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Today’s graph

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013

* President Obama’s inaugural address has put this polling graph back into play on the Interwebtubes

Notice that it wasn’t until the 1990s that a majority of Amerians finally approved of interracial marriage.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    Are there state, regional or age cross-tabs available? It’s easy to look at this and assume that the 14% who don’t agree are old white people in the South, but it would be interesting to know. (Of course, this assumes that the 86% isn’t a vast overcount owing to people lying.)

  2. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    The “greatest” generation passes on.

  3. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    Hey, that arc does bend towards justice.

    – MrJM

  4. - The Captain - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    Wait, what’s the correlation between the President’s second inaugural address and this graph? The context escapes me.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    ===The context escapes me.===

    Then maybe you weren’t paying attention…

    ===We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. […]

    It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began… Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. ===

  6. - Ghost of John Brown - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    I was born in the period where the percentage was below 20%, and in the community where I was raised, the percentage might have been in the single digits.

    We have come a long way. My children’s generation doesn’t even pay much attention to race, and we live in a pretty “lily-white” suburb. My own son dated a girl that was half-black/half-white and it didn’t even dawn on him that it was in any way controversial.

    It’s a pleasant trendline.

    Past that - it has become a meaningless factoid - for that very reason.

  7. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    @ The Captain: the correlation is about as strong as that between the speech & the policies that will be put forth in term 2.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    This is great news, as well as growing acceptance of marijuana legalization and gay marriage. The president also broke new ground in mentioning and supporting gay rights in the inaugural address.

  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    –Notice that it wasn’t until the 1990s that a majority of Amerians finally approved of interracial marriage.–

    Amazing graph. In the early 70s, I remember the stir that was caused when an interracial couple and their children joined our church. Some serious arguments between parishioners who were troubled by it and those who actually stayed awake during the sermons.

    The same thing’s happening now with gay marriage. My kids think the whole “debate” is stupid beyond belief. Their kids will be very confused about what the fuss was about.

  10. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    In hindsight, I question whether Irish should be allowed to marry Greeks.

    Actually, I probably shouldn’t joke about this. Right now about 1.5 in 10 still think there should be no interracial marriage which is just astounding.

    When we look at things like the birthers and much of the tea party, it all makes sense. There is still a core of this country that has not moved forward on race. There is still work to be done.

  11. - The Captain - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    Yeah that seems to be about gay marriage, your graph is about interracial marriage.

  12. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    –In hindsight, I question whether Irish should be allowed to marry Greeks.–

    LOL, personal experience, I take it?

  13. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Look. A Kitty.

  14. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    I think it’s great that the President chose to highlight the issue of equality as it pertains to gay marriage in his inauguration speech. The chart above is important because if we had let the majority decide on interracial marriage it would not have been legal until the 1990’s. It underscores the fact that the majority should NEVER get to decide on issues of equal rights. It’s irrelevant whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage. You don’t have a right to vote on issues of equality. If gay marriage offends your sensibilities, so be it. Nowhere are there any gurantees in the country that you can’t be offended. The future is now and those of you opposed had better get used to it. You don’t have to agree with it, but neither do you have a right to prevent it.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    ===Yeah that seems to be about gay marriage===

    You apparently can’t read, either.

  16. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    Wordslinger’s example of what occurred in his church in the 1970’s matches up with what happened in my father’s restaurant when I worked there during that era. An interracial couple would cause stirs with other tables signaling me with comments about “aren’t you going to do something about that?”

    And the restaurant was located in liberal Lincoln Park in Chicago! Times have changed. Makes someone in my age group wonder what the fuss was all about back then.

  17. - dave - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    This image — with graphs of the two sets of polling data (interracial marriage, marriage same-sex marriage) next to each other — is very encouraging for the future of marriage equality:

  18. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    When the President was born, over 90% of the population thought his parents’ marriage was at least immoral, and maybe should be illegal. He wouldn’t exist if they’d had their way. There’s your context.

  19. - Emanuel Kant - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    Don’t assume it’s only old Southern whites against interracial marriage.

