By Robin Lloyd
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Parents who are of different races, such as a white father and an Asian-American mother, spend more time and money on their kids than parents who are both of the same race, new research shows.
So-called biracial (aka interracial or multiracial) parents are more likely than their "monoracial" counterparts to provide their children with a home computer, private schooling and educational books and CDs and to make sure they participate in reading activities, dance, music or art lessons outside of school and get trips to the zoo, library and other cultural venues.
The "biracial advantage" only holds for comparisons with same-race couples from the two racial groups represented by the parents—for instance, if a Latino and white couple is compared with a Latino-Latino couple or a white-white couple. The finding disappears if all biracial couples, regardless of racial pairing, are compared with the entire pool of same-race couples (combining all couples that are white-white, black-black, Latino-Latino and so forth).
The advantage, or higher investment, can be explained as a counterweight or response to the social challenges faced by interracial couples, who only gained legal acceptance in the United States in 1970 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a state law in Virginia that prohibited whites from marrying non-whites, said study author Brian Powell at Indiana University Bloomington.
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This is an interesting, if somewhat confusing, study. The gist is that ethnicity A coupled with ethnicity B do a better job of parenting (or pay more attention) than either an A-A or B-B coupling. But the findings return to normal when comparing all bi-racial parents to the standard of all single race families, i.e. an A-C couple is not necessarily better than a B-B couple but will likely better than an A-A or C-C. Is this an example of the importance of genetic diversity or just a defense mechanism against old prejudices?
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