Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy

Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders

KYLE D. KILLIAN
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 280
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/kill13294
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  • Book Info
    Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy
    Book Description:

    Grounded in the personal narratives of twenty interracial couples with multiracial children, this volume uniquely explores interracial couples' encounters with racism and discrimination, partner difference, family identity, and counseling and therapy. It intimately portrays how race, class, and gender shape relationship dynamics and a partner's sense of belonging. Assessment tools and intervention techniques help professionals and scholars work effectively with multiracial families as they negotiate difference, resist familial and societal disapproval, and strive for increased intimacy. The book concludes with a discussion of interracial couples in cinema and literature, the sensationalization of multiracial relations in mass media, and how to further liberalize partner selection across racial borders.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53647-9
    Subjects: Psychology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction WHAT INTERRACIAL COUPLES CAN TELL US
    (pp. 1-21)

    As people in intimate relationships can quickly confirm, individuals looking at the same picture, or living through the same event, often report completely different experiences. Attending to disparate aspects of situations, we tend to interpret what we are sensing, feeling, and thinking in varied ways. The two couples quoted above report dissimilar experiences, just as individual partners in interracial relationships may have contrasting takes on or constructions of what is “real” or “true” for them. While this can be a source of confusion or frustration, it is also a phenomenon that all couples must learn to effectively handle if their...

  5. One RACIALIZED BODIES AND BORDERS IN THE UNITED STATES
    (pp. 22-55)

    Anecdotal—and statistical—evidence abounds to confirm that some people carry a very negative bias toward those who are different from them in race, ethnicity, or religion, and that some people are still vehemently opposed to interracial relationships. In 2000 Alabama repealed a ban on interracial marriage, the last state to do so. While the repeal of such a ban certainly represents progress, the distressing backstory to this event is that 41 percent of Alabamans voted against lifting the ban. In December 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into a hate mail campaign against prominent black men...

  6. Two CROSSING A BLACK-AND-WHITE BORDER: CHOOSING THE OTHER
    (pp. 56-80)

    Research studies grounded in the words and experiences of interracial couples are rare, and we know very little about them. How do interracial couples experience their relationship together? Do they see themselves as “interracial” at all? What struggles and challenges do they face, and by what processes do they negotiate differences in race, gender, and class?

    It has been argued (Azoulay 1997; Childs 2005; Kennedy 2004) that the discourse of race in the United States is founded on the dichotomy, and polarity, of black and white. Because the preponderance of state laws that prohibited miscegenation specifically focused on the racial...

  7. Three CROSSING COMMUNITY BORDERS: FAMILIES OF ORIGIN, FRIENDS, AND SOCIETY AT LARGE
    (pp. 81-102)

    By selecting a partner across the racial border, interracial couples violate expectations of homogamy, social conformity, and segregation, challenging the racial polarity and bifurcation of society at large. But social networks and the public in general can present their own challenges and resistances to couples, and partners’ experiences may be difficult and painful to relate to one another, much less to a researcher.

    Halfway through our individual interview, Robert paused, cleared his throat, and, in a more subdued voice, proceeded to talk about a vacation he had taken with his wife:

    ROBERT: We camped out the whole trip, and one...

  8. Four A NEXUS OF BORDERS: THE NEXT GENERATION, AND INTERSECTIONS OF RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER
    (pp. 103-132)

    The material in this chapter is located at the nexus of the borders of race, class and gender, and also a fourth dimension—time. Shakespeare referred to the future as “the undiscovered country,” a mysterious place containing all our hopes, dreams, and anxieties about what may come, both for ourselves and for the next generation.

    Perhapsthe single most frequently posed question in response to race mixing is “But what about the children?” It is helpful to place such reactions by individuals in a larger sociohistorical context. In media presentations, such as television talk shows and films, persons express concern that...

  9. Five RAISING (AND ERASING) DIFFERENCE: DOMINANT AND MARGINALIZED DISCOURSES IN INTERRACIAL COUPLES’ NARRATIVES
    (pp. 133-149)

    Despite the proliferation in the United States of couples with partners of differing racial backgrounds, researchers have not examined the narratives that circulate between partners around their experiences of creating, or coauthoring, their relationships in a structural context that favors homogamous, monoracial relationships. In this chapter, I present a different slice of the interview data by presenting major themes from the interviews via a discourse analysis that shows that there are two sides to any story or version of events, even from the same people.

    Discourse analysis (Foucault 1980; Hare-Mustin 1994) emphasizes the importance of recognizing the prevailing ideologies in...

  10. Six SYSTEMIC INTERVENTIONS WITH INTERRACIAL COUPLES
    (pp. 150-176)

    Borrowing from Gregory Bateson, Bradford Keeney tells us that the fundamental act of epistemology is drawing distinctions:

    Distinguishing an “it” from the background that is not “it”: We do this when we demarcate or draw a boundary around an individual as different from a family, or use the difference between you and me in order to engage in a conversation. All that we know, or can know, rests upon the distinctions we draw.

    (1982: 156)

    Cultures vary with regard to how the world of experience is punctuated, and particular punctuations organize or pattern events in particular ways. People often have...

  11. Seven (RE)PRESENTATIONS OF INTERRACIAL COUPLES IN CINEMA, LITERATURE, AND RESEARCH
    (pp. 177-206)

    This book examines the phenomenon of crossing borders by interracial couples from several perspectives. At the theoretical level, it speaks to the sociohistorical and political meanings of crossing various borders (racial,class, and gender) in US society—where we have come from, what advances have been made regarding equality, opportunity, and inclusion, and our need to continue keeping our “eyes on the prize” and working toward a society that will be accepting of difference and mate-selection practices that challenge age-old assumptions, values, normative intimacies, and geographies. At the same time, grounded as it is in the life stories of individuals who...

  12. Appendix A. SUMMARY OF PARTICIPANT INFORMATION
    (pp. 207-212)
  13. Appendix B. ASSESSMENT INVENTORIES
    (pp. 213-220)
  14. Appendix C. DIRECTIONS FOR SCORING THE ASSESSMENT INVENTORIES
    (pp. 221-228)
  15. Appendix D. RESOURCES FOR INTERRACIAL COUPLES AND MULTIRACIAL FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS
    (pp. 229-232)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 233-236)
  17. REFERENCES
    (pp. 237-252)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 253-262)