Jan 26, 2016

Lies, Damned Lies, and Racial Statistics

via Alternative Right

Don't worry, numbers can explain this
Between 2000 and 2014, the White share of the US population declined from 69.1% to 61.9%. In other words, the non-white share rose from 30.9% to 38.1%.

Lets imagine that over this same period, some state or county went from being 98% to 96% white, from 2% to 4% non-white. 98% to 96% is a smaller decrease than 69.1% to 61.9%, but 2% to 4% is a larger increase (percentage wise) than 30.9% to 38.1%. So how does the local newspaper spin it? Do they say that the local non-white percentage increased faster than the national rate, or that the local white percentage declined slower than the national rate? Both narratives are technically true, though obviously misleading.

Some journalists purposefully attempt to mislead others with statistics, some are themselves misled, and sometimes they do both at the same time. Reihan Salam’s recent piece in Slate, I suspect, belongs to this last category. Salam thought he had achieved that to which all hack opinion writers aspire: a counterintuitive piece of click-bait. His angle: the irony of racist opposition to immigration:
"This leads us to the irony of racist opposition to immigration. Qian and Lichter [a pair of demographic researchers] also find that during the 1990s, the rate of intermarriage between both Hispanics and whites and Asians and whites declined quite significantly. Was this a reflection of rising anti-white prejudice among Asians and Hispanics or rising anti-Asian and anti-Hispanic prejudice among whites? According to Qian and Lichter, it was neither—the main driver of this decrease in the intermarriage rate was simply that the Asian and Hispanic populations increased significantly due to immigration. As the size of an ethnic group grows larger, its members have more interactions with co-ethnics. This makes it more likely that they will have a stronger sense of in-group ethnic solidarity and that they will wind up marrying co-ethnics. To put this a bit differently, if it’s slightly easier to connect with someone of your own ethnicity (and I’d say that’s generally true), the increase in potential marriage partners from your own ethnic group will make it far less likely that you’ll look for marriage partners outside of it."
Yes, if you are Asian or Hispanic, I'm sure it's now "easier to connect with someone of your own ethnicity"  but the fact is that it was pretty easy to do that long before the 1990s. What has changed since then is that the Asian and Hispanic groups have each more than doubled their shares of the population. It is a simple numbers game. A hypothetical Hispanic who has no racial marriage preference is now more than twice as likely to marry another Hispanic. This is a gross oversimplification because marriage is a two-way agreement, but you get the point.

Anyway, back to Salam:
"What this also means is that restrictive immigration laws, like those passed in the 1920s, can have the opposite effect—that is, it seems likely that they increase intermarriage levels. {snip}

The fact that large-scale immigration tends to reduce intermarriage isn’t an argument for or against it. What is clear, however, is that those who are in favor of reducing immigration on racist grounds are making a serious logical error. If immigration levels fell, the likely result would be a surge in intermarriage that would undermine white racial purity..."
The author is a gentle conservative (and non-white), who is not a big fan of mass immigration or in maintaining white racial purity. In other words, he does not have a dog in this fight, so perhaps it is unsurprising that he would bungle this argument so badly. I think I speak for most white racists when I say that the racial purity of Asian- and Hispanic-Americans is not high on our list of concerns. The article purports to be examining immigration’s affect on “white racial purity,” so why are we talking about Asian and Hispanic intermarriage rates, and not that of whites?

Remember our hypothetical Hispanic who is now twice as likely to randomly marry another Hispanic? The flip side is that the white share of the population has decreased. So while a hypothetical race-neutral white in 1990 had probably an 85-90% chance of randomly marrying another white, now, his odds are maybe 75-80%.

One of the reasons, if not the main reason, the white intermarriage rate is so much lower than others is the simple fact that there are a lot more whites. The average white lives in a neighborhood that is 75-80% white. The average Asian lives in an area that is only around 20% Asian, while the typical Hispanic lives in a 40-50% Hispanic neighborhood. (This study reports metropolitan segregation. If the average metropolitan white lives in a 75% white neighborhood, the national rate must be somewhat higher because whites are disproportionately rural.) I should add that since the US is about 60% white and only 5% Asian, when a white marries an Asian, it skews the Asian intermarriage rate much more than the white rate. In this sense, whites’ lower intermarriage rate is (partially) a statistical illusion. Whites’ population share on the other hand, is not a statistical illusion, and it does have real-world consequences on the white intermarriage rate. As the white share of the population has declined, the white intermarriage rate has increased.

And again, speaking as someone Salam would consider a racist, interracial marriage per se is not really our concern; we oppose mass immigration because we do not want to live in an interracial country. We want a white country. Grant us that, and we will take our chances with interracial marriage.

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