  20. - Kerfuffle - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    In the early to mid 70’s I dated a black girl for a time. I heard from both blacks and whites and neither side was supportive.

  21. - Dark Side of the Moon - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    The kids today are colorblind - at least that’s what my 18 y/o has been telling for years. My Mexican mom married my African-American dad back in 1970. They are still married.

    My sisters and I have married German/Polish/Swedish descendants.

    So my thoughts on interracial marriage? Been there. Done that….and will do it again.. =)

  22. - Skirmisher - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    I, like many other Americans in my age group (And a Southerner as well) have come full circle on this issue in the last 50-60 years. In today’s society, I am all in favor of any marriage at all when the awful alternative is to follow the current pop culture fashion and just make kids out of wedlock. By all means, get married, raise your kids responsibly, and I don’t care what racial mix is involved.

  23. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    1) I’d definitely agree it’s demographics. Even in the mid 1990’s, I’m assuming that Gallup only asked adults. That means only a sliver of those adults polled even grew up in the 1980’s, when inter-racial marriage wasn’t seen as manifestly controversial. Most presumably came of age either in the 1970’s or prior, when attitudes were quite different.

    2) I can see the parallels to gay marriage, but I also have two points.

    First, I’m not an evangelical nor am I particularly well versed in the Bible. But my understanding is that their view against gay marriage is far more prominent and consistent over the generations than it was against inter-racial marriage. I don’t agree with it, but my understanding is that the case for resisting government mandates or regulations regarding gay marriage are a lot more credible than it was for resisting inter-racial marriages. To be clear, I don’t see any reason for government discrimination I think the Equal Protection Clause should allow same sex couples to enjoy all of the benefits of federal and state governmental designation of marriage. Where I do see legitimate debate is in the regulatory issues like the birth control mandates, Catholic Charities adoptive services, etc. They shouldn’t be getting state money of course, but the concept that the government can & will put a faith based organization (or even a private business owner who professes a faith based objection) in a box and basically tell them they can’t have a business permit, or must pay extra fines or fees, I find very troubling. It’s basically telling people that it’s OK to believe what you want, just as long as you check those beliefs at the door as you exit your home. In my view it should be the inverse–you should be able to express and exercise your beliefs as you wish(even if I don’t agree with them), but once you enter a government facility, a common transportation carrier, a public utility, etc, you need to check your beliefs at the door and realize that everybody should have access to those things. The Chick-Fil-A flap in Chicago earlier last year is a prime example. Rather than banning the operation of the business because they don’t agree or adhere to your personal beliefs, the proper response is to just organize economic boycotts among private citizens.

    2) I do think the normalization of gay marriage is inevitable, which is a good thing. However, although it is generational, I don’t think it’s 100% a straight line based on age groups. People’s views change over time, and generally as people get older they become more socially conservative. So to a certain extent, as an isolated cohort that ages over tie, as the youth demographic gets older, they won’t have such an overwhelming support for gay marriage. i.e., a certain percentage of the ambivalent or pro gay marriage youth now will turn into anti gay marriage or ambivalent gay marriage as they get older. That being said, as an overall impact, they will still tilt the scales towards gay marriage, especially as the older generations die off. Just making numbers up as an example: let’s say the overall pro gay marriage support is at 40%, whereas the youth cohort is currently at 75%. I think if you follow the same group of people as they grow from the youth cohort to the middle aged cohort, the support within THAT group might fall to say 70% or 60%. But as the older generations die off and as younger generations come up, the overall support percentage for the all adults will most certainly still rise from 40% up to solidly north of 50%.

  24. - illinifan - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    To me this reflects how we are constantly evolving as a society…which is what his speech was about. His election is a reflection of a changing society and demographic. For many this change is scary so they fight hard to keep things as they were, while others embrace the changes and the future ahead. it is not necessarily geographic or age specific it is really about how we all cope with change. It would be interesting to see what history has to write about this time in 50 years.

