Michael J. Rosenfeld offers a new theory of family dynamics to account for the interesting and startling changes in marriage and family composition in the United States in recent years. His argument revolves around the independent life stage that emerged around 1960. This stage is experienced by young adults after they leave their parents’ homes but before they settle down to start their own families. During this time, young men and women go away to college, travel abroad, begin careers, and enjoy social independence. This independent life stage has reduced parental control over the dating practices and mate selection of their children and has resulted in a sharp rise in interracial and same-sex unions—unions that were more easily averted by previous generations of parents.
Complementing analysis of newly available census data from the entire twentieth century with in-depth interviews that explore the histories of families and couples, Rosenfeld proposes a conceptual model to explain many social changes that may seem unrelated but that flow from the same underlying logic. He shows, for example, that the more a relationship is transgressive of conventional morality, the more likely it is for the individuals to live away from their family and area of origin.
Despite being heralded as the answer to racial conflict in the post–civil rights United States, the principal political effect of multiracialism is neither a challenge to the ideology of white supremacy nor a defiance of sexual racism. More accurately, Jared Sexton argues in Amalgamation Schemes, multiculturalism displaces both by evoking long-standing tenets of antiblackness and prescriptions for normative sexuality.
In this timely and penetrating analysis, Sexton pursues a critique of contemporary multiracialism, from the splintered political initiatives of the multiracial movement to the academic field of multiracial studies, to the melodramatic media declarations about “the browning of America.” He contests the rationales of colorblindness and multiracial exceptionalism and the promotion of a repackaged family values platform in order to demonstrate that the true target of multiracialism is the singularity of blackness as a social identity, a political organizing principle, and an object of desire. From this vantage, Sexton interrogates the trivialization of sexual violence under chattel slavery and the convoluted relationship between racial and sexual politics in the new multiracial consciousness.
An original and challenging intervention, Amalgamation Schemes posits that multiracialism stems from the conservative and reactionary forces determined to undo the gains of the modern civil rights movement and dismantle radical black and feminist politics.
Jared Sexton is assistant professor of African American studies and film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine.
Arc and the Sediment: a Novel
Christine Allen-Yazzie Utah State University Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3601.L439A73 2007 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Gretta Bitsilly, a gin-steeped mother of two and self-proclaimed expert at standing just outside the margins of ethnicity and peering in, has been all but eclipsed by the world that eludes her—as a wife, as a writer, as a skeptic in "the other land of Zion," Utah. Gretta has set off to Fort Defiance, Arizona, where she hopes to convince her Navajo husband, who has escaped not from his family but from alcoholism, to come home. Over a sputtering two-steps-forward, one-step-back desert journey, Gretta is diverted by chance, by seizures, an inconstant memory, and the disjointed character of her irresolute quest. She is fueled by a volatile mix of rage and curiosity and is rendered careless by ambivalence toward her marriage—she knows a welcome mat will not be waiting for her, "that white girl" who can't seem to get anything right. On route Gretta fi nds herself lost in the landscape, in strange company, or in her own convolution of language and inner space. With a dictionary and a laptop she attempts to write herself into a better existence—a hopeful existence—and to connect points of intellectual, physical, even spiritual reference.
This tale, though dark and difficult, is infused with tart, twisted humor. Confused, disheveled, self-deprecating, and self-destructive, Gretta is also sharp and funny. Here, first-time novelist Christine Allen-Yazzie breaks apart her own narrative arc but with gritty reality seals it near-shut again, if in rearrangement, drawing us into Gretta's wrestling match with herself, her husband, her addiction, and the road.
The Arc and the Sediment received an honorable mention from the James Jones First Novel Competition, and it won the Utah Arts Council Annual Writing Competiton Publishing Prize.
In the tumultuous decades after the Civil War, as the southern white elite reclaimed power, “racial mixing” was the central concern of segregationists who strove to maintain “racial purity.” Segregation—and race itself—was based on the idea that interracial sex posed a biological threat to the white race. In this groundbreaking study, Charles Robinson examines how white southerners enforced anti-miscegenation laws. His findings challenge conventional wisdom, documenting a pattern of selective prosecution under which interracial domestic relationships were punished even more harshly than transient sexual encounters. Robinson shows that the real crime was to suggest that black and white individuals might be equals, a notion which undermined the legitimacy of the economic, political, and social structure of white male supremacy.
