But being multiracial might also act as a marker of progressiveness, particularly for Asian-American women.As Asian-American generations ground themselves in American culture and seek mates who can transcend their cultural tradition while also being able to understand their American upbringing, Asian-American women might prefer multiracial men for two reasons: First, they offer a dual upbringing that blatantly signals to Asian-American women the ability for the potential date to transcend both cultures; and second, they offer a “middle ground” of sorts for Asian parents—not quite white, and therefore more acceptable for older generations seeking to keep Asian culture intact in their offspring’s mating choice, but not quite Asian either, or having the “exotic” factor to come into play.

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But beneath the superficial results that being of mixed race is advantageous remains a more complicated, race-tinged story, write the authors, who note that the study’s results do not suggest a totally even playing field.

“White men and women are still less likely to respond to an individual who identifies as part black and part white than they are to a fellow white,” the authors write.

And when they do respond, skin color still plays a role.

“In some cases they [the preferences for the three multiracial groups] seem to be closely linked to a continuing partiality for lightness or whiteness,” the study notes. Virginia Rutter, professor of sociology at Framingham State University, and Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College, reviewed the results.

Researchers analyzed data collected between 20 from a major online dating website and combed through 6.7 million messages exchanged between heterosexual men and women.