  25. - train111 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    In 2001 when I (white) married across the race boundary (my wife is black) it caused a whole lot less stir in the family than when my mother’s cousin did the same thing in the early 70’s. Mom’s cousin was ostracized then, but now my mother gets to share mixed race grandchildren photos with her. Times have definitely changed.
    The gay marriage thing is now front and center in my family. Having moved away to the evil liberal big city, I am comfortable with it, but back home it is “If we don’t talk about it, then it really isn’t happenning.” Ten years will erase that away too most likely.


  26. - Yossarian Lives - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    That 14% (who still disapprove of interracial marriage) is an even scarier number when you consider those are the people willing to admit to a pollster that they disapprove. How many of the 86% just aren’t saying they disapprove because that’s not politically correct anymore? It’s amazing we still have so far to go in the area of race relations, even with Pres. Obama in the White House for a second term.

  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    My maternal grandmother was a southern Illinois German-American. She married a southern Illinois Scotch Irishman. It was a controversy back in the day.

    Can you imagine the howls of derision if anybody got upset about that today?

    Things change, usually for the better.

  28. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    I am all in favor of any marriage at all when the awful alternative is to follow the current pop culture fashion and just make kids out of wedlock. By all means, get married, raise your kids responsibly, and I don’t care what racial mix is involved.

    This, I think is the argument that will be persuasive to the GOP. I think it’s inevitable that most of the party will come around to the pro gay marriage side of the issue. A major driver of poverty is single motherhood, and evangelical Christians aside, I think this could easily fall under the rubric of “pro family”. I think the gay marriage argument for the GOP will hinge around the idea of shoring up the economic middle class with a modernized version & reaffirmation the positive economic and socializing effects of raising kids in a nuclear family wherever possible. The evangelicals will die hard, of course, but if the GOP is smart they will focus the evangelical’s attention on the religious liberty aspects of gay marriage (that I discussed in the prior post), rather than fight the concept of governmental recognition of gay marriage generally.

  29. - train111 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    John Galt

    Do a little research and you will find that the Bible was indeed used to back up slavery, a separation of blacks and whites, prohibiting interracial marriage, and the whole gambit.
    Quite frankly, you can find a verse in the Bible to back up anything you want, and it certainly was used as a means of discouraging interracial relationships in the exact way that people use it today to discourage homosexual ones.


  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===the Bible was indeed used to back up… a separation of blacks and whites, prohibiting interracial marriage===

  31. - Liberty_First - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    What ever happened to the leftist claim you can’t legislate morality?

  32. - Newsclown - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    Any right-wing conservative Republican party organizers paying attention to these stats? By the shape of recent campaigns, I’d have to say no. They play to an ever-shrinking segment of the population regarding these cultural taboos.

  33. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===What ever happened to the leftist claim you can’t legislate morality? ===

    That slogan was aimed at laws which imposed morality on others.

  34. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    …Adding… And I don’t see how racial mixing imposes any morality on anyone. You are free not to marry someone of a different race, or of the same gender, for that matter.

  35. - Xylem - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:48 pm:

    The trend line shows that progress is possible. It also portends that Republicans need to embrace their libertarian side (i.e. individual liberties) if they hope to succeed in future elections.

  36. - Votecounter - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    Interracial marriage has always been legal in Illinois

  37. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===What ever happened to the leftist claim you can’t legislate morality? ===

    Not really a leftist thing, Martin Luther was kind of big on the idea it was the church’s responsibility to save you not the government.

    Can’t legislate what is in your heart (thank God IMHO)

  38. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    The graph provides a dichotomy of happiness and sadness. It’s obviously good news that we are trending upward and look forward to the day we are between 90 – 99% (I give up on 100% of anything) but it’s sad to see how long it took just to get to 86% approval of two people of different skin colors marrying. It also reminds us of how much more we have to go toward acceptance of both race and sexual orientation.

    I’m looking forward to attending the weddings of friends and family that are currently discriminated against by our government.

  39. - Lycurgus - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    15% of Americans will oppose any proposition put to them by a pollster.

