Assignment America: Not coming to dinner?

By JOHN BLOOM, UPI Reporter at Large  |  Dec. 9, 2002 at 5:11 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- There's been a lot of musing in the press lately about the explosion in black-white marriages.

Maybe "explosion" is a little much. Of the 1.5 million mixed-race marriages in the country, most of are whites with Asians and whites with Hispanics. Only 7 percent of black marriages are with another race, and we don't really know how many of those are with Caucasians.

(Is it okay to still call us Caucasians, now that the Caucasus is a symbol of Islamic militancy?)

We do know, however, that the great majority of black-white marriages are between black men and white women; the reverse is still relatively rare, even though we have some celebrity examples of it, like Robert DeNiro and William Cohen, the former Secretary of Defense, both married to black women.

At any rate, most of the commentary on the subject takes the view that "Hey, this is good, right?" But they always do add the "right?" -- as though they're not quite sure that everyone will agree.

There are really only two groups left who still believe that black-white marriage -- or miscegenation, as they used to call it when it was a felony -- is harmful.

One is the usual assortment of fringe redneck hillbilly white supremacist organizations, who call it "mongrelization." The other is the minority -- or is it a majority? -- of black women who think it takes all the good black men off the marriage market. (I'm not sure why they wouldn't also reason that it frees up WHITE men for the marriage market, but evidently they don't want the white men and are vocal about it.)

I used to think this was just an urban legend -- after all, how many black women would publicly voice what is ultimately a racist position? -- but lately I've seen references to it in a Chicago Sun-Times column, an Atlantic Monthly article, a New York Times piece, and the memoirs of Marcia Clark, who now believes that her decision to load up the O.J. Simpson jury with black women backfired on her.

She thought that they would hate domestic violence, but it never occurred to her that they would hate the white wife of a black man even more.

Obviously we're dealing with something that goes a little deeper than just the sheer numbers of eligible men.

The National Review published a study a few years back of inter-racial marriage worldwide, and when it tried to figure out why certain races were attractive to others (for example, American and European men will choose Asian women as wives, but only a small percentage of American and European women will choose Asian men as husbands), the only common denominator they could find was . . . height.

Apparently it's true that women just don't want to be with someone who's SHORTER, and men don't want to be with a woman who's taller. So if you compared the average heights of all the countries in the world, you would find women attracted to the taller countries, men attracted to the shorter countries. The statistics held true pretty much across the board.

OK, here's where I get into trouble. Height, I think, is meaningless. It's only important for what it represents. And what it represents is that a woman wants a strong man, and a man wants to be stronger than the woman he's with. (Yes, some men want a weak woman, but we're talking about love here, so weak in the bedroom doesn't necessarily mean weak in the rest of her life.)

The feminists can talk all they want about "equal

partnerships," but in the vast majority of relationships, the man needs to feel he's in charge, and the woman needs to feel like she's taken care of. I'm not saying it's always TRUE.

We know how many times the girl LETS the guy win, or holds her tongue so that he can feel like he's right. And we know how a man can reassure a woman about her femininity by ignoring things that are obvious to everyone else. I'm just saying there's a psychic balance that still owes more to the caveman era than the modern one. (Told you I was looking for trouble.)

Okay, let's get rid of the exceptions:

(1) Guys who beat up their women. These are weak men PRETENDING to be strong men.

(2) Women who like to control every aspect of their husbands' lives. These are insecure women pretending to be loving.

(3) Married guys who like to dress up in women's clothes. (Yes, we have to include it as a category, because it's remarkably prevalent.) These are men with a confused sexuality who, for the most part, make their women nervous.

(4) Short men with a Napoleon complex who date and marry women a foot taller. You find a lot of Wall Street guys like this, and it actually proves the original point. It's not about height. They're advertising their virility to the world, as if to say: "THIS woman sees me as six-foot-eight."

At any rate, one reason we're just now noticing the boom in black-white marriage is that, until 1967, it was illegal in many states. The Supreme Court struck down all miscegenation laws in 1967 (Loving v. Virginia).

The second reason is that, in most parts of the country, you don't get hassled for it anymore. I can't imagine a scene today like the one in 1972 when George Wiley, of the Congress on Racial Equality, got heckled off the stage when he was trying to make a speech on African Liberation Day. He had a white wife, and the

black women assembled there kept chanting "Talking black and

sleeping white!" until he left the podium.

About the worst you'll have to suffer through today is some behind-the-back gossip and the occasional staring incident at a restaurant. Most people can live with that, and it might even strengthen the relationship.

We've already got plenty of black male celebrities married to white women -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Harvard black-studies superstar Henry Louis Gates Jr., record producer Quincy Jones, actor Sidney Poitier -- so the last barrier to universal intermarriage, which has quite a few social advantages for the nation, is this continued aversion of black women to white men.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the black women are not

racists; they simply perceive the available white men as weaker than they are. And the white men are not racists either; they just perceive the available black women as not particularly in need of a provider. Perhaps we need a new round of dating self-help books, with titles like "White Men -- They're Not ALL Wimps," and "Black Women -- Soft and Cuddly."

I think the barrier, in short, is a stereotype. And we know how long THOSE can last. OK, let's draw straws now and see who gets to make the announcement at Bob Jones University.

(John Bloom writes a number of columns for UPI and may be contacted at or through his Web site at Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)

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