Mtshali, Marya T. “Gray Matter”. PhD, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108248.
One of the common beliefs in American society is that interracial couples transcend race. It is a curious belief considering that there is not a parallel logic that heterosexual couples transcend sexism. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 55 members of heterosexual Black/White intimate couples, I have investigated the internal dynamics involved in maintaining a relationship across race in our racially stratified society in three areas of these couples’ lives: public interactions, racial discussions, and childrearing. Most literature about interracial couples looks at race as the main determinant of the experience of these couples as a unit and as individuals. However, I argue that race, gender and racialized gender ideologies interact to shape how members of heterosexual Black/White intimate couples perceive certain social situations and their options for negotiating social norms and issues. Not only has the intersection of race and gender been under-theorized in research on interracial couples, racialized gender ideologies have been virtually absent. In particular, these racialized ideologies of gender result in situational privilege at different times for Black women and Black men, thus nuancing our understanding of how racism operates.