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Black, White views converge on intermarriage

Lee A. Daniels | 8/12/2013, 10:14 a.m.
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His most recent book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. He collaborated with Rachel Robinson on her 1998 book, Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait. NNPA

Now, 1 in 7 American marriages are between people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds – and together White-Hispanic American and White-Asian American marriages account for more than half of them.

The 558,000 married couples in which one spouse is Black and the other White make up only about 11 percent of all intermarriages and less than 1 percent of all married couples in America.

Those two facts underscore the central role Black-White intermarriage continues to have: as a source of inspiration to the acceptance of intermarriage in a broader sense; and specifically to the fight for same-sex marriage; and, finally, as lighting-rod for the continuing racist sentiment in American society.

The Gallup survey findings are not a recommendation for thinking those attitudes have completely disappeared. The virulent slurs against President Obama’s parents and him as their child testify to its continued grip on the diseased minds of some Americans, including some in high places. So does the stunning explosion of racist tweets against the now-famous Cheerios interracial advertisement of late May.

But it’s equally important to note that while the racist tweets initially had the element of surprise on their side, the huge outpouring of support for the ad from the decent denizens of the Twitter-verse conveyed the same message as the Gallup survey’s data: the overwhelming majority of Americans accept that this human rite is a human right.

Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America.