The Science of Attraction

Why is it that people are more likely to date inside their race? Why is it that we find certain things attractive, and other things repulsive?  These answers can be addressed in a variety of ways. That is the beauty of the social sciences; they can maneuver past the hard-concrete-oftentimes monolithic themes and provide insight on questions people really inquire about, sometimes unconsciously. Albeit informative, no one gives a damn about how many catalyst photosynthesis hydrogen carbon electrons an isotope ion atom bond has or does not have blah blah blah…(I know it doesn’t make sense). Social sciences open a door to understanding society through a variety of theories many of which are testable and comparable to the “hard sciences”. This may vary on who you ask, but in large academia tends to agree with these sentiments. For those-stats based aficionados let us see what the numbers say.

-What does the data say?

Statistically interracial/interethnic couples (married & unmarried) have a reached all-time high peaking at 10% during the time of the 2010 Census.

That is a 28% increase of from the 7% noted in 2000 Census. Also married couples tend to be more same race/ethnicity than unmarried couples and straight couples 10% (married and straight) compared to 18% (straight not married) and 21% (not married, homosexuals). (Official Census data, 2010 http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb12-68.html)

 

But what do these numbers mean?

One can interpret these numbers in a variety of ways. What is certain however is that much to Hitler’s dismay pure races/ethnicities are becoming a thing of the past. More and more people of different backgrounds and color are choosing to be together. As far as the differing rates among the married/unmarried/homosexual populations, one could argue that fundamental beliefs, unspoken expectations, and cultural prejudices are to blame.

 

I am going to go off on a tangent then bring it back full circle. I will start with the science of attraction, if there is such a thing. Surprisingly, there is a lot of research on attraction including but not limited to the anthropological, sociological, and psychological sciences. The two leading perspectives…wait for it…nature vs nurture…also known as evolutionary approach and social constructionism approach respectively. Biological perspectives maintain primitive dispositions in large contribute to mate selection. The latter contends that societal pressures and traditions are more to blame for mate selection.  The truth may lie somewhere in between! Studies show that attractiveness is in large based in the context in which it is presented. For example, what is considered attractive among a homogenous population will be different when compared to heterogeneous population. Interestingly enough however, despite the social expectations of colonial America, white men somehow still mustered enough libido to rape and father children to non-human black enslaved people. Funny how 3/5 of a person can be human enough to procreate with right Jefferson?

But we’re past the days of second-class citizens right? I mean it is only 50 or so years ago that it was taboo to date outside one’s race, a taboo often times enforced by violence. The dynamics of contemporary society are more likely to encourage interracial dating. Well at least pretend to encourage it. We are not far enough removed from the days in which policy and blatant prejudices plagued our everyday lives. In fact, the unspoken racial tensions we Americans, citizens of the world’s greatest fairest country, once faced have taken a new form. We conjure up a façade, and claim we do not see color, when in reality that is all we see. We are hue-obsessed individuals, unless of course that color is the rainbow. Skin color can mean a world of difference, or none at all. A friend once told me that, there is strength in diversity, there is inadvertent persistence in diversity, yet there is also fear in diversity. We are afraid of the unknown. Let us be fearless, let us in live in world in which we not only see color, but embrace it with all its differences. Besides, mixed babies are the cutest!

 

Dedicated to my brown skin beauty J

 

Minority X

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2 thoughts on “The Science of Attraction

  1. 50 years? More like 30. But anyway, there was a study on dating that also showed that women are more likely to discriminate when choosing race as partner (or have a racial preference) while men tend to be just look at features (big breasts are breasts, don’t matter what color they are!)

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