TeachThemRight About Geography (#8): “Interracial” Marriages In Arizona?*

 

IR_TTR_collage(logo).png
If the images of these couples conjure up memories or images in your mind, you (like me) show the power of media images and indicates the power of optics in influencing our mate selection

When people think of the state of Arizona in relation to people groups, marriage, and relationships, the “Luke and Laura” white ideal couple tends to not come to the forefront of the mind as fast as it may when you think of other states.

But what does the data say and why does it matter?

Well, according to Tallese D. Johnson and Rose M. Kreider of the U.S. Census Bureau, the data gives us insight into, “factors affecting the residence patterns…

1. Opportunity for potential spouses to meet: in areas where there are few Asians, for example, we would expect to see fewer White / Asian intermarried households (Harris & Ono 2004).

2. Historic patterns of residence/migration patterns: for example, the removal of many American Indian tribes from their original lands to reservation lands; historically higher proportions of Hispanics living in the Southwest; historically higher proportions of Asians living in the West. 

3. Characteristics of the current population that are typical of those who are more likely to intermarry: for example, individuals with higher educational attainment are more likely to intermarry so one might expect that areas with higher educational levels might have more intermarried couple households (Qian & Lichter 2007; Fryer 2007).”

Therefore, having some insight into the marriage patterns of various people groups in a state tells us much about the state’s history, gives insight into present demographics and may aid in forecasting future policy and patterns. To be blunt, “race” is in the DNA of America. There is nothing that happens in the areas of human activity that are not forged through a racial template, hence why it is my responsibility to mold that template as a homeschooling parent, and not leave that up to society.

Anyone know how that has turned out recently?

Now first, a few ground rules. I do not teach my children to categorize people by race. Any uses of such categories are for the reader and to stay true to the categories used by a particular source. We follow Acts 17:24-26:

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,c 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”.

Second, I am under no illusion, as many in the world are, that “interracial relationships signal some kind of racial progress. See the blog Black Women of Brazil for a look at how interracial relationships are used as a tool in a nation that is considered “post-racial” and a true “melting pot”. Some may even feel that this is where the United States is heading by design.

Notice I did not say, “all because two people fell in love”…(I’ve seen that sign somewhere before). Love does have a color, and it is the government that determines whether “that color” is acceptable or not for marriage. In Arizona, the government felt it was not acceptable until a court decision just days before 1960 when Henry Oyama of Japanese descent wanted to marry Mary Ann Jordan, who was “white”. The irony in the story is that Oyama passed for being of Mexican descent, which is a major variable in determining who is allowed to marry outside of their race and spent over a year in an internment camp.

I said, “Internment camp”, that alone takes us down another unique path while studying Arizona that I’ll save for later.

That said, as you will see below, it is also ironic that Arizona is one of the leading states in “white” and “Asian” interracial marriages today.

But I digress…now I do agree that at least having interaction between people groups, is a positive sign and at least creates hope that those involved will have their prejudices challenged and conquered. However, history shows this is often not the case (obviously The South especially during The Nadir era is an excellent example), and I teach my children to look for various markers on why they may be making a particular choice for a spouse, especially one outside of their people group.

For example:

  • What is their theological and biblical view of “race”?
  • Do you view this person as superior to you? For example, are you saying, “I think white men will treat me better than black men because black men are…”
  • How do you view yourself, especially in relation to this person? For example, “I think I will have pretty kids with them because they have good hair and I don’t want my kids to have hair like me.”
  • How does this person view you and your racial views?
  • Does a person outside your people group use the word “nigga”? Do they use the excuse that they can relate to you, they listen to hip-hop, or “sometimes people just act this way and I can’t help it?”
  • How does their family view you?
  • Why is this person attracted to you? Do they make statements like, “I only like black men/women or ‘light-skinned’ men/women?”
  • Do they change their behavior when around their own people group, then act another way around you like Peter in Galatians?
  • Do they say, “When I look at you, I don’t see color”?

Trust me, those are just a few of the questions and scenarios we have discussed, but I hope you get the idea and you may have some similar thoughts for your particular people group as well.

Now let us look at the numbers. Overall, the newlywed data from 2008-2010 does show that more interracial marriages do exist out west.

ir-marriage-regional-breakdownlogo

 

What does this say about all of those “liberals” in the Northeast? Perhaps when it comes to choosing a spouse, they are just like most Americans.  But as we begin to study other states in the future, we might find that they inter-marry for a different reason such as education level over residential patterns. It certainly seems that interracial marriage is more prevalent out west is due to historical migration/residential patterns and as we study the other eight areas of activity (see below), we are going to find that it varies tremendously (depending on time period) and influences how the country interacts today (e.g. “red” and “blue” political patterns).

ir-marriage-state-breakdownlogo

Among people groups, Arizona ranks highest in marriage between “white” and “Asian” and “white” and “Hispanic” people groups.

“White” and “Hispanic” Marriage:

Arizona – 12%

Nevada – 11%

IR Marriage White_Asian State Breakdown (logo).png

* Remember your old boring Geography class in school? Did you ever wonder whether it really mattered if you knew exactly where various states were located in the United States? Really, you are not even able to drive yet and what if you never planned on even visiting those states when you got older? Well, I’ve noticed the fruits of this mentality in adults over the years, so this year I wanted to try something different with the Tribe. 

Now in full disclosure, Lil Pappa (my dad) would take the fam across the country to California and one of my favorite activities (besides counting BJ Trucks…but more on that another day) was following along in the atlas, and observing the topography and demographics in each state. 

Therefore, we are combining Geography with a bit of Sociology. We are choosing various states and besides just asking questions like, “What are the main tourist attractions in the state?”, they are making a short analysis of each state within Neely Fuller’s Nine Areas of People Activity paradigm: 

1. Economics
2. Education
3. Entertainment
4. Labor
5. Law
6. Politics
7. Religion
8. Sex
9. War/Counter-War

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