Today we're putting Shey On Blast with: When should it be a problem that someone dates outside his or her race?
Seems odd that we would still have this discussion in 2005, but in the eternal words of the irreverent Wendy Williams, “It is what it is.” Dating and marriage are complicated regardless of the race and cultural background of individuals. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 20% of ALL marriages end in divorce within the first five years. Consciously or unconsciously, we normally date individuals that remind us of either our parental figure(s) or a role model of our youth. This doesn’t always turn-out well, since not all parental figures or role models are positive ones. That said, dating and marriage require extreme compromise and the ability to work together to overcome various obstacles. These issues are compounded in interracial relationships, since the added stressor of validating and justifying your racial differences to others can sometimes be just the added pressure that breaks the dating/marriage bond. Those who can weather the reactions of outsiders can, and many times do, build strong, lasting relationships that are anchored in love, trust and the commitment to respect your partner. Unfortunately, stereotypes, biases and cultural differences can also wreak havoc on an unprepared interracial couple. Understanding your partners upbringing, cultural observances and general quirks can ease unnecessary and, sometimes, petty tensions. Maturity also plays an intricate role in the survival of relationships. Feeling comfortable with who you are, your culture, your upbringing and those of your partner will prevent insecurities rooted in misconceptions. Not all black folks smell like a monkey house after a long day; not all white folk’s hair smells like dog after being wet; not all Asian folks smell like scallions and soy; not all Latinos put garlic in everything short of their coffee. All said, you should date people for the right reasons. Be sure that the person you date is respectful, kind, attractive-to-you and attracted-to-you. Spend time together and insure that you have things in common. If you feel you have to change the way you speak, dress, your friendship circles, visits to your family, etc. to accommodate a relationship – especially an interracial one - you must ask yourself why that is. So in answer to your question Shey… if you have to change who you are or feel someone is altering who they really are, to engage in a relationship, something is wrong. Outside of those parameters, anyone would be ignorant and ill informed to fuel the fires of prejudice and racial hatred to avoid a promising relationship with an individual based on their race.
Keep passin’ the open windows…