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Mixed-Race Kids Cuter, But Worse Behaved?

The author of Freakonomics wondered, "What's it like to grow up with one parent who is black and another who is white?" Well, here's what he offers as his findings (emphasis ours):

1) Mixed-race kids grow up in households that are similar along many dimensions to those in which black children grow up: similar incomes, the father is much less likely to be around than in white households, etc.

2) In terms of academic performance, mixed-race kids fall in between blacks and whites.

3) Mixed-race kids do have one advantage over white and black kids: the mixed-race kids are much more attractive on average.

4) There are some bad adolescent behaviors that whites do more than blacks (like drinking and smoking), and there are other bad adolescent behaviors that blacks do more than whites (watching TV, fighting, getting sexually transmitted diseases). Mixed-race kids manage to be as bad as whites on the white behaviors and as bad as blacks on the black behaviors. Mixed-race kids act out in almost every way measured in the data set.

If true, that might explain Halle Berry. Read the explanation for the findings and tell us what you think.



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I wonder how Tiger Woods fits into that infantile equation?

Sent by Bill M | 6:26 PM | 8-19-2008

Mixed kids are more attractive? I could have a fields day with that one. I will leave it alone, though. Surely, everyone who read that is thinking the same thing I am.

Sent by T. Rogers | 7:45 PM | 8-19-2008

I beg to differ, beauty is first of all insiude out and whomever took the time to write this crap is crazy. Who says Halle Berry is beautiful. Last time i checked the lighter you are the faster you age. If you look at a black woman you can not tell her age. A lighter complexion persons skin shows its age.
As for cuter mixed babies children, have you seen the mixed kids who moma does not know what to do with their hair. You have a boof of wired knotty hair. Please don't waste our time reading this garbage!

Sent by Lisa | 7:49 PM | 8-19-2008

In our attempt to show the flaw in a standard of beauty let us not replace it with another equally ridiculous standard. Knee jerk reactions are not constructive. Just a thought.

Last I checked Japanese people are lighter than blacks and they (on average) age better than anyone. It is not all about skin tone. Genes, lifestyle, diet, etc. have a lot to do with how fast people age.

Sent by T. Rogers | 9:26 PM | 8-19-2008

Bill M..correct and infantile equation.

Total knee-jerk reaction by Lisa...her comparison was as ridiculous as the story. Age or looking younger does not equate to beauty. J

Most of us are mixed, somewhere down the line and people continue to make the mistake of inserting race which has no real scientific definition, with culture.

Light skinned vs dark skinned, good hair bad hair, I mean REALLY..seriously people.

Who says Halle Berry is beautiful? That's a joke right, you didn't really ask that question.

Sent by Jon J | 11:35 PM | 8-19-2008

GEE! This is so ridiculous. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. The author should be looking at the factors that put all minority children at-risk!

Sent by Nika | 9:45 AM | 8-20-2008

Is this guy serious? I mean, really.

Mixed-race households share a common thread with black households: the absentee father? What?! Does he mean similar with black households where the father is absent? And here's something radical: has he ever been to middle America? There are hundreds upon thousands of working-class white households without fathers. Thousands!

Mixed-race kids are more attractive? That's feeding fuel to an already toxic fire. Based on whose standards? I don't light skin bash or dark skin bash, but really... is this guy serious.?

This has to be a satire of some sort, or must be like... 14 years old.

Sent by Keith Josef Adkins | 10:06 AM | 8-20-2008

Asians, aging gracefully? Hmmm, I'm not racist, but that is news to me. Asians are attractive as young women, but crack very badly with age.

Sent by Nelson | 10:38 AM | 8-20-2008

Sorry but someone has to call out the racism of this post. Mixed kids are most likely to be cute but out of control? Are you serious?

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. -MLK

Sent by dani | 10:41 AM | 8-20-2008

3) Mixed-race kids do have one advantage over white and black kids: the mixed-race kids are much more attractive on average.

That ridiculous comment was made probably only to get a response and it did. The invention of caucasians by god was either a accident or a disgrace. Indeed they are his glory or inglorious failure for a idea of a world. That world has came to a end and mix race people are the only hope they have for a slimmer of the idea of god to remain around for a while.The reason for the Obama phenomena with the help of their secret society intervention. Study nature or the bible for a answer to this riddle or parable. Black kids are cuter. also see and listen to pyramid of truth at

Sent by EBONY SUN GOD | 11:22 AM | 8-20-2008

Wow! Mixed race kids are more attractive!!! Wow! I think mixed races are attractive in many cases but often I see Blurple (black folks know what that is) folks with beautiful skin and features setting off incredible smiles. I also see gorgeous people of every race every day. Race has nothing to do with looks. Or behavior.

