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Book Review
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Identity and Interethnic Marriage in the United States (Book Review Sample)


I was tasked to write a review on the book Identity and Interethnic Marriage in the United States. attached is the review done.

Book Review
Identity and Interethnic Marriage in the United States
Stanley O. Gaines, Jr.
This book breathes an eccentric view on the factors that cause a person to incline or want to marry a person of a different ethnicity. Interethnic marriages are increasing at a high rate in America and all across the world. This book provides a unique perspective on the probable reasons that this is happening as so. The book looks at interethnic marriages in the United states in relation to seven aspects that include; Personal and social identities, Gender and ethnic identities, Racial and cultural identities, Religious and national identities, the self, identity and social behavior. The author importantly clarifies and defines what he means by interethnic marriages; He defines it as any marriage with partners who are different with regard to race, religion and/or national group dynamics. This aspect of clarification is very important considering that so many people have difficulty differentiating race and ethnicity.
The author is able to use both qualitative and quantitate sources to critically examines the manner in which the self and social identity come together to influence the dynamics of interethnic marriages in the United States of America. The author does a superb job by incorporating other well-known scholars of the past that include the likes of Erik Erikson, Mead and Goffman together with recent literature on the subject through Jean Phinney. Psychological and sociological viewpoints are drawn upon to help in the analysis of the topic. This book states that social identity and the self and more so ethnic identity is observed in an individual’s complex journey that is traced from the time they are young children up to the time they get into an interethnic marriage.
The author writes that more qualitative rather than quantitative research has found that many individuals who are in an interethnic marriage strive very much to keep or maintain their ethnic identity despite even having married for many years. This implies that most individuals have the opinion or are motivated to remain in their ethnic line as a matter of perception. This important fact is especially interesting that it becomes more apparent especially once they become parents. Much quantitative information on the same has been found to be less powerful. Perhaps the reason for this is that psycho-social issues are more to a large extend emotion and behavior related that categorical and technical. In a social setting, it is much easier to examine and study an individual in relation to his environment than find quantitative figures to explain emotional responses that are unpredictable.
The author speaks about the socio-psychological states of different ethnicities, and the interaction of the mind, the self and the society with regards to the same. He particularly gives the example of the African Americans. He further brings clarity to the differences in gender roles and “ethnic roles”. He writes that it is an individual’s thoughts, acts and nonverbal acts that cause other individuals response. This aspect in interrelations goes beyond self-cocoons of ethnic preferences. Role theory is examined as it says that all individuals who find themselves in interethnic marriages are at a high risk of being stigmatized in the community, especially if they find themselves in a community or ethnic group they come from.
The author through Herbert Mead’s social research examines the aspect of the self in interethnic marriages. The ‘Me’ factors has a major role with regards to the individual before and after they are involved in the interethnic marriage. The ‘Me’ is the intrinsic part that is still distinct even though individuals have been associated in families, religion and other social formations in the society. Individuals have engaged in interethnic marriages when their religion or family background does not allow or advocate for such. This perspective is largely true, There are aspects of the individual that are so unique to the individual that even being raised and natured in a particular environment does not guarantee that they will make decisions in line with the beliefs of that group. The aspect of self is the single most determinate factor that would affect a person’s perception of marriage choice. It goes beyond all the external aspects of gender, belief, religion, race and culture.
According to the book, religion has been identified as a very major player in influencing interethnic marriages in the country. Socialization from an early age and the eventual coming into adulthood for an individual is so much affected by spirituality. It is almost as if every person whether knowingly or unknowingly grows into some spiritual belief of some sort. Spirituality is so influential in a society and an individual that it is very difficult to break religious barriers to marry individuals that are not of your religion. It is examined that many national regions are almost similar and so this one has not been a very major problem in the past apart from the recent period when globalization is taking place.
The authors combination of sociological and psychological aspects enables a complete all round perspective of identity and interethnic marriages in the U. S. Whereas psychology has examined the intrinsic values, beliefs and motivations that surround interethnic marriages, such as why a white girl from a seemingly rich family would opt to marry in a poorer black family, the sociological angle goes beyond that to look at the more external settings that involve the family, religion or the race. This provides a thorough examination as to the state of intermarriages in the U.S. It offers a rather interesting angle to why two people meet up and accept to marry each other even though they are aware that the journey towards the marriage and afterwards will not be an easy one.
Considering the fact that the rate and number of interethnic marriages are increasing in America, it is critical that this book touches on the aspect of self and ‘Me’. The rapid increase means tha...
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