In "Interracial Families: Current Concepts and Controversies," George Yancy and Richard Lewis Jr. explain that although interracial relationships have a long history, interracial marriage has not been as prominent because of racial oppression. They point out that interracial relationships occurred under an imbalance and inequality of social power and status. Interracial dating presents a long list of difficult challenges and obstacles for couples to overcome.
Many people, young people in high school and college especially, love their families and are dependent on family for shelter and education. They are heavily influenced by parental and family opinions and beliefs. Racism, culture and heritage all play a part in how dating relationships are perceived and experienced by a couple's larger family group. If everyone in both partners' families is accepting and welcoming to both people in an interracial relationship, many social and cultural stressors are avoided. But if there is opposition, anger, hatred, withdrawal of emotional and financial support or other bad treatment or even violence, the stress on interracial partners in a romantic relationship can be overwhelming.
While new cultural traditions can be interesting and enchanting to those of different cultures, they have the potential to also be foreign and disorienting. Learning and participating in new cultural practices can confuse and frustrate those who haven't grown up with them. Acceptance may be difficult or nonexistent, leaving one partner feeling like he must leave his own culture and join his partner's culture, or vice versa. If a couple can find ways to join and incorporate each other's cultural traditions and practices without either having to lose or give up a part of their life histories, it can bond them more closely.
Interracial couples will experience a wide range of reactions to their romantic relationship in public. Stares, comments, gestures and possibly even violence are possible reactions from disapproving strangers. Feelings and emotions about public perceptions and reactions are realities that interracial dating requires couples to face. It's an extra layer of stress to navigate in a relationship.
Parents naturally want to protect and teach their children. Children of interracial relationships have to navigate a world that sometimes has more questions for and about them, but they benefit from parents who are strong and confident about themselves. Questions about how to raise biracial children and how to deal with possible family and societal questions, hostility and discrimination are strong relationship stressors that have the potential to either bond or destroy interracial relationships.
- "Black Women in Interracial Relationships: In Search of Love and Solace"; Kellina M. Craig-Henderson; 2010
- "Don't Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions that Keep Black Women from Dating Out"; Karyn Langhorne Folan; 2010
- "Interracial Relationships in the 21st Century"; Earl Smith and Angela Hattery; 2009
- "Why Black Men Love White Women: Going Beyond Sexual Politics to the Heart of the Matter"; Rajen Persaud; 2009
- "Navigating Interracial Borders: Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds"; Erica Chita Childs; 2005
- "Racing Romance: Love, Power, and Desire Among Asian American/White Couples"; Kumiko Nemoto; 2009