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Increasing rates of interracial and interethnic marriage—from about 7 percent in 1980 to 15 percent in 2010 (Pew Research 2012)—are therefore indicative of improved race relations. "Educational Inequality, Homogamy, and Status Exchange in Black-White Intermarriage." American Journal of Sociology 115(4):1252-1263.
Still, rates of interracial marriage remain much lower than would exist if race were irrelevant to partner choice. "Trends in Black/White Intermarriage." Social Forces 72(1):119-146.
In addition, such exchanges would reaffirm gender inequality in marriage by ensuring women’s economic dependence on their higher-earning husbands. Political Orientation and Interracial Romantic Desire." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 35(9):1258-1268.
Engaging in race-status exchange means that both partners perceive whiteness as better and more desirable—which implies at least some degree of internalized racism. Feliciano, Cynthia, Belinda Robnett, and Golnaz Komaie. "Gendered Racial Exclusion among White Internet Daters." Social Science Research 38(1):41-56. "Racial Intermarriage Pairings." Demography 38(2):147-159.
In fact, much of the evidence seemingly in support of race-status exchange theory may actually result from miss-specified statistical models (Rosenfeld 2005).
In a recent variation, minority women are thought to exchange beauty and sexual access for white men’s income (Sassler and Joyner 2011). "An Endorsement of Exchange Theory in Mate Selection." American Journal of Sociology 115(4):1243-1251.
Given the relative scarcity of interracial relationships, sociologists have long sought to explain why they happen. "Interracial Marriage and Status-Caste Exchange in Canada and the United States." Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(1):75-96. That is, how and why do some couples overcome the substantial barriers to such unions? "I Wouldn't But You Can: Attitudes Toward Interracial Relationships." Social Science Research 41(2):343-358.