Dating

The Complexities of Interracial Dating – Understanding Different Points of Views

A black, and white woman, in embrace

February is Black History Month, with the aim to celebrate Black & African-American History. One important message of Black History Month is of equality. Most of the celebrated individuals throughout the month have fought for civil and social rights, but most importantly were fighting for the world where skin wasn’t the most important factor. I’m old enough to remember a time where a “jungle fever” was frowned upon and considered taboo; but I’m also young enough not to have not experienced the major efforts that have made the idea possible.

Today, I’m often pleased to  see more interracial dating and relationships occur without such a taboo. A majority of my relationships with women haven’t been with those who are neither my ethnic or racial makeup (Hispanic and Black). I was often considered the black sheep. When I told friends about my white girlfriend in high school, they often wondered what was wrong with me. More than a decade later, the same people are dating outside of the races, but in each relationship I’ve found a common theme. There’s a struggle in understanding different ethnic point of views.

A person’s ethnic and racial make up does have some influence on an individual. It helps determine a person’s culture, their background, and the experiences that defines them. There are some things that Hispanics will experience in their lives that are different from an Asian’s experience. While both could experience the same thing (such as ethnic profiling) the experiences are different. These experiences are hard to translate to your partner of a different ethnicity. There are conversations, jokes, and even personal comments that are hard to explain. One day there was a robbery attempt was on my home. The robbers were a group of black, neighborhood thugs who attempted to rob another house on the block. I  was informed while I was with my girlfriend (who was white), and entered into an anger fueled rant laced with the N-word. If the same situation happened to her, I wouldn’t allow her to enter the opportunity to use the same language I did. I would probably break-up with her on the spot.

It’s hard to explain the dynamics of certain cultural issues to someone who isn’t of the same race or ethnicity. There are boundaries that cannot be crossed (such as using an ethnic slur). In all of my relationships, I’ve never had to break up with a girlfriend because a crossed ethnic or racial boundary. On the other hand, there have been arguments over  point of views and dynamics of cultural issues and problems based on our ethnic background. It’s hard, as a Hispanic, not to talk about Arizona’s immigration laws, without  thinking it’s a form of racism. It’s harder to explain that point of view to someone who hasn’t lived through racist experiences because your Hispanic. With an interracial couple, regardless of how liberal the individuals, when the topics of race and ethnicity come up, there’s always some friction or a need to walk on eggshells. You don’t want to say something that requires the phrase. “I’m not  racist but…”

Understanding the other’s point of view, and life experience is hard for anyone, even if they are of the same racial makeup. While every American experienced 9-11 in some way, those in Kansas have a very different point of view then we New Yorkers. The same is true for a person’s ethnicity and race. A good couple would be able to handle thees issues, create boundaries, and respect the other’s experiences and points of views. That’s not to say there isn’t friction, or misunderstandings, but they don’t become contentious arguments that can break up a relationship. Relationships are built on understanding and respect, there’s different layers in an interracial relationship. Layers that have forged the way the person your dating views the world.

Photo Credit: ewilman

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    LittleMissSarcasm said on February 13th, 2011 - 12:50 pm

    I’m a product of an interracial relationship (my mother is Korean and my father mixed European) and have heard of their horror stories of being together while living in the Mid-West. They’ve been happily married (with obvious/normal marital issues) for 30 years now. I think that they key to understanding their struggles was that they both (specifically my father) took the time to understand/respect one another’s cultural differences and embraced them as much as they could.

    In my present situation I am engaged to a white fella. It’s weird because even now when I see interracial couples it makes me giddy because I didn’t see many as a child. Though, even though we are one, I don’t view us as an interracial couple.

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    The Single Filez said on February 19th, 2011 - 5:37 pm

    “A majority of my relationships with women haven’t been with those who are neither my ethnic or racial makeup (Hispanic and Black)”

    I wouldn’t normally be so nosey, but seeing as you’ve put it out there for all to see and mostly just because I’m genuinely curious… can I ask, is your above statement down to circumstance (location, environment etc) or is down to a conscious decision on your part?

    Enquiring minds…

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      Single City Guy said on February 19th, 2011 - 5:40 pm

      Good question. It’s not for without trying, but I believe location, environment, outside perceptions, incompatible tastes have all played a role.

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