Love's Revolution: Interracial Marriage / Interracial America: Opposing Viewpoints

Article excerpt

Root, M. P. P. (2001). Love's Revolution: Interracial Marriage. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 240 pages. ISBN 1-56639-826-6. Price $22.95 (paperback).

Williams, M. E. (Ed.). (2001). Interracial America: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press. 223 pages. ISBN 0-7377-0657-0. Price $18.70 (paperback).

The main goal across these two volumes is to increase our understanding of interracial heterosexual couples in the 21 st century. Both of these volumes take the reader on a journey concerning a taboo topic that has received relatively little systematic empirical attention. The authors are to be commended for their courage in addressing such a sensitive topic.

The Root volume addresses the revolution of the increasing numbers of interracial heterosexual couples through her qualitative research with 175 interracial couples across the United States. Although several gay male and lesbian couples were included within the first part of this qualitative research effort, an analysis of same-sex interracial couples was not omitted in this volume.

It is readily apparent from the Root volume that interracial heterosexual couples must be viewed from a contextual perspective that incorporates cohort influences as mediating variables. For example, the dynamics inherent in a African American male-Latina female couple relationship poses qualitatively different realities and responses from the general public as a direct result of historical influences than a European American male-- African American female couple. Thus, distinct types of interracial couples need to be examined separately by researchers from a contextual perspective to fully understand and explain the dynamics that impact that specific type of interracial couple relationship. This reality is highlighted through a systematic discussion organized into chapters focusing of the impact of race, gender, socioeconomic status, economic influences, the degree of receptivity of one's family to interracial marriage among their biological relatives, life cycle influences, sociocultural influences (e.g., the imbalance of sex ratios), the biracial offspring of heterosexual interracial unions, and enduring myths and stereotypes concerning interracial heterosexual couples. These chapters are well grounded in the existing empirical literature focusing on interracial heterosexual couples.

In contrast, Williams' volume is designed to provide the reader with the current state of knowledge and awareness concerning interracial America through the presentation of heated debates that surround the construct of an interracial America. …