Two recent reviews of the 2017 RSF book Marriage Vows and Racial Choices by sociologist Jessica Vasquez-Tokos (University of Oregon) appear in the American Journal of Sociology and Ethnic and Racial Studies.
In the American Journal of Sociology, reviewer Kelly Chong calls Marriage Vows and Racial Choices“a timely book about an understudied but important topic in the fields of race/ethnicity, immigration, and Latino studies.” Vasquez-Tokos’s book draws from in-depth interviews with nearly fifty couples to explore the decisions of Latinos who marry either within or outside of their racial and ethnic groups and study how these unions influence their identities as Americans. “Marriage Vows and Racial Choicesinvestigates precisely, the process of partner choice and sheds some light in our understanding of how individuals choose who to marry,” writes reviewer Erika Arenas in Ethnic and Racial Studies.
In the book, Vasquez-Tokos shows that respondents’ experiences in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood shape their perceptions of race, which in turn influence their romantic expectations. For instance, some Latina women who had domineering fathers assumed that most Latino men shared this trait and gravitated toward white men who differed from their fathers. On the other hand, Latinos who married non-Latino minorities—African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans—often sought out non-white partners because they shared similar experiences of racial marginalization. Vasquez-Tokos also investigates how racial and cultural identities are maintained or altered for the respondents’ children. She shows that within Latino-white marriages, biculturalism—in contrast with Latinos adopting a white “American” identity—is likely to emerge. For instance, white women who married Latino men often embraced aspects of Latino culture and passed it along to their children. Yet, for these children, upholding Latino cultural ties depended on their proximity to other Latinos, particularly extended family members. As Chong concludes, “This is a fine book that is a must read for anyone interested in marriages/intermarriages among racial minority groups in the United States, issues of assimilation and immigrant incorporation, race relations, and the Latino population.”