Lovers, I have confession. I have a fetish: numbers. Trained in quantitative sociology and having taught statistics, I’m obsessed with tracking social trends like how often people marry and get it on and, who they choose as partners.
My love of numbers gets me thinking about the interracial marriage and cohabiting statistics in America — in my opinion, they help clue us in to what’s going on in race and ethnic relations.
Since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision declared laws barring such couplings unconstitutional, Americans have increasingly shared mattresses with partners whose ethnic backgrounds do not match their own.
I by no means support the idea that everyone should live with or marry someone of a different ethnicity. In fact, I believe just the opposite: Don’t let anyone tell you who to keep in or kick out of your bed. They’re your genitals. Your emotions. As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others, have fun with them as you choose.
These are some sexy numbers that show how our fellow Americans are having a ball: According to the U.S. Census, between 2000 and 2010, the number of interracial or interethnic husband-wife households swelled nearly a third, increasing 28%. And interracial dating isn’t uncommon: one of every 10 marriages in America is interracial. Finally, one of every five couples shacking up (18% of male-female and 21% of same-sex partners) are interracial.
Should the uptick in interracial loving give us hope for race relationships in America? Absolutely. Things are indeed changing. And no one ever said change comes easily.
Should you wish to swirl up your love life, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
• Do mix up your socializing habits. Join different amateur sports leagues, subscribe to various museums’ e-newsletters and read a wider selection of news sources. Opening up your dating life starts with opening your mind.
• Do remember you are a perfectly flawed human being. When getting it on with anyone, you’re likely to mess up, say things to hurt their feelings, and do things they’ll think are stupid or wrong. Be open. Listen. Apologize and revise your words and actions when necessary.
• Do strive to make the world a better, less violent place by spreading healthy forms of love however and whenever you choose.
• Don’t treat your lover like a stereotype.
• Don’t give a flying jock strap about who your friends and family believe you should love. To quote Jimi Hendrix, “I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”