Dating across racial lines

So, 16 years into democracy, how big a deal is dating someone of a different race?

This website devoted to South African interracial dating exhorts visitors to “Defy the taboo”, so perhaps it is still a little iffy.

The findings of a new study at North-West University in Mahikeng about changes in interracial marriages have raised hopes that race relations in the country are improving.

They fly in the face of some of the racial, ethnic and xenophobic tensions that have been the hallmark of South African society in recent months, and which have again put the issue of national cohesiveness centre stage.

However, increased educational attainment among Asians, Indians and whites tends to make them marry their own kind.

This latest study suggests that about 5% of coloureds, Asians and Indians marry outside their groups, though whites remain the least likely to do so.

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Now such sentiments are relegated to shadowy Internet message boards and corners of right-wing talk radio.

Once upon a time, dating across the so-called colour line was illegal in this country, and it was generally considered taboo everywhere else.

Now, interracial dating is a growing global trend — there are plenty of interracial dating websites — and this is hardly surprising, given that many societies are liberalising and people have the opportunity to hook up with whoever floats their respective boats.

We’re in the midst of a cultural sea change to one of the most central institutions in the life of the nation.

American attitudes on interracial relationships have taken an enormous step forward in the last two decades.


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