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This annotated reading list was prepared by Jonathan J. Hutson, Program Manager of "Dialogues Online: Racial Healing in Our Communities," a joint initiative of America Online/Digital City, Inc., and the nonprofit Western Justice Center. This list of case studies, surveys, and personal narratives is not intended to be comprehensive. However, these recently published titles describe a range of real-life experiences, viewpoints and strategies of couples who are learning to deal with differences. Western Justice Center

Age Different Relationships: Finding Happiness with an Older or Younger Love
Jack Mumey and Cynthia Tinsley. Fairview Press, 1993.
In the first of two collaborative projects on relationships, Tinsley teams with Mumey--the author of several books on sobriety and living with recovering alcoholics--to offer anecdotes and advice from couples bridging differences in age.

Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons
Jane Lazarre. Duke University Press, 1996.
Novelist Lazarre renders an autobiographical account describing the emotional costs and rewards of her interracial marriage and motherhood of two sons who are black and Jewish. "Most of the time," she writes, "there are two different worlds, and I see it, feel it, am no longer privileged to be blind to it, as most white people are.''

Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race
Lise Funderburg, editor. William Morrow and Company, 1994.
A biracial journalist presents personal accounts of life on the (dotted) color line from 46 children of biracial unions. The autobiographical essays invite readers to question whether the myth of the "tragic mulatto" matches the reality of biracial children, who reveal feelings about family, work and community relationships.

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
James McBride. Riverhead Books, 1997.
A loving portrait of Ruth McBride Jordan, who was raised in Poland as an Orthodox rabbi's daughter, and who traveled to New York, married a man from Harlem, founded a Christian congregation, and put twelve children through college.

The Modern Madame Butterfly: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Cross-Cultural Relationships
Karen Ma. Charles E. Tuttle, 1996.
Ma, a Hong Kong native, re-evaluates Western stereotypes of Asian women, notably Puccini's operatic treatment of Madame Butterfly as a servile, self-sacrificing, tragic figure. She describes traditional and modern gender relations in Japan, and explores Japanese views of Western men and women, including people of color and European Americans. Through dozens of case studies, she investigates the illusions, assumptions and aspirations of a spectrum of contemporary Japanese-Western couples.

Cross-Cultural Marriage: Identity and Choice
Rosemary Anne Berger and Rosanna Hill, editors. New York University Press, 1998.
This compendium on mixed marriages spans the globe to present a variety of worldviews on couples who cross borders of culture, faith and ethnicity. Contributors explore social, political and legal treatments of cross-cultural marriages in several nations, including Mallorca, Uganda, Germany and East Nepal. Topics include political ramifications seen in the case of a Ghanaian/African-American couple; intermarriage between Africans and Indians in Guyana; ideals and realities of cross-cultural marriages within Islam; and an examination of English and North American daughters-in-law in the Hindu joint family.

Different Daughters: A Book by Mothers of Lesbians, 2nd edition

Louise Rafkin, editor. Cleis Press, 1996.
Twenty-nine mothers of lesbians trace their journeys toward acceptance of their daughters. Sharing complex feelings about their daughters, their grandchildren, the meaning of community and the role of religion, this diverse group of authors raises questions common to all mothers: How can we accept our children for who they are? How can we love our children even when they are different from us? Some updated entries follow their original accounts to show how relationships have evolved since the first edition of 1987.

Enabling Romance: A Guide to Love, Sex, and Relationships for the Disabled (And the People Who Care About Them)
Ken Kroll and Erica Levy Klein. Mark Langeneckert, illustrator. Woodbine House, 1992.
This guide to creative intimacy and physical relations for disabled people and their partners addresses how couples build self esteem, enjoy romantic relationships and plan families.

How My Family Lives in America
Susan Kuklin. Simon and Schuster Children's, 1992.
Photo essayist Kuklin illustrates first-person accounts of urban family life by three children--Sanu, a girl whose father was born in Senegal and whose mother grew up in Maryland; Eric, whose mother was born in New York and whose father is from Puerto Rico; and April, whose parents were born and raised in Taiwan. The families are shown enjoying American cultural activities, such as baseball, while preserving values and traditions reflective of their ethnic heritages. For example, Sanu and her father shop for an African dish, and April accompanies her siblings to Chinese school, where they practice calligraphy.

