Preference and prejudice: Does intermarriage erode negative ethno-racial attitudes between groups in Spain?

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Abstract

This paper challenges the idea – rooted in classic assimilation theory – that intermarriage clearly erodes social and ethno-racial boundaries and negative attitudes between groups. Drawing on narratives from 58 immigrants of seven different origin countries residing in Catalonia, Spain, who are in romantic partnerships with Spanish-born people, we focus on preferences and prejudices related to mixing. We find that the members of exogamous couples both suffer social discrimination regarding the crossing of ethnocultural borders, particularly from their respective family members – a rejection that is based on negative stereotypes and preconceptions linked to the partner's origin, phenotype or ethnocultural characteristics, such as religion, in intersection with gender. More significantly, we also find that ethno-racial prejudices (particularly when referring to marriage preferences for the respondents and their children) and discriminatory attitudes (towards one's own and other immigrant minority groups) also exist among intermarried couples themselves. In sum, we question the role of mixed unions as a diluter of differences and an accelerator of integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-546
Number of pages26
JournalEthnicities
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • ethno-racial stereotyping
  • Immigration
  • intermarriage
  • mate preferences
  • prejudice
  • Spain

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