Most news stories about a new study showing that 22 percent of Black male newlyweds and 9 percent of African-American females marry outside their race neglected to report another major finding: When Whites, Hispanics and Asians decide to marry outside their group, African-Americans rank last in their choice of mates.
A study by the Pew Research Center titled, "Marrying Out: One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages is Interracial or Interethnic," received widespread national attention. And many saw it as yet another confirmation that Black females are in a no-win predicament when it comes to marriage, especially marriage to another African-American.
The Pew study found that a record 14.6 percent of all new marriages in the United States in 2008 were between persons of different racial or ethnic backgrounds, six times the intermarriage rate in 1960 and more than double the rate in 1980.
Here's the part of the report that most news outlets omitted: "Of the four groups tested in the survey, openness to a family member's marriage to an African-American ranked lowest."Looked at another way, even as the country has grown considerably more open-minded about interracial marriages over the last half-century, race still matters.
Of the four groups studied – Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians -- Whites are least likely to marry outside of their race, which is not surprising given the advantages of White privilege in the United States.
"Among the estimated 362,000 African-Americans who were newlyweds in 2008, nearly one-in-six (15.5 percent) married someone who was not black," the report stated. "The share of out-marriage among men was more than twice the share among women. Some 22% of black male newlyweds in 2008 married someone of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 8.9 percent of black female newlyweds that same year."Among African-American newlyweds, 58 percent married a White person, 23 percent married a Hispanic, 7 percent married an Asian and 13 percent married someone of a mixed race, a Native American, or someone from another race.
Despite the huge gender gap among African-Americans, the intergroup marriage pattern between men and women was the same. Nearly 60 percent in each gender married a Caucasian. Nearly a fourth of Black women (24 percent) and 22 percent of African-American men married a Hispanic. Only 7 percent of Black men and 6 percent of African-American women married an Asian.
The gap between the number of African-American men and Black women marrying non-Blacks is growing. An estimated 1.3 percent of Black males and 0.9 percent of African-American females married outside their race in 1960. By 2008, however, 22 percent of Black males married a non-Black and 8.9 percent of African-American women.
The growing tendency of Black men to marry outside their race, coupled with the overall decline in marriage rates among all groups, is expected to compound the problem of African-American females finding a desired marriage partner.
[George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.]