May 3, 2007
Written by C.N.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Virginia v. Loving Supreme Court decision which struck down state restrictions against interracial marriage. Since that time of course, interracial marriage has been burgeoning, particularly among Asian Americans. As a reflection of this anniversary, various studies and articles are coming out that discuss various issues related to interracial families. As reported by LiveScience.com, one study reports that interracial parents tend to spend more time and money on their kids than do monoracial parents:
Biracial (aka interracial or multiracial) parents are more likely than their “monoracial” counterparts to provide their children with a home computer, private schooling and educational books and CDs and to make sure they participate in reading activities, dance, music or art lessons outside of school and get trips to the zoo, library and other cultural venues. . . .
The advantage, or higher investment, can be explained as a counterweight or response to the social challenges faced by interracial couples . . . “They face challenges in being a couple,” [the authors of the study] said in a prepared statement. “They’re aware of the challenges their children will be facing. In turn, they try to compensate for this.” . . .
[The study] found one exception to the “biracial advantage.” Black father/white mother families tend to invest fewer resources into kids than do black monoracial couples and white monoracial couples.
The study appears in the American Journal of Sociology, a very well-respected academic journal, so I presume that the authors controlled for social class in their study. Social class of course would make a big difference — those who are wealthier obviously would be in a better position to “invest” more in their kids. For now and until I read the study myself, I will presume that the families’ social class was factored into the study.
I initially had some misgivings about the article’s headline that interracial parents invest more in their kids, but the reasoning does seem plausible — that because of lingering cultural/social opposition to interracial marriages, those who are interracially married are likely to give their children more emotional and material resources to deal with that lingering hostility that monoracial families don’t have to face.
What’s the “takeaway” message here? I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that interracial parents are inherently “better” parents just because they “invest” more in their kids. Instead, I think the message here is that contrary to some public opinions about interracial parents (particularly among those who oppose such marriages) that interracial marriages create confusion and conflict among parents and children (with each other and individually), the data show that interracial parents seem to be well aware of the extra challenges they face and are doing what they can to prepare their children to effectively face those challenges.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Interracial Couples Invest More in Their Kids" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/05/interracial-couples-invest-more-in-their-kids/> ().
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