Sent by dw314 | 1:03 PM | 8-20-2008

Actually, there have been scientific studies that beauty, across the board, can be defined in terms of symmentry of facial features. And as far as the absent father, statistically, African-Americans are more likely to grow up in a home with an absent father figure. This article does serious disjustice to the author of Freakonomics who has solid scientific, economical, and statistical data to support his arguments.

Sent by Lynnette | 1:14 PM | 8-20-2008

what a ridiculous study, The father would be home less? Oh unless the father is white? Then the mother would be out of the picture? Puh-leez, I am mixed and people are always shocked when they hear that all of my 4 brothers and sisters came from the same daddy and ...holy shucks! hes still married to my mom! Lets try thinking outside the box please.

Sent by fran | 1:54 PM | 8-20-2008

Must have been slow day for Blog topics.

Sent by Phistro | 2:39 PM | 8-20-2008

Seriously, this is one mind-numbing subject and it is disappointing the Freakonomics author made this an "academic" study.

As a person who recently while minding my own business in Target got asked where I'm from because I don't fit the perceived "African-American" box. Hel-lo we are all mixed with something.

In my family, they call me mixed - with tribes not races (figure that out).

Sent by Moji | 3:02 PM | 8-20-2008

like the upper blogger said, we all have mixtures and if u swab some white peoples mouthes they would be surprised to see they have some african in their genes - all power to the people!

Sent by ccridah | 3:28 PM | 8-20-2008

Your just kidding........right?

Sent by massai | 3:28 PM | 8-20-2008

I'm mixed, half white and half Chinese. When I was studying Chinese in Shanghai, my teacher (full blooded Chinese) mentioned that mixed race kids were always beautiful because the genes of their parents were far apart.

What she was getting at is heterosis, the idea that if you have different copies of a gene at the same locus, you have higher fitness than if you had the same gene. I don't know if it's true, but it would be interesting to investigate if people of mixed heritage are heterozygotes at more loci and if this correlates with certain "attractive" traits, such as facial symmetry.

Sent by Eric | 5:18 PM | 8-20-2008

Aren't there other important issues to discuss besides this ridiculous matter. The researcher is clearly board and has nothing else to write about.

Sent by cc | 5:49 PM | 8-20-2008

I expect better, more substantive topics from this blog.

Sent by Kelli | 5:57 PM | 8-20-2008

This is as stupid as the discussions over "The Bell Curve" book that took place years ago! Get a life...

Sent by Duke | 6:13 PM | 8-20-2008

Hello,most new discoveries are suddenly -seen things that were always there.All kids are attractive and some misbehaved if parents don't do there part in up brining there children...from Trinidad w i.

Sent by B Gibbs. | 6:18 PM | 8-20-2008

is this really a topic on NPR?!?! Really?

Sent by Lynda | 6:59 PM | 8-20-2008

This story is a non-issue if this were about the people of Hawaii, where the majority of the population is of mixed race. Hawaii is not only multi-racial/multi-ethnic as in a lot of different races, but many of the individuals are of mixed race. And those in Hawaii are some of the most beautiful in the country--tells you something!

Sent by Lani T. | 7:27 PM | 8-20-2008

Did any of you guys actually read the post, or, better yet, read the study?

Steven Levitt and Roland Fryer (who is BLACK btw) are some of the best and brightest economists in the country and they released the study after tremendous empirical work. Professor Fryer presented the preliminary findings of this study in a class I took with him and explained the empirics behind it.

If you got off your butt and read some of it, maybe you'd actually have your world enlightened. Some of you people hate on the "close-minded" when you act like close-minded people just as often.

Sent by Ap | 8:07 PM | 8-20-2008

Every time I think that the debate in this country on various subjects is getting more shallow, somebody comes along to drain a little more from the pool. Future civilizations will read drivel such as this and guffaw at the pure, unadulterated stupidity of those we considered "thinkers."

Sent by Thelonious | 8:25 PM | 8-20-2008

um, this is satire right?

i'm bi-racial & multi-ethnic and totally offended

Sent by ria | 8:56 PM | 8-20-2008

It is well established that the subjective evaluation of beauty is correlated with the "averageness" of the physical features as well as symmetry so we shouldn't be surprised at the "attractiveness" part of the story. But like others I am wondering why is this a topic worthy of discussion at all ?

