RACE MIXIN’ Randall Kennedy has


Randall Kennedy has another clear-minded, thoughtful essay in the current Atlantic, this one on black-white dating and marriage. Marriages are up a factor of six over a generation, but still at very low levels absolutely (a third of a million black-white couples nationally) and compared to white-Asian or white-Native American or Anglo-Latino patterns.

[Kennedy leaves out intra-Caucasian issues, in particular the debate among Jews about marrying outside the tribe. Some interesting comparative material there for someone who wants to pick it up.]

Kennedy think all this race mixin’ is A Good Thing. (Must be some sorta liberal.) I tend to agree, but I’m less optimistic than Kennedy seems to be that it’s going to become a major factor in race relations. He has a lot more to say about the debate within the African-American community about whether interracial sex is to be encouraged, tolerated, or discouraged than he does about the supply of white partners, though he does point out that, given the population ratios, a small percentage of whites would provide partners for a large percentage of blacks.

The article pays little attention to the children of such unions. We have a term in America for the product of mixed marriages between blacks and whites: we call them “blacks.” That’s probably a complicating factor in their lives, cutting them off from half their ancestry, and I don’t think it’s as true with respect to other mixed marriages. The continued application of the “just-one-drop” rule by blacks and whites alike seems to me the strongest evidence that the black-white divide is different from all other divisions in this society.

[Uppity-Negro, from whom I got the link, is unimpressed.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com