Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Dustin D. Berna

Second Advisor

Neil H. Katz

Third Advisor

Mary Hope Schwoebel

Abstract

More than a century has passed since the United States Supreme Court made laws forbidding interracial marriage unconstitutional. The 1967 landmark case Loving v. Virginia legalized and arguably, legitimized interracial marriages and is considered as one of the most significant legal decisions of the civil rights era. Interracial marriage in The United States continues to be controversial. The opposition to black and white interracial relationships is historically positioned in the American struggle with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and white supremacy. While interracial marriages are growing more common in In the United States, many people still do not approve of them interracial. Interestingly, approval rates vary by race, gender, and region. The purpose of this study was to understand how the unique history, politics, and current realities of race continue to be constructed in the United States, and how this affects interracial marriage between Black women and White men.

Through an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, this dissertation examines some of the lived experiences of interracial couples, that have impacted interracial marriage in the U.S., focusing on Black women and White men marriages. Results in this study indicated that Black women married to White men often suffer more societal rejections and stereotypes than their spouses. The data also shows that power, white supremacy ideologies, prejudice, privilege, fear, and ignorance are the driving forces of how race continues to be constructed in the United States, and how this affects interracial marriage between Black women and White men in the United States.

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