Robinson examines legal cases from across the South, considering both criminal prosecutions brought by states and civil disputes over marital and family assets. He also looks at U.S. Supreme Court decisions, debates in state legislatures, comments in the U.S. Congressional Record, and newspaper editorials. He not only shows the hardening of racial categories but assesses the attitudes of African Americans about anti-miscegenation laws and intermarriage. The epilogue concerns “The Demise of Anti-miscegenation Law” including the case of Richard and Mildred Loving.
Dangerous Liaisons vividly documents the regulation of intimacy and its fundamental role in the construction of race.
Though Massachusetts banned slavery in 1780, prior to the Civil War a law prohibiting marriage between whites and blacks reinforced the state’s racial caste system. Amber Moulton recreates an unlikely collaboration of reformers who sought to rectify what they saw as an indefensible injustice, leading to the legalization of interracial marriage.
"In 1806 an anxious crowd of thousands descended upon Lenox, Massachusetts, for the public hanging of Ephraim Wheeler, condemned for the rape of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Betsy. Not all witnesses believed justice had triumphed. The death penalty had become controversial; no one had been executed for rape in Massachusetts in more than a quarter century. Wheeler maintained his innocence. Over one hundred local citizens petitioned for his pardon—including, most remarkably, Betsy and her mother.
Impoverished, illiterate, a failed farmer who married into a mixed-race family and clashed routinely with his wife, Wheeler existed on the margins of society. Using the trial report to reconstruct the tragic crime and drawing on Wheeler’s jailhouse autobiography to unravel his troubled family history, Irene Quenzler Brown and Richard D. Brown illuminate a rarely seen slice of early America. They imaginatively and sensitively explore issues of family violence, poverty, gender, race and class, religion, and capital punishment, revealing similarities between death penalty politics in America today and two hundred years ago.
Beautifully crafted, engagingly written, this unforgettable story probes deeply held beliefs about morality and about the nature of justice."
As late as the 1960s, states could legally punish minorities who either had sex with or married persons outside of their racial groups. In this first comprehensive study of the legal regulation of interracial relationships, Rachel Moran grapples with the consequences of that history, candidly confronting its profound effects on not only conceptions of race and identity, but on ideas about sex, marriage, and family.
"A good introduction to an issue too often overlooked. . . . The writing is clear and accessible, the evidence is evocative, and the ideas are challenging."—Beth Kiyoko Jamieson, Law and Politics Book Review
"U. S. government bodies have tried to regulate interracial intimacy from the day Pocahontas married John Rolfe up through Loving v. Virginia, which found antimiscegentation laws unconstitutional in 1967. . . . The weirder anecdotes from our racial history enliven this study, which is likely to become a classic in its field."—Publishers Weekly
"Moran examines the history of U. S. regulation of cross-racial romance, considering the impact of that regulation on the autonomy of individuals and families as well as on racial identity and equality. . . . She is attuned to the nuances of race in this polyglot nation, and supplies thoughtful analysis of these nuances."—Booklist
Crystal Williams Michigan State University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3573.I448414K56 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In her first book-length collection of poetry, Crystal Williams utilizes memory and music as she lyrically weaves her way through American culture, pointing to the ways in which alienation, loss, and sensed "otherness" are corollaries of recent phenomena. Williams writes about being adopted by an interracial couple, a jazz pianist/Ford Foundry worker and a school psychologist, and how that has affected her development as an African American woman. She tries to work out the answers to many difficult questions: in what way do African American artists define themselves? What do they owe the culture and what does it owe them? To what extent does our combined national memory inform our individual selves? These poems are steeped in the black literary tradition. They are brimming over with the oral tradition that Williams perfected while spending years on the poetry "slam" circuit. This, combined with her musical upbringing, give the collection not only a sense of urgency, but also a rhythm, a breath all its own. Kin tackles not only racial issues, but also the troubling realities of violent acts that can occur, especially in our inner cities. But more importantly, the landscape that Williams creates offers readers an alternative to the racial/political dichotomy in which we all live. Overall, the book resonates with a message of reconciliation that will leave the reader uplifted.
