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Friday, April 27, 2012

Same-Sex Couples Likelier to Be Interracial/Interethnic

Posted by on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 8:30 AM


The invaluable Williams Institute digs into Census data:

More than one in five same-sex couples (20.6%) are interracial or interethnic compared to 18.3% of different-sex unmarried couples and just 9.5% of different-sex married couples. More than half of same-sex couples in Hawaii (53%) are interracial or interethnic. About a third fit that category in California (33%), New Mexico (31%), and Nevada (30%). Other states where same-sex couples are likely to be interracial or interethnic include Alaska (28%), District of Columbia (28%), Oklahoma (26%), Arizona (26%), Texas (25%), and Colorado (24%). Less than 10% of same-sex couples are interracial or interethnic in Maine, Mississippi, Vermont, West Virginia, and New Hampshire, and Alabama.

And they took a look at gay parents:

Among all racial and ethnic groups, same-sex couples are less likely to be raising children than their different-sex counterparts. However, like their different-sex counterparts, same-sex couples with a householder who is a racial or ethnic minority are more likely to have children. Fully a third of same-sex couples with an Hispanic householder are raising children compared to just 17% of same-sex couples with a non-Hispanic White householder. A quarter of same-sex couples with either an African-American or Asian householder have children. Among same-sex couples with an American Indian or Alaska Native householder, the figure is 29% and among those with a Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander householder, fully a third are raising children.

Two things: it's hard to square the white-gays-are-way-more-racist-than-anybody-else charge with these data about interracial/interethnic same-sex couples, even if not every interracial/interethnic couple includes a white partner. And as the responsibilities and protections provided by marriage are good for children, and as gay people of color are likelier to have children than their white counterparts, any idiot should be able to see that marriage equality is good for gay people of color and their families. Marriage equality is not just for selfish, wealthy, privileged "white gay men"—who are, again, significantly likelier to partner with someone of a different race than straight white men.


Comments (25) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Somebody said white gays are more racist than anybody else? I guess I missed that one.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 27, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Helix 2
@1 Me too. what?
Posted by Helix on April 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
Confluence 3
Lots of people have said that *Dan* is racist, I guess. I'm also guessing this is about his anti-Christian rants, where he targets homophobia in the black and latino communities.

I'd be curious to know why white gays are more often with minorities. Maybe because "the gay" is much more shameful in minorities' culture so they choose to have "another life" outside of it?
Posted by Confluence on April 27, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
djh 4
Hmmm, I do wonder #3 why white gays are considered racist, what with all of the philanthropic outreach the white community has given to gay communities of color.. i mean if only the AME church had not organized so strongly against prop 8. Ughh, silly coloreds just don't know whats good for them.
Posted by djh on April 27, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Fortunate 5
The real irony is that not only do white gay men often get a bad rap as being racist, but even being partnered with someone of a different race doesn't make people think otherwise. In fact I have often been accused of being racist FOR being in a relationship with a person of a different race. The assumption that I am only with him because of his race, and because of the stereotypes about his race. Of course folks who make that accusation don't account for the fact that racial stereotypes are often not true, which is something someone dating someone from a different background quickly learns if they don't already realize that.

The reason I think that gay couples are more likely to be interracial is because if you are going to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender you are already breaking a far bigger taboo than being with someone of a different racial background, so who cares? Straight people have to worry about what their parents will think and say if they come home with someone of a different race. But if you are a guy and you are bringing home your boyfriend to meet your parents you are typically way past worrying about something like that.
Posted by Fortunate on April 27, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
I agree with comment 5 above---but will also note that marriage really is no guarantor of a lack of bigotry: there are plenty of married misogynists and mysandronists.
Posted by Gerald Fnord on April 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Fortunate 7
Agree Gerald. It's not that being married to someone of a different race automatically makes you not racist, just as a man being married to a woman doesn't mean that the man isn't a misogynist.

But the difference is that it is rare that a man is accused of being misogynist Because he is married to a woman. Yet it isn't rare for a white gay guy in a relationship with someone of a different race to be accused of racism Because he is in that relationship.

Posted by Fortunate on April 27, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 8
Like Fortunate @5, I am also in an inter-racial relationship. Have been for more than 20 years.

