Black Women in Interracial Relationships: In Search of Love and Solace by Kellina M. Craig-Henderson

Black Women in Interracial Relationships: In Search of Love and Solace

Kellina M. Craig-Henderson
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According to the most recent U.S. census, twice as many black men are involved in interracial relationships as black women. Do black women consciously resist such involvement? What motivates the relatively few women who are in these types of relationships? And how do they navigate the unfamiliar terrain in intimacy? One of the most popular explanations for black women's involvement in interracial intimacy is the unavailability of eligible black men. This explanation focuses on the dismal statistics popularly discussed in reports that forecast lonely futures for African American females. Craig-Henderson explores another, more provocative explanation. She argues that some black women may disassociate from larger social stereotypes by consciously and strategically making choices that distance them from what is considered characteristic of the “typical” African American woman. Scant serious attention has focused upon intimate interracial relationships, perhaps because of a general reluctance to deal with two extremely provocative issues: race and sex. As rates of interracial relationships continue to increase, discussions about interracial intimacy are relevant and timely.
Craig-Henderson considers the continuing taboo of interracial relationships involving African Americans, the way this taboo is changing, and the way that contemporary race relations perpetuate longstanding stereotypes about race and sex. The book includes in-depth, unstructured interviews with a wide range of black women currently involved in interracial intimate relationships. Each individual discusses their relationships with family members, beliefs about the influence of race in America, unique problems associated with interracial intimacy, as well as sexual attraction, racial identity, and children. Of particular interest to specialists in race, gender, family, and sexual issues, this work is also accessible and appealing to general readers.

Publisher Description

According to the most recent U.S. census, twice as many black men are involved in interracial relationships as black women. Do black women consciously resist such involvement? What motivates the relatively few women who are in these types of relationships? And how do they navigate the unfamiliar terrain in intimacy?

One of the most popular explanations for black women's involvement in interracial intimacy is the unavailability of eligible black men. This explanation focuses on the dismal statistics popularly discussed in reports that forecast lonely futures for African American females. Craig-Henderson explores another, more provocative explanation. She argues that some black women may disassociate from larger social stereotypes by consciously and strategically making choices that distance them from what is considered characteristic of the “typical” African American woman.

Scant serious attention has focused upon intimate interracial relationships, perhaps because of a general reluctance to deal with two extremely provocative issues: race and sex. As rates of interracial relationships continue to increase, discussions about interracial intimacy are relevant and timely. Craig-Henderson considers the continuing taboo of interracial relationships involving African Americans, the way this taboo is changing, and the way that contemporary race relations perpetuate longstanding stereotypes about race and sex.

The book includes in-depth, unstructured interviews with a wide range of black women currently involved in interracial intimate relationships. Each individual discusses their relationships with family members, beliefs about the influence of race in America, unique problems associated with interracial intimacy, as well as sexual attraction, racial identity, and children. Of particular interest to specialists in race, gender, family, and sexual issues, this work is also accessible and appealing to general readers.

Review
“In this probing and pathbreaking book Craig-Henderson goes where few scholars have gone before, to a deep examination of daring interracial relationships black women have with white men..... While small in number, they are bold pioneers living the halting racial changes of a still white-dominated society. In poignant stories of cross-racial relationships, we feel their uncertainties, fears, pain, as human beings caught between two racial worlds. . . . .The interviews reveal how racism crashes into daily worlds, but also how intimate relationships across the color line can provide personal respite and resistance.” —Joe R. Feagin, the Ella C. McFadden professor, Texas A & M University

Author Biography

Kellina M. Craig-Henderson is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Howard University in Washington, DC. Her research program includes studies of groups, cross-cultural, gender and race stereotyping, and aggression.

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Black Women in Interracial Relationships: In Search of Love and Solace