Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Project Advisor 1
Senior Project submitted to The Division of Social Studies of Bard College.
Approval ratings of interracial relationships in the United States are at a historical peak, yet in 2010 only 8.4% of all marriages were racially mixed. It seems as though the common thought is, ‘It’s fine for them, just not for me’. My larger aim in this study is to understand, through academic literature, why this is the case. Are low rates of interracial relationships due to personal preference or something deeper in the social infrastructure of our society?
An additional way of answering this larger question is by interviewing interracial couples. My aim in this empirical research was to investigate the experiences of interracial couples as a means of shedding light on the current race relationships at play in today’s society. What is the experience of interracial couples’ life-cycle in the U.S., and what does this tell us about the racial identities and attitudes present in society today?
Through these interviews I explore the experiences of interracial relationships in regards to mate selection, marriage, and childrearing. This is an investigation into the life course of interracial couples and the interactions they participate in daily. The term ‘life course’ used in this thesis refers to the trajectory of social contexts (i.e. events, interactions, experiences) leading interracial couples through each stage of life. This path follows couples as they meet, date, marry, and ultimately become parents. Schools, neighborhoods, peers and families all shape the experiences and opinions we hold. Learning about how interracial couples have succeeded in their relationships will highlight the institutional influences shaping the representation of interracial families in this country.
As participants of this study share their experiences of inter-race, we shift the conversation to the larger topic of multiracial identity in this country. As immigration and interracial marriage slowly increases, a new American identity of mixed-race individuals is increasing the population. In conclusion I ask: What does the American ideology of family and identity mean as we begin to see race from the perspective of racially mixed individuals and families?
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Vesey, Kristen Grace, "Kissing the Color Line: How Interracial Couples Navigate Race, Family, and Identity in America" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 358.