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In a country that eliminated its antimiscegenation laws less than 50 years ago, perhaps this indifference is the most positive sign yet of progress in U.

(June 2005) As the United States population becomes ever more diverse, are more people dating across race lines? married couples that are interracial nearly doubled from 2.9 percent to 5.4 percent between 19, to a total of more than 3 million.

The question isn't simply a matter of whom you'll be going out with on Saturday night. Indeed, despite its increasing depiction in the media, interracial romance is still America's "last taboo," according to Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. And recent surveys reveal that American attitudes toward intermarriage have also steadily improved: While 70 percent of adults in 1986 said they approved of interracial marriage, that figure had climbed to 83 percent by 2003, according to a Roper Reports study.

Among students who had dated interracially, at least 90 percent each of white, Hispanic, or Asian students said their parents acquiesced to their relationship.

But only 59 percent of black students who had interdated said their parents were comfortable with their dating. "People's view of how things are going in terms of race relations in this country is really distinctively colored by their race," he says.

For example, while no more than 11 percent of the teens surveyed thought a white-and-Hispanic or white-and-Asian couple would be ostracized by their respective racial or ethnic groups, about one-quarter of those surveyed said that a white and a black student dating each other would face problems from other white or black students in school.

Given these figures, it's not surprising that Gallup reported that black students faced the highest rates of resistance from their parents over interracial dating of any group surveyed.

"If you think about communities in the Midwest, in places such as [rural] Wisconsin and Montana, if you're white and even if you're open to interracially dating, there are not that many people of color around," Yancey says.

"Chances are, if you're a person of color, you're more likely to be exposed to European Americans than vice versa." However, his analysis also found that neither living in an integrated neighborhood nor attending an integrated place of worship boosted people's interdating rates as much as attending an integrated school. adults, 86 percent of people ages 18 to 29 approved of marriage between blacks and whites, but just 30 percent of those ages 65 and older approved of such marriages.

He found that 35.7 percent of white Americans had interdated, along with 56.5 percent of African Americans, 55.4 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 57.1 percent of Asian Americans.

Men and those who attended racially or ethnically integrated schools were significantly more likely to interdate.

Since interracial dating (or "interdating") and interracial marriage were outlawed or ostracized for so long in U. history, many sociologists see the incidence of these relationships as a key indicator of the state of U. "Many people who are honestly accepting of equal treatment across a wide range of social interaction would finally draw the line when it came to [a romantic relationship] between the race groups," says Smith. "We are seeing declining levels of objection to interracial marriage," says Smith.

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