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Interracial Marriages

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    Rebecca Rizk 6006911 Jessica Pearce English 1100I Wenesday, October 31, 2012 Black-White Interracial Couples: Negative effects of racial discrimination on marital quality There is no reason why interracial couples cannot be happily married just like same race couples. The more society grows, the more interracial couples multiply. As interracial couples multiply, the more racial discrimination is present, which leads to marital failures.

    The negative effects of racial discrimination on marital quality of black-white couples will influence the amount of social support, the communication between partners and, the divorce rates relating to economics. The effects of racial discrimination on marital quality of Black-White interracial couples will be examined, where interracial marriages is defined as two individuals of different race united by marriage and racial discrimination being defined where society distinguishes the racial difference between the couple as not acceptable.

    Discrimination plays a significant role in determining the outcome of marital quality of interracial marriages. One of the most common ways discrimination is linked to affect marital quality is the lack of social support couples receive (Hendricksen & Watts, 1999). Just like anything you set your mind to do, without support of your surroundings, many will find it difficult to follow through. Strong social support plays a very valuable role in the success of interracial couples.

    When social support is diminished, this will limit the social resources in mixed-race marriages, such as community, family and workplace involvement (Kilian, 2002). Family is one of the most important support systems seeked by interracial couples, due to the stress of family gatherings. Mc Namara et. al (1999), found that the stress of deciding to enter into an interracial marriage and the discrimination experienced in society makes these couples need familial support even more than same race couples.

    However, due to their families’ negative views on interracial marriage, needed family support is often not available, which is even more detrimental due to the couples’ already limited social networks (Mc Namara et. al, 1999). Traveling can be very hard for the interracial couples as well, due to discrimination faced in airports and in the place of destination. Many Black-White interracial couples report preferring to stay at home where they can be assured that they will not be discriminated against (Hibbler & Shinew, 2002). Social support is essential, not only in the formation of interracial couples, but in the survival as well.

    Although discrimination faced by interracial couples results in a lack of social support, discrimination may also influence the relationship between partners. Discrimination will also affect and diminish the communication amongst the couple. Often, Black partners in interracial relationships report feeling like their White partners are not truly aware of the level of discrimination they face in society, and therefore they have to take on the role of pointing out cases of discrimination and taking a stand on behalf of the couple.

    This has been found to put an enormous amount of strain on the Black partner (Foeman & Nance, 2002; Killian, 2002) on top on the normal stresses of married life (Solsberry, 1994). Often both partners in an interracial marriage feel that if they openly discuss thoughts and feelings about race it may be offensive to their partner and the trust in the marriage may be undermined. This leads many interracial couples to repress their true feelings in the name of keeping their relationship intact (Rosenblatt, 1995).

    Although discrimination influences the opinions of people that surround the interracial couple, it also affects the partners’ own views on interracial marriages. The couple begins to second-guess their decision to get married, which leads to potential divorce. Racial discrimination on the marital quality of black-white interracial couples will also influence the outcome of divorce. Black male and white female experience the highest amounts of divorce than any other mixed-race marriage. Economic instability is stressful for both partners and is linked to divorce.

    There are many factors in black-white couples that are negatively affected by racial discrimination leading up to divorce. These factors include low financials, limited job opportunity, and poor job quality. Racial discrimination may limit job opportunities for the black partner. This will affect marital quality and lead to divorce. Blacks are more likely to be involved in shift work, which is negatively associated with marital quality and positively associated with divorce (Clark-Nicolas and Gray-Little, 1991; White and Keith, 1990).

    The economic situation of black men means a low job market and low returns to education (Vega, 1990; Wilson, 1987). The instability of the economic situation of interracial couples is negatively affected by racial discrimination and results in divorce. The ongoing rise of interracial marriages in today’s society is negatively affected due to racial discrimination. As a result, discrimination is influencing the marital quality in three ways, which are the lack of social support, diminished communication between partners and lastly, rise in divorce rates relating to economics.

    As long as racial discrimination is present in our society, marital quality of interracial couples will continue to suffer. The survival of interracial marriages lies in society’s hands. Works Cited Clark-Nicolas, P. , Gray-Little, B. 1991. Effect of economic resources on marital quality in Black married couples. Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, 645-655. Foeman, A. & Nance, T. (2002). Building new cultures, reframing old images: Success strategies of interracial couples. The Howard Journal of Communications, 13, 237- 249.

    Henriksen, R. C. & Watts, R. E. (1999). Perceptions of a White female in an interracial marriage. Family Journal, 7, 68-71. Hibber, D. K. , & Shinew, K. J. (2002). Interracial couples’ experience of leisure: A social network approach. Journal of Leisure Research, 34, 135-156. Killian, K. D. (2002). Dominant and marginalized discourses in interracial couples’ narratives: Implications for family therapists. Family Process, 41, 603-618. McNamara, R. P. , Pempenis, M. , & Walton, B. (1999).

    Crossing the line: Interracial couples in the south. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. Solsberry, P. W. (1994). Interracial couples in the United States of America: Implications for mental health counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 16, 304-318. Vega, W. A. 1990. Hispanic families in the 1980s: A decade of research. Journal of Marriage and the Family 52, 1015-1024. Zebroski, S. A. (1999). Black-White intermarriages: The racial and gender dynamics of support and opposition. Journal of Black Studies, 30, 123-132.

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