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Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships: Public Perceptions and Practical Benefits of Friendships and Romantic Relationships in Intercultural Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships 8 environment. The child will meet new people, learn new rules, and read new books. At a young age, children often learn whether an interracial friendship is acceptable or unacceptable. One study found that interracial friendships are still rare in children’s picture books (Glick & Olson, 1998), which may have an effect on the lack of such relationships. From an early age, children are socialized into viewing friendships as having certain parameters. These parameters are a product of their environment and social circles. Analysis shows that a child’s surroundings create constraints and opportunities for interracial friendships (Hallinan & Teixeira, 1987). As a result of racial segregation, African American, Latino American, and European American adolescents generally prefer same-race friends (Clark, 1986). The longer children remain in racially segregated environments, the less likely they will value interracial friendships (Morgan, 1996). Research has shown that African American and European American females in the lower grade levels have a lot in common (Damico & Scott, 1985). However, by middle school, cross-racial friendships are inhibited because perceived similarity becomes more important in friendship selection. According to much of the research discussed above, initiating and even sustaining an intercultural friendship may seem difficult due to societal pressures and conflicting attitudes. However, once one can get past anti-interracial relationship conceptions, the formation of a relationship with someone from a different culture can be much like a relational formation within one’s group or culture. Next, the practical and positive benefits of forming an intercultural friendship will be discussed.

Authors: Docan, Tony.
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Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships 8
environment. The child will meet new people, learn new rules, and read new books. At a
young age, children often learn whether an interracial friendship is acceptable or
unacceptable. One study found that interracial friendships are still rare in children’s
picture books (Glick & Olson, 1998), which may have an effect on the lack of such
relationships.
From an early age, children are socialized into viewing friendships as having
certain parameters. These parameters are a product of their environment and social
circles. Analysis shows that a child’s surroundings create constraints and opportunities
for interracial friendships (Hallinan & Teixeira, 1987). As a result of racial segregation,
African American, Latino American, and European American adolescents generally
prefer same-race friends (Clark, 1986). The longer children remain in racially segregated
environments, the less likely they will value interracial friendships (Morgan, 1996).
Research has shown that African American and European American females in
the lower grade levels have a lot in common (Damico & Scott, 1985). However, by
middle school, cross-racial friendships are inhibited because perceived similarity
becomes more important in friendship selection.
According to much of the research discussed above, initiating and even sustaining
an intercultural friendship may seem difficult due to societal pressures and conflicting
attitudes. However, once one can get past anti-interracial relationship conceptions, the
formation of a relationship with someone from a different culture can be much like a
relational formation within one’s group or culture. Next, the practical and positive
benefits of forming an intercultural friendship will be discussed.


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