  40. - train111 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:31 pm:


    “Interracial marriage has always been legal in Illinois.”

    Not true– Illinois statutes of 1845. “No person of color, negro or mulatto, of either sex, shall be joined in marriage with any white person, male or female, in this State; and all marriages or marriage contracts, entered into between such a colored person and a white person, shall be null and void in law; and any person so marrying or contracting to marry shall be liable to pay a fine, be whipped not less than thirty nine lashes, and be imprisoned, not less than one year, and shall be held to answer in no other than a criminal prosecution, by information or indictment.”

    It was repealed by 1874. Some pretty stiff penalties there.


  41. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==What ever happened to the leftist claim you can’t legislate morality? ==

    I’m not sure what your are getting at here. What I will say is that I’m always amazed by the disconnect in the conservative point of view when it comes to social matters versus economic matters. When it comes to government regulation of the economy, the argument is hands-off. But throw a social issue in there and conservatives seem to change course and are all for government intrusion. Perhaps somebody can explain that dichotomy to me. It’s not ok for the government to intrude in our economic lives, but it’s the government’s duty to intrude in our personal lives. Seems idiotic and inconsistent to me.

  42. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    - Yeah that seems to be about gay marriage, your graph is about interracial marriage. -

    Yeah, when I think about those folks getting the fire hoses and dogs turned on them at Selma, all I can think about it what courage they showed standing up for gay marriage…

  43. - OpenlineBlog - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    Leaving aside the logic to equate interracial marriage and gay marriage, lllinois prohibits marriages between first cousins, even though that is allowed in many other states and most nations, so if we really want to define marriage as anyone who loves another person, are we saying those standards only apply if you are gay? Where do you draw the line on “anyone who loves anyone” can get married?

    And, an attorney who is involved in politics, who happens to be gay, also cautioned, “be careful what you wish for” because the family court system and legal process in Illinois is dysfunctional, expensive and time-consuming, so with gay marriage, there will also be gay divorce.

    Divorce lawyers will have a whole new market and the already-dysfunctional legal system will get slowed down even more.

    Maybe those who support gay marriage should push for reforming our antiquated, dysfunctional legal system.

  44. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    train111: Wow. That floors me. I’m shaking my head see that in print. (Also, not that it matters to the conversation, but I had people already starting to come to Illinois before 1845.)

  45. - WazUp - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    All you have to do is redefine what a race is. Next you redefine marriage which obviously wasn’t appropriately defined for the last several thousand years.

  46. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===What ever happened to the leftist claim you can’t legislate morality? ===

    What “leftist” said that?

    If I recall, Barry Goldwater said that when he voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He went through some changes after he stopped running for president and became a great defender of civil rights for all.

    Goldwater would punch you in the nose if you peeked in his bedroom window and couldn’t care less how other people got down. He howled about how he thought the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Fawell were attempting to use government to shove a theocracy down our throats.

    Now that I think about it, I’m sure Goldwater was who you meant when you said “leftist.”

    Among today’s right-wing full-mooners (notice I don’t say “conservatives”), Barry Goldwater, Bill Buckley and Ronald Reagan would certainly be considered leftists.

    Reagan voted for FDR four times and was proud of it until the day the light went out — read his books. The Democratic Party left him, he said, he didn’t leave it. Millions agreed with him — remember the “Reagan Democrats?” More than the Republican Party, he changed the Democratic Party. Because they got tired of him pounding lumps on their heads. Lesson learned.

    Buckley brought the American conservative movement into the mainstream by giving it an intellectual foundation and driving out the Birchers and the racists.

    Who doesn’t miss those “leftists?”

  47. - downstate commissioner - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    When I was younger, I would have disapproved because of the offspring of the marriage being subject to teasing, name-calling, bigotry, etc. Now, as I get older, given the too choices, I would probably say that I approve, which isn’t totally correct. I’m not sure that I actually approve, but I do accept it. Society has changed; where I grew up, there were no black people in town. Now there are a few, but more importantly, there are several mixed race children, including a step-grandchild of mine. For the most part, there doesn’t seem to be a racial problem in the schools, but the g-kid moved back to the bigger, more racially diverse city where his father lived, for his last two years of high school, partially because his dad and g-pa would be the only black people in that gym.

