Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I’m not mixed, but WTF!"

Freakonomics: "The Plight of Mixed Race Children", by Latoya Peterson, Racialicious:

"Mixed race people, step right up to be essentialized into neat little patterns of behavior!

In a recent paper I [Steven D. Levitt] co-authored with Roland Fryer, Lisa Kahn, and Jorg Spenkuch, we look at data to try to answer that question. Here is what we find:

1) Mixed-race kids grow up in households that are similar along many dimensions to those in which black children grow up: similar incomes, the father is much less likely to be around than in white households, etc.

2) In terms of academic performance, mixed-race kids fall in between blacks and whites.

3) Mixed-race kids do have one advantage over white and black kids: the mixed-race kids are much more attractive on average.

The really interesting result, though, is the next one.

4) There are some bad adolescent behaviors that whites do more than blacks (like drinking and smoking), and there are other bad adolescent behaviors that blacks do more than whites (watching TV, fighting, getting sexually transmitted diseases). Mixed-race kids manage to be as bad as whites on the white behaviors and as bad as blacks on the black behaviors. Mixed-race kids act out in almost every way measured in the data set.

. . . "I was wondering what economic theories they used to get to this point, but surprise - there ain’t none!

We try to use economic theory to explain this set of facts. I can’t say we are entirely successful. If we had to pick an explanation that best fits the facts, it would be the old sociology model of mixed-race individuals as the “marginal man”: not part of either racial group and therefore torn by inner conflict.


Apparently, in Steven D. Levitt's mind, mixed children who are neither white nor black, like Tia Carrere, don't exist. Also, I don't drink or smoke, like white people allegedly do. Nor do I fight or get sexually transmitted diseases, like black people allegedly do. However, I do likes my TV. So following Mr. Levitt's calculations, I am one-third black. Maybe I am also one-thirteenth Chickasaw like Stephen Colbert.



Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bianca Reagan said...

I'm pretty sure you can, too.