JS-44.12: A Global Look at Mixed Marriage

Posted in Africa, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Oceania, Social Science, South Africa on 2014-06-08 22:21Z by Steven

JS-44.12: A Global Look at Mixed Marriage

XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology: Facing an Unequal Word: Challenges for Global Sociology
International Sociological Association
Yokohama, Japan
2014-07-13 through 2014-07-19

Wednesday, 2014-07-16, 18:00 JST (Local Time)
Room: 315

Erica Chito Childs, Sociology
Hunter College, City University of New York

Mapping attitudes toward intermarriage—who is and who is not an acceptable mate—offers an incisive means through which imaginings of belonging—race, ethnicity, nationhood, citizenship and culture—can be critically evaluated.  In particular, social constructions of race and difference involve discussions of purity, race identity and taboos against interracial sex and marriage. Drawing from qualitative interviews and ethnographic research in six countries on attitudes toward intermarriage, this paper explores these issues of intermarriage in a global context.  Through a comparison of qualitative data I collected in Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Portugal, South Africa and the United States, I offer a theoretical framework and provide an empirical basis, to understand the concept of intermarriage and what it tells us about racial boundaries in a global context. For example, in the United States, the issue of intermarriage is discussed as interracial with less attention paid to inter-religious or inter-ethnic, to the point that those concepts are rarely used.  Similarly in South Africa, despite the end of apartheid decades ago, marriage across racial categories is still highly problematized and uncommon.  Yet globally there is less consensus of what constitutes intermarriage—sometimes intercultural, interethnic, or any number of words with localized meanings.  In South America and Australia, the debate seems to revolve more around indigenous status, citizenship and national identity such as who is Australian or who is Ecuadoran?  As indigenous populations rally for rights and representation how does this change the discourse on what intermarriage mean?  Looking globally, what differences matter? What boundaries are most salient in determining the attitudes of different groups toward intermarriage?  How are various communities responding to intermarriage, particularly if there are a growing number of “mixed” families? This research on attitudes toward intermarriage adds to our understanding of constructions of race, racism and racialized, gendered and sexualized beliefs and practices globally.

For more information, click here.

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Interracial couples now part of mainstream

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-10-23 13:59Z by Steven

Interracial couples now part of mainstream

The Chicago Tribune
2013-10-23

Dawn Turner Trice, Reporter

Mixed-race relationships becoming more common in Chicago — and everywhere else

Stephen Blessman and Patricia Jones Blessman met in the mid-1990s and fell in love. It didn’t matter to either of them that he’s white and she’s African-American.

They have a lot in common. They are both Roman Catholic and deeply involved in the church. They came of age in the 1960s and are socially conscious.

“But we didn’t get married to prove a point,” said Blessman, 57, who lives with his wife of 14 years and their 5-year-old son in Chicago’s South Loop. “I fell in love with her because she’s funny, beautiful, smart and principled and we’re of the same generation and have the same values.”

As an interracial couple in America, the Blessmans are a relatively rare pairing — but such couples are not nearly as rare as they used to be. A study by the Pew Research Center found that in 2010 about 15 percent of all new marriages in the U.S. were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity — more than double the 6.7 percent in 1980.

The surge has brought the percentage of all current U.S. marriages that are interracial to 8.4 percent. In Chicago, about 7.4 percent of marriages in 2011 involved mixed-race couples, according to data compiled by the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University…

…Even in politics, where for many years it was considered a drawback to be in an interracial relationship, there’s been a shift. In New York City, Bill de Blasio, a white man married to a black woman, is the front-runner in the mayoral race. In Illinois, two prominent white political figures, Gov. Pat Quinn and former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, are dating black women. And of course, President Barack Obama is the product of an interracial marriage.

Even so, experts say modern mixed-race relationships, like the country’s racial past, can be complicated.

“When I research in white communities across the class division and the country, people say they’re fine with interracial relationships,” said Erica Chito Childs, an associate professor of sociology at Hunter College/CUNY Graduate Center.

“But they also say, ‘Why do it? Marriage is difficult enough. Why make it more difficult?’ You hear about young people growing up in a more multiracial world and being so much more accepting, but the majority says dating is fine, marriage is not.

