The Vermont Connection


Trina S. Tan


With the rise of interracial relationships on college campuses, student affairs professionals encounter more students of color facing racial identity development issues within their intimate relationships (Wang, Kao, & Joyner, 2004). This literature review examines the Racial/Cultural Identity Development model (R/CID) (D.W. Sue & D. Sue, 2008) when applied to heterosexual interracial couples between People of Color and White people. I explore issues of internalized oppression and ethnocentric attitudes, as well as insights on how student affairs professionals best support these students. ollege campuses are a promising space for cross-cultural intimacy to develop, but “interracial relationships are also still accompanied by stigma, even for young people” (Herman & Campbell, 2012, p. 345).While there are many variations of issues that People of Color experience in interracial relationships with White partners, I synthesize two issues in relation to the R/CID model: internalized oppression and ethnocentric attitudes. Inevitably, interracial couples face very different issues in comparison to intraracial couples both within their partnership dynamics and individually. The Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model (R/CIDM) by D.W. Sue and D. Sue (1990,1999) for People of Color serves as a significant tool in supporting college students in interracial relationships. Weaving lessons from the R/CID model is valuable for students of color in their development when personal identity discoveries surface and flourish during their college years, particularly when engaging in intimate relationships. This article presents an overview of the R/CID model for People of Color, followed by a summary on the existing research on interracial dating and relationships.