Since interracial dating (or "interdating") and interracial marriage were outlawed or ostracized for so long in U. history, many sociologists see the incidence of these relationships as a key indicator of the state of U. "Many people who are honestly accepting of equal treatment across a wide range of social interaction would finally draw the line when it came to [a romantic relationship] between the race groups," says Smith. "We are seeing declining levels of objection to interracial marriage," says Smith.Neither the Roper Report nor the General Social Survey specifically queried respondents on their attitudes or practices concerning interracial dating.More than one-third (38 percent) of black students had dated a Hispanic, while 10 percent of black students had dated an Asian student.Teens surveyed also had an overwhelmingly positive view of interracial dating.People from an African background are five and a half times as likely to be in a mixed relationship as white people, while those of Indian ancestry are three times as likely.
By contrast 85 per cent of people from mixed-race families have themselves set up home with someone from another group.For instance, 72 percent of teens surveyed thought people dated people of other races because they cared about the other person, while less than 20 percent thought their peers interdated as a rebellion against parents or as an attempt to "be cool." Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of white students who had not dated interracially said they would consider dating someone who was not white, while 58 percent of black students would consider dating a nonblack.But the Gallup survey also found that teens thought some interracial couples—always involving a black partner—faced potentially greater friction from their respective racial and ethnic groups about their relationships.Yancey says that whites might interdate less because they are a numerical majority within American society.And he adds that whites are also more likely to be racially isolated than people of color—a notion sociologists lump under the term "propinquity," which describes the tendency for people to work better or bond with those geographically near them.Indeed, teens seem rather blasé about the significance of interdating: Only about one-quarter (24 percent) of the teens surveyed by Gallup thought the United States would be better off if more people interdated, while 9 percent thought the country would be worse off.However, the largest share—67 percent—thought an increase in rates of interdating would make no social difference at all. While Yancey studied interdating habits among adults, the future of interdating can perhaps best be understood by studying the activities and attitudes of teenagers. A 1997 Gallup national survey of people ages 13 to 19—found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of black, Hispanic, or Asian teens who had ever dated and who attended schools with students of more than one race said they had dated someone who was white.Younger people have historically been more open to racial integration and more positive about race relations than older people, according to Jack Ludwig, senior research director at the Gallup Poll in Princeton, N. (This poll is the latest comprehensive survey of U. teens on the topic of interracial dating.) Consistent with Yancey's findings for adults, only 17 percent of white students who had dated and attended integrated schools in this survey had dated a black person, while 33 percent had dated a Hispanic person and 15 percent had dated an Asian.But a study by George Yancey, a sociologist at the University of North Texas, found that interdating today is far from unusual and certainly more common than intermarriage.Yancey collected a sample of 2,561 adults age 18 and older from the Lilly Survey of Attitudes and Friendships, a telephone survey of English- and Spanish-speaking adults conducted from October 1999 to April 2000.