Some Clarification On The Black-Jewish Stats

I've had a few e-mailers and commenters make the following point:

I strongly suspect that the majority of the 38% of Jews who oppose their relatives marrying blacks do so not because of antipathy toward black people, but because most blacks aren't Jewish. It's not blacks, it's all gentiles.

I would be very interested in seeing the percentage that oppose or strongly oppose marriage to non-Jews.

Following through the link, you don't find an answer to that, but you find something close--79 percent of Jews "strongly favor" or "favor" marriage to other Jews. 72 percent "strongly favor" or "favor" marriage to generic whites. The number for generic blacks? 22 percent.

Now, a few caveats. The GSS has a good rep, but frankly, I'm a little suspicious because the stats for Jews who "oppose" or "strongly oppose" marriage to generic whites is zero. That sets of the alarm. Moreover, I think it's wise to consider opinion studies in some context and not quote them as definite, concrete markers of reality.

That said, that Jewish disapproval of interracial marriage with blacks would be higher than the reverse, doesn't really surprise. Religion is likely a factor--but so is being white. I don't think Jews or anyone else is immune to history.

What would really be interesting, and much fairer, would be to compare the Jewish numbers, not with blacks, but with other whites. I think that would tell us a lot more. And then, as it is with these sorts of things, not much at all.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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