Even though we live in the year 2012, many people still struggle with the idea of interracial dating. It is a term loaded with assumptions, beliefs, history, law, statistics, and strong opinion. For example, I had a discussion with a white man in his 20s who told me that he was dating a woman who happened to be Asian. When I referred to the two of them as an "interracial" relationship, he immediately took offense and looked at me with confusion. He explained, "Well, it's not really interracial." I disagreed, and asked for further explanation. He shrugged and said, "Asians aren't really, like, another race. When I think about interracial dating, I think about white/black couples." This comment not only exposed quite a bit about his perception about interracial dating, but also illuminated the degree to which interracial dating has evolved in terms of its actual meaning in society today. In my opinion, the whole idea of "interracial" dating continues to imply a type of taboo, where two people of two distinct, separate races decide to date each other in a society that prefers intra-racial dating behavior. The mere fact that some people today are increasingly accepting of white/Asian couples but continue to perceive black/white relationships as an "extreme" within the context of interracial relationships tells me that obstacles still exist re: further development and growth of more black/white relationships in society today. However, it is not impossible to overcome such obstacles:
- Open-mindedness to cultural differences: You and your partner have more in common than one may believe. When all is said and done, you both belong to one race: the human race. That said, he or she may have cultural differences that you should be sensitive to. Embrace each other's cultural differences and find out ways to further explore them, rather than dismiss them as out of sync with your personal notion/perception of culture.
- Family and friends: Your family and friends may not accept the fact that you want to date interracially. They will have to get over it, and/or you have to stop caring how the people you love perceive your dating relationships. To some degree, we look for some type of acceptance from our family and friends. If they disagree with your dating choice based on race alone, follow your heart and don't let people in your life with a "race hangup" negatively impact your love life.
- General societal acceptance: Depending on where you live and where you travel, you may come across people (men and women of any race) who will immediately disagree with your interracial relationship on sight alone. Don't let that influence how you view your relationship or how you view your partner. If someone refuses to accept your relationship simply due to race, then that type of attitude is a reflection on them and their bigoted nature, and not a reflection of you or your union. Celebrate your choice proudly, regardless of whether society around you chooses to accept your partnership.
In my opinion, interracial relationships should be celebrated. As I already stated, there is only one race: the human race. Don't be reluctant to talk to someone of another background who strikes your fancy. If you like someone, get to know them better. The last thing you want to do is allow societal ignorance to have a say in your love life.
-Written by: Cafe Belle's Society and Culture Barista