She said that many young people still live in racially homogenous neighborhoods and their first pool of partners tends to reflect that. In addition, first marriages are often more closely tied to the expectations of family and community members…

…The Pew Research Center study released last year, using 2010 data, is the most recent major look at interracial relationships. It found that among new marriages in 2010, Asians were the group most likely to intermarry, at 27.7 percent. Hispanics were next at 25.7 percent, then blacks at 17.1 percent and whites at 9.4 percent. For the Pew study, marriages between two people who are mixed-race weren’t considered interracial.

In Chicago, the most common interracial marriages in 2011 were between Asians and whites. Those types of pairings were about four times more likely than black-white marriages, according to data compiled by the Center for Governmental Studies, using the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.

Laura Kina, 40, is Japanese-American and white. For the past 16 years she has been married to Mitch Aronson, 54, who’s white and Jewish. She grew up as an evangelical Christian in a small Seattle suburb of Norwegian immigrants, and converted to Judaism after marrying. She said she’s always identified as a person of color…

…Online dating has made it easier for people who want to date interracially but don’t work together or hang out in racially diverse circles.

“It provides a safe space for people who are afraid of rejection and don’t feel comfortable walking up to someone of a different race and asking them out,” said Hunter College’s Childs, the author of “Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture.”…

Read the entire article here.

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According to Our Hearts: Lessons Lost and Learned from the Cheerios Commercial Controversy

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United States on 2013-06-06 20:06Z by Steven

According to Our Hearts: Lessons Lost and Learned from the Cheerios Commercial Controversy

MixedRaceStudies.org
2013-06-06

Steven F. Riley

Keeping our cholesterol and our expectations low

By now, most readers of MixedRaceStudies.org and other race-related blogs and social media sites are well aware of the “Just Checking” commercial for the cereal brand Cheerios, a May 28 post on YouTube featuring an interracial family.

I would guess that the same readers are aware that General Mills, Inc., the maker of Cheerios, removed the comments section for the video after fielding a number of remarks that Camille Gibson, VP of  Marketing, stated were “not family friendly.”

Most other media outlets however, have not been so benign. The Deseret News reported “Biracial Cheerios commercial sparks racist comments;” The Huffington Post reported, “Cheerios Commercial Featuring Mixed Race Family Gets Racist Backlash;” MSNBC reported, “Interracial family in Cheerios ad sparks internet backlash,” to name just a few. Specialty news outlets chimed in also with AdWeeks’s headline, “It’s 2013, and People Are Still Getting Worked Up About Interracial Couples in Ads” and Business Insiders’This Is The Mixed-Race Cheerios Ad All The Idiots Are Complaining About.”

Despite the extensive coverage about the General Mills’ actions in response to the comments, there has been little if anything said about the actual comments posted on their YouTube site. Such is the sorry state of journalism today that comments about the news—rather than the actual events themselves—become the news.

I speculate with confidence that the Cheerios commercial received negative and racist comments (and positive and anti-racist comments too). A cursory scan through the videos on YouTube reveals that even apparently non-controversial videos can elicit the most hateful comments imaginable. Because General Mills is in the business of selling food products—and not in debating racial dynamics of family formation—it is understandable that they would remove the comments from the site.

Yet, General Mills’ action to remove the comments and the inaction of the media to investigate and shed light on those comments denies us the opportunity to confront and refute the ignorance and bigotry continuing to fester within our still pre-post-racial society.  Also, the overreaction to the yet unexposed remarks has the unintended consequence of empowering the individuals who posted them. Informed rebuttals to these comments could 1) enlighten the ignorant and racist commenters, 2) encourage others from embracing racist ignorance, and 3) provide solace and support to those waging combat against racist ignorance.  This concealment of ignorance merely encourages more ignorance as exemplified by (self-described unemployed) Meagan Hatcher-Mays’ essay in Jezebel titled, “I’m Biracial, and That Cheerios Ad Is a Big F–ing Deal. Trust Me,” where she, without quoting a single comment on the YouTube page, states, “What’s up with you racist dicks, anyway? Don’t you have jobs?” One commenter on a Facebook group posting even suggested that we could guess who reacted negatively to the ad.

