Black Men in Interracial Relationships: What's Love Got to Do with It?

Overview

Why is it that successful black men—black men who are "at the top of their game" in the arts, entertainment, politics and athletics—are four times as apt to be married to or dating a woman who is not an African American than they were only thirty years ago? And why are twice as many black men involved in interracial relationships as black women? In addition to their celebrity status, which includes widespread popularity and wealth, black men from Charles Barkley to James Earl Jones to Russell Simmons to Bryant ...

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Overview

Why is it that successful black men—black men who are "at the top of their game" in the arts, entertainment, politics and athletics—are four times as apt to be married to or dating a woman who is not an African American than they were only thirty years ago? And why are twice as many black men involved in interracial relationships as black women? In addition to their celebrity status, which includes widespread popularity and wealth, black men from Charles Barkley to James Earl Jones to Russell Simmons to Bryant Gumbel share something else in common; something that also characterizes the experiences of more than 250,000 less well-known black men in the United States. They happen to be involved in interracial intimate relationships.

Less than fifty years ago such relationships were next to impossible, leading to severe social sanctions. The fact that this is no longer the case is concrete evidence of changes in the quality and character of contemporary race relations. Drawing on her own observations, and her examination of the responses of a small, diverse group of black men who date (in some cases exclusively), have sexual relations with, and marry women who are not of African descent, the book provides insight into the continuing ways that race and ethnic status affect the choices people make in their lives. Until this book, though, these types of relationships have received scant serious attention. Craig-Henderson forthrightly addresses the taboo, interspersing analysis with verbatim accounts from black men involved in such relationships.

Grounded in serious research, interviews, and analysis of census data, Black Men in Interracial Relationships examines why such relationships appear to be so popular among black male elites. In the process, the author unravels the mystery behind the apparent absence of black women in black men's lives. It will be of interest to specialists in race, gender, family, and sexual issues, and appropriate for courses in these areas. It is also highly readable and thought-provoking for the general public, who will find its observations and findings fascinating.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Black Men in Interracial Relationships] is a well-written, incisive account of how contemporary race relations may be read through the intimate interracial relationships of black men. Craig-Henderson deftly blends the sociological with the deeply personal aspects of racialized intimacy. By critically analyzing intimate relationships across racial lines, her work is a complex rendering of how the structural inequalities attendant to racism are sorely felt-but resisted by-black men. Since so much of white racism continues to take aim at the "private" realm of interracial marriage and childbearing, this book helps us learn more about how men (and women) negotiate this modern battlefield."
— Shelley Eriksen
Departments of Sociology and Human Development
California State University, Long Beach
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765803092
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/5/2006
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kellina M. Craig-Henderson is currently a program director at the National Science Foundation and has been a professor of psychology at Howard University. Her research interests include aggression, violence, and cross-cultural gender and racial stereotyping. She is the author of Black Men in Interracial Relationships.

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Table of Contents

1 Why look at black men in interracial relationships? 1
2 What's new and what's not about blacks and interracial intimacy 17
3 The men who were interviewed for this study 33
4 Theories of interracial intimate relationships 49
5 Beauty in the eye of the beholder and according to the media 69
6 The different types of interracial relationships with black men 87
7 Challenges in dealing with other people's reactions 111
8 Perceptions of race relations in today's society 129
9 Explanations for challenges that were linked to mates' race and ethnicity 147
10 The future, children, and more 165
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