I agree that just being gay breaks all the rules (or at least it used to). Coming out and admitting we are gay forces us to make up our own rules about how we want to form relationships. When I was a kid, I assumed I would grow up and get married, just like everyone else, and the picture in my mind was of a white bride. Coming to grips with my sexuality shattered that mental image. My very sexuality was rebellious. That opened a lot of mental doors, including finding attraction to guys from any race, not just my own.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 9
I don't get people accusing me of being racist for being in an interracial relationship. I do, however, get quite a lot of people who assume that I fetishize that particular race. They assume that I'm only attracted to one type of guy. The rice-queen phenomena. Not true. I actually find all sorts of different kinds of guys hot. It was really just random chance that the guy I ended up settling down with happened to be of a different race.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 10
well.. this is weird. i'm in an interacial relationship ( 20+ years ) and neither i or my husband have the slightest clue as to what any of you are on about. now of course i'll go ask my other friends who are in interracial relationships and maybe they'll give me some clues..
*calls queesha*
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on April 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Report this
@9 So your hubby is asian RP?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
I think Dan is responding to the article in the last link of the post, in which the author talks about how the push for gay marriage isn't representative of the entire LGBT community and that some see it as a reinforcement of a patriarchal institution (marriage) that has negative economic consequences for minorities. In other words, wealth, white gay men are behind the push for equal marriage rights, regardless of some data that shows that the focus on marriage as a unit in our society, since the 1930's, has had detrimental economic effects on minorities and that we should be focusing on issues such as equal access to healthcare and housing for LGBT individuals, rather than marriage. Dan is simply showing that same-sex marriage will benefit those of different races, and especially those couples who are of mixed races and with children. At least that's how I read it.
Posted by SherBee on April 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 13
More than one in five same-sex couples (20.6%) are interracial or interethnic compared to 18.3% of different-sex unmarried couples and just 9.5% of different-sex married couples.
Among all racial and ethnic groups, same-sex couples are less likely to be raising children than their different-sex counterparts.

Perhaps those things are related? I know plenty of liberal, non-racist folks that preferred to marry someone of the same race because they wanted their children to be brought up within the same culture.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on April 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
It's not surprising to me that gay men would be more likely to be in inter-racial relationships. Studies done on racial preference in dating on straight people have shown that guys pretty much want the hottest woman they can get while women are more likely to care strongly about having a partner of the same race. I don't think gay men are tremendously different than straight men in this regard. A guy is just going to take the best he can get, and race is not hugely important in making that decision.

Given all that, I don't find it helpful for the study to speak of "same gender" relationships as if gay men and lesbians are interchangeable. I would like to see the results broken down by gender so we could see whether the two groups are similar in terms of inter-racial relationships or whether one group is tugging the average. (Perhaps queering the numbers. Eh? Eh?)

I don't have an opinion on whether white gays are extra racist. I do know that it is possible to marry someone while still being racist towards the group your spouse comes from. Lou Dobbs is married to a Mexican woman.

People who are inclined to be racist often single out individuals who "are not like the rest of them." That is all that is happening when a Klansman marries a black woman or when any member of a relationship says "Your family is just a bunch of (fill in the appropriate slur)."

Being willing to have a relationship with someone of a group does not necessarily mean that you are not racist towards that group. This of course is why people are inherently suspicious of the defense "But I have a (fill in the blank) friend!"
Posted by Learned Hand on April 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
@12: Yeah, Dan takes some flack from other GLBTQABCYXZ folks because he's not fighting exactly the same fight they are. He gets potshots about marriage equality not being as important as (fill in another cause) that usually concerns a group less white and less male than Dan is. e.g. "Why should any gays complain about not being able to get married until all transfolks are welcomed with open arms by everyone in the world?" And Dan's response has been, "If you think I'm your enemy, you need more enemies (like me)."

All of which is so stupid, it makes me wonder if it is really because the complainers just haven't met anyone they'd marry or anyone who'd marry them. Why else the sour grapes about promoting human rights? Jeeez!
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on April 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Looking at the rate of inter-racial same-sex couples in various states yields some interesting results. While the low rates in Iowa and the upper New England states is probably attributable to those states being overwhelmingly white, that is not the case in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