Confronting the racism in the comments might just also provide us with an answer to that rhetorical question. Such an exercise would likely provide us an uncomfortable reminder that resistance and hostility to interracial relationships need not necessarily come from trolls from under the cloak of internet anonymity, but also from a family member we have known all of our lives.

I have not seen any of the racist comments in reference to the Cheerios ad, so I cannot comment on them. Yet I will remind readers that family formation across racialized borders have been occurring centuries before YouTube (2005), the birth of Barack Obama (1961—in Hawaii of course), court decisions to remove existing anti-miscegenation laws (1967), and acts of congress to reform immigration laws (1965). In fact, such family formations are as old as the Americas.  Relations between European men and indigenous women were essential to the establishment of European settlements in the pre-Columbian period. And as Audrey Smedley states in her 2007 presentation, “The History of the Idea of Race… And Why it Matters,”

No stigma was associated with [in the 1600s] what we today call intermarriages. Black men servants often married white women servants. Records from one county reveal that one fourth of the children born to European servant girls were mulatto (Breen and Ennis 1980). Historian Anthony Parent (2003) notes that five out of ten black men on the Eastern Shore were married to white women. One servant girl declared to her master that she would rather marry a Negro slave on a neighboring plantation than him with all of his property, and she did (P. Morgan 1998). Given the demographics, servant girls had their choice of men. One white widow of a black farmer had no problem with remarrying, this time to a white man. She later sued this second husband, accusing him of squandering the property she had accumulated with her first husband (E. Morgan 1975, 334). In another case, a black woman servant sued successfully for her freedom and then married the white lawyer who represented her in court (P. Morgan, 1998).

Though we are unable to learn much from the negative comments about the Cheerios commercial, I suggest we can learn much from the commercial itself.

As a person in an interracial marriage (25 years), I’m glad see yet another commercial featuring an interracial family. And the “Just Checking” commercial—in and by itself—is a amusing, pleasing, and does an excellent job of extoling the supposed health benefits of Cheerios. However, what troubles me is twofold. Firstly, the depiction of these families is far too rare. It is as if advertisers believe that these families do not exist, or worse, they believe they should not exist. This rendered invisibility contributes to the fear and animus that can occur when the rare depiction occurs.

Because interracial depictions are so rare, those of us who are supportive of such relationships far too frequently give our uncritical enthusiasm their visualizations. Yet, the depictions of these relationships are as important as their occurrence.  Images of interracial couples and families that are absent of the full range of intimacy of other relationships have the potential to foster harmful and demeaning attitudes to those couples and their families.

In Erica Chito Childs’s excellent monograph, Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture, she describes how such depictions can be used to simultaneously both demean and deviantize interracial relationships and normalize monoracial (particularly white) relationships when she states,

Throughout the various media realms—television, film, news media, and the less clearly defined intersecting worlds of music, sports, and youth culture—representations of interracial sex and relationships follow certain patterns, and what emerges is a delicate dance between interracial sex sells and interracial sex alienates.  The small number of representations as well as the particular types of depictions of interracial relationships, when they are shown, reveals the lingering opposition to interracial sexuality and marriage as well as the persistent racialized images of racial Others and the protection of whiteness. Interracial representations are symbolic struggles over meaning, not only in how interracial relationships are portrayed but also in how they are received, understood, and responded to in the larger society.  In particular, interracial images are used to perpetuate negative stereotypes yet are simultaneously marketed as an example of how color-blind we have become and of the declining significance of race. Yet one may ask, Why are interracial relationships shown at all if they are still widely opposed by whites and other racial groups? The answer is twofold, as we have seen throughout the book, that showing interracial relationships is a necessary piece of the current rhetoric that asserts race no longer matters and the representations are only shown in ways that either deviantize these relationships, privilege whiteness, or support the contention that America is color-blind.

Thus my second concern is that when interracial couples are depicted, there is a often a distinct lack of intimacy between the couple/family. (Contrast this to the highly visible illicit extra-marital interracial intimacy on a newly popular television show, provocatively named Scandal.) As is often mentioned in media studies, what is not seen is often as important if not more important than what is seen. In many instances, if you blink or are not paying close attention, it is difficult to know that the individuals are a couple in the first place. For example, I have yet to see an interracial couple depicted holding hands, kissing or appearing in a bed mattress commercial (although I have been informed that Ikea had such a commercial.) While the “Just Checking” ad uses the young girl’s words “mom” and “dad” to create the familiar and marital connections between characters, her parents are situated in separate rooms. In the context of a portrayal of families within a commercial ad, this physical separation is hardly an issue. Yet, General Mills continues with the apparent proscription of interracial intimacy within their ad.

With the Pew Research Center reporting that 15% of all new marriages in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, it is no longer acceptable for advertisers to suppress the portrayal of interracial families or obfuscate the intimacy within their infrequent portrayals. I do not believe that is unreasonable to suggest that viewers should see at least one interracial couple or family depicted within commercial ads during the daily television prime-time period. The time is now that we as viewers—and more importantly—as consumers, demand the public depiction of images of interracial couples exchanging wedding vows, in hospital delivery rooms expecting the birth of their child, buying homes, laying in bed, and sharing meals (including breakfast) at the same table.

A few years back, Giant Foods (a supermarket chain in the Washington, D.C. area) aired a television ad featuring a (real-life) mixed-race family with similar issues that I described. Since the theme of the commercial was family meals, this necessitated having the entire family at the table. Despite this fact, tightly cropped camera angles where used to frame each family member separately, only revealing their relationship to each other via the passing of a salad bowl.

Despite my mixed feelings, I did contact Giant Foods to compliment them for portraying the family, if not only to encourage them to do more commercials featuring interracial families, but to counter any negative responses they may have received.  In the case of General Mills and the Cheerios ad, I would suggest supporters do the same, but I would also they suggest that advertisers add more intimate family interactions.

And to General Mills, I would suggest that the next cereal commercial produced could depict the same family sitting together at the breakfast table eating a bowl of Cheerios. It will be good for their hearts, and ours too.

©2013, Steven F. Riley

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Shades Of Grey: Interracial Couples On TV

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-04-02 03:01Z by Steven

Shades Of Grey: Interracial Couples On TV

FlowTV
Volume 15, Issue 4 (2011-12-05)

Erica Chito-Childs, Associate Professor of Sociology
Hunter College, City University of New York

Showing interracial couples on television is not necessarily something new. In 1968, Star Trek aired what is widely regarded as the first black-white interracial kiss on television between William Shatner’s character, Captain Kirk, a white man and a black woman, Lt. Uhura, when the two were forced to kiss against their will by a galactic enemy.

Now, over thirty years later, media reports play up the idea that the numbers of interracial couples, both on-screen and off, are skyrocketing, and push the idea that these unions are so common that interracial relationships barely raise an eyebrow. Yet according to 2010 Census data, only eight percent of all marriages are interracial. While real-life interracial marriage remains low, interracial couples may be cropping up more frequently on television. Do the growing numbers of interracial couples on television signify increased racial acceptance and color-blindness or do these depictions overwhelmingly reproduce long-standing societal notions about the deviant nature of interracial sex and the location of these relationships in the margins of society?
 
Looking at the contemporary representations on television, interracial relationships are most often found as temporary relationships (lasting just a few episodes), in side-storylines or otherwise marginalized. These relationships are almost exclusively depicted as comical misadventures, introduced as part of a criminal case, used as symbolic of the different worlds that are being portrayed, or play on perceptions of difference, highlighting that racially matched characters are the norm.
 
Even among newer shows that are heralded for their diverse casts or cutting-edge approach, interracial representations are arguably problematic. There may be a trend to present interracial couples without mentioning race but that does not mean that these representations do not carry familiar racial messages. Still a number of television show producers maintain that they have adopted a colorblind strategy, which they argue transcends race. For example, on New Adventures of Old Christine, Christine is a divorced white woman who becomes interested in a black teacher at her daughter’s private school

…The question remains, if interracial coupes are portrayed in these problematic ways, then why do television shows feature interracial relationships at all? I argue that by showing interracial relationships yet parodying or fetishizing them at the same time, the shows can maximize their audience without alienating others. Difference sells, yet the presentation must be constantly adjusted to fit the contemporary discourses on race. Using interracial sex to push boundaries is widely recognized. Dana Wade, the president of advertising agency, Spike DDB, discussed this idea with television ads, arguing “certain brands might use interracial couples to convey a hip image” adding that “the whole personae of the brand is kind of risky, or on the edge.” Ironically these “hip” and “cutting-edge” depictions are actually just barely repackaged stereotypes…

Read the entire article here.

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In particular, interracial images are used to perpetuate negative stereotypes yet are simultaneously marketed as an example of how color-blind we have become and of the declining significance of race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-03-19 04:13Z by Steven

Throughout the various media realms—television, film, news media, and the less clearly defined intersecting worlds of music, sports, and youth culture—representations of interracial sex and relationships follow certain patterns, and what emerges is a delicate dance between interracial sex sells and interracial sex alienates.  The small number of representations as well as the particular types of depictions of interracial relationships, when they are shown, reveals the lingering opposition to interracial sexuality and marriage as well as the persistent racialized images of racial Others and the protection of whiteness. Interracial representations are symbolic struggles over meaning, not only in how interracial relationships are portrayed but also in how they are received, understood, and responded to in the larger society.  In particular, interracial images are used to perpetuate negative stereotypes yet are simultaneously marketed as an example of how color-blind we have become and of the declining significance of race. Yet one may ask, Why are interracial relationships shown at all if they are still widely opposed by whites and other racial groups? The answer is twofold, as we have seen throughout the book, that showing interracial relationships is a necessary piece of the current rhetoric that asserts race no longer matters and the representations are only shown in ways that either deviantize these relationships, privilege whiteness, or support the contention that America is color-blind.

Erica Chito Childs, Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009): 177-178.

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Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-18 21:10Z by Steven

Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture

Rowman & Littlefield
May 2009
250 pages
Cloth: 0-7425-6079-1 / 978-0-7425-6079-6
Paper: 0-7425-6080-5 / 978-0-7425-6080-2

Erica Chito Childs, Associate Professor of Sociology
Hunter College, City University of New York

There is no teasing apart what interracial couples think of themselves from what society shows them about themselves. Following on her earlier ground-breaking study of the social worlds of interracial couples, Erica Chito Childs considers the larger context of social messages, conveyed by the media, that inform how we think about love across the color line. Examining a range of media—from movies to music to the web—Fade to Black and White offers an informative and provocative account of how the perception of interracial sexuality as “deviant” has been transformed in the course of the 20th century and how race relations are understood today.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Fade to Black and White
  • 1. Historical Realities and Media Representations of Race and Sexuality
  • 2. The Prime-Time Color-Line: Interracial Couples and Television
  • 3. It’s a (White) Man’s World
  • 4. When Good Girls Go Bad
  • 5. Playing the Color-Blind Card: Seeing Black and White in News Media
  • 6. Multiracial Utopias: Youth, Sports and Music
  • Conclusion
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ITYC Audio Journal #2: What Are You?-Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-10-14 16:32Z by Steven

ITYC Audio Journal #2: What Are You?-Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations

Is That Your Child? Thought in Full Color
2012-10-07

Michelle McCrary, Host

Last Thursday, I attended an event at the Brooklyn Historical Society for their “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations” series called What Are You? The panel tackled the this perpetual question often aimed at people who are perceived to be ethnically ambiguous.

Presenting their own encounters/experiences with the “what are you?” question were Angela Tucker, creator of the webseries Black Folk Don’t; Heidi Durrow, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Girl Who Fell from the Sky and co-host of Mixed Chicks Chat; Jen Chau, founder of Swirl, Inc.; Erica Chito Childs, author of Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture and Ken Tanabe, founder of Loving Day.

Here, in this second installment of ITYC Audio Journal, I share details about the panel discussion and some of my personal thoughts about race, identity and “what are you?”

Download the audio here (00:40:48).

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2nd Annual: What Are You?

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-10-03 23:26Z by Steven

2nd Annual: What Are You?

Brooklyn Historical Society
Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations
2012-10-04, 19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Let’s talk about race and ethnicity, and where we’re from (or where we’re from from); how we express our own multicultural identities, and how others perceive us. Panelists will start the conversation and we hope you’ll join in. We’ll discuss big questions like: How does our cultural background shape us? Can we see race? Is identity fixed or fluid?  #CBBGwhatru

Featuring:

Co-sponsored by Swirl, a multi-ethnic, anti-racist organization that promotes cross-cultural dialogue

For more information, click here.

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Navigating Interracial Borders: Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2012-04-20 02:28Z by Steven

Navigating Interracial Borders: Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds

Rutgers University Press
July 2005
264 pages
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-3586-9
Cloth ISBN: 0-8135-3585-9
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8135-3757-3

Erica Chito Childs, Associate Professor of Sociology
Hunter College, City University of New York

Is love color-blind, or at least becoming increasingly so? Today’s popular rhetoric and evidence of more interracial couples than ever might suggest that it is. But is it the idea of racially mixed relationships that we are growing to accept or is it the reality? What is the actual experience of individuals in these partnerships as they navigate their way through public spheres and intermingle in small, close-knit communities?

In Navigating Interracial Borders, Erica Chito Childs explores the social worlds of black-white interracial couples and examines the ways that collective attitudes shape private relationships. Drawing on personal accounts, in-depth interviews, focus group responses, and cultural analysis of media sources, she provides compelling evidence that sizable opposition still exists toward black-white unions. Disapproval is merely being expressed in more subtle, color-blind terms.

Childs reveals that frequently the same individuals who attest in surveys that they approve of interracial dating will also list various reasons why they and their families wouldn’t, shouldn’t, and couldn’t marry someone of another race. Even college students, who are heralded as racially tolerant and open-minded, do not view interracial couples as acceptable when those partnerships move beyond the point of casual dating. Popular films, Internet images, and pornography also continue to reinforce the idea that sexual relations between blacks and whites are deviant.

Well-researched, candidly written, and enriched with personal narratives, Navigating Interracial Borders offers important new insights into the still fraught racial hierarchies of contemporary society in the United States.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Interracial Canary
1. Loving across the Border: Through the Lens of Black-White Couples
2. Constructing Racial Boundaries and White Communities
3. Crossing Racial Boundaries and Black Communities
4. Families and the Color Line: Multiracial Problems for Black and White Families
5. Racialized Spaces: College Life in Black and White
6. Black_White.com: Surfing the Interracial Internet
7. Listening to the Interracial Canary
Appendix: Couples Interviewed
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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Families on the color-line: patrolling borders and crossing boundaries

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-11-21 00:46Z by Steven

Families on the color-line: patrolling borders and crossing boundaries

Race and Society
Volume 5, Issue 2, 2002
Pages 139-161
DOI: 10.1016/j.racsoc.2004.01.001

Erica Chito-Childs, Associate Professor of Sociology
Hunter College, City University of New York

Multiracial couples and families are becoming increasingly more common, yet opposition to these relationships still exists even if it is often hidden in color-blind language. In this lingering societal opposition to black-white unions, the strongest opposition often comes from the couples’ families. The social institution of the family plays an integral role in reproducing the dominant ideologies of race that exist in society, and more specifically a racialized discourse that actively discourages interracial unions. Families reproduce racial boundaries, by patrolling who their members can and cannot become involved with. In our society where group membership is all-important and identity is based primarily on one’s racial group, families object to individuals from different “racial” groups redefining themselves apart from their racial identities. Drawing from in-depth interviews with black-white couples, the responses of their white and black families will be explored to illustrate how families express opposition to black-white interracial relationships. In both white and black families, certain discourses are used when discussing black-white relationships that reproduce the image of these unions as different, deviant, even dangerous. Interracial relationships and marriage often bring forth certain racialized attitudes and beliefs about family and identity which otherwise are not expressed.

Article Outline

  • 1. The role of family in societal opposition
  • 2. Theorizing black–white couples and their families
  • 3. Racialized discourses and color-blindness
  • 4. Methods
  • 5. Findings
  • 6. Color-blind or blinded by color?
  • 7. Family responses: from ambivalence to opposition
  • 8. “But what about the children?”
  • 9. Black–white differences in familial opposition
  • 10. Black, white, and shades of grey
  • References

Read or purchase the article here.

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