When the Baby Boom generation was in college, the last miscegenation laws were declared unconstitutional, but interracial romances retained an aura of taboo. Since 1960 the number of mixed race marriages has doubled every decade. Today, the trend toward intermarriage continues, and the growing presence of interracial couples in the media, on college campuses, in shopping malls and other public places, draws little notice.
Love's Revolution traces the social changes that account for the growth of intermarriage as well as the lingering prejudices and false beliefs that oppress racially mixed families. For this book, author Maria P. P. Root, a clinical psychologist, interviewed some 200 people from a wide spectrum of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Speaking out about their views and experiences, these partners, family members, and children of mixed race marriages confirm that the barriers are gradually eroding; but they also testify to the heartache caused by family opposition and disapproving strangers.
Root traces race prejudice to the various institutions that were structured to maintain white privilege, but the heart of the book is her analysis of what happens when people of different races decide to marry. Developing an analogy between families and types of businesses, she shows how both positive and negative reactions to such marriages are largely a matter of shared concepts of family rather than individual feelings about race. She probes into the identity issues that multiracial children confront an draws on her clinical experience to offer child-rearing recommendations for multiracial families. Root's "Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People" is a document that at once empowers multiracial people and educates those who ominously ask, What about the children?
Love's Revolution paints an optimistic but not idealized picture of contemporary relationships. The "Ten Truths about Interracial Marriage" that close the book acknowledges that mixed race couples experience the same stresses as everyone else in addition to those arising from other people's prejudice or curiosity. Their divorce rates are only slightly higher than those of single race couples, which suggests that their success or failure at marriage is not necessarily a racial issue. And that is a revolutionary idea!
Committed to the struggle for civil rights, in the late 1950s Joan Steinau marched and protested as a white ally and young woman coming to terms with her own racism. She fell in love and married a fellow activist, the Black writer Julius Lester, establishing a partnership that was long and multifaceted but not free of the politics of race and gender. As the women’s movement dawned, feminism helped Lester find her voice, her pansexuality, and the courage to be herself.
Braiding intellectual, personal, and political history, Lester tells the story of a writer and activist fighting for love and justice before, during, and after the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision striking down bans on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. She describes her own shifts in consciousness, from an activist climbing police barricades by day and reading and writing late into the night to a woman navigating the coming-out process in midlife, before finding the publishing success she had dreamed of. Speaking candidly about every facet of her life, Lester illuminates her journey to fulfillment and healing.
"[A] thoroughly original study that greatly expands our knowledge of how ethnic identities are formed. Leonard writes clearly and her inclusion of the voices of the Punjabi-Mexicans lends humor and depth to the history. This insightful study will be of interest to all scholars concerned with immigration and ethnicity and the history of California."
--The Journal of Asian Studies
This is a study of the flexibility of ethnic identity. In the early twentieth century, men from India's Punjab province came to California to work on the land. The new immigrants had few chances to marry. There were very few marriageable Indian women, and miscegenation laws and racial prejudice limited their ability to find white Americans. Discovering an unexpected compatibility, Punjabis married women of Mexican descent and these alliances inspired others as the men introduced their bachelor friends to the sisters and friends of their wives. These biethnic families developed an identity as "Hindus" but also as Americans. Karen Leonard has related theories linking state policies and ethnicity to those applied at the level of marriage and family life. Using written sources and numerous interviews, she invokes gender, generation, class, religion, language, and the dramatic political changes of the 1940s in South Asia and the United States to show how individual and group perceptions of ethnic identity have changed among Punjabi Mexican Americans in rural California.
"This is an extraordinary work. It is simultaneously an ethnography of early South Asian immigrant life in California, a model of fine-grained historical research using all manner of documents to reconstruct and interpret the migration flows, social structure, and family cycles of Punjabi men and their Mexican spouses, and a sophisticated examination of the complex role of 'identity' in their perceptions of themselves and their descendants.... In the midst of contemporary discussions about multi-culturalism, politically correctly positions, and valuing diversity, this book would be a fine place to begin a thoughtful consideration of the potential multiplicity of meanings ethnicity may have for human begins."
--Journal of American Ethnic History
"No other book has the scope or the vision of Karen Leonard's work. I expect this book to be consulted as a model of historical research for many years to come."
