With the increase of minority populations and the rising openness toward biracialism, it makes sense that dating outside your own race has become more common in recent years.
According to the Atlanta Black Star, “Married couples who identified their marriage as interracial grew by 28 percent from 2000 to 2010, making 8.4 percent of all current U.S. marriages mixed-raced.”
To go from prohibiting miscegenational marriage prior to 1967 (though Alabama gets the longest side-eye, officially legalizing in 2000), to mixed relationships becoming so common that they’re ubiquitous not only on television but amongst friends and families, is insane.
The article “Cross Colors” documents the accelerated pace of interracial intermingling in the early 1990’s. At the time, the dating scene was just beginning to find its way into mainstream media ads. The author explains that “Although interracial coupling is certainly nothing new, how people are meeting is definitely changing.”
“From personal ads and highly specialized dating services to cross-cultural mixers, 900-numbers, special-interest support groups and magazines, those interested in dating outside their race have a plethora of avenues to wander.”
Hollywood has long been on the scene, but the last two decades (hello, “Save The Last Dance” and “Pocahontas”) have seen a new level of reception. Whole Instagram pages are dedicated to these lovely couples, and a quick glance around any room shows these new blended families are the new norm.
An Elle article notes the ubiquity of the new norm by noting that the show “Scandal,” “Rarely ever mentions race, and that’s the point. It seems common that Liv oscillates between two white men.” Ironically, however, critics claimed Kerry Washington’s role was actually a setback because her character had to hide her love with the white, higher-powered President.
Even with statistical evidence and mainstream media reception though, many people still can’t help but question the authenticity of mixed relationships. The Kardashian clan constantly receives criticism for their choice of men. The sports world collects just as much flak. Genuine relationships between people of two different colors are persistently muddled up with those based on convenience, stereotype and status.
Still, although certain aspects of dating outside your race have been criticized, you should by no means be discouraged from trying your hand at interracial romance. We are long past the era of (legalized) segregation, which makes dating exclusively within your race akin to limiting your diet to one type of food. For the rest of your life.
Be warned though, just because you may be open to miscegenational dating doesn’t mean everyone is as graceful as they could be in avoiding potential culture clashes.
So, here are a few tips for navigating this crazy new world and making sure you don’t end up as one of these dating horrors:
DO: Accept Your Partner’s Identity
If the person you’re interested in identifies with a specific race, honor that. Whether they are white and claim Scottish, or black and want to be referred as African American, it really shouldn’t matter.
I actually had a boy tell me to say I was Guyanese or from another African country because black was “boring.” I looked different so I had to be from somewhere “exotic.”
DON’T: Date Like You’re Playing Bingo
Honesty is one of the most important factors in a relationship, but there’s honest and then there’s ignorant. You should have an open discussion about your previous dating and sexual history, especially if this is your first time interracially dating.
But for God’s sake, do not tell them this is your first time “trying them out” like they’re a sampler platter, or do the “I usually don’t go for your type” shtick. Just please, stop.
DO: Talk to Your Families
A good majority of the time, parents have more of an issue with these blended borders than the couple involved. Have a talk with that racist uncle and let him know any “jokes” won’t be tolerated around your boo.
You shouldn’t have to make an announcement, but ensuring you avoid any awkward encounters beforehand can help your boyfriend or girlfriend when meeting your family.
DON’T: Date for the Babies
The first time I posted pictures of my Mexican boyfriend onto my Instagram, I had a friend comment, “Now you can get your mixed babies.” With a heart emoji. I was honestly so embarrassed all I could do was delete it and hope no one I followed would assume this was a goal for me.
When you date, make sure you have the right intentions and that you’re actually interested in their personality, or — if you’re shallow and can admit if confidently their looks. But seeking a significant other solely to make some little North West’s is creepy. That’s what sperm banks are for.
DO: Share Your Backgrounds
You shouldn’t hide traditions you find important for the sake of avoiding conflict. If you celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas, take it as a learning opportunity to share.
Whether it’s in the bedroom or kitchen, please don’t expect certain things from your partner just because they range a different shade of mocha.
Most people don’t cook traditional meals on the daily, and not everyone cares to speak their native language. Don’t force it.
This sort of falls under “don’t stereotype,” but I decided to make it its own special little category. In another disheartening anecdote, upon asking a boy’s preferences, he stated he liked dating within his race (Latino), but said that us black girls “had more booty.” Yes. Dating for booty.
Needless to say, it is perfectly okay to have preferences. Everyone has a type and relationships take a certain level of attraction to stay spicy. But, know the difference between liking the skinny Asian in your stats class, and liking her because she’s Asian and skinny.
Like that song goes, “We’re all the same when the lights go down.” Show a common respect for all people and just have fun.