“Love knows no color.”
“The heart wants what the heart wants.”
“It doesn’t matter whether a person is black, white, pink, or purple.”
When it comes to interracial dating and marriage, most people claim they are color blind — that they don’t consider the perceived race or ethnicity of potential dates. Many in mixed societies such as the United States will also add that race has become a non-issue in dating or is quickly becoming so. Yet nearly every study and anecdotal evidence of how and who people actually date and marry shows otherwise.
Love is not [color] blind
Colorblindness as a social concept is largely a myth — people notice immediately and make judgments on superficial characteristics such as gender, dress, and yes, race. In activities as personal as dating, people use perceived race or ethnicity to make instant assessments about a person’s interests, attractiveness, and even personality.
As physical appearance is the most readily noticeable trait about a person on first meeting, it can be a determining factor in whether one chooses to romantically approach another or accept an approach. In mixed nations where divisions (and hierarchies) are made based on race, race influences perceptions of physical beauty, whether one is aware of it or not.
In any case, few people are blind to differences in physical aspects such as weight, height, and style of dress — these are important factors to many people in assessments of potential dates. So how and why would they disregard an equally noticeable trait such as race or ethnicity?
Social Trends in Interracial Dating and Marriage
Trends in interracial dating and marriage show clear patterns. The most noticeable pattern being that interracial relations trail far behind intraracial relations, especially in the United States. Socioeconomic divisions are one cause of this disparity, but it can’t be the only cause — three quarters of Americans live in urban areas with a racially diverse group of residents. If most people live in areas with a sizable amount of people of various races, why aren’t there more interracial unions?
The same is true for the interracial unions that do take place — certain trends persist. Some pairings greatly outnumber others, and are disproportionate to their members’ percentage in populations. Other pairings are almost non-existent, and not for lack of available participants.
Studies on interracial dating show that while most people date intraracially, members of certain groups are more open to, or even prefer interracial dating, while others strongly prefer not to interracially date. How could this be if love knows no color?
Colorblindness was never particularly convincing as a social idea, but in interracial dating and marriage it seems it simply does not apply.
*Other myths include “Common Pairing = Natural Attraction” and “Racial Preference is Personal”