News & Events

Rise of mixed-race unions in Canada softening identity labels

By Vancouver Sun |

A peer-reviewed 2019 research study by Richard Alba of City University of New York and Jeffrey Reitz of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto found most people in mixed unions, and their children, feel more integrated into mainstream culture than do members of a single minority group.

The elevation of Kamala Harris to vice-president-elect of the United States of America has many probing the significance of mixed-race partnerships.

Many celebrate how the daughter of an Indian mother and Black father went on to marry a white Jewish lawyer named Douglas Emhoff. Optimists see her journey as a creative blurring of ancestries, which might help soften the harder divisions of identity politics.

Interracial couples make up about 10 per cent of all relationships in the U.S. and about five per cent in Britain and Canada.

While many countries have almost no mixed-race unions, in Brazil roughly 33 per cent of marriages cross racial lines, making ethnic identity highly fluid in that nation. What does it mean for such societies?

A peer-reviewed 2019 research study by Richard Alba of City University of New York and Jeffrey Reitz of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto found most people in mixed unions, and their children, feel more integrated into mainstream culture than do members of a single minority group.

In Canada and the U.S., more than four out of five members of minority groups who enter a live-in relationship with someone from another ethnicity do so with a woman or man of European background.

The researchers discovered Americans and Canadians with such “majority-minority” identities tend to feel mainstream and experience less discrimination than offspring of a single ethnic minority.

Statistics Canada figures show mixed unions are rising across the country.

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