What You Need To Know About Dating Interracially

Whether he or she is Caucasian, African American, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, or something in between you need to be understanding of one’s culture and be prepared for how society will treat you both.

When one is in love there are no color issues.  He or she only sees a person who is kind, considerate, loving, sweet, beautiful, and everything he or she has wanted and more.  They couple might fantasize about getting married one day and having children.  It’s easy to feel this way behind closed doors, sitting in a car with steamy windows, or living in a neighborhood where people don’t think twice about an interracial couple.  However, what happens when you make your pledge of love to your significant in front of God, family and country? 

Not everyone will be celebrating your new relationship.  Some will smile in your face and talk about you and your mate behind your back.  To this statement, most couples will say, “So what?”  Family and friends’ reactions to your news may not bother you when you don’t need them, but what happens when daddy is the one who is in control of your trust fund, mommy is paying for your college, and your grandparents have been babysitting your children from a previous relationship while you have your fun?  Things are going to get interesting when they don’t approve.

Why is it that some people don’t approve of interracial relationships?  To answer this question simply, they are fearful of the unknown or what they have heard.  If you know nothing about a race of people and they look, possibly smell and talk different than you, it isn’t easy for everyone to embrace them right away.  Worse yet, if those who are close to you do know something about a particular race of people based on what someone told them or a negative experience they may have had with a single person or group, they may not have gotten over it.  Of course, that isn’t your problem, that is theirs, but it will become your problem if you rely on them or if you choose to have children later in life.  You will have to relinquish the power they may have over you such as relying on their money and be mindful of what they may say negative to your children due to their ignorance.  Take a moment to reflect back on the things they may have said when you were a child about other races, not everyone changes with time.

The following tips may assist you with breaking the news about your interracial relationship if you haven’t already and how to react to any negativity you may experience afterward.

Be sure to be on one accord with your mate before you meet one another’s families.  In other words, if you two already have personal challenges in relating to one another due to cultural differences, you need to get those issues handled.  Learning new things about someone and how they handle debates is hard enough, then you throw in an upcoming meeting with potentially ignorant individuals and that could be disastrous.  Know each other and discuss how you both will deal with negative comments, jokes and questions as a team, not as individuals.  Family and friends will be observing whether the two of you really have a united front or are you two just temporarily lusting after one another.

Ask questions that you hadn’t thought to talk about with your mate before you visit family and friends.  If you heard something about a type of food his or her culture supposedly eats, find out if that information applies to them.  For instance, there are African Americans that don’t like watermelon and Chinese people who rather eat a McDonald’s hamburger then a bowl of rice.  Never assume anything, always ask questions.

Tell a few big mouth family members or friends in advance before you come to their home with your mate.  They will be sure to spread the news like wildfire.  You don’t need to use your mate to shock anyone, sometimes people aren’t careful what they say or do when their nerves are shocked.  Avoid the game playing or assumptions that everyone is okay with your new love’s skin color.

Curious men and women may be bold and ask very private questions about you based on stereotypes, be prepared to avoid the topic if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Stares are common when people aren’t use to seeing two different races as partners.  Discuss how it makes you feel with your partner. Talk about how you both may or may not deal with it and if it doesn’t bother you, then be sensitive to your partner’s feelings about the stares.  Research new places to go where neither of you will feel uncomfortable.

Be prepared for any personality changes toward you and your mate from the people you know.  Some may have called you more often before the news, now they may start to begin to make less and less phone calls.  Others may not want to hang out with you anymore.  This behavior is unfair, but it happens; therefore, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.  If you are willing to make sacrifices for love, then closing the door on certain relationships just may have to happen.

The ultimate confrontation is bound to happen when someone decides to boldly tell you why you shouldn’t be with him or her.  Be bold back and stand your ground.  No need to explain why you love he or she to this ignorant person.  Instead, turn the conversation back on the one making the statement, ask he or she (in a concerned voice rather than a snippy one,) “Why does my dating outside of our race bother you so much?”  Hear what they have to say.  Afterward either politely excuse your self from them or walk away, rather than argue.  Consider what he or she has just said.  Did they make a valid point?  If not, throw the negativity out of your mind.

The threats to take away what is rightfully yours are often used by family to get you to behave the way they want.  Don’t fall in this trap!  If you sincerely love your mate, material things will not matter.  Yet, if your mate seems to think more highly of your pending trust, property or some other asset you own more than you do, you will have to question whether he or she is really in the relationship for you or for what you have.

The “think about the kids” argument is a point that is often raised by ignorant people who don’t like interracial dating.  Your biggest concern won’t be with the school your children will attend in the future; instead it will be with the ignorant grandparents, aunts or uncles.  If you plan on having people who think this way around your children, you may have many problems to contend with in the future particularly if one of the children looks more like one race over the other.  Issues of favoritism, negative remarks about skin tone and hair texture, unflattering comments about body type as well as a host of other issues may come up from relatives that may potentially influence your child.

Be aware of those who seem a bit too supportive.  They are the ones who smile at you both in your faces, then stare at you weirdly behind your back.  They will tell you about someone they once considered dating outside of their race and found some excuse not to see them.  Meanwhile, they have regrets about their decision and may secretly be jealous of you and your mate.  Eventually it will be revealed to you how they really feel about your dating interracially by what someone will tell you or how they may act around others when talking about you.  Be careful, don’t reveal much about your relationship to them and no matter how tempting you may feel to want to share your frustrations about the family, don’t.  They will only go back to everyone and tell what you talked about adding fuel to the fire.

Overall, when you choose to announce that you are seeing someone outside of your race, don’t do it for shock, rebellion or other selfish reasons.  Rather, know that you are in love with your significant before you tell everyone.  Be willing to make additional sacrifices that you wouldn’t have to make if you stayed with someone in your own race.  Remember the keys to any relationship running its course for the rest of one’s life is to be willing to compromise, communicate, listen, understand, and most of all love.  Without any of these components, you won’t have much of a relationship and will only further complicate matters when you date interracially for all the wrong reasons.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of She's Crazy and Socially Sweet, Privately Cruel Abusive Men.


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