Sent by MikeT | 9:35 PM | 8-20-2008

Best said by the three panelists. There are a lot more important things that should be on a person's radar. And, yes, how does one get paid to do these infantile surveys? Americans get caught up thinking we are the center of the universe. If you want to see how the world is evolving, note the Olympics, black, brown, white, tan, round-eye, slanted-eye, straight hair, curly hair, kinky-hair people are representing literally all nations. We are merging in food, culture and yes people. Thank God.

Sent by Michael Brown | 5:00 AM | 8-21-2008

I listen to NPR more than any other radio station, but this is the first time that I can truly say that I was disappointed in one of your news pieces. To make a blanket statement that mixed-raced children are worst than whites and blacks is awful and disgusting. But what I was really surprised about was the article referenced an old 1998 article of Halle Berry when she was involved with Eric Bente. I think I will not listed to NPR today. I think I need a break. By the way, I am not mixed-raced.

Sent by Deborah Burch | 7:07 AM | 8-21-2008

I grew up in a two parent family for 33 yrs until my father's death. I adopted what people call a mixed boy who was my Godson because his "white" mother could not take care of him. I want my son the have chracter forget the good looks. Good looks want pay his bills but his brain will allow him to achieve and be what God has called him to be. It must have really been a slow day when this topic came up. Although it has made people stop read and think.

Sent by janae h | 9:31 AM | 8-21-2008

Ha! Could some of this be real? Maybe we don't want to admit it. Perhaps it's among the stereotypes which we decry but all know plenty of anedoctal illustrations which back them up. OK just kidding, but how about this: bi-racial children are too often imbued with the patent quirks/hang-ups, latent insecurities/neuroses, obsessions, needs to prove things (or disprove) of their parents and the societies from which their parents hail. Oh, and Halle Berry is attractive precisely because the dominant culture says so...which is why even Queen Latifah highlights her now bone-straight hair with that sun-kissed hint of blonde Beyonce's been paid to convey.

Sent by Chris Chambers | 11:15 AM | 8-21-2008

I have two mixed race kids. One is an accomplished musician and artist in Hollywood, California. The other is an Environmental Engineer in LA. The only challenge that was in the relationship was his father's black family who were prejudice even against themselves and especially me and my too dark best friend, a lady, their Godmother. My kids are gorgeous and excepted by my Italian/Irish family.

Sent by Vicki | 11:27 AM | 8-21-2008

Not sure about the rest of the folks but I have seen my fair share of unattractive mixed kids just like full-blooded folks, LOL. I think to say they look better is just a slap in the face to those are are not, in particular blk people. Whites are always trying to make soemthing better than the other rather than accept people as they are on an individual basis. Lighter is better and that is what they try to do here. I am the mother of a bi-racial child but you'll never hear me tell him he is better cause he is mixed - what ever!

Sent by The Better Mother | 11:43 AM | 8-21-2008

Oh, if only this stuff wasn't real.

I wrote an op-ed about Levitt's comments for Huffington Post:

Sent by Twanna A. Hines ( | 12:33 PM | 8-21-2008

Thank you for your post, Dani. It said it all, as far as I'm concerned.

Sent by Patsey | 1:49 PM | 8-21-2008

As a mixed raced person I think that the subject is always a powder keg because of the history of the concept of "race" in the USA.
Neither of my parents is black. One is Southern French/Spanish and the other is Arab/French (Moroccan).
However, growing up in NYC I was constantly mistaken for Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban and even black.
Only blacks took offense whenever I informed them that I am not black and neither of my parents is black. That always struck me as strange because whites never took offense when I would inform them that I do not identify as caucasian but as mixed-race.
While in college and in Graduate school, many in Midwest made the lazy assumption that I was black or Hispanic only because they were either indifferent to my cultural background or assume that all people not "white" (as they understand that term) or Asian can be assumed to be black or Hispanic.
Finally, I think the problem is really how we define black and white internationally. Not all people fall into either category. Are you white if at least one parent (or descendant) is from the European continent? Are you black if at least one parent (descendant) or ancestor is from the African continent? What about Egyptians, Libyans and Moroccans? None of these groups identify as black but could rightly call themselves African-American. Many have dark olive skin and coarse hair. However, that side of my family identifies as Arab.
I fear that race in the USA has been used as a political and economic tool for so long that a true understanding of the complexity of humans has been lost because of the desire by many for all to pick a side.

Sent by Jerry | 2:17 PM | 8-21-2008

This is inane. If people (especially African Americans) find mixed children (that being anything but Black and Black) more attractive, it is the most base manifistation of slave minded self hate, simple as that.

As far as worse behaved, that may be more due to the fact of the culturally differences in discipline and perspectives of that discipline within each group.

Utterly Inane.

