of slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, racist caricature, minstrelsy, public dishonor, anti-miscegenation laws and sentiments, economic discrimination, and residential segregation have achieved.
It's dispiriting. But it is not hopeless. For the truth is that today attitudes toward marriage between Afro-Americans and Euro-Americans have radically changed. As I pointed out in The Ordeal of Integration, for most young Americans inter-ethnic dating is viewed as "no big deal" by the typical youth, and Euro-American parents, especially in the North and West of the country, are surprisingly unbothered by the practice. While a large number of Euro-Americans are still not prepared to marry across the color line, that line is rapidly being blurred by the recent wave of immigrants from countries whose populations are neither of African nor European ancestry and who refuse to play by the old American either/or, binary rules of "racial" conception and interaction. The truth of the matter is that, today, the pressure toward endogamy is as strong among Afro-Americans as it is among Euro-Americans, indeed may even be stronger. In purely demographic terms, when we take account of the fifth or so of all Euro-Americans who would seriously consider marrying across the color line, it can be said that, in theory, America could solve its "racial" problem overnight by this means, if Afro-Americans chose to make a point of marrying out. However, I see little prospect of that happening now or in the near future, given the present mood of Afro-American intellectual, political, and cultural leadership and the understandable distrust of ordinary Afro-Americans who, while willing to forgive, still find it much too hard to do the kind of forgetting required of an "interracial" marriage.
A GROUP'S BEHAVIOR in any given area of life is always the product of their responses to the proximate exigencies and challenges of their social environment at given periods of time, and of the inherited cultural resources they deploy in meeting these challenges. These resources, in turn, are nothing more than the practices, values, and beliefs that were found to work in previous periods and that, over time, became routinized and normative. The advantage of these cultural patterns is that they are tried strategies that save people time and social energy in meeting the demands of daily life. The problem with them is that what worked under one set of circumstances in a previous period may not work in another and may even be counterpro-