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Interracial Dating: The Implications of Race for Initiating a Romantic Relationship

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Currently, limited research exists that explores the socially taboo topic of interracial dating between African Americans and European Americans. Historically, African Americans and European Americans have had a highly destructive relationship of enslavement and oppression, which has resulted in a history of mistrust, according to P. H. Collins (African American Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, New York, Routledge, 1990). As a result, this relationship symbolizes the institutionalized oppression embedded in race relations despite the very intimate nature of this romantic relationship. Using the centrality of race within the context of romantic relationships, this study was designed to determine how race influences the communicative process. Q-sort methodology was used, which required participants to determine what waiting, hinting, direct, and third-party intervention strategies they would use to initiate a date in both same-race and interracial contexts. Findings reveal that when comparing verbal strategies across both contexts and open-ended responses to likelihood or reality of dating interracially, participants were resistant to the idea of dating a person from another race. External factors such as family and society were cited as primary deterrents to involvement in an interracial romantic relationship. In general, participants in this study used more social distancing strategies for initiating interracial dating relationships than same-race dating relationships.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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