(CNN) -- Forty-five years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on interracial marriage, the rate of marriage across racial and ethnic lines in the United States is on the rise, according to a new study released Thursday.
And while such "intermarriages" continue to grow, so too does public acceptance of such unions, according to the study by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project.
Not to be the skunk at this garden party, but...
First of all, the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia) struck down a law barring whites from marrying outside their race; I presume other races were free to mingle.
And we care because the Pew study is surprisingly coy on the question of just where the progress has ocurred in the inter-racial marriage front.
As they note in an earlier study, the wave of Asian and Hispanic immigration since 1980 has created vast new opportunites for inter-racial marriage. So, is the new all time high in the intr-marriage rate being driven by Hispanics marrying whites and blacks while whites marry Hispanics and Asians? It is hard to tell from this data, but that seems to be the case.
If one believed, back in 1980, that the dominant white culture was irredeemably racist and could never reconcile themselves to people of any color, news of increasing intermarriage between whites and Asians is encouraging. (We did fear the Yellow Peril, endure Pearl Harbor, nuke Japan, and fight in Korea and Vietnam, after all, yet we seem to have overcome).
However, if one believes that, following the end of the legalized Jim Crow era, the real story is reconciliation or lack thereof between whites and blacks, well, this Pew study has buried the truth too deeply for me to find.
Just as a question mark, I will note this, from the Pew 2010 study: the newlywed intermarriage rate for whites rose from 3.2% in 1980 to 8.9% in 2008 (p. 13). However, in 2008 49% of those white intermarriages were to Hispanics; 18% to Asians; 20% to 'other'; and 14% to blacks. That suggests that roughly 1.3% of whites 'outmarried' to blacks. Is that up from the aggregate 'outmarriage' rate of 3.2% in 1980, when there were many fewer Hispanics and Asians? Pew knows, but I don't.
Well, its a nice feel-good story. Happy Valentine's weekend.