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October 11, 2005

Latest Research from the American Sociological Review: Race in Romance, Race at School Are Highlights of the August Issue of the ASR


WASHINGTON, DC-The most recent issue of the American Sociological Review (ASR), the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA), features articles on the themes of marriage, race, and education. The three highlighted articles below have policy implications to practical application. Descriptions of August's featured articles are the following:

In the article, "The Independence of Young Adults and the Rise of Interracial and Same-Sex Unions," researchers Michael J. Rosenfeld and Byung Soo Kim, both at Stanford University, found that when it comes to pairing up times have changed. The rate of intermarriage across racial and ethnic lines has increased considerably in the past 35 years: In 1970, there were fewer than 70,000 black/white married couples; in 2000, that number had grown to nearly 350,000. In 2000, there were 580,000 Asian/white married couples, and 1.5 million Hispanic/non Hispanic white married couples.

Rosenfeld and Kim provide details of change regarding how people pair up. Using microdata from the U.S. Census, they detail mixed-race marriages-as well as same-sex and heterosexual cohabitation-from 1940 to 2000. They point out evidence that "social barriers which prevented racial intermarriage in the past continue to erode." One of the powerful reasons they discuss is geographic mobility. Indeed, non-traditional couples are more geographically mobile; and the more non-traditional the couple, the more mobile they are. They show that unmarried young adults are actually less likely to live with their parents than they ever have been before in U.S. history. The increasing independence of single young adults from their parents is one reason for the rise in non-traditional romantic unions in recent years.

CONTACT: Michael Rosenfeld at Michael.rosenfeld@stanford.edu. Media should contact Johanna Ebner Olexy, American Sociological Association, (202) 247-9871 for background information or to request a copy of this article.

For more on interracial relationships, see "Interracial Relationships and the Transition to Adulthood." When people are younger, they are more likely to be involved in interracial sexual relationships; but as time passes, these relationships are less and less common. In a study of several thousand adolescents and young adults, researchers Kara Joyner (Cornell University) and Grace Kao (University of Pennsylvania) found that the rates of interracial unions declined between the ages 18 and 35 (the ages they examined). They also found that between 1990 and 2000, the rates of interracial relationships within different age groups increased-even more among cohabiting and single individuals than among married individuals.

The researchers, who used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the National Health and Social Life Survey, argued that part of the age decline reflected the transition to marriage during young adulthood. As evidence of this, they found that interracial relationships were less likely than same-race relationships to lead to marriage.

CONTACT: Kara Joyner kj34@cornell.edu. Media should contact Johanna Ebner Olexy, American Sociological Association, (202) 247-9871 for background information or to request a copy of this article.

In “It's Not ‘a Black Thing’: Understanding the Burden of Acting White and Other Dilemmas of High Achievement” sociologist Karolyn Tyson (UNC), economist William Darity (UNC and Duke), and psychologist Domini Castellino (Duke), using interviews and existing data from eight North Carolina public secondary schools, found that black adolescents are generally achievement oriented. Despite a common belief that race-oriented peer pressure against high academic achievement is prevalent among black students in all schools, the findings show otherwise. However, the researchers found that high-achieving students, regardless of race, are to some degree stigmatized as "nerds" or "geeks." How schools are organized helps predict when this stigma becomes race-oriented, producing a burden of "acting white" for black students, and when it becomes class-based, producing a burden of "acting high and mighty" for low-income whites.

"In particular," says Darity, "the racial and class composition of the most challenging classes, Advanced Placement and honors classes, at the high school level is critical in determining whether or not a climate exists that produces a burden of acting white."

CONTACT: Karolyn Tyson is on leave from UNC this year and can be reched at the Russell Sage Foundation at Tyson@rsage.org. William Darity is at darity@unc.edu. Media may also contact Johanna Ebner, at the American Sociological Association for background information and to request a copy of this article.

To learn more about the above articles or any others, please see the August 2005 issue of the American Sociological Review (Vol. 70, No. 3 (June: 582-605)). Other articles in this issue of the ASR address themes of race, immigration, gender, and the workplace. For more information about any of the following, please contact Johanna Olexy at the American Sociological Association.

The August articles include: "Migration and Gender Among Mexican American Women" by Emilio A. Parrado and Chenoa A. Flippen (Duke University); "The Legacy of Lynching and Southern Homicide" by Steven F. Messner (SUNY-Albany), Robert D. Baller and Matthew P. Zevenbergen (University of Iowa); "Vigilantism, Current Racial Threat, and Death Sentences" by David Jacobs, Jason T. Carmichael (Ohio State University) and Stephanie L. Kent (University of Nevada); "Interorganizational Determinants of Promotion: Client Leadership and the Attainment of Women Attorneys" by Christine M. Beckman (University of California-Irvine) and Damon J. Phillips (University of Chicago); and "Gender Stereotypes, Same-Gender Preferences, and Organizational Variation in the Hiring of Women: Evidence from Law Firms" by Elizabeth H. Gorman.

The American Sociological Review
is the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Jerry A. Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania) is editor of the American Sociological Review.

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