--James Freeman, San Jose State University
Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth-Century Cuba challenges conventional ideas about the roots of Cuban race relations. Verena Martinez-Alier proposes a relational model for the study of sexual values and social inequality. She deals with Cuban notions of honor and virtue while describing complex interconnections between class and perceived racial status that determined the choice of sexual and marriage partners. First published in 1974, Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth-Century Cuba is now a classic, a pathbreaking encounter of anthropology with history that points the way for future investigations. With this edition, the work of this pioneering scholar is made available again, with a new introduction by the author.
Choosing whom to marry involves more than emotion, as racial politics, cultural mores, and local demographics all shape romantic choices. In Marriage Vows and Racial Choices, sociologist Jessica Vasquez-Tokos explores the decisions of Latinos who marry either within or outside of their racial and ethnic groups. Drawing from in-depth interviews with nearly 50 couples, she examines their marital choices and how these unions influence their identities as Americans.
Vasquez-Tokos finds that their experiences in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood shape their perceptions of race, which in turn influence their romantic expectations. Most Latinos marry other Latinos, but those who intermarry tend to marry whites. She finds that some Latina women who had domineering fathers assumed that most Latino men shared this trait and gravitated toward white men who differed from their fathers. Other Latina respondents who married white men fused ideas of race and class and perceived whites as higher status and considered themselves to be “marrying up.” Latinos who married non-Latino minorities—African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans—often sought out non-white partners because they shared similar experiences of racial marginalization. Latinos who married Latinos of a different national origin expressed a desire for shared cultural commonalities with their partners, but—like those who married whites—often associated their own national-origin groups with oppressive gender roles.
Vasquez-Tokos also investigates how racial and cultural identities are maintained or altered for the respondents’ children. Within Latino-white marriages, biculturalism—in contrast with Latinos adopting a white “American” identity—is likely to emerge. For instance, white women who married Latino men often embraced aspects of Latino culture and passed it along to their children. Yet, for these children, upholding Latino cultural ties depended on their proximity to other Latinos, particularly extended family members. Both location and family relationships shape how parents and children from interracial families understand themselves culturally.
As interracial marriages become more common, Marriage Vows and Racial Choices shows how race, gender, and class influence our marital choices and personal lives.
"One of the best books written about interracial relationships to date. . . . Childs offers a sophisticated and insightful analysis of the social and ideological context of black-white interracial relationships."—Heather Dalmage, author Tripping on the Color Line
"A pioneering project that thoroughly analyzes interracial marriage in contemporary America."—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States
Is love color-blind, or at least becoming increasingly so? Today’s popular rhetoric and evidence of more interracial couples than ever might suggest that it is. But is it the idea of racially mixed relationships that we are growing to accept or is it the reality? What is the actual experience of individuals in these partnerships as they navigate their way through public spheres and intermingle in small, close-knit communities?
In Navigating Interracial Borders, Erica Chito Childs explores the social worlds of black-white interracial couples and examines the ways that collective attitudes shape private relationships. Drawing on personal accounts, in-depth interviews, focus group responses, and cultural analysis of media sources, she provides compelling evidence that sizable opposition still exists toward black-white unions. Disapproval is merely being expressed in more subtle, color-blind terms.
Childs reveals that frequently the same individuals who attest in surveys that they approve of interracial dating will also list various reasons why they and their families wouldn’t, shouldn’t, and couldn’t marry someone of another race. Even college students, who are heralded as racially tolerant and open-minded, do not view interracial couples as acceptable when those partnerships move beyond the point of casual dating. Popular films, Internet images, and pornography also continue to reinforce the idea that sexual relations between blacks and whites are deviant.
Well-researched, candidly written, and enriched with personal narratives, Navigating Interracial Borders offers important new insights into the still fraught racial hierarchies of contemporary society in the United States.
Marriage between blacks and whites is a longstanding and deeply ingrained taboo in American culture. On the eve of World War II, mixed-race marriage was illegal in most states. Yet, sixty years later, black-white marriage is no longer illegal or a divisive political issue, and the number of such couples and their mixed-race children has risen dramatically. Renee Romano explains how and why such marriages have gained acceptance, and what this tells us about race relations in contemporary America. The history of interracial marriage helps us understand the extent to which America has overcome its racist past, and how much further we must go to achieve meaningful racial equality.
