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks & White Liberals" he points out the huge cultural differences between German vs southern farmers.

I'm less knowledgeable but skeptical about gender folkways in traditional African culture. Don't they practice female circumcision there in order to enforce a sort of Puritanical morality on women? I'm also skeptical of attributing so much of modern culture to the direct impact of slavery. After abolition black families reunited and their marriage rate was as high if not higher than for whites. The large differences we see today came about in the mid-to-late 20th century.

Escuerd,

"Among black women, 6.6% answered "yes" versus 6.2% of black men. We don't have a way of taking a survey in which we can ensure no one lies, so the best we can do at the moment is look at the results of an actual survey"

Which survey was this? I don't doubt your word, but I am curious. Of course, you are right in one sense, we can only go by what we measure. Still, it's my subjective impression that even if black women may say that racial intermarriage should be legal, they remain outraged and humiliated by the actual practice. I've heard this with my own ears, always qualified by the usual "it's his choice, but..."

I can't say I blame them.

What about a law against anyone breeding, in east south central US?

Posted by: Mac | April 18, 2009 7:00 PM

Thanks, razib, for answering that more eloquently than my first, nonverbal retort.

In my anecdotal experience, the residents of east-south-central US that skew that way tend to be much older (which the age breakdown seems to support), and aren't planning on changing their mind. They'll age out of the surveys soon enough.

And I'm also confused about the arbitrary distinction between "east south central" and "south atlantic." Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee ought to have been joined by Georgia (with the metro Atlanta exception, although then you should omit Birmingham as well) and at the very least, the Florida panhandle.

Actually, I never figured out why the Florida panhandle didn't secede to Alabama a long time ago. Probably the absurdly low taxes...

Even before the mid-1900s wave of repeals started, less than half of Americans were subject to these laws.

But a majority of African Americans were subject to these laws, and they were after all said laws' targets. In 1940, for instance, the states that had anti-miscegenation laws also had about 80% of the black population in the country. In 1970, the closest census year to the Loving decision, the 16 states whose laws were struck down by Loving v. Virginia totaled just a hair under 50% of the black population.

Color me confused, and maybe naive, but I had never heard that black women are traditionally against interracial marriage. I have several black female friends who certainly never mentioned this to me - though perhaps it's because I married outside my race? The only people who *ever* gave my husband and I a hard time were white folks - usually older, mostly southern... Am I just oblivious? Do my black friends secretly think I'm invading their territory?

[[Don't they practice female circumcision there in order to enforce a sort of Puritanical morality on women?]] No that is a more ethnic tribal custom not the norm in the more Western African tribes that were kidnapped for slavery than the ones that adopted Islam and justified their female circumcision using Islamic texts.

[[Color me confused, and maybe naive, but I had never heard that black women are traditionally against interracial marriage.]]
Well I'm bisexual AfriAm and have heard the of the anti-inter racial attitude and can't image someone being so insulated as to not have kept a sensor of the outside cultural various outlooks in relation to interraciial dating. I've seen and confronted it from the homo and hetero communities, so it does exist and it is unfounded but based on interpreted views of known racial/sexual US history that have a level of validity.

[[I'm also skeptical of attributing so much of modern culture to the direct impact of slavery. After abolition black families reunited and their marriage rate was as high if not higher than for whites.]]
And one could say the same of Southern Confederate flag waving white supremacists. What keeps their freakish ignorance going on from generation after generation? I have heard from the mouths of blacks and black women the cultural inference of disintegration and destruction of the black family being the straight line from slavery to the twisted use of welfare in separating and demeaning the black family and relationships. Thus, anything 'threatening' the respect of that is looked at with disrespect and disregard.
I have mostly dated Caucasians and Asians of both sexes, and have heard and dealt with these attitudes and see where they come from but won't deny their veracity but only say it is over and not the context nor situation of TODAY for interracial or same-sex lovers.

[[Megan, do you have a citation for the claim that West African religions have been historically ok with alternate sexuality? ]]

"Boy-wifes and female Husbands -Studies in African Homosexualities" - Stephen Murray & Will Roscoe

African pagan cultures aren't much different than all of the native cultures around the world that worshiped female gods and spirits. The genesis of supreme male gods over time ended up creating bizarre rituals of female sexual control by cutting their sexual organs. Trying to place the blame of female denigration on native African ethnic traditions is trying to deny the enforced adoption of sexual worldviews that came from Islamic-Christian migrations in North and Western Africa. Just study African history, plenty of books out besides British imperial sources.

"Am I just oblivious? Do my black friends secretly think I'm invading their territory?"

Eh, well....what can I say? I would call you oblivious. In my big-city experience black women have been coldly disapproving of interracial relationships between black men and white women (because that's what the majority of interracial relationships have been) for as long as I can remember. I'm not exactly sure when it became generally recognized, but it did. I'm not alone here.

Sorry, something happened and my comment was submitted without the following supporting data.

