Societies over the globe are growing to be more diverse with every year. As representatives of different races, cultures, and ethnicities increasingly meet each other on a daily basis, interracial dating becomes reality for many couples. It happens naturally as people are attracted to each other my similarity of souls, ideas, and characters that can transgress racial boundaries. Inter racial dating and marriage have some pros and cons to dating someone of a different race, many of them connected to the boundaries between races that still exist in most societies.
The most obvious downside is that people most probably come from different cultural backgrounds, which can generate misunderstanding on many issues. This is not necessarily true since two people that were born in the US can have more common culture to share, even being of different race, than, say, two Africans coming from different countries. However, some ethnic patterns concerning male-female relationships, gender roles, etc, do persist and can prove problematic in close relationships.
At the same time, learning about your date’s culture can be exciting. An interracial couple can celebrate the holidays of both cultures, learn about each other’s family history, and so on. I would even say that dating someone of another race and culture can expand one’s world outlook and enrich cultural knowledge. My date enjoys listening about our customs and loves coming to our family for celebration of our national holidays.
Learning one’s family history can also be exciting and shed light on day-to-day lives of someone coming from a different background. A person in an interracial relationship will want to learn about the other’s life, family stories, immigrants will want to share the history of how they came to the US, all of which can prove very exciting and deepen understanding of how the experiences of other races can differ from our own.
On the downside, interracial dating evolves in a society in which many people have stereotypes about who should date whom. The US, for instance, a few centuries ago, had anti-miscegenation laws that prevented white Americans from marrying Asians, and the laws against white-black marriages were repealed only as a result of the Civil Rights Movement in the middle of the twentieth century. This divide can still be in the minds of the people, though, and interracial couples have to consider this sad reality.
Parents, for instance, can be opposed to the fact that their child may be dating someone with an undesirable racial background. None of us is eager to live up to the parents’ views all one’s life simply because these views may be outdated, but the need to explain and defend one’s position in the family can be troublesome for many people. Many of us have found that parents are seldom happy with the child’s choice, and in many families a different race of the girl/boyfriend raises the probability that this person is not accepted in one’s family.
In my personal experience, however, this will matter very little if the couple is devoted. Being Asian, I date a white American girl, and so far we have encountered almost no resistance in our families or among friends. If we had, we would hardly have cared anyway. Moreover, I believe that meeting with disapproval teaches one to stand up for one’s ideals and beliefs. This is a good opportunity to test one’s convictions about diversity and equality of all people and see if one can apply it to one’s own life. I think that someone who has had a relationship with a person of a different race has a much lower chance of acting in a racist way later in life because the memory of being close to the person of a different race will usually keep one from challenging intelligence and morality of other races, unless racial stereotypes were the reason for the failure of this relationship.
However, I believe that starting an interracial relationship simply because one wants to defy the society is hardly a good idea. In my personal experience, a friend of mine, being a white girl, started dating an Afro-American guy merely to defy her parents, whom she saw as too restrictive and also prejudiced. They had not liked her previous white boyfriend who did not conform to their ideal, so she decided to challenge them by choosing someone who would even less fit into their ideas. Surely everybody can make personal choices like this, but I really felt sorry for the guy who fell for the girl’s good looks. As had to be expected, it turned out to be a very messy and short relationship, full of frustration for both sides that took part in it. This example proves that dating someone of a different race simply to show that you are not a racist may not be worth it, since it is going to involve another person who deserves a personal attitude, instead of serving as showcase for one’s political convictions.
Overall, interracial dating is less dependent on race and more on personal qualities of the individual people. As we know, racist attitudes exist in every race, and in every race there are people who are open-minded and ready to see personal qualities in a human being as opposed to the racial stereotypes. This is the way my girlfriend and I try to go – seeing each other as individuals with specific character traits and convictions rather than representatives of a group. The main thing about such dating is to realize that a person does not have to share all stereotypical qualities of a certain group. For instance, Asian men are often believed to have a domineering attitude towards women, but I do not think that I share this quality.
The main key to successful interracial dating therefore is to disregard the racist trends in the society that surrounds you and to go your own way. Cultural differences can be harder to overcome but they are compensated by the opportunity to learn about a different culture. Overall, the cons of such dating are compensated by its pros, and like any relationship, mutual understanding and affection is the guide to sorting out whatever problems may arise.
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