In November 2001, the state of Alabama opened a referendum on its long-standing constitutional prohibition against interracial marriage. A bill on the state ballot offered the opportunity to relegate the state's antimiscegenation law to the dustbin of history. The measure passed, but the margin was alarmingly slim: more than half a million voters, 40 percent of those who went to the polls, voted to retain a racist and constitutionally untenable law.
Julie Novkov's Racial Union explains how and why, nearly forty years after the height of the civil rights movement, Alabama struggled to repeal its prohibition against interracial marriage---the last state in the Union to do so. Novkov's compelling history of Alabama's battle over miscegenation shows how the fight shaped the meanings of race and state over ninety years. Novkov's work tells us much about the sometimes parallel, sometimes convergent evolution of our concepts of race and state in the nation as a whole.
"A remarkably nuanced account of interlocked struggles over race, gender, class and state power. Novkov's site is Alabama, but her insights are for all America."
---Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
"Hannah Arendt shocked Americans in the 1950s by suggesting that interracial intimacy was the true measure of a society's racial order. Julie Novkov's careful, illuminating, powerful book confirms Arendt's judgment. By ruling on who may be sexually linked with whom, Alabama's courts and legislators created a racial order and even a broad political order; Novkov shows us just how it worked in all of its painful, humiliating power."
---Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor
Despite being far from the norm, interracial relationships are more popular than ever. Racing Romance sheds special light on the bonds between whites and Asian Americans, an important topic that has not garnered well-deserved attention until now. Incorporating life-history narratives and interviews with those currently or previously involved with an interracial partner, Kumiko Nemoto addresses the contradictions and tensionsùa result of race, class, and genderùthat Asian Americans and whites experience.
Similar to black/white relationships, stereotypes have long played crucial roles in Asian American/white encounters. Partners grapple with media representations of Asian women as submissive or hypersexual and Asian men are often portrayed as weak laborers or powerful martial artists. Racing Romance reveals how allegedly progressive interracial relationships remain firmly shaped by the logic of patriarchy and gender inherent to the ideal of marriage, family, and nation in America, even as this ideal is juxtaposed with discourses of multiculturalism and color blindness.
Scholars have long heralded mestizaje, or race mixing, as the essence of the Cuban nation. Revolutionizing Romance is an account of the continuing significance of race in Cuba as it is experienced in interracial relationships. This ethnography tracks young couples as they move in a world fraught with shifting connections of class, race, and culture that are reflected in space, racialized language, and media representations of blackness, whiteness, and mixedness. As one of the few scholars to conduct long-term anthropological fieldwork in the island nation, Nadine T. Fernandez offers a rare insider's view of the country's transformations during the post-Soviet era. Following a comprehensive history of racial formations up through Castro's rule, the book then delves into more intimate and contemporary spaces. Language, space and place, foreign tourism, and the realm of the family each reveal, through the author's deft analysis, the paradox of living a racialized life in a nation that celebrates a policy of colorblind equality.
Marriage, divorce, birth, baptism, and census records are the essential records of a community. Through them we see who marries, who divorces, and how many children are born. Sal Acosta has studied a broad base of these vital records to produce the largest quantitative study of intermarriage of any group in the West. Sanctioning Matrimony examines intermarriage in the Tucson area between 1860 and 1930. Unlike previous studies on intermarriage, this book examines not only intermarriages of Mexicans with whites but also their unions with blacks and Chinese.
Following the Treaty of Mesilla (1853), interethnic relationships played a significant part in the Southwest. Acosta provides previously unseen archival research on the scope and tenor of interracial marriages in Arizona. Contending that scholarship on intermarriage has focused on the upper classes, Acosta takes us into the world of the working and lower classes and illuminates how church and state shaped the behavior of participants in interracial unions.
Marriage practices in Tucson reveal that Mexican women were pivotal in shaping family and social life between 1854 and 1930. Virtually all intermarriages before 1900 were, according to Acosta, between Mexican women and white men, or between Mexican women and blacks or Chinese until the 1920s, illustrating the importance of these women during the transformation of Tucson from a Mexican pueblo to an American town.
Acosta’s deep analysis of vital records, census data, and miscegenation laws in Arizona demonstrates how interethnic relationships benefited from and extended the racial fluidity of the Arizona borderlands.