Interfaith Wedding Ceremonies: Samples and Sources
Joan C. Hawxhurst, editor. Dovetail Publishing, 1996.
This practical guide describes a variety of sample ceremonies and discusses how interfaith couples have negotiated issues such as how to honor two families with different faith traditions and beliefs, and how to choose an officiant. Hawxhurst serves on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches. A practicing United Methodist, she lives with her Jewish husband and two children in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is the author of several books for grade school students, including Bubbe and Gram: My Two Grandmothers (Dovetail Press, 1996). Bubbe and Gram won the 1998 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature, given by the Church and Synagogue Library Association.

Lesbian Step Families: An Ethnography of Love
Janet M. Wright. Haworth Press, 1998.
Five lesbian couples demonstrate how they successfully define parenting roles, cope with the prejudices of neighbors and families of origin, and negotiate loving relationships with step children. The book includes personal experiences and viewpoints, and offers guidelines for creating functioning family structures and supportive environments. The study's author, Janet M. Wright, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

Mixed Matches: How to Create Successful Interracial, Interethnic and Interfaith Relationships
Joel Crohn. Fawcett Book Group, 1995.
A psychotherapist surveys his 14 years of research on the unique strains and strategies of mixed marriages, and offers couples practical tools to develop skills necessary to make their marriages thrive. He includes exercises, questionnaires, models of conflict resolution, and sample dialogues to show how mixed couples and families have bridged differences, plus a resource section of bibliographies and support groups.

Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity
Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi, editors. Routledge, 1996.
Twenty-seven autobiographical sketches show how individuals integrate many kinds of diversity in building identities and forming relationships. The narratives, each accompanied by the writer's photographic portrait, present diverse viewpoints on the formation of racial identity in the contexts of childhood education, class struggles, lesbian and gay identity, academia, immigration, religious faith and interracial relationships.

Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families
Gigi Kaeser, photographer, with an introduction by Peggy Gillespie and Glenda Valentine. University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.
Based on an award-winning photo exhibit, this book documents the feelings and experiences of 39 families who have bridged ethnic and cultural divides through marriage or adoption. Contradicting stereotypes, the children and adults interviewed have much to say about the most intimate form of integration, familial love.

Slaves in the Family. Edward Ball
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
The author presents factual and emotional discoveries made in his odyssey to uncover his family origins. From plantation records, interviews with descendents of both the Balls and their slaves, and travels to Africa and the American South, he reconstructs his ancestral history and considers how the legacy of slavery continues to resonate in the present.

Still Me. Christopher Reeve

Random House, 1998.
This autobiography tells how the actor best known for portraying Superman learned to face the challenges of paralysis with the help of family and friends. Beginning with the 1995 horseback riding accident that left him a quadriplegic, Reeve weaves back and forth in time, recalling his earlier life of adventurous physical activity and his current role as a champion of spinal cord research. He describes how he battled depression and reclaimed his sense of purpose with the help of longtime friends, such as comedian and fellow Juliard alumnus Robin Williams, and family, especially his wife Dana and son Will. Rejecting self pity, Reeve recounts that soon after the accident, 3-year-old Will asked whether his Dad would ever be able to walk or to play soccer with him. Dana answered, "We don't know sweetheart, but maybe not." Will reflected for a moment before concluding, "Well he can still smile."

Strangers to the Tribe: Portraits of Interfaith Marriage
Gabrielle Glaser. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Glaser, who was raised Protestant and is married to a Jew, interviewed scores of interfaith couples of various ages and ethnicities throughout the US. She details the stories of 12 Jewish-and-Gentile couples, showing how they reconcile faith traditions and holidays, relate to inlaws, and rear children.

Swaying: Essays on Intercultural Love
Jessie Carroll Grearson and Lauren B. Smith, editors. University of Iowa Press, 1995.
This anthology presents essays by women of diverse cultural and national backgrounds, who describe their romantic commitments across ethnic, cultural and religious lines. This book aims "to do two things at once: acknowledge the sometimes anguishingly difficult, sometimes unsolvable, dilemmas of intercultural couples and celebrate the creative solutions that many couples find." Evocative titles include "Voodo Faust," "Another Traditional Arab-Jewish Iowa Potluck," and "Crossing Cultures: The Story of a Chinese Man and an American Woman."

Transplanted Woman: A Study of French-American Marriages in France
Gabrielle Varro. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1988.
The study examines the dynamics of bicultural, bilingual families from the viewpoints of expatriate American wives who take French husbands, reside in France, and struggle to instill an appreciation of the English language and American culture in their Franco-American children. The author emphasizes the role of the father in supporting or undermining the authority of the mother in transmitting her language and culture.

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