Document Type

Capstone Project (Campus-Only Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies

First Advisor

Juan Jose Gutierrez


There has been a rapid growth of heterosexual Black and White interracial couples in the Monterey County. In addition, the concept of racial identity within the Central heterosexual Black and White interracial couples has not been explored. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how racial identity affects the dynamics of Black and White interracial relationships within the context of their extended family and community and the effect of interracial relationships on racial identity development. The focus of the study was to explore how partners in heterosexual Black and White interracial couples living in the Monterey County constructed and/or defined their individual racial identity, how the couple addressed cultural difference within the relationship, and how the couple handled opposition toward their relationship. Each couple were interviewed conjointly in a neutral setting and I accompany them on an outing in a public a place. This experience allowed myself to observe how the couple were received in public and how the couple managed public response. Interviews provided me with in depth descriptions of how the research participants experienced themselves as individuals and as a couple in their marriage with respect to racial identity. Through the case study analysis, 6 main themes and 22 sub themes were identified. The main themes include marital dynamics, racial identity, influences, reactions, and advice. Cross-case analysis revealed a small number of subthemes shared across cases. Differences between cases were considerable and were presented via the identification of new subthemes and unique cases. Three new subthemes were identified: normal couple, gaining acceptance, and religious affiliation. Most of the couples in this study saw themselves as “normal couples” brought together by love, and did not necessarily think of themselves as “interracial.” They did, however, talk as a couple about how to racially identify their children and how to help them respond to questions about racial heritage.

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