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With all the media commentary lately about how the United States has gone to pot (no, not literally) since the unity displayed right after the September 11 terrorist attacks (see, e.g., here), I couldn’t help but be struck by some undeniably great news reported recently by Gallup. According to this big polling company, nearly all Americans now are just fine with interracial marriage – and specifically those unions involving whites and African Americans.

Even better – the polarization along any number of lines revealed on so many issues by so many recent polls has all but vanished when it comes to interracial marriage.

Gallup’s new findings show that fully 94 percent of all Americans now approve of interracial marriages – up from four percent in 1958, when it first posed the question. Moreover, the trend line looks nearly as strong during this period as that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

 

 

Don’t look for an interracial gap in attitudes on interracial marriages, either. Back in 1968, it was 56 percent of non-whites approving, and only 17 percent of whites. Today it’s just 96 percent for the former and 93 percent for the latter.But maybe a generation gap persists? Nope, that’s basically gone, too. Gallup reports that in 1991, interracial marriage was approved by 64 percent of Americans aged 18-29, but only 27 percent of the over-fifties. The latest numbers? 98 percent and 91 percent, respectively.

Surely, though, the Old South, former home of Confederacy and Jim Crow laws and often violent resistance to the Civil Rights movement remains at least relatively unenthusiastic? (And yes, the North saw some violent resistance to integration, too. See, e.g., here and here.) Sorry – there’s no regional gap, either.

In 1991, only a third of southerners approved of such marriages, compared with 54 percent of easterners, half of midwesterners, and sixty percent of westerners. In 2021, southern approval was up to 93 percent – the same as the share of midwesterners, just a percentage point lower than northerners’, and a mere four percentage points lower than that for westerners.

Even though race relations in America seem to have gotten pretty rocky lately (or maybe race mongers are just receiving more attention?), these results are unmistakably good news – and especially because the trends are so strong and the majorities so overwhelming. After all, what could matter more to a genuine racist than the prospect of racial divisions fading away? For the same reason, they’re awfully hard to square with the claims of Critical Race Theory supporters – that long after the end even of legal segregation, white America is pervaded with all manner of informal racist practices and especially attitudes that continue holding African Americans back.

Many years ago, I traveled to Morocco (my first trip to the developing world, or the Arab world, or the Muslim world) and was astonished to find the spectrum of faces I saw on my way from Casablanca airport. The standard racial categories seemed like a sadly dated joke given the kaleidoscope of skin tones and physical features and combinations thereof I saw as I rode by.  It made me wonder whether the whole racial discrimination thing across the whole planet would eventually be brought to an end “in bed.” This Gallup survey is one sign indicating thats this outcome may come a good deal sooner than I expected.