How to Turn Good News into Bad News

The percentage of blacks marrying whites has risen by 3 times since 1980. Asians are just as likely to marry whites as they were in 1980 (40%), even though there is a much larger Asian population to choose from, and Hispanics are significantly more likely to marry whites than in 1980 (38% compared to 30%), even though there is a much larger Hispanic population to choose from. The sheer number of interracial marriages has risen 20% since 2000.

This is good news, right? Not the way the Washington Post Associate Press spins it, complete with a commentary by Cornell Prof. Daniel Lichter that is completely at odds with the data, but supports left-wing shibboleths about 9/11 and the recent Arizona illegal immigrant law:

The number of interracial marriages in the U.S. has risen 20 percent since 2000 to about 4.5 million, according to the latest census figures. While still growing, that number is a marked drop-off from the 65 percent increase between 1990 and 2000.

About 8 percent of U.S. marriages are mixed-race, up from 7 percent in 2000.

The latest trend belies notions of the U.S. as a post-racial, assimilated society. Demographers cite a steady flow of recent immigration that has given Hispanics and Asians more ethnically similar partners to choose from while creating some social distance from whites due to cultural and language differences.

White wariness toward a rapidly growing U.S. minority population also may be contributing to racial divisions, experts said.

“Racial boundaries are not going to disappear anytime soon,” said Daniel Lichter, a professor of sociology and public policy at Cornell University. He noted the increase in anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as well as current tensions in Arizona over its new immigration law.

“With a white backlash toward immigrant groups, some immigrants are more likely to turn inward to each other for support,” Lichter said.

In fairness to Prof. Lichter, reporters have been known to quote sources out of context, but there’s no excuse for how the Post A.P. reporter, Hope Yen, reported this story. It’s possible that there is actually some hidden bad news in the data, but if so, it’s not apparent from the story.