2009-10-20

The strengths of mixed-race relationships-It's Not All Doom and Gloom

As someone who is interracially married, I often get the questions of how do I cope. I am overtly aware of racism, and yes I acknowledge there are inequities based upon race in the society in which we live. I found this article discussing the viability of interracial relationships. It shows that despite how bad things can be, for the most part, they aren't all as bad as it is assumed to be.

Despite the inherent difficulties of mixing two cultures into one romantic union, some mixed-race couples actually have stronger relationships as a result of the unique experiences they endure, psychologists say.

Because they have to discuss and endure such painful realities as racism and conflict with extended family members and others, they may have an easier time negotiating the day-to-day struggles of any marriage.


Maybe the article has a point, if you are concerned with dealing with racists on a day to day basis an argument over who will do the dishes, isn't all that hard to deal with. Personally me and my husband don't talk race on a day to day basis, but it does come up at times.

Another thing to consider is the type of IR relationship, different types, elicit different responses and stereotypes:

Society, however, has a history of frowning upon cross-cultural marriage. Stereotypes regarding why people marry someone from a different race further complicate matters.

For example, black women who date white men can evoke powerful emotions based on historical perceptions.

'In slavery times, white men had black concubines who had no choice about participating in the relationship,' said Hall, a researcher who has studied interracial relationships for more than 15 years.

'People may assume he's with her for her sexual prowess or that he thinks owns her.'

When people see a black man with a white woman, they often believe he married her to move up the social strata, she said.

In Asian-American female-white male couples, people assume the husband is the dominant partner and the wife is compliant and docile, Kitano said.


There is also the belief that family reactions due to the race of one's partner can cause friction or issues within a relationship. My husband and I did not have this issue with his family, my family wasn't exactly crazy about my relationship, but they still gave him a chance, and actually like him. For others though, this isn't always the case.

A quote from the article I found interesting about the children of interracial marriages:

Families also argue that interracial couples are selfish for getting married because their children will have identity problems. Research indicates that interracial children are no less well-adjusted than other children of color, even though they face regular adolescent crises as well as racism.

But according to the results of a 1990 study conducted by Ana Mari Cause, PhD, and associates in Seattle, biracial children do just as well socially as ethnic-minority children.

In 1978 in Los Angeles, Hall interviewed 30 adults over age 18 to determine their adjustment to being biracial. Results revealed that most had high self-esteem and good adjustment in the majority of the participants.


All in all it seems the excuses as to why people should not get married or have children have been disproved and really have no real standing if we look at most studies done that give a more in depth look than personal perception.
If we are concerned about racism of biracial children, shouldn't we be concerned about all children of color? Asians, blacks, and hispanics constantly experience racism from childhood well into adulthood. Biracial children deal with racism from both sides, but so does a black kid who grew up in a predominantly white area and that does perceived "white things". I'm sure the same thing happens with asian or hispanic children in similar circumstances. We all know what the terms oreos, coconuts, and bananas mean when it comes to people of color.