So allegations of racial bias among gay whites may be unfounded and inaccurate in most parts of the country, but appear to have an element of truth in the Deep South. The deep cultural taboos against miscegenation are apparently pervasive enough in the Deep South to extend to same sex couples in statistically significant numbers.
Posted by Functional Atheist on April 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
he might be alluding to the media representations of gay which tend to be very very white, young, chiseled, etc., although I'm not sure how much this prove since so many gay people of color don't have much wiggle room to stick with their own "kind" (not that they should have to, I'm just wondering if this stat really means much).
Posted by feelingshy on April 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
tomsj 18
@9 Yes, the assumption that you're a "rice queen" if you're partnered, as I am, with an Asian guy is pretty much universal. I'd suggest that that assumption is itself pretty racist. (e.g.: "If you're Caucasian, you have to be an Asian fetishist to be attracted to an Asian guy.") What's interesting to me is that this assumption appears to be as prevalent among our Asian friends and acquaintances as it is among our Caucasian friends. Pretty weird.
Posted by tomsj on April 27, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 19
My experience as both a 'straight' man and a queer, observing both types of couple, has been this: straights choose partners who often have similar features, ie: blond men w/blonde women, dark hair w/ dark hair, etc. I think it's because opposite sexes are enough 'difference'.
Gay men seem to choose their opposites in feature types more frequently. I'm blond, but prefer dark-haired and/or dark-skinned men, and most of the male couples I know fit this pattern.
Lesbians often seem to be a different story. So many lesbian couples seem to look like sisters, it's sometimes hard to see their differences. But I'm probably not paying attention.
Also- doesn't 'married' + 'unmarried' straights = 27.8% in the chart above? Since we homos form couples whether we're legally married or not and we only have 20.6% mixed, where's all the amazement coming from? I'm confused?
Posted by OutInBumF on April 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 20
I'd love to see the stats for Canada. Maybe even just Toronto. One of the things that always bugs me during Pride is how many fewer interracial gay couples I see than interracial straight couples. It'd be great to know whether that's truth or just my perception.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on April 28, 2012 at 4:10 AM · Report this
@19: You're adding, when really, you should try a weighted average. I'm not sure how many married straight couples there are, or how many unmarried straight couples there are, so I can't weight the two, but it's mathematically true that the average of *all* straight couples is somewhere in between 9.5 and 18.3%.
Posted by JudT on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
smajor82 22
The first statistic about interracial couples needs to control for location. Same sex couples are more common in cities, where interracial couples are also more common. It's called confounding.

You can use this same type of analysis to show all sorts of things. For example, did you know that when ice cream sales go up, the number of drowning deaths also goes up?? Gasp!! Ice cream must be causing people to drown. Or maybe it's just that people eat ice cream when it's warm and also swim when it's warm...

Maybe the relationship they show really exists, if it does their analysis will exaggerate it, but who really who knows? People who are going to analyze data need to learn some statistics. I read through their report - they make no effort to control for any other variables. The census provides a lot of them. What they really need to do here is construct a logit/probit model or something.
Posted by smajor82 on April 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM · Report this
smajor82 23
Case in point: look at the data that goes along with figure 6. Why isn't the same analysis done for heterosexual couples? It's the obvious thing to do, and the fact that it isn't shown makes me think the author is cherry-picking results.
Posted by smajor82 on April 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Fortunate 24
@22: "You can use this same type of analysis to show all sorts of things. For example, did you know that when ice cream sales go up, the number of drowning deaths also goes up?? Gasp!! Ice cream must be causing people to drown."

Except that the article isn't making any causative connections that I can see. It is simply presenting correlative data.

Per the correlative data gay couples are more likely to be interracial than heterosexual couples. The information presented says nothing about why that may be and what is causing it, nor is it suggesting that being gay itself is the factor that makes a person more likely to be involved in an interracial relationship. All it shows is that a higher percentage of gay couples are interracial, and nothing else.

This is correlative data, and as such it doesn't require any further controls to say what it is saying.

All the causative factors being thrown is are being thrown in by the commentators, not by the article, and are pure speculation. But the numbers themselves stand on their own for how they are presented. Simply a correlation of two phenomenon. Anything else anyone is taking out of this is what they are reading into it themselves, which is not the fault of the presenters or how they calculated their numbers.
Posted by Fortunate on April 30, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
@20:"One of the things that always bugs me during Pride (in Toronto) is how many fewer interracial gay couples I see than interracial straight couples. "

Factor in that participants and supporters are, above all else, politically liberal. Out gay? That correlates strongly to liberal views regardless of racial issues. But among opposite-sex couples? Mixed-race couples tend to be quite liberal. The most conservative couples I know are of the same race. That's not universal, but a strong correlation.

Tie dye clothes, pot smokers, college educations, nature freaks, and macro-biotic diets were probably over-represented at a Pride event as well.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on April 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this

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