Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interracial Dating and Relationships I



Interracial dating and relationships are extremely interesting to me for a variety of reasons. Given my own dating history, there is a personal angle. However, I also believe that these kinds of pairings often bring up some of the most challenging social issues around, including the following: white privilege and racism, cultural differences, economic class and classism, differences in understanding gender, and sometimes vast differences in family of origin expectations and assumptions. At the same time, some people manage to have vibrant, long term and even lifelong partnerships with another across the racial spectrum.

If you've been with me since the beginning of this blog, you might remember the post that started it all about the sometimes amazing, but ultimately doomed relationship I had last year with a woman originally from Burma. Many of the issues I listed above came into play during that relationship, and yet at the same time, had a few things been different, we might be together and quite happy today.

I'm well aware of the fact that many folks today, probably the majority of folks today, continue to view only members of their own racial/ethnic background as potential partners. Obviously, there are complex reasons behind this truth, but it's something that I have personally never felt. Even as a young teenager, my early crushes were across racial lines. I remember in particular really liking a cute African-American classmate who frequently complimented and smiled at me in our computer class. (That was back when I actually knew something about computer programming.) Being ever the shy boy, I struggled to muster the courage to call her and "ask her out," and when I finally did, her older sister answered, wondering who I was. The fact that she wasn't home, and that this older sister seemed suspicious in an older sister kind of way threw me completely off. I can't recall what I said, but I basically chickened out on the whole thing and nothing ever happened between us. Such is the life of an introverted 13 year old.

Anyway, I am excited to see that the blog Racialicious is doing a series of posts on interracial dating. I hope to take up some of the posts to consider here a little more closely.

If you have any experiences or insights to share, feel free to comment.

8 comments:

  1. speaking from a purely white girl perspective, it seems to me that interracial dating isn't quite as shocking as it use to be.

    do you feel that way?

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  2. It's definitely more accepted these days. But I think if you scratch the surface of that acceptance, you'll find all kinds of questioning, confusion, and even a fair amount of non-acceptance.

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  3. I'm the result of a bi-racial union, and I know a ton of other people my age who are also mixed. We have no racial boundaries whatsoever, since we're already racially "unpure" and wouldn't be able to be racially picky even if we wanted to ;) It's pretty cool! I feel like mixed-race relationships and babies are so common now that it's not really a "thing" like it used to be (though I also recently read that a recent poll that said that 46% of Mississippi Republicans still want to ban interracial marriage, which is weird, so I guess it IS still an issue among some people... they are probably old/racist/out of touch anyway though). Cool post, thanks for sharing! :D

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  4. Hi Supervirgin,

    You're definitely right that interracial relationships and children are much more common these days. Which I think is great.

    However, it's also the case that plenty of people still have "issues" with mixing. Sometimes it's selective prejudice - such as viewing it ok to date anyone who isn't African-American for example.

    Anyway, thank you for the comment.

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