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Family types continue to expand in the U. To understand how professional women of color navigate endogamy and family ideals, I draw on 40 in-depth interviews of professional Black women and Latinas to ask how they construct partner preferences. I find that professional Latinas and Black women prefer same-race, similarly Latinas dating white men partners but report ificant barriers to satisfying these desires.
These preferences resist and support hegemonic family formation, an ideological and behavioral process that privileges, white, middle class, endogamous, heteronormative ideals for families comprising courtship, marriage, and biological childbearing. By challenging the racial devaluation of people of color while preferring the normativity that endogamy offers, the women in this study underscore the fluidity embedded in endogamy.
Keywords: family formation; interracial dating; Latinas; Black women; intersectionality family formation ; interracial dating ; Latinas ; Black women ; intersectionality. Introduction Despite the increase in U. As a result, the nuclear family structure is hegemonic, reproducing the belief that marriage and childbearing between members of the same ethno-racial group are value-laden, commonplace expectations.
Those who opt out of or cannot achieve Latinas dating white men marital union and biological childbearing not only face a loss of material benefits, but also the social benefits of normative family formation. For example, married couples earn a refundable tax credit for having children, gay rights activism has allocated extensive resources to same-sex marriage over challenging the normativity of marriage or other issues affecting LGBTQIA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual groups, and married undocumented immigrant couples are more likely to be granted family reunification than unmarried couples.
In these and other ways, the U. Sociologists have been remiss to provide qualitative s of partner preferences from the vantage point of professional women of color in light of a growing college gender gap. Increasingly, U. Though the college gender gap—involving women outing men in college graduation—exists across all U. This gendered educational phenomenon is therefore also racialized.
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As this college gender gap continues to grow, it is imperative to discover to what extent this pattern in education is filtering into family formation decisions. Latinas and Black women produce an interesting comparison given that they share some important educational trends.
However, Latinas and Black women diverge in other ways. In contrast, Latinas have marriage rates that resemble more closely those of white women, are less likely to bear children outside of marriage than Black women [ 3 ], and have higher interracial marriage rates than Blacks, with Latinos ing for 26 percent of new interracial marriages Latinas dating white men with no ificant gender differences [ 4 ]. To uncover the processes through which women of color navigate endogamy intragroup marriage and normative family ideals, this study asks how professional Latinas and Black women construct their partner preferences.
In contrast to research suggesting that the highly educated are more likely to prioritize educational endogamy and marry interracially [ 567 ], I demonstrate that professional Black women and Latinas prefer same-race and similarly educated men with whom to form Latinas dating white men, preferences that carry both normative and subversive implications for families more broadly. While the preference for men of color challenges racial hegemony by placing greater value on men of color in comparison to white men, the prevalence of same-race and same-education marriages for nuclear families makes endogamy an important aspect for embodying the nuclear family structure, making interracial and interclass dating less coveted and viable options.
The mechanisms that challenge and reproduce hegemonic family formation in this study are experiences with racism from whites, the rejection of racial and cultural incorporation into the dominant society, gendered racism from men of color, and the college gender gap. In outlining these factors, I demonstrate under what conditions Latinas and Black women occupy a shared nonwhite status that carries implications not only for how we understand the U. To conceptualize hegemonic family formation, I draw on intersectional frameworks centered on the experiences of women of color.
Originating from Black feminist theorizing and activism, intersectional studies argue that lived experiences stem from the relationships between multiple identities, including but not limited to race, class, gender, and sexuality [ 89101112131415 ].
Intersectional work highlights the mechanisms that construct social and institutional arrangements of power that create unequal material realities. This body of work argues that group membership statuses are constructed, are interdependent, are influenced by time and place, and thus are fluid in shifting meanings and realities [ 161718 ].
Latinas dating white men U. Hegemonic femininity encompasses a pattern of practice that privileges and distorts both physical and behavioral ideals of white, middle-class heterosexual femininity e. Drawing on intersectionality, Pyke and Johnson [ 19 ] utilize hegemonic femininity to discuss the hierarchies that develop between Asian American and white women when considering of race, class, and sexuality.
By constructing one expression of femininity as an ideological reference point and subsequently internalizing this ideal, both white women and women of color Latinas dating white men the subordination of other representations of femininity. Although an increasing of families form through divorce, cohabitation, interracial relationships, single parenthood, same-sex partnerships, and adoptions, a dominant narrative that privileges a heteronormative, endogamous, nuclear pathway toward family formation persists [ 120 ].
Individuals reproduce commonsense notions of family through ideals of courtship, marriage, and childbearing. Fittingly, I conceptualize hegemonic family formation—linked to the existence of hegemonic femininity—as an ideological and behavioral process; as such, it privileges heteronormative ideals for forming families at the expense of other forms of kinship.