Sent by DJ Black Adam | 2:46 PM | 8-21-2008

the mixed-race kids are much more attractive on average have you seen Rain Pryor? Yeah she's much more attractive than Naomi campbell. Yeah the person who wrote this stupid article must me biracial to say something ignorant like this. It doesn't matter what race you are, it's the way you raise your children that make them act civilized.

Sent by Lady J | 6:31 PM | 8-21-2008


I think your post is best one here. And you are right. Human beings do not fit into the simplistic view of race that most Americans hold. I hope more people read your post and think on some of the things you mentioned.

Sent by T. Rogers | 6:34 PM | 8-21-2008

You've got to be kidding me!? Let's move on, okay!

Sent by over40andfabulous | 7:36 PM | 8-21-2008

I don't know if I should consider this ridiculous or ignorant. As a parent of two mixed-race boys, I don't think they are any more better-looking than a Black, White, Hispanic, Asian. Any kid can be badly behaved if they have parents who don't know how to discipline their children.

Sent by Momof2boys | 10:29 PM | 8-21-2008

Wow that was just ridiculous I can't believe anyone would actually take the time out to write that out, just wow.

Sent by Lejuan | 12:21 AM | 8-22-2008

Why r u guys race hating. Most mixed people r attractive to the natural eye, only because we as a black race has been so put down through the years that when some people see us, including our own race, they sometimes see ugly. So when we see a mixed race we automatically thinks its beautiful and it is also exceptable to the white race, look at Barrack, his mother is white so he is excepted by the white race, and I am glad about that, whatever gets him in office. We have to look from within and then, so call judge how a person looks. Halle Berry might look good on the outside, but what if we talkd with her and saw that she was a nasty person, all the good looks go out the window. You wouldn't even see how pretty she is anymore.

Sent by Clarissa R. | 9:31 AM | 8-22-2008

AP hating?

They maybe 'some of the best and brightest economists in the country' and the 'empirics behind it' might be right on. But NONE of the comments I've read question their methodology so I don't understand those sentiments.

Never mind the fact that it's questionable. But let's indulge: how would my world be enlightened? I mean what is one to do with this information? Where does one go with it?

aah..hang we go on that slippery slope...the behavior become a 'syndrome' which props up a whole host of 'experts' & 'specialist'...a whole new area of psychiatry, medication, then the effects of medication, advocacy groups, lawsuits, considered in hiring practices, employment, housing, etc., more lawsuits.....

Sent by Jon J | 2:34 PM | 8-22-2008

ooweee pass me a test tube i got some gene splicing to do...

@ hao ma? hung hao? [trans. how are you? doing good?] i think you laoshi was thinking in terms of the cultural aspect in rural areas where a one could easily wind up marrying a distant counsin where there are large families of siblings. It still happens in some Arab, African and Asian cultures].

@Jerry - if you have Moroccan roots with Berber African hair then howdy cousin. Even King Mohammed nor his father Hassan can escape their Berber African roots. I am a duel African mix but when walking around in Casablanc a few years back, I blended in so well that folks thought I was a relationship or native of Maroc. Also, remember the Moors? You know the Africans who crafted that great architecture in southern Espana. You know Cordoba and Granada. Berber African [or black] blood is all over the southern Mediterrean from Portugal all the way into Turkey and even stretchs into Iran. So, there are lots of black Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, Greeks, Iranians and Macedonians who are classified as white. Just as for some dump reason north africans are classified as white but they are not.

Who cares if some stoopid white person writes a worthless tome about something they cannot comprehend in their race hate divide and conquer ideology.

mixed offspring are no better nor worst than non mixed offspring except in societies were race is a demarcation line in a whole host of arenas.

Here is one for you to ponder. In the history of slavery in the us, a white slave owner could abuse and rape any black women slave or girl under his domain. Sire any number of mixed progeny offspring but these children who were raised by the African/black slave were still considered inferior to the children sired by the owners white wife. Hence, they were still slaves.

A minor case comparsion maybe in order, let's do Robert [Bob] Marley vs. Barrack Obama. Research Bob Marley's roots and you will see he has an English white father and a Jamacian mother. And note the father was aged 50 plus when his mother was early 20s, so let your mind do the math of how and in what context a eighteen to twenty something island Jamacian black young woman would be meeting a white man old enough to be her father at these times. Marley and his mother had a difficult time coming up in Jamacia. B. Obama on the other hand is the amalgation of a Kenyan black father and white woman from the us. He has been raised in socities that are essentially mixed racially and tolerant as opposed to a society racially divided and non tolerant [Yes, I am aware of the pogroms in Indonesia against the Chinese on occasions]. There appears to have been a conscious effort to remove Barrack from the influences of the us racial paradigm during his growth years. It is this and the fact that Barrack has a white mother that makes whites so attractive to them. In other words, by being reared by a white mother all white presume and assume that his values are more in line with their own values due to his white maternal upbringing. Blacks flock to him under the presumption that his African paternal roots makes him understanding of their roots and struggles. Both sides are dubbed and wrong since being mixed is always a fence straddle in a racially charged divided social order. This is why B. Obama can never be an African American candidate [given the current paradigm for what constitutes being an African American] and Bob Marley despite his English father would never be considered an Englishman. Nesta's father never packed him off to English boarding school but become an elite English gent. Barrack father never packed him off [to the best of my knowledge] to work the shamba in rural Kenya.