In the seventeenth century, the Dutch established a trading base at the Indonesian site of Jacarta. What began as a minor colonial outpost under the name Batavia would become, over the next three centuries, the flourishing economic and political nucleus of the Dutch Asian Empire. In this pioneering study, Jean Gelman Taylor offers a comprehensive analysis of Batavia’s extraordinary social world—its marriage patterns, religious and social organizations, economic interests, and sexual roles. With an emphasis on the urban ruling elite, she argues that Europeans and Asians alike were profoundly altered by their merging, resulting in a distinctive hybrid, Indo-Dutch culture.
Original in its focus on gender and use of varied sources—travelers’ accounts, newspapers, legal codes, genealogical data, photograph albums, paintings, and ceramics—The Social World of Batavia, first published in 1983, forged new paths in the study of colonial society. In this second edition, Gelman offers a new preface as well as an additional chapter tracing the development of these themes by a new generation of scholars.
At the turn of the twentieth century W.E.B. DuBois predicted that the central problem facing the United States in the new century would be that of the “color line.” Now, at the beginning of a new century, we find many people straddling the color line. These people come from the growing number of multiracial families in America, families who search for places of comfort and familiarity in a racially polarized society whose educational system, places of worship, and neighborhoods continue to suffer a de facto segregation. This group has provoked an ever-widening debate and an upheaval in traditional racial thinking in the United States.
Through in-depth interviews with individuals from black–white multiracial families, and insightful sociological analysis, Heather M. Dalmage examines the challenges faced by people living in such families and explores how their experiences demonstrate the need for rethinking race in America. She examines the lived reality of race in the ways multiracial family members construct and describe their own identities and sense of community and politics. She shows how people whose own very lives complicate the idea of the color line must continually negotiate and contest it in order not to reproduce it. Their lack of language to describe their multiracial existence, along with their experience of coping with racial ambiguity and with institutional demands to conform to a racially divided, racist system is the central theme of Tripping on the Color Line. By connecting the stories to specific issues, such as census categories, transracial adoption, intermarriage, as well as the many social responses to violations of the color line, Dalmage raises the debate to a broad discussion on racial essentialism and social justice.
Exploring the dynamic of race as it pervades the lives of those close to the color line, Dalmage argues that the struggle for racial justice must include an understanding that race is a complex construct that is constantly shifting, and is something we do rather than something we simply are.
Alan Shapiro University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress R726.8.S475S53 1997 | Dewey Decimal 362.196994490092
The New York Times Book Review praised Alan Shapiro's The Last Happy Occasion as a "touching and intelligent, emotionally satisfying and elegant testimony to the power of poetry to instruct, heal and inspire." Vigi emerges from the final chapter of that book, "Sittin' in a Funeral Place," a powerful essay about Shapiro's sister Beth, her struggle with breast cancer, and the limitations of poetry in confronting the untransformable pain of loss.
In Vigil, Shapiro chronicles with heart-wrenching lyricism the final four weeks of Beth's life in a hospice, attended by her parents, brothers, husband, daughter and friends. One by one, as loved ones arrive to visit Beth, Shapiro reveals fragments of their personal history, bringing to life a troubled and poignant past. A visit from their brother David triggers the memory of a searing betrayal—the parents disowned Beth after learning from David that she was secretly dating a black man; a visit from the parents recalls their bitter quarrels over Beth's radical politics; a visit from Beth's black husband brings the painful memory of their wedding and her parents' refusal to attend. These recollections and feelings that surface with each visit evoke the unresolved, deeply disturbing issues that kept the Shapiro family estranged for so long, making the reconciliation that Beth's death brings to her family all the more extraordinary.
Shapiro gives an unconventionally honest account of our responses—horror, relief, impatience, exhaustion, exhilaration, projection, fear, self-criticism, and a sense of fulfillment—in the presence of the dying. Concluding with a selection of moving poems, Shapiro affirms the astonishing link between creativity and healing, and provides a coda to the whole experience. The price of human connection may be great, but human connection, in the end, has the power to redeem even the most painful of human experiences.
This landmark volume chronicles the history of laws banning interracial marriage in the United States with particular emphasis on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black woman who were convicted by the state of Virginia of the crime of marrying across racial lines in the late 1950s. The Lovings were not activists, but their battle to live together as husband and wife in their home state instigated the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that antimiscegenation laws were unconstitutional, which ultimately resulted in the overturning of laws against interracial marriage that were still in effect in sixteen states by the late 1960s.
