In recent years, social scientists have used online dating sites to study the role of race in the dating and marriage market. This research has revealed a racialized and gendered hierarchy that disproportionately excludes African-Americans and Asian-American men. For decades, other researchers have studied the risks and outcomes for children who are raised in single-parent homes as compared to children raised by married parents.

Drawing on these studies, this Essay explores how racial preferences in the dating and marriage market potentially disadvantage the children of middle-class African-American women who lack or reject opportunities to intermarry relative to children of married parents. Specifically, it examines the relationship between racial preferences in the dating and marriage market and children’s access to economic resources and educational opportunities. It sketches the law’s role in shaping individuals’ romantic preferences, and argues that the state has an interest in providing children affected by racial preferences with similar access to opportunities as children not so affected. It proposes that the state support all families regardless of family form—married, divorced, blended, cohabitating, or single parent—and that it abolish policies and initiatives that signal state preference for marital families.