The landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Loving v. The Commonwealth of Virginia abolished restrictions on interracial marriage in the United States in 1967, but a new academic paper from Rice University and Texas A&M University said that an increase in interracial relationships since then has not ended the discrimination. tendencies, even among individuals who are in these romantic partnerships.
The paper, “Mixing races, perpetuating racism? Considering the connection between racial families, social distance and racial inequality,” is online and appears in an upcoming edition of Journal of Family Theory & Review. Researchers Jenifer Bratter, a professor of sociology at Rice, and Mary Campbell, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, examined existing research on close interracial relationships to see how these friendships and/or romances affect general attitudes about race and inequality.
“There are many assumptions that people who enter intimate interracial relationships, at the very least, don’t hold stereotypes that would prevent them from dating or marrying someone of a different race,” Bratter said. “However, current research simply does not support this hypothesis.”
For example, the researchers noted that one study found that white people with close Black friends still expressed anti-Black racism, sometimes describing their friend as an “exception” among their peers. beliefs about the larger group. And some of these close interracial relationships are maintained by avoiding any discussion of race or racial inequality, survey respondents reported.
Research on racial preferences in online dating shows that some daters use race as a limiting factor in identifying potential partners. For those open to interracial dating, research shows that they may still express preferences that conform to existing racial stereotypes.
And Bratter and Campbell write that interracial marriage is not an indicator of openness among family members—in fact, quite the opposite.
“Some believe that their presence can normalize interracial contact, weaken the racism of family members who encounter couples and increase positive social contact between different racial groups,” said Campbell. “Unfortunately, evidence from the experiences of interracial couples suggests that this is not always the case.”
In addition to facing greater criticism from peers and relatives, Bratter said these individuals in interracial marriages also reported receiving less support from their families compared to couples in same-race marriage—even if grandchildren are involved.
“This is especially true for white mothers of biracial children,” Bratter said. “This suggests that family members, in general, are not as involved in the lives of interracial couples.” And the stresses faced by couples are compounded by those with lower socioeconomic status, he said.
Bratter and Campbell said the research reviewed in their study does not support the hypothesis that interracial relationships reduce racism.
So what can be done to improve relationships between interracial couples and their families? Scholars say more research needs to be done, but designing interventions that help build support within and beyond families is a good place to start.
“We hope that future research will address how to foster more open conversations and conversations among family members,” Bratter said. “This has the potential to expand support and can go a long way toward addressing the underlying vulnerability that many multiracial families face.”
Jenifer L. Bratter et al, Mixing the races, perpetuating racism? Considering the connection between racial families, social distance, and racial inequality, Journal of Family Theory & Review (2023). DOI: 10.1111/jftr.12504
Provided by Rice University
Citation: Interracial relationships don’t always make people less racist (2023, July 18) retrieved 19 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-interracial-relationships-dont-people -racist.html
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