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As recently as 1995, fewer than half of all Gallup survey respondents favored interracial marriage—and only 4 percent did in 1985.
When someone sees another person’s face, their brain, subconsciously and automatically, runs through a litany of images and associations, each coming with their own individual value judgment, that help that person make sense of the world.But then she also asked them a number of questions about their judgments of each person based on appearance of the people in the images.Petersen didn’t just want to see that someone said yes or no; she also wanted to know why.The matching rates of each group to all the others spanned only a small range of 56 to 62 percent comparability.In some cases, certain groups had higher compatibility scores outside of their races—for example, Hispanic/Latin men paired up one point better with black and Middle Eastern women than they did with women of their own ethnicity—but the margins weren’t statistically significant.Whether liberal or conservative, the biases were present among pretty much everyone. It worked at a speed faster than that of rational thought—on a level that people weren’t even conscious of.
“If you take an IAT, you may notice a familiar feeling,” recounted writer Zach Stafford in a recent opinion piece in the Daily Dot.
And yet, while the actual number of interracial relationships in the United States is certainly climbing, the overwhelming majority of Americans are in relationships with another person of their same race.
In 2010, only about 15 percent of new marriages were interracial—bringing the total number up to 8.4 percent from 3.2 percent in 1980.
According to Christian Rudder, the Harvard-educated data whiz who founded Ok Cupid, that’s not actually how it works. In a 2009 post on the dating site’s Ok Trends dating research blog, Rudder noted that there’s very little variation in how people of different races match up with each other based on the site’s algorithm, which analyzes their interests and spits out a score showing their compatibility.
There is a tight correlation between how well two people match each other and how likely they are to message each other back and forth—the best sign the site’s operators have that a relationship is blossoming.
The major takeaway, judging from the numbers, is that almost all groups should be about equally compatible with each other.