Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Crossing the Line: Interracial Couples in the South

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Crossing the Line: Interracial Couples in the South

Article excerpt

Crossing the Line: Interracial Couples in the South. Robert P. McNamara, Maria Tempenis, & Beth Walton. Westport, CT: Praeger. 1999. 171 pp. ISBN 0-313-30962-0. $59.95 cloth, $19.95 paper.

The strength of this book is in the quotes from interviews with 28 Black-White married couples living in South Carolina. Echoing couples from other regions of the U.S., this book offers accounts of the rewards and challenges of interracial partnership. Couples talk, for example, about family reactions to their relationship, stares in public, shouted words, hostile comments, and issues their children have. Couples also talk about their marital relationship.

Given the book's title, I expected it to highlight issues unique to the South. But the book says almost nothing about that. I looked for differences between the experience of the couples quoted in this book and couples quoted in my coauthored book, Multiracial Couples (based on Minnesota couples). People quoted in Crossing the Line mention two phenomena that Minnesota couples did not and that might conceivably be more common in South Carolina: Some couples report that their car or house was vandalized, and some men carry a firearm for protection. The authors also say things about the South Carolina couples that, if supported by the data, might mean those couples differ from Black-White couples in other regions. The South Carolina couples were described as very likely to use religion in coping with racism and likely to isolate themselves. In some instances, they had experienced physical attack. But the data marshaled in support of these points seem not to be about these points or else seem very thin. The book also says that almost all couples in the study have at least one partner who had some sort of association with the military (which contrasts with our Minnesota interviews). …

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