And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
The above is from a relatively widely circulated post from OKCupid. It has been argued that this post saved the dating website OKCupid, and launched the book Dataclysm. Over five years on the underlying biases have not changed, and if anything gotten more notable. I think the fact that OKCupid has become a more popular service probably explains this. From what I am to understand OKCupid had a more “hip” clientele in the late 2000s in comparison to the big dating sites, so it stands to reason that as its user base increased by many factors it would become more typical. This result is not isolated, but replicated in other surveys in experimental dating situations.
Unsurprisingly much of the male bias in race when it comes to dating comes down to perceptions of physical attractiveness. Once that is “corrected” for, the bias becomes very small. In contrast, this does not occur in women.* You can spin this in two ways. First, women are more racist. Or secondarily, women are less shallow, in that they are fixated on things beyond physical attraction. Though ironically that would definitely include physical appearance as it relates to race.
I thought of this when reading this piece in The Washington Post, Punjabi Sikh-Mexican American community fading into history. What happened is that because of anti-miscegenation laws and bans on the arrival of Indian women Punjabi farmers in the Central Valley of California married Mexican American women. The children had something of a hybrid identity, but are slowly being absorbed into the Mexican American and Punjabi Sikh communities. But this section jumped out at me because it seems an instance of a general pattern:
And when Punjabi women began coming to the United States, the Punjabi-Mexican community confounded them, Leonard said.
“They even kicked out the Mexican women from the gurdwara, even though those Mexican women helped fund it,” Leonard said.
This reminds me of what occurred at Fort Astoria, as the white women arrived the native women and their mixed-race offspring were quickly marginalized. In South Asia the same occurred with the ancestors of the Anglo-Indian community. For reasons of caste and religion they were excluded from assimilating into the native population (pairings between elite individuals, as depicted in White Mughals, differed from the majority of instances where common soldiers and lower caste women made arrangements which resulted in some censure from their respective communities), while the arrival of white women meant that the British men serving in India now had their preferred mating partners, and recreated England overseas in insular enclaves.
There seem to be two stylized extreme positions when it comes to cultural transmission as it relates to sex bias. One model holds that women are the fundamental culture bearers. In the United States for example children are more likely to adhere to the religion of the mother in mixed marriages. But there is another view, illustrated by the Islamic practice where men, but not women, could marry out. This is because it was presumed that culture would be passed down the paternal lineage. Not an unreasonable proposition in a hyper-patriarchal society. In the case of the New World, the mestizo populations clearly inherited language and religion from their male ancestors, but other aspects of their culture are indigenous (e.g., food). Though broad empirical patterns are interesting, the general expectations contingent upon theory are important in light of what we now know about mass migration in ancient history. Skewed distribution of Y and mtDNA seems to imply that migration which can not be modeled as isolation by distance diffusion tended to be male mediated, in the past as it is now. What does the uptake of Neolithic “First Farmer” mtDNA tell us about the dynamic of how the Corded Ware integrated to the local substrate, for example?
* By this, I mean that even when women give high ratings of attractiveness to men of other races, they still do not reciprocate in dating entreaties.