Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this study is to explore the constructions of race, marriage, and love insofar as these components promote the exclusion of interracial intimacy and marriage from the dominant discourse. The study focuses on the ways in which the social sciences have polarized "blacks" and "whites" (linguistically, socially, and economically) thus, making it difficult for persons living in black and white skin to experience social affirmation through literature, media, and agents in everyday life.

A qualitative content analysis of historical and contemporary literature regarding interracial marriage and intimacy were conducted in conjunction with an auto ethnography of the author's own experiences in an interracial relationship. A metatheoretical approach was employed to analyze the literature. The study focused on three primary questions (1) How have sociologists problematized love beyond the color lines? (2) How does language reinforce racial essentialism? (3) How have social researchers silenced positive components of race relations? Results indicated that (a) Sociologists have studied interracial marriage from the assumption of a social pathology; (b) language reinforces racial essentialism and relegates persons with black skin into a subordinate position compared to persons with white skin; and (c) Black and White scholars negate positive tales of racial harmony. Implications of these results are discussed.

Included in

Sociology Commons