A White Side of Black Britain explores the racial consciousness of white women who have established families and had children with black men of African Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom. Filling a gap in the sociological literature on racism and antiracism, France Winddance Twine introduces new theoretical concepts in her description and analysis of white “transracial” mothers raising their children of African Caribbean ancestry in a racially diverse British city. Varying in age, income, education, and marital status, the transracial mothers at the center of Twine’s ethnography share moving stories about how they cope with racism and teach their children to identify and respond to it. They also discuss how and why their thinking about race, racism, and whiteness changed over time. Interviewing and observing more than forty multiracial families over a decade, Twine discovered that in most of them, the white woman’s racial consciousness and her ability to recognize and negotiate racism were derived as much from her relationships with her black partner and his extended family as from her female friends. In addition to the white birth mothers, Twine interviewed their children, spouses, domestic partners, friends, and members of their extended families. Her book is best characterized as an ethnography of racial consciousness and a dialogue between black and white family members about the meaning of race, racism, and whiteness. It includes intimate photographs of the family members and their communities.
"This book begins the innovative and necessary analysis of how whiteness--as a racial category, a 'standpoint' for thinking about race, a terrain of 'unmarked' cultural practices which include material and discursive dimensions, and a collective and individual identity--was socially constructed. Frankenberg's thesis is that race shapes white women's lives through a system of racial privilege, and analyzes racism and challenges to it in white women's experiences. Her analysis is smart, insightful, and convincing. This book is compelling, engagingly written, and should prove very useful in the classroom, as well as a model for further qualitative research for those interested in social stratification, multiculturalism, American society, or social change." --Contemporary Sociology
"Ruth Frankenberg's study of white women makes a major contribution to our understanding of the complex intertwining of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Drawing on recent writing which views 'race' as a fluid social, political, and historical construct, Frankenberg explores white women's lived experience of 'race,' and specifically 'whiteness.' White Women, Race Matters is an engaging, well-written text which should be invaluable for advanced undergraduate courses or graduate courses in race, women's studies, or qualitative methodology. Should be read by everyone interested in contemporary racial politics." --Race, Sex, and Class
"Although other scholars and journalists have lately focused on 'whiteness,' Frankenberg's project is unique because she sees white women's lives 'as the sites both for the reproduction of racism and for challenges to it.' White Woman, Race Matters provides a webbed explanation of the position of white women in American culture, rooted in the failings and blindness of the feminist movement around race." --Afterimage
"Frankenberg seeks a way out of the dilemma of seeing whites and non-whites as 'different' or as 'similar' under the skin, an approach that ignores the history of racism. Frankenberg's project is to reveal White constructions of race. She analyzes life history interviews with thirty White, California women to discern how each one's 'articulation of whiteness' results in seeing White beliefs and behavior as normative and 'American.' With few recommendations about how to change contemporary racial discourse, Frankenberg nevertheless enlarges our understanding of its persistent perniciousness." --American Studies International
"A valuable contribution to understanding the effect of race and racism in white women's lives." --Race Traitor
"She wants to understand how racial identity is socially constructed for white Americans, and how their understanding of that identity is both a given and changeable. This reflects her desire to help construct a feminism that will be effectively antiracist. Through her interviews with and analysis of white woman who are widely diverse in age, class, family situation, sexual orientation, political values and experiences, Frankenberg's study forms a complex treatment of a subject neglected by social scientists, and only recently addressed by white novelists, poets, and cultural critics. The epilogue, 'Racism, Antiracism, and the Meaning of Whiteness', is the most compressed, intense, and useful discussion of race that I have seen written by a white woman." --Canadian Review of American Studies
"Frankenberg's books offers its readers not only definitions of whiteness, but unceasingly intelligent and thought-provoking analyses of how those definitions are derived, maintained and articulated." --Minnesota Review
"This book makes a major contribution to the scholarship on race, class, and gender. Frankenberg's exploration of the ways whiteness is lived, experienced and discussed confirms the importance of race in U.S. society and demonstrates how all kinds of social relations, even those that appear neutral, are, in fact, racialized." --Bonnie Thornton Dill, University of Maryland
Winner of a 1995 Jessie Bernard Book Award
Named an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights