Personal Relationships and
Stanley O. Gaines, Jr
Pomona College, Claremont, CA, USA
University of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA
Because interracial relationships are different from other kinds of relationships, they warrant a special accounting. Providing such an accounting—or, at least, a first approximation of one—is the major goal of this chapter. Starting from the premise that interracial relationships are different from other types of interethnic relationships, we will explore the nature of these differences and their implications for the perceptions by “outsiders” and “insiders” of various subtypes of interracial relationships (same-sex vs mixed-sex, romantic vs platonic).
We begin by reviewing evidence that interracial relationships are indeed different from other kinds of relationships. We then examine interracial relationships from two general perspectives: (1) the “outside” perspective of individuals who are observers of these relationships; and (2) the “inside” perspective of individuals who are the members of these relationships. To help illustrate and explain the processes that are presumed to underlie each of these perspectives, several relevant theoretical principles from the field of