Saturday, November 17, 2007

Reasons for Entering into Interracial Marriages

Like other couples deciding to spend their lives together in marriage, interracial couples have many reasons for their choice to marry. The words of a Caucasian female engaged in an interracial marriage point out the importance of recognizing that interracial couples are attracted to each other for the same reasons as homogeneous couples.

People should first look inside themselves before they look at others and judge them. They should remember that a couple is made up of two people, not two races or cultures. Like other women, I was attracted to my husband because he is considerate, caring, and someone I enjoy spending time with. . . . Healthy families raise healthy children no matter the race or culture of the parents.

Research supports this woman's perspective. Interracial couples tend to marry because of four important facts: shared common interests, the attractiveness of the partner, shared similar entertainment interests, and socioeconomic similarity. Racial selection factors tend to be less important in selecting an interracial partner for marriage than nonracial factors. In other words, as with other couples, interracially married couples are typically attracted to each other based on similarities rather than differences.

Interracial dating is affected by propinquity, attractiveness, and acculturation. Research involving Asian-American out-dating demonstrates that propinquity is the strongest predictor of whether or not the individual will engage in interracial dating. Acculturation and assimilation have also been shown to be positively related to the incidence of interracial marriages. When removed from the demand for intraethnic relationships imposed on Asian Americans by family and the community, Asian Americans are more likely to explore relationships with partners of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, often resulting in interracial marriages. These factors are true for other racial and ethnic groups as well.

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