Within this process, racial and educational endogamies serve two contrasting purposes: they reproduce hegemony by reinforcing the normativity of intragroup relations while also challenging the hegemony attached to racial scripts that devalue people of color. Just as the existence of hegemonic femininity implies the existence of marginalized femininities, in the same way, hegemonic family formation begets marginalized family formations. I find that the women in this study center their perceptions about partner preferences on their negative feelings Latinas dating white men interracial romantic relationships, in response to racism, the desire to embrace racial difference relative to whites, the societal privileging of white, hegemonic femininity, and the college gender gap.
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Black women and Latinas hope to marry same-race, similarly educated men, yet difficulties in finding partners lead them to consider self-proclaimed less desirable options, namely, interracial dating. Specifically, 1 interracial dating on the part of men of color becomes an impediment in the performance of hegemonic family formation for women of color, and 2 it als a less suitable family option when women of color engage in it.
Hegemonic family formation encompasses marriage and childbearing; however, for purposes of this article, I focus on perceptions of marriage among professional Black women and Latinas. I show how the racial, gender, and professional identities among Latinas and Black women produce perceptions of stratified forms of marginalized family formations as they navigate hegemonic family formation within a context of a growing college gender gap and continuous racial endogamy.
Most of the women in this study strive to achieve a normative family structure, but often make compromises to implement its narrative into their realities. This is evidence not only of its pervasiveness, but also of the marginalization power that it carries.
Despite a slow decline in marriage and increases in cohabitation in the U. Romantic relationships between individuals sharing similar social standing along educational, class, and racial lines continue to carry ificant weight in partnership preferences [ 5623242526 ]. Some research suggests that the highly educated have greater marital prospects because educational pursuit forces individuals out of racially and class-segregated areas and thus expands their dating options and likelihood of intermarriage [ 7212728 ].
In fact, today individuals are more likely to marry persons with Latinas dating white men same level of education than in the past, creating a larger gap between those with low levels of education and those with higher education [ 26 ].
This research offers important insights on patterns of U. Although interracial dating is increasing, especially among the highly educated, race continues to guide perceptions, prospects, and behavior surrounding romantic partnerships, with interracial marriages comprising only 12 percent of new marriages in [ 2323282930313233 ].
Moreover, negative parental messages regarding interracial dating partially explain the racial distancing common in romantic partnerships [ 28323536 ]. Among Latinos, the presence of a continuous immigrant population, spatial segregation, and the patrolling of partner preferences by family members, peers, and community members provide greater opportunities and validation for same-race partnerships [ 23283738 ]. These disciplined preferences further stem from boundary work enacted when white parents discourage their Latinas dating white men from dating Latinos and when Latinos draw on anti-Black discourse to garner relative privilege within the U.
As such, Vasquez concludes that Latinos support endogamy to distance themselves from Latinas dating white men, thus accruing racial privilege and reproducing the racial hierarchy. Discussions of interracial marriage and Latinos tend to center on the implications of Latino integration in the U. Still others suggest that the experiences of Latinos and Asians in the U.
Blacks nor do they accrue racial privilege as whites.
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Existing qualitative research on attitudes toward interracial dating provides important insights into the causes for Latinas dating white men and ethnic boundary work. However, little research examines how the relationship between white femininities and women of color femininities work in tandem to solidify racial boundaries in romantic partnerships.
Historical s of Black families reflect a longstanding debate regarding the extent to which U. Early research portrayed Black families as pathological, providing sensationalist s of Black men as poor father figures and Black women as domineering, emasculating, and overly dependent on public assistance as explanations for the problems facing Black families [ 48 ].
Others attempt to downplay racial differences between Black and white families by arguing that during slavery, slave families resembled white families by forming monogamous relationships rooted in a stable, nuclear family structure [ 474950 ]. More recently, historical work has emphasized the importance of slavery in producing qualitatively different family values and compositions [ 46 ] because male-dominated, nuclear family structures have never reflected the norm for most Black families.
Scholarship that pathologizes Black families or minimizes the effects of slavery on families falls prey to using white family ideals to measure Black families, thus erasing the benefits of diversity among Black families for racial survival. Much of this work is laden with narratives of Black cultural inferiority that blames Black communities for their family compositions in relation to notions of hegemonic family formation. Banks [ 29 ] offers a look at the intersection of race and gender for professional Black women, yet fails to fully for the ificance of race in family formation.
Banks argues that low marriage rates among Black women are principally due to the drastic rise of professional Black women amidst the drastic decline of Latinas dating white men Black men.
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Failing to give proper attention to the role of race and gender, Banks ignores the benefits that same-race partnerships may carry for Black women, including the emotional comfort that shared experiences with discrimination offer and the ability to avoid stigma attached to interracial dating. I take a different route by examining the ways that the confluence of race, gender, and educational attainment for Black and Latina professionals guides perceptions of family formation in ways that are similar and distinct from low-income women of color. Contemporary research on marriage and families prioritizes quantitative s that draw heavily on exchange theories [ 5672324252627465657 ].
These theories suggest that marriage markets exist, comprised of rational actors seeking partners who will offer maximum rewards from marriage. Partner choices are based on the supply of available single in the market, partner preferences, and the resources available for individuals to meet Latinas dating white men [ 5657 ].