The essential point here is that mixed progency whose mother is considered white/Eurocentric are perceived as more worthy and more accepting than otherwise if it is know. And than there are exceptions to that one since Bob Marley has an African mother and Dame Shirley Bassey a white one. Lenny Kravitz has a European Jewish father and African mother. Slash of Velvet Revolver a white father and black mother; Mr. T. Woods a black father and mixed Asian/API mother. Some of these kids are/were bad and some were good and society's pressure and demarcation lines may have contributed to the individuals outcome.

"i am no better and neither are you, we are all the same whatever we do..." sly stone and the family stone's "Everyday people".

i dont think Halle Berry nor Mariah Carey to be very appealing but Grace Jones yummy

Sent by itoldyouiwould | 1:49 AM | 8-23-2008

Better looking; worse behaved??? Hmmm let me see I think I can do my own little poll in my neighborhood. My neighbor to the left is black and he has half puerto rican kids. Oh yeah they are cute and well, I don't call them the demon seed for nothing. Now on the other hand, in my own household we have four kids two half jamaican half puerto rican and two half white half puerto rican. Yes, I have to agree they are all good looking and they are all well behaved. Yeah, bunked that. Did I mention I think this world is going to heck and a hand basket? LOL What a funny article. IT was amusing at least. This is what you get for putting people in a box. Folks we are all different.

Sent by mamimac98 | 3:30 AM | 8-23-2008

Talk about your stereo typing! Is this what the NPR has evolved into? It's not the mixed races, its the bad parents that lead to behavioral problems. And since it's obvious you're not a behavioral psychologist, nor mental health professional you should go back to the fries.

And even to post it on a national forum is ludicrous. Is it because your kids are not mixed and ugly, yet behaved? We need more input as to why you opted to even discuss this.

Sent by ECMAYO | 11:11 AM | 8-23-2008

This whole discussion and the article that prompted it are asinine. We are all made of human DNA.

Sent by John H | 11:00 PM | 8-23-2008

I Told You I Would,

Just a quick note. I identify as a mixed-race person because of my Arab and Southern European lineage. This is different from identifying as "black and white".
Berbers and Moors are two distinct groups. The Moorish were almost exclusively Muslim. The Berbers are not necessarily Muslim. Neither is "white" in the sense that we use that word to describe the Danish. The correct term is "Caucasian".
All Arabs are not Muslim. All Arabs are not black. It is incorrect to equate Berber as "black". This is genealogically incorrect.
Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco should not be viewed as black countries historically because they are not. Nor is it correct to identify its people as "black" as that word is used to describe black Sub-Saharan Africans say from Lesotho.
Many black Americans believe incorrectly that all of the people's of the African continent are "black" as that term is used to describe descendants of slaves here in the USA. This is genealogically incorrect. Nor would it be correct to describe the Andalucians or Sicilians as "black" while many acknowledge Arab ancestry.

Sent by Jerry | 6:43 PM | 8-25-2008

Is there guy on a mountain top the final judge on beauty?Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...Kenya moore is the badest female on the planet.. halle who!..

Sent by lee | 1:46 PM | 8-26-2008

They usually exhibit worse behavior due to the white mother who doesn't want the black father to perform corporal punishment on the children. Just like single mothers who don't want any man disciplining their children. All children need this.

Sent by G | 1:46 PM | 8-29-2008

Check out this crazy story! I know at least four kids that are dang cute, but not poorly behaved!

Sent by Staci | 1:27 PM | 9-4-2008

Stuff like this shows true ignorance. I'm mixed but I'm not any cuter because of it, I'm attractive because both of my parents were. And my parents are still married so I don't know where that thing comes from. This is the most racist thing that I have ever heard. Halle Berry is hot though lol, but not because she is mixed its because she is just beautiful. I think Rihanna and Jessica Biel are the two sexiest women alive. And if you truly look at it no one is truly one race. America is a melting pot of races.

Sent by creole52 | 2:01 AM | 9-15-2008