PART OF THE CHALLENGE of examining interracial narratives is to nest all the ways in which racial difference matters within all the ways that it does not. The couples in this study share many qualities besides being Black/ White. They experience the daily comforts of domestic life—of waking up next to the same person each day, of hanging up winter jackets in the same closet, and separating endless pairs of socks and underwear. I heard eighty-two accounts of how partners met. I was proudly shown dozens of photographs of weddings and commitment ceremonies—from formal events with black tuxedos and long, white wedding gowns to a vegan circus party with kazoos and candy. I heard stories that reflected bonds of trust, compassion, respect, admiration, and attraction, as well as occasional stories of jealousy and exasperation. The partners in this study have shared major life successes—the birth of children, the completion of educational degrees, the celebration of twenty-year anniversaries, the successful launch of a new business, and the celebration of religious conversions—as well as the more regular joys of everyday life—eating meals together, spending time with friends and family, laughing over stupid jokes, and simply enjoying each other’s companionship. They have also faced some of the most difficult moments, as loved ones have died, divorced, or struggled with substance addiction.
The old but nevertheless enduring stereotype paints interracial partners as people who confuse racial exoticism for love. This hollow assumption does not characterize the interracial partners in this study. The women and men I met represent a wide variation within intimate relationships today. Some interracial partners, both heterosexual and same-sex, live lives as settled and traditional as any that could be found in heteronormative, middle-class America. They own houses in city or suburban neighborhoods and greet neighbors as they walk their dogs. Others embrace a queer