Link: http://www.isteve.com/2003_census_interracial_marriage_gender_gap.htm

"Newly released data from the 2000 Census show that the interracial marriage "gender gaps" endured by black women and Asian men remained large and may even have worsened since 1990.

...

Black women's resentment of intermarriage has become a staple of daytime talk shows, hit movies like "Waiting to Exhale," and magazine articles. Black novelist Bebe Moore Campbell described her and her tablemates' reactions upon seeing a black actor enter a restaurant with a blonde: "In unison, we moaned, we groaned, we rolled our eyes heavenward.... Then we all shook our heads as we lamented for the 10,000th time the perfidy of black men, and cursed trespassing white women who dared to 'take our men.'"

Is this just Sailer and me? I don't think so.

Link: http://hosted.law.wisc.edu/lawreview/issues/2007-2/banks.pdf

"Among African-Americans, men are nearly three times as likely as women to intermarry.3 Although the sex asymmetry in African-American intermarriage is often assumed by scholars and lay people alike to be longstanding, it is actually of recent vintage, having developed only since Loving."

Link: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1148817

"Recent declines in the rate of marriage among Black women have been accompanied by substantial increases in rates of interracial marriage, especially between Black men and non-Black women. Explanations for the retreat from marriage among Black women have focused on deficits in the quantity and quality of available partners, and the role of racial intermarriage largely has been ignored." [NOTE: NOT IGNORED BY BLACK WOMEN!]

Finally, the NY Times black resident statistician, Charles Blow:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/opinion/29blow.html

"There was one very telling (and virtually ignored) statistic in CNNâs exit poll data that may shed some light: There were far more black women than black men, and a higher percentage of them said that they voted for the measure than the men. How wide was the gap? According to the exit poll, 70 percent of all blacks said that they voted for the proposition. But 75 percent of black women did."

Read the whole thing, as they say, but here are a few highlights:

"(3) Marriage can be a sore subject for black women in general. According to 2007 Census Bureau data, black women are the least likely of all women to be married and the most likely to be divorced. Women who canât find a man to marry might not be thrilled about the idea of men marrying each other."

and:

"First, comparing the struggles of legalizing interracial marriage with those to legalize gay marriage is a bad idea. Many black women do not seem to be big fans of interracial marriage either. Theyâre the least likely of all groups to intermarry, and many donât look kindly on the black men who intermarry at nearly three times the rate that they do, according to a 2005 study of black intermarriage rates in the Wisconsin Law Review. Wrong reference. Donât even go there."

So yeah, Karen, I would say you are being oblivious to a huge social trend.

Why do you think blacks are so hysterically in love with Barack Obama? Is it because he's half-black, or because, against all the sociological expectations of a man of his educational and type, he married a darker-skinned black woman?

My grandfather once told me that if everyone in the world would marry someone of a different color, then in a couple generations there'd be no more racism because no one could claim a single ethnicity anymore. I'm working on taking that advice.

Golly. Poor people don't think straight. Smart people like *you* should do the thinking for them!

By rhetorical (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

That megan can't be for real.
It has to be razib just fooling around *grin*

By ogunsiron (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

What the hell? 1972? Are you seriously serious?

I'll just say as a black woman married to a white man for eight years with a biracial child, I do NOT like black men/white women interracial relationships. What's funny to me is the looks I get from these interracial couples who think I don't like it.

At first, I didn't care but something happened to change my mind when I was in college. I was walking across campus and happened to see an interracial couple (black man & white woman) holding hands and walking towards me. Before I could smile because at this time I didn't care who people dated, the black man looked at me real hard and said "What?" I was taken aback. I think I dropped the F bomb after he said it. After that, I noticed how "I" was treated by these couples who always acted as if I were going to say something disapproving to them. Little did they know I preferred to date white men & other races in addition to my own. Then when I was dating a white guy before I married my husband, he was accosted in the bathroom of a club we went to one night in Washington DC. (We were visiting relatives in the area.)

Since marrying my husband, I have repeatedly been disrespected by black men who think they have a right to yell obscenities at me and tell me how much better it is to be with a black man. I have asked my husband to ignore them in order to avoid a confrontation. And I don't live in the south, I live in Los Angeles, CA. So it does not matter where one lives, racism is alive everywhere...still. And black men seem to disapprove of black/white interracial relationships when it's a black woman/white man. And for that matter, my black girlfriends don't even look twice at black men. They prefer to date whites and hispanics. And they have varying levels of education, some with degrees and others with barely a high school diploma.

So this poll is stupid and reeks of bias so it should just be tossed out. Education level, religious beliefs, political party affiliation, and all those other stupid categories don't mean a thing. If you find someone you want to share your life with, do it. Do not let others dictate who you should be with or how you should live YOUR life. Unfortunately, there are idiots everywhere. Just be aware of this but don't let it decide where you will live, who you will live with, or whether you're going to have kids. To all of those who hate my family's rich intermingled heritage, I say screw you!

By Black Woman in… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink