Interracial Relationships

Topics: Marriage, Interracial marriage, Miscegenation Pages: 6 (1893 words) Published: April 10, 2008
Interracial Relationships
I.Statement of the Problem
Interracial relationships have commonly been frowned upon by society and even illegal at times throughout the history of the world. The question that will be answered in this report is concerned with the broad spectrum of social problems and qualms with interracial relationships, and how members of interracial relationships overcome those problems.

II.Review of Literature

As controversial as interracial relationships and marriages are and have been, they are much understudied. One of the articles that were used even states that they are understudied and can’t give a valid explanation as to why. A recent as 1970, only approximately 1 out of 1000 marriages was interracial. By the early 21st century, there were approximately 1.6 million interracial or interethnic marriages, making up 3% of all marriages (JSPR 66). Even though they have become more present, American society has historically been less accepting of interracial relationships. As early as the 1600’s, legislation has been enacted to ban Black-White relationships and most of this legislation existed up until 1967. The last state to repeal these types of laws was Alabama, back in November of 2000 (JSPR 66). Even today, many researchers regard interracial relationships as “dysfunctional” and not relevant enough to study, even though there is little evidence to support such assumptions. There are several different theories as to why couples get together including similarity, proximity, reciprocal attraction, mutual reinforcement, and misattribution of arousal. These are inherently seen in normal couples as well as those in interracial relationships. The most common difference between the two though is the introduction of the caste theory, a derivative of exchange theory. The theory suggests that someone of a certain ethnicity trades aspects of their ethnicity, based on their own social status, for a different resource, such as beauty or higher education. “African Americans are believed to be at the bottom of this U.S. hierarchal caste system and marry Whites to escape a poor financial and social situation…” (JSPR 67). As there is some evidence to back the last claim, there is more evidence to support the fact that interracial couples place more importance on nonracial factors, such as similarity and common interests, as reasons for becoming involved with one another. The major problems encountered by people in interracial relationships are those of stares from others, stereotypes, family opposition, and mistreatment by restaurant staff, real estate agents, retail clerks, hotel managers, and coworkers. Partners in interracial relationships also report receiving obscene phone calls, hate-mail, and vandalized property… (JSPR 68) Another major problem they experience as a couple is the fact that they are pressured by their family and friends not to get married, and if and when they do get married, they find the number of their social networks shrink. It has been determined that interracial couples commonly get divorced moreover than intraracial couples; whether this has to do with the ethnic barriers (language barriers, differences in sexual scripts, and/or conflicting childrearing perspectives, etc.) has yet to be determined. Researchers have been unable to explain why the differences in divorce rates between interracial and intraracial couples exist. A lack of similarity or compatibility, along with a lack of communal support from family and friends, has been determined to cause many problems in interracial relationships. In fact, researchers feel that looking through exchange theory, the decreased benefits and increased costs of interracial relationships should result in less satisfaction for both members of the relationship (JSPR 68)

III.Research Methods

For my research on this topic my main approach to the position of finding information on my topic was I interviewed a few different...
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