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Navigating Interracial Borders

Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds

Erica Chito Childs

Publication Year: 2005

Asians have settled in every country in the Western Hemisphere; some are recent arrivals, other descendents of immigrants who arrived centuries ago. Bringing together essays by thirteen scholars from the humanities and social sciences, Displacements and Diasporas explores this genuinely transnational Asian American experience-one that crosses the Pacific and traverses the Americas from Canada to Brazil, from New York to the Caribbean. With an emphasis on anthropological and historical contexts, the essays show how the experiences of Asians across the Americas have been shaped by the social dynamics and politics of settlement locations as much as by transnational connections and the economic forces of globalization. Contributors bring new insights to the unique situations of Asian communities previously overlooked by scholars, such as Vietnamese Canadians and the Lao living in Rhode Island. Other topics include Chinese laborers and merchants in Latin America and the Caribbean, Japanese immigrants and their descendants in Brazil, Afro-Amerasians in America, and the politics of second-generation Indian American youth culture. Together the essays provide a valuable comparative portrait of Asians across the Americas. Engaging issues of diaspora, transnational social practice and community building, gender, identity, institutionalized racism, and deterritoriality, this volume presents fresh perspectives on displacement, opening the topic up to a wider, more interdisciplinary terrain of inquiry and teaching.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

In many ways, this book really began as my own journey to understand how and why people react the way they do to seeing interracial couples. Knowing the questions and scrutiny one often goes through as part of a multiracial family, I want to give my deepest thanks to the wonderful couples who opened up to me ...

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Introduction: The Interracial Canary

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pp. 1-18

The 1967 Academy Award–winning movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner concluded with this warning from a white father to his daughter and her “Negro” fiancé. That same year, the Supreme Court overturned any laws against interracial marriage as unconstitutional. Yet how does the contemporary U.S. racial landscape compare? ...

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CHAPTER 1 Loving across the Border: Through the Lens of Black-White Couples

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pp. 19-43

A black person and a white person coming together has been given many names—miscegenation, amalgamation, race mixing, and jungle fever—conjuring up multiple images of sex, race, and taboo. Black-white relationships and marriages have long been viewed as a sign of improving race relations and assimilation, ...

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CHAPTER 2 Constructing Racial Boundaries and White Communities

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pp. 44-74

Interracial couples can be understood as social products in that they are formed and transformed by the defining process that takes place in social interaction, the ways in which others act toward them, and, just as important, the ways in which others produce images and ideas about them and their relationship.1 ...

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CHAPTER 3 Crossing Racial Boundaries and Black Communities

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pp. 75-108

Benedict Anderson discussed communities in terms of the members who “will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”1 In terms of race, blacks are more likely than whites to think and talk in terms of racial communities, ...

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CHAPTER 4 Families and the Color Line: Multiracial Problems for Black and White Families

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pp. 109-138

Black-white couples come together across the boundaries of race and perceived racial difference seemingly against the opposition of their communities. This is not to say, however, that the couples are free from racialized thinking, whether it be in their use of color-blind discourse or their own racial preferences, ...

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CHAPTER 5 Racialized Spaces: College Life in Black and White

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pp. 139-168

There are many stories about race on college campuses—debates over affirmative action, race in the classroom, as well as diversity issues among the faculty and student body.1 In media reports, particularly, the university campus is most often heralded as a place that promotes interracial relationships, primarily because ...

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CHAPTER 6 Black_White.com: Surfing the Interracial Internet

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pp. 169-181

The Internet is a particularly interesting social arena that symbolizes for many the future of interaction and society. The images and discourses around black-white unions on the Internet can serve as an important data source that—like the transcript of an interview— can be read and analyzed for content and meaning, ...

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CHAPTER 7 Listening to the Interracial Canary

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pp. 182-194

Like the miner’s canary that warns of a poisonous atmosphere, black-white couples expose lingering racism, prejudice, and segregation in society. Interracial couples’ experiences are important not for what they tell us about themselves but for what they tell us about the racial attitudes and practices of the families, ...

Appendix: Couples Interviewed

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pp. 195-200


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pp. 201-228


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pp. 229-242


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pp. 243-248

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Erica Chito Childs is an assistant professor of sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Fordham University in 2001. Her areas of research are race and ethnic relations, multiracial issues, and media/popular culture images. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813537573
E-ISBN-10: 0813537576
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813535852
Print-ISBN-10: 0813535859

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 64187767
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Navigating Interracial Borders

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Subject Headings

  • Interracial dating -- United States.
  • Interracial marriage -- United States -- Public opinion.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Race awareness -- United States.
  • Racism -- United States.
  • Race relations in motion pictures.
  • Interracial marriage -- United States.
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