April 30, 2002

OKAY, OKAY: A couple more on the interracial marriage thing and then I’m quits with it for a while — it’s taking over the page! Reader Kevin Maguire quotes an earlier reader who wrote that interracial marriages are becoming the norm in Hawaii and California:

He’s right about California.

I’m an American with Irish roots married to a Mexican. My wife’s sister is married to a white Jewish guy. Among our friends we have:

- Mexican guy married to a Chinese woman

- Indian woman married to a white guy

- Filipina woman married to a Portugese white guy. One of her
sisters is married to a white guy with Irish roots; the other
is married to a Irish/American Indian dude.

- Filipina dating a white guy and a black guy. Her previous
boyfriend was Moroccan.

- Irish guy married to a Hawaiian woman

- an Italian guy married to a black woman

- a Puerto Rican guy married to a white woman

Reaching out to coworkers I find:

- white guy, Chinese wife

- Hawaiian girl partnered to a white girl

- black girl partnered to a white girl

- white guy, Japanese wife

- Japanese guy, white wife

Written down like that it sounds like a mini UN, but it’s just everyday life in Los Angeles. Finally, a friend of a friend is the future of the California Republican party. Check out the picture.

But it’s not just California: my sister is married to a Filipino guy (whose brother is married to another white girl), and my grad school roommate is a white Spaniard whose wife is a black lawyer soon to enter Jersey City politics.

Yes, you see rather a lot of it here in Knoxville, which is far from L.A. or Honolulu. Knoxville is much-beloved of market researchers because its demographics approximate those of the nation as a whole, and interracial couples are everywhere — not, as a previous writer suggested, just around the University campus. Reader Timothy Sheridon writes:

The comment “Intelligent people seldom marry outside their race because it makes very little sense to do so.” from your e-mailer, is one of the most bizarre statements I’ve seen in a while. My experience from working and living in the Citadel of Geekdom, Silicon Valley, is that interracial marriage of smart people is becoming, if not the norm, a norm. The last six marriage ceremonies I’ve been a guest at involved mixed couples. Most of the newlyweds had at least one spouse who was a engineer. The next marriage I’m scheduled to attend is for an interracial couple that are both engineers. Of all the typical attributes engineers may have, high intelligence is one that is rarely absent.

As an aside, I must give you credit from even touching this issue. I sure your e-mail firestorm has been interesting.

Yeah, interesting — and voluminous. I’m frankly surprised that this is such a hot-button issue.

Of course, one thing that changes are people’s definitions of what’s white and what’s not. Irish/Italian marriages were considered mixed marriages not long ago, and not long before that Irish and Italians weren’t really considered “white” at all. I wouldn’t count as “white” under the Virginia anti-miscegenation statute struck down by the Supreme Court in the wonderfully-named case of Loving v. Virginia, since I’m one-eighth Native American (there was an exception, I seem to recall, for “descendants of Pocahontas,” who were honorary white people by law, but that wouldn’t apply to me). Personally, it’s just no big deal to me.

The most disturbing email I’ve gotten — of which I haven’t posted any — suggests that people only marry across racial lines for exotic sex kicks. Having engaged in my share of miscegenation when I was single, I have to say that that was neither the motive nor (any more than usual) the result, and I have to worry deeply about the psyches of people who think otherwise. Interestingly, most of that email came from people who identified themselves (since it’s the Internet, I can’t tell, of course) as minority women. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I don’t think it’s anything good. I suppose that such a motivation wouldn’t make for an especially good marriage. But, heck, people who marry purely for exotic sex kicks — and people do in all sorts of ways — aren’t likely to have a successful long-term relationship regardless.

One thing that is clear about interracial marriage, and even dating to a lesser degree, is that it totally screws up the worldview of those who want to divide things into an us-vs.-them dynamic. To me, that’s a good thing. But then I don’t obtain my living, or my self-esteem, by fomenting racial division.

Okay, enough on this. Back to our regularly scheduled program of snide remarks about Fritz Hollings and Michael Moore.