Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Diversity, Part 7. The Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage across racial lines was nationally legal.  That year, only 3% of newlyweds married a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.  The percentage increased almost six-fold to 17% in 2015.

Before considering the implications of this rise in interracial/interethnic marriage, it is useful to distinguished interethnic from interracial marriage.  Newlyweds of Whites and Hispanics are interethnic; those between Asians, Whites, and Blacks are interracial.  This distinction is important because Hispanics are the most rapidly increasing demographic in the United States.

The most common pairing among newlyweds involving spouses of different ethnicities/races is 42% White/Hispanic, 15% Asian/White, and 12% Multiracial/White.  Between 1980 and 2015, the share of Black newlyweds marrying another race/ethnicity rose from 5% to 18%.  For Whites, from 4% to 11%.  In 2015, 29% of Asian (more Asian women than men) and 27% of Hispanic (roughly equal between women and men) newlyweds married a spouse of a different race/ethnicity.

Of all U.S. born Hispanics, 39% now have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.  Of Asians, 46%.

OK.  Now we come to the children of those multiethnic/multiracial marriages.  In 1980, 5% was born of multiethnic/multiracial unions.  In 2000, it reached 10%.  In 2015, it reached 14%.  Of that 14%, 42%, a bit over 2/5ths, was the union of a White and Hispanic, 22% of multi-racial parents, 14% of White/Asian, 10% White/Black, 5% Hispanic/Black, 3% Asian/Hispanic, and 1% Asian/Black.

For the purposes of this essay, the plurality of children of White/Hispanic marriages is the most important.  In simple arithmetic, 42% of the children born of the 14% of multiethnic/multiracial spousal combinations amounts to 5.9% of all children born in 2015 being half-White, half-Hispanic.

Since the Census Bureau and the Common Data Set use the category of non-Hispanic White, by default, the half-White, half-Hispanic child is classified as Hispanic.  Hispanic is not a racial category, therefore these children are not multiracial.

Let’s take this to the next level.  Assume our White/Hispanic couple has two children.  One marries a White, whose children become 3/4ths White.  How is this child to be classified?  The other marries a Hispanic, whose children become 3/4ths Hispanic.  We can be sure that this child will be classified Hispanic.

Let’s go one more generation deeper, with children 7/8ths White and 7/8ths Hispanic.  It become ludicrous to consider the first anything other than White.  But the powers-that-be, for political or ideological motives, might want to count a 1/8th Hispanic a Person of Color.  Who knows?  In the late  1980s, a friend’s daughter, 1/8th Cherokee, was admitted to UC Berkeley on a scholarship to increase the number of American Indians.

The above data are for newlyweds.  They do not include children of temporary or long-term cohabitation.

On current trends, Intermarriage is likely to increase as the White fraction of the U.S. population further declines and the Hispanic share continues to increase.  In California, this is already the case with 39% White and 37% Hispanic.  How will their children be classified?

In the French Caribbean territories of Saint-Domingue (Western Hispaniola), Guadeloupe and Martinique, the proportion of Blackness in an individual is defined in fractional terms as minute as 1/64th.  Sacrata are 15/16ths Black.  Capre are 3/4ths Black.  And so on up and down the fractional line.

For now, proponents of Diversity and Inclusion do not have to concern themselves with ethnic/racial definitions.  It will take another generation of intermarriage to magnify the problem.

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