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Alvin Poussaint, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard School, says there is an increase in interracial marriages this time because Black people are moving more more into what he refers to as the "mainstream of American society," and social barriers are dissolving. You also see an easing of a kind of Black-consciousness mentality.He and others also say that taboos against interracial dating and marriage are easing."Some of the negative attitudes toward interracial marriage have been lifted considerably," says Dr. "Today you see young people watching MTV [where they see Whites and Blacks interacting in the music videos]. There is not the same kind of pressure on Blacks who are thinking about dating or marrying interracially.Some people seem to simply prefer to date people of another race. Simpson continues to demonstrate a preference for White women, and Whoopi Goldberg consistently dates White guys.For instance, Robert De Niro has had two Black wives and has dated a number of Black women, including models Naomi Campbell and Tookie Smith. While interracial mating is more accepted in today's society, there nevertheless are stereotypes and other negative aspects to be considered.But the social trend also is quite evident in other large cities such as Chicago and New York, Atlanta and Detroit, where there is a noticeable and striking increase in the number of mixed-race couples, especially Black women with White mates."Interracial couples are more noticeable and prominent than ever," says a Midwest-based author who has observed the changes in social trends for some 40 years."But the recent numbers of Black women being escorted by White men is, well, startling, to say the least."According to the U. Census Bureau, in 1997 there were 311,000 interracial (Black-White) married couples, more than six times as many as in 1960.

When you go to a Links ball or to the Boule, you see people who are interracially married.

Some social observers say that the increase in cross-cultural relationships is tied directly to the breakdown of school and residential segregation and the 1967 overthrow of the last laws. A mixed couple in Virginia had challenged the state's 1924 antimiscegenation statute in response to their being forced by local law officials to live apart, to jail or leave the state.

In addition, most grade schools and colleges are integrated, and so are workplaces and neighborhoods.

They assume that a White woman is with a Black man because of his sexual prowess, or that he is attracted to her because she represents the "forbidden fruit." Both mindsets reflect our history of being enslaved by Whites.

In reality, say relationship therapists and Black women themselves, many Sisters end up dating and marrying White men because they have difficulty meeting and connecting with Black men. Hare says many Black women, especially college-educated, professional Black women, believe there is a shortage of Black men on their income and status levels. White men because they want to make a commitment," says Dr. "They are maturing and their biological clocks are ticking.

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Many Black women feel betrayed by the Brother who marries a White woman, especially those who show a preference for other women.