A Critical Race Exploration of Black Women’s Romantic Relationship Experiences

Ina I Simpson, Tennessee State University


Critical race theory was applied in this qualitative phenomenological study to explore the romantic relationship experiences of African American women. In addition to factors central to critical race theory such as race, racism, oppression, and power (Delgado & Stefnacic, 2001; Rollock & Dixson, 2016), this study also considered implications of familial processes and cultural experiences unique to Black women regarding their romantic relationship expectations and outcomes. In congruence with critical race theory and qualitative phenomenological research methods, findings of this study were based on the lived experiences of Black women, providing them the authority to share their own narratives (Creswell & Poth, 2016; Parker, 1998; Parker & Lynn, 2002; Sundler et al., 2019; Wertz, 2005). Participant interviews examined participants’ familial processes and experiences with racism and oppression, as they pertain to the formation and maintenance of family structure and romantic partnerships. Primary data was collected through semi-structured participant interviews with nine Black women. All interviews were recorded and transcribed for analysis, using thematic analysis methodologies to code data and identify emergent themes (Braun & Clark, 2006; Norwell et al., 2017). Five themes emerged from the data: (Theme 1) family dynamics limited romantic relationships; (Theme 2) family messages about womanhood and colorism; (Theme 3) stereotypes, (Theme 4) media portrayals, and (Theme 5) faith messages.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Ina I Simpson, "A Critical Race Exploration of Black Women’s Romantic Relationship Experiences" (2022). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI29059817.