  48. - Common Sense - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    The graph is an excellent reminder of the Confirmation Bias.

    There is a natural tendency to ignore any evidence that contradicts our own prejudices.

  49. - Shoeless - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    What it says is that if we wait for the voters to approve marriage equality for same-sex couples across the nation, we could be waiting until, oh, 2050, give or take.

  50. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    “Illinois prohibits marriages between first cousins..”

    Not quite. If both are over 50 or one is diagnosed to be sterile, it’s legal.

  51. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Makes me think, and that is good

  52. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    I hit Enter too soon. I don’t see anything in any law that says you get to/have to marry someone you love, either. People get married for all sorts of reasons, none of which is the state’s business.

  53. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    –When I was younger, I would have disapproved because of the offspring of the marriage being subject to teasing, name-calling, bigotry, etc. Now, as I get older, given the too choices, I would probably say that I approve, which isn’t totally correct. I’m not sure that I actually approve, but I do accept it.–

    DC, good on you.

    You were raised a man of your parent’s time. My parents were different, too, in their own way, but I understand where you’re coming from.

    As a grown man, you took the best of your parents’ teachings — their goodness, decency and intelligence — and you adjusted.

    It’s guys like you who move life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, forward. The guys who have the guts and brains to change their minds.

    The world would not progress without men like you, who think anew.

    I’m sure your folks would be proud of you. I think you’re the bee’s knees. Here’s to you, cousin.

  54. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    ==All you have to do is redefine what a race is. Next you redefine marriage which obviously wasn’t appropriately defined for the last several thousand years. ==

    Yes, because things throughout history have never changed. That argument is moronic and has always been moronic.

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    * Jim Bordeaux-White: Help give lung cancer patients hope for a cure
    * Charles Krauthammer: Obama's Syria debacle
    * Gov. Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'
    * State revenues down by nearly $1 billion in first quarter

    * Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was
    * Tom Kacich: Could Springfield atmosphere affect selection of auditor general?
    * Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come
    * Ask 'Mimi,' Oct. 4, 2015
    * 'Ungifted' is nothing short of genius
    * Mike Pemberton/Voices: Newspaper, coffee and the way of the world in a hotel lobby
    * C-U haiku, Oct. 4, 2015
    * Esther Cepeda: Spare the talk of an 'Asian invasion'
    * John Frayne: Gunns mixed it up in an intimate setting
    * Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, Oct. 4, 2015

    * Now it gets interesting: Cubs still alive to host WC playoff
    * Report: Des Plaines shrine rector removed from ministry for 'inappropriate relationship'
    * Sharp, Oduya come home
    * 'True fan' of 80+ years just misses Cubs' playoff season
    * South Alabama holds on to 24-18 win over Troy

    * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
    * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
    * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
    * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
    * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
    * CBD Oil, and politics
    * Simon considering state Senate bid
    * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
    * Shutdown? State may not notice
    * Rep. Bob Dold

    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......
    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......
    * Durbin cites health benefits in push to ra......

    * Committee Passage of Measure to Support Ju......
    * Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded ......

    * Meet Uptown's "Gangsters and Ghosts" On October 29th
    * You’re Invited – Illinois REbarcamp Powered by YPN!
    * Next 10 general admission registrants for Vertex 15 Conference get extras
    * Chicago chapter of NAREB collaborates to serve consumers
    * 6 things you need to remember about TRID before Oct. 3
    * Watch for Illinois REALTOR® story about Kinney scholarships
    * NAR honors Goodwin and four other Good Neighbor winners
    * Morning Minute: Signs show housing is shifting to a buyer’s market
    * Two Illinois REALTORS® to be honored with SRES Outstanding Service Award
    * New book offers REALTOR® safety tips for discount

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