An American academic believes that people born of a mixed race relationship are stronger, healthier, smarter, more attractive and better in bed. Alon Ziv's book Breeding Between The Lines claims to support this claim with evidence from history, academic journals, and pop culture.
In the UK, the term "mixed race" replaced "other" on the 2001 census; currently around 10% of the UK population is thought to be mixed race, and their numbers surged by 75% in the 1990s. There are more mixed race couples in Britain than anywhere else in the world.
So, is Tyson Beckford genetically superior to Travis Fimmel? Is Beyonce a better woman than Oprah? The theory has been dismissed by one of the world's top geneticists, who says that although such mixed race breeding is good socially, there's no evidence to suggest any genetic benefit.
The term mixed race is certainly one that's beloved of many gay men, who bandy it about as an ideal. Those who are mixed race wax lyrical about their ethnic credentials, each boy trying to top the next - "I'm one fifth Egyptian, one fifth Swedish, one fifth Spanish, one fifth Nigerian, one fifth Eskimo." There's certainly plenty of people out there who think that their racial mix makes them more exciting and exotic than those whose parents look the same. When website BGCLive.com was known as blkgaychat.com it had a top 20 sexiest profiles, virtually all of whom were light-skinned men, or exotic Tyson Beckfordesque creations - and these men were voted as sexiest by the majority black membership of that site. Subsequently, blkgaychat realised there was more revenue to be had from the gay community as a whole - not just its original target audience of black gay men - and changed its name to BGCLive. There's a whole range of top 20 polls now: Sexy And White, Sexiest Latino - and, of course, Sexiest Mixed. The special ones now have a category all to themselves.
There's an element of hero worship amongst gay men too, black boys and white boys whispering in hushed tones about their mixed race crushes (the light skin boys with green eyes seems to be a big favourite). Look at the profiles on any website, be it myspace or Gaydar, and men who are clearly either black or white claim that they're "mixed" - it's considered a feather in the cap. Black guys who are curious about white guys, but can't bring themselves to play in the snow (because of peer pressure or upbringing) see mixed race men as a socially acceptable route. The same is true of white guys who are curious about sex with black men. In these circumstances, being with a black guy or a white guy is a step too far - but a mixed race boy is the perfect compromise.
Porn outfit Falcon, famous for its all-American, all-white hunkfests, has in Matthew Rush the ideal mixed race model for its fans - most of whom wouldn't even consider sex with anyone other than a Caucasian, or show interest in anyone 'ethnic'. One of Flava's most popular models is the light skinned Castro.
So amongst gay men at least there's a general perception that mixed race people are top of the range - but are they really stronger, healthier, smarter, or better in bed? And in this day and age, who can really claim to be 100% pedigree?