I began this study as a graduate student, but I have always had a strong investment in understanding social inequality. If pressed, I would trace this to having been raised by a strong feminist. I spent many hours of my childhood attending protests and eating cookies in other people’s living rooms, waiting for my mom to finish her monthly meetings of the Syracuse, New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. By the time I got to Temple University as a graduate student, I was focused on how race and gender together shape women’s experiences. I began to think critically about my own Whiteness and about how the largely White feminist movement my mother had been a part of had excluded particular experiences and ways of seeing the world. That there had been racial conflicts in the women’s movement within which I had been enveloped struck a profound chord. I saw how power differences shaped “sisterhood.” As I continued my studies, I became interested in how inequality shapes how we think, talk, and interact. When I met my Black partner, I began thinking about the everyday racial issues of interracial couples and families. Yet there was little written about what race means for unions like ours. Were lesbian experiences of racial difference similar to those of straight couples? In what ways where they different? These questions led to more questions and eventually to a dissertation and this book.
Being a White woman in a relationship with a Black woman inevitably shaped my role as a researcher. Every researcher brings her social position to each interview. In a study about race, gender, sexuality, and family, I embodied various forms of insiderness and outsiderness in relation to my respondents. Being in an interracial relationship may have allowed me to win the trust of some of the partners I interviewed. This was especially true when I interviewed lesbian and gay partners, as sexuality created