Guarded borders: Adolescent interracial romance and peer trouble at school

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Assimilation theorists have long viewed inter-group romantic partnerships as indicators of racial equality. Although the past half-century has witnessed the erosion of anti-miscegenation laws and subsequent increases in the frequency of interracial marriages, these unions remain relatively infrequent. Low intermarriage rates may be partially explained by the informal sanctions leveled at young interracial romances. This study tests whether adolescents who interracially date are at greater risks of peer difficulties than intra-racially dating youth. Results demonstrate a positive relationship between adolescent interracial dating and peer trouble at school. As hypothesized from ethnographic research and theories of inter-group relations, results suggest that interracial romances activate peer sanctions and that these reactions are strongest when romances involve black students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-910
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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