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According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family Hardcover – June 25, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0300166828 ISBN-10: 0300166826

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According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family + Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300166826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300166828
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sweeping re-examination of race from vantage point of loving interracial relationships, this book critically shifts away from conflicts between races toward conflicts between interracial families and society. Law professor Ouwuachi-Willig uses the romance of Alice Beatrice Rhineland and Leonard Kip Rhinelander that resulted in 1925 Supreme Court case, Rhinelander v. Rhineland, as the focal point for her investigation of today's society. She recounts the romance and marriage leading up to the publicized trial all the way through to its aftermath and lasting implications. Steering the conversation towards a critique of current legislation, Ouwuachi -Willig's draws on a variety of sources including her own experiences to humanize the disadvantages within the law that are still existent today. She highlights the way government administration indirectly separates multi-racial families into individuals, each with a discrete racial identity. In reality family is one unit within society, large enough for multiple racial identities. Her talent for blending statistics and storytelling shine as Ouwuachi -Willig passionately and logically argues to create interraciality as a protected category within the law.


“Onwuachi-Willig has penned a wonderful book on the historical complexities of what it means to be a multiracial couple in the U.S. . . . an essential book for anyone interested in how race has been and continues to be defined.”—Choice

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This is a well written book that explores inter-racial relationships and multiracial families from two directions. First by examining the Rhinlander case Angela Onwauchi- Willig looks at our country's historic views of race, miscegenation, notions of race mixing and the scandalous taboo of interracial marriage. She then methodically examines how our culture has changed and evolved since Rhinelander v. Rhinelander (circa 1925) by analyzing the views and experiences shared by interracial couples who participated in surveys as part of her research.

As a person whose major heavily involved History I am honest enough to admit that I despise dry legal language and the author was kind enough to anticipate and spare those like me in this book. She takes the time to explain legal concepts and she does not dumb down the book by omitting legal terminology.

A reader gets a sense of how she examines this issue (the law and our societal view of multiracial families) from several angles - legal, historic, social and personal as a member of a multiracial family. This personal perspective enhances what could have just been a great book and makes it that much more.

It also is refreshing to see pictures of biracial couples and multiracial families; this enhances the information that comes from the very personal stories and views shared in the surveys.

This is a wonderfully written book about a subject that has been made purposefully uncomfortable in our society by design. This book takes a fresh look at this issue. The author examines this subject through the lens of legal expertise, using surveys, and from the perspective of someone in a multiracial family.

It is a thorough and ultimately personal work. More than worth the money I paid. Happy reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on May 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'd argue that plenty of law professors and other scholars have written about interracial marriage and multiracial families. This book stands out in two important ways.
First, the book focuses more on blackfemale-whitemale couples than the converse. The legal case to which the author references frequently is one in which a white, wealthy man asks the court to annul his marriage because he supposedly did not know his wife was partially Black. The author is well aware that most Black-white marriages involve a Black husband with a white wife. She juggles with both how Blackfemale-whitemale couples get rendered invisible and how studying them may still be important even as society seems to punish Blackmale-whitefemale couples more blatantly.
Second, at the same time that the author condemns the misperception that all members of families are of the same race, she also includes that society assumes incorrectly that all couples are or should be heterosexual. She interviews interracial lesbian and gay male couples in addition to heterosexual ones. She implies that our world needs to accept same-sex marriages just as much as it needs to accept interracial ones. This is in great contrast to Rachel Moran's book "Interracial Intimacies" which I found to be incredibly heterosexist, even though it was published before Massachusetts began allowing gay marriage.
The extensive research on the history behind the Rhinelander case may be the third aspect that separates this book from others. In fact, I will assume that the author believes this is the greatest contribution of her work. However, if you're not interested in the history of just one case, especially as the 1960s Loving v. Virginia case has made that older case moot, you may find that aspect of the book the least interesting.
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