Monday, December 19, 2011

What your parents can’t tell you about interracial dating


The truth is interracial dating is a lot more like all other forms of dating than some people would like to admit.  And maintaining an interracial relationship is still about the same things that none interracial dating is about.  Two people deciding if they can commit to each other.  Everything else is media driven hype.  Personally I’m not completely for or against interracial relationships, gay relationships, or hetero relationships between members of the same ‘race’.  I am on the side of love and love being able to infuse tolerance in all relationships regardless of the over reaching societal implications to forming a relationship. 

I find it interesting that everyone is willing to admit that interracial relationships suffer more problems than a same race relationship.  The fascinating part is all the reasons that are stated as to why that is that have nothing to do with the REAL reason why.  During this litany of reasons people will list things like suffering from the discrimination of others and what you will put your poor children through.

Stats
Ask someone why they are against interracial relationships and they will probably tell you all the things ‘other’ people will put you through.  Seeing as most of these people offering this helpful advice have usually not been in interracial relationships I find myself believing that they are telling you what they have put other people through.  Trust me, once you are in only one interracial relationship the knowledge carried away makes the experience worth it. Only someone who has not had a true caring relationship with someone of another race can hold on to the idea that these should not be seen out.  And usually in their descriptors for the ills of interracial relationships they refuse to even admit the real reason.  There is only one, ignorance.  Ignorance breeds hate, confusion, lies and ultimately untested theories of truth.

Family
The truth is that if your family has lived in America for a certain number of years in certain locales you like I have interracial relationships to thank for your current existence.  Therefore I think the lowest and most villainous reason people will ever give you is the aspect that you are somehow hurting potential future children by being in an interracial relationship. This is the lowest form of manipulation because it takes advantage of the idea that people want to put their children in the best possible position to achieve and live a full life.  The truth is only useless people live uninteresting lives that have enabled them to never confront with any adversity.  Without conflict children cannot become strong enough to deal with the pangs of life.  They instead become people who don’t understand how to deal when life deals them a rough hand and they have a hard time recovering.  If nothing else being of a multiracial identity builds perseverance, self- reliance and a need to develop a strong self-identity.

Often enough people who have been in interracial relationships will cite one more thing.  This thing is the way the couple actually relates to race with each other. Because race exists as a social construct the members of the couple will often have ingrained ideas that are a reflection of their thoughts on race.  More often than not the person that is willing to date outside of their race is also the person least willing to deal with the implications of race in the world.  They will often ignore and admonish the other party for being too sensitive while that party will criticize and judge the other for not being sensitive enough.  The bigger issue with this is the fact that both are actually so sensitive to the race issue that they make what other people perceive the entire focus of the relationship.  When actually it should bare as much weight as choosing a place to have dinner. That is where maturity comes in.

I will be the first to admit interracial dating does have issues that same race relationships don’t have.  The number one issue is whether or not the participants are mature enough to deal with a society that isn’t mature enough for open none guilt laden interracial dating.  The most damning and hurtful aspect to this is finding out the truth about the people you love.  Because in the course of even contemplating this as a choice you will learn beyond a shadow of a doubt where the people you love stand.  It doesn’t matter how ‘open’ the bulk of your friends and family are, someone in your immediate life will have a problem with it.  The people involved have to determine from point jump if being with this person is worth the potential drama proposed by others outside of the relationship.  This branches out to friends, co-workers, and casual strangers.  Yes you will notice a difference in how people treat you.  And if that isn’t enough to make you understand how alive and well racism still is then you need to give it a shot just to see.  Take minute and understand the nature of your privilege.

Hands
The issue with race is that it somehow negates something that is always present in relationships. With human beings comes opinions and people will judge whom you are with regardless of what they bring or don’t bring to the table.  People find issues with class, gender, ableism, you name it.  Some people will even complain about television and music preferences.  The bottom line is that no matter who you are with, there is going to be someone in your life who doesn’t really like them or the fact that you are together.  Maturity determines how much you let that dictate who is right for you and who isn’t.  In the end all those other people aren’t there and can’t really determine what is best for you.  Only you can do that.

Race is an insidious thing because it is solely dependent on perception.  Most times as many online ‘identify the race’ simulations prove, you can’t really tell what ‘race’ someone is by their appearance alone.  The human genome project has ventured into a wide array of explanations regarding this and why assumptions about personality, work ethic, or morality cannot be judged by the color of a person’s skin.  All human life on earth right now can be traced to a male and female ancestor in Africa.  This is not theorized or presumed, this is science. This is fact.

We as people have different experiences that have shaped us.  Many of these experiences have racial overtones because of the country that we live in.  We are all shaped by only watching bad racial stereotypes in our media, by accepting casual racism as a fact of life, and by not speaking up when unfair discrimination is taking place.  Every time you look away in the guise of ‘this isn’t a big deal’ is when you let it win.  When you don’t take something seriously that has the potential to hinder another person’s liberties and civil rights then you let it win. Because you aren’t personally exposed to this treatment does not mean it doesn’t exist.  In case you haven’t noticed racial demographics change every day.  When does the day come that you are the one being visited with this treatment that you choose to ignore?  Stop ignoring it, deal with it, and be the change that we all need to see.

Stats courtesy of http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/legacy/68-interior.gif

Family Courtesy of http://www.thegrio.com/assets_c/2010/04/celebs_interracial_marriages_proves_grass_not_greener_on_other_side-thumb-400xauto-8484.jpg

Hands Courtesy of http://multiamerican.scpr.org/files/2011/03/hands-300x423.jpg