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This post carries over from a thread on the Suggestions page:

Some people say that when a black man is in an interracial couple we hear all about it but when a black woman is you hardly do.

I get that feeling too, but it is a hard thing to prove. The best I can come up with is to list all the famous people I can think of who have been part of an interracial couple (just black-and-white ones) and see if there is any sort of imbalance. In the writing of this blog and reading its comments I have found out about interracial couples I had no idea of, like Billy Bob Thornton and Cynda Williams, but I will not count those (they are listed later in the post).

Here is my list:

  1. Gabrielle Beauvais
  2. Robert De Niro
  3. Kid Rock
  4. Roger Ebert
  5. Diana Ross
  6. Seal and Heidi Klum
  7. David Bowie and Iman
  8. Quincy Jones
  9. Sidney Poitier
  10. Ice-T
  11. Naomi Campbell
  12. Clarence Thomas
  13. The Lovings
  14. Tiger Woods
  15. Kobe Bryant
  16. Ray J and Kim Kardashian
  17. Simon Cowell
  18. Robin Thicke
  19. Cuba Gooding
  20. Grace Jones
  21. O.J. Simpson

So, out of 21 couples 10 have a black man and 11 have a black woman, which means interracial couples with black men are not any better known (assuming, of course, that they are equal in number, which is certainly not the case in America as a whole).

Now break it down by the race and sex of the famous person:

  • 9 black men: Seal, Jones, Poitier, Ice-T, Thomas, Woods, Bryant, Ray J, Simpson.
  • 7 white men: De Niro, Rock, Ebert, Bowie, Mr Loving, Cowell, Thicke.
  • 6 black women:  Beauvais, Ross, Iman, Campbell, Mrs Loving, Jones.
  • 2 white women: Klum, Kardashian.

Again it seems more or less balanced, though black men are at the top, but look at white women: only two, and both are (were) with a black man who is also famous!

Why is that?

A simple answer is to say that women want to marry up while men do not care. So in American society white women would tend not to marry a black man unless he was rich or famous. That makes sense of the imbalance given above, but it utterly fails to make sense of the fact that in most black-and-white marriages in America it is the man who is black.

Some other famous people who have been in a black-and-white interracial relationship (at least according to Internet rumour):

  • black men:
    • Akon
    • James Earl Jones
    • John Legend
    • Montell Williams
    • Reggie Bush
    • Sammy Davis, Jr
    • Taye Diggs
    • T-Pain
  • white men:
    • Ben Broufman
    • Bill Maher
    • Billy Bob Thornton
    • Boris Becker
    • Brad Pitt
    • Clint Eastwood
    • Colin Farrell
    • George Lucas
    • Kevin Federline
    • Marc Bolan (T. Rex)
    • Mark Ecko
    • Matt Stone (“South Park”)
    • Matthew McConaughey
    • MC Serch
    • Mick Jagger
    • Paul Krugman
    • Paul Wall
    • Peter Norton (of Norton antivirus software)
    • Prince Albert of Monaco
    • Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein
    • Shia LaBeouf
    • Ted Danson
    • William Cohen (former Defence Secretary)
    • Wolfgang Puck
  • black women:
    • Aisha Tyler
    • Alfre Woodard
    • Alice Walker
    • Beverly Johnson
    • Chaka Khan
    • Cynda Williams
    • Debra Wilson (“MADtv”)
    • Diahann Carroll
    • Donna Summer
    • Dorothy Dandridge
    • Downtown Julie Brown
    • Erica Dunlap (Miss America 2004)
    • Estelle
    • Eve
    • Halle Berry
    • Heather Headley
    • Jamaica Kincaid
    • Janet Jackson
    • June Jordan
    • Kerry Washington
    • Kim Wayans
    • Lena Horne
    • Leslie Uggams
    • Lynn Whitfield
    • Minnie Riperton
    • Oluchi Onweagba
    • Paula Patton
    • Pearl Bailey
    • Rihanna
    • Robin Givens
    • Roxie Roker (Helen Willis on “The Jeffersons”, Lenny Kravitz’s mother)
    • Sade
    • Sharon Leal
    • Sherri Saum
    • Stacey Dash
    • Susan Rice
    • Suzan-Lori Parks
    • Tamyra Gray (“American Idol”)
    • Thandie Newton
    • Tina Turner
    • Tracey Edmonds
    • Traci Bingham
    • Venus Williams
    • Victoria Rowell
    • Whoopi Goldberg
    • Zoe Kravitz
  • white women:
    • Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”)

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Turkey (1923- ) is what remains of the Ottoman Empire, which once ruled the Middle East. It lies in Anatolia, the land between the Black and Mediterranean seas.

It is not the only country with Turks. To the east there are others: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. But Turkey is by far the largest and richest of these.

Turkey stands between two worlds: Muslim and Western.

It is a Muslim country yet its people wear Western clothes, write with Roman letters and take part in parliamentary elections. Religion is kept out of government and even the women are not allowed to cover their heads in public like they do in other Muslim countries.

Turkey belongs to NATO, the Western military alliance. This means the second largest army in NATO is Muslim.

But Turkey is not part of the European Union (EU). It is not for want of trying. For years it was kept out because it had a bad record on human rights and its army had too much power in government.

Now that Turkey is changing its ways, the EU has begun talks for it to join, maybe in 2013. But the talks are going badly and Sarkozy, the president of France, is finding excuses to slow them down.

Even though Europe is no longer strongly Christian, many seem to be against Turkey joining the EU simply because it is Muslim. Turkey may seem Western on the outside but it is still Muslim on the inside.

Although Turkey has long been a friend of America, the two do not agree on Iraq: partly because Turkey is becoming more of a democracy and the people are against what America is doing in Iraq; but also because America turns a blind eye to Kurdish fighters crossing into Turkey from Iraq.

Turkey killed more than a half million Armenians in the early 1900s and later fought against Kurds in eastern Turkey. It was trying to make everyone in Turkey into Turks.

Anatolia was once a Christian land full of Greek towns and farms. It was the heart of the Byzantine empire. Between 1000 and 1500 the Turks uprooted and destroyed all of that. They marched on Constantinople and overthrew it, giving it a new name, Istanbul. The Ottoman Empire was born.

When the empire reached its height in the late 1600s it ruled the Arab world, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Armenia and other nearby countries. Its armies got as far as the gates of Vienna. Two hundred years later the empire began to fall apart. In the early 1900s the First World War delivered the death blow.

After the war in the 1920s Ataturk made Turkey more Western.

Turkey stayed out of the Second World War. It still had one of the largest and best armies in the world, but it did not have the tanks and fighter planes it took to fight a war. But it did join America against Russia in the Cold War that followed.

– Abagond, 2007.

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