- Gender and Relationships
True-Life Interracial Dating Dont's (Part 2)
© Nicole Paschal, All Rights Reserved
Although the American media often speaks of race as if it is a biological separation of groups, that is far from the truth. In Anthropology, we are taught something different. Race is a social construct, not a biological categorization of human populations. To us, it is something invented and perceived by humans with only a cultural basis. Why do we believe that? Well, we know that genetic makeup (genotype) passes from population to another without boundaries. There is no group that has genes that another does not. Rather, it is the frequency of the genes that diversifies one group from the next. Also, there is no phenotype (the way we look) that exists in only one group. A native of New Guinea, Central Africa, India, Australia, and an indigenous Agta (Philippines) can have very similar physical traits. Despite this, race is still often declared a hurdle to cross in interracial relationships. Just like the invention of race, the problem is social. We allow it to be an obstacle through stereotypes, misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and fear of the unknown. Some learn such lessons early, but like the story below testifies to─others learn when it’s too late. Below is part 2 of true life “don’ts” in interracial dating
3. Don’t date interracially without asking yourself the “What if this becomes serious?” question.
Tale of the Dating Don’t:Perhaps out of all the stories, this is most tragic. A relative that I will call Sarah was attractive with a gorgeous body and great personality. Men of many races and cultures often approached her. She began dating a young rookie police officer who I will only refer to as “the rookie.” Both attractive and with a lot in common, the only difference between them was race. Since he worked the nightshift, they spent almost every day together. However, when they’d leave his house to see a movie for example, he’d opt to take his police car rather than his private vehicle. Since there were rules about civilians sitting in the front seat, she sat in the back, appearing as if she was a suspect rather than his girlfriend. In the beginning, being the sweet girl she was, she was okay with it. As the relationship progressed, she grew suspicious. In addition, she never met any of his police officer friends. Whenever she questioned the issue of them only riding in his police car or the fact that she never met his coworkers, there was always an excuse.
After three years and despite the fact that she loved him, Sarah was fed up and walked away. She was certain that her race was why she was kept from his coworkers, police functions, and why he never took her out in his private vehicle. I agreed with her and was the number one supporter of her kicking him to the curb. However, the rookie would not let go so easily. She played me many answering machine messages where he was literally crying, apologizing, promising a ring, and begging her to come back. I actually began to feel sorry for him, despite my anger at how he seemed to be embarrassed of such a beautiful and smart girl. However, Sarah stood firm and never went back. A few months later I had a break in at my house. It was one of many in the neighborhood. Coincidently the rookie and two other officers came out to investigate. Although I didn’t mention Sarah, the older police officers noticed that the rookie and I were talking as if we already knew each other. Shocked that we could possibly already be affiliated, the older officer interrupted and asked the rookie, “Do you know her?” The reaction of the older cop let me know why the rookie may have been worried about letting them see Sarah. The Rookie looked at me and said sadly, “Yes, I know her. She’s related to my girlfriend.” The other cops seemed shocked, but said nothing. The rookie gave me a look as if he wanted me to go back and tell Sarah he finally said it and told them about her. I did tell Sarah and even suggested she give it another try. She didn’t. Sarah was long gone.
Moral of the Story: If you are venturing into the realm of interracial dating with the possibility of something permanent, you must consider the “what if” question. You should ask yourself if you are prepared for a public interracial union if it turns serious. Whether greeted with applause or naysayers of any race, you must decide whether you will be strong enough to profess your love for your significant other despite what anyone says. However, if you have no intent of a long-term interracial relationship, tell your partner in the beginning.
4. Don’t date interracially if you assume another race has superhuman powers.
Tale of the Dating Don’t: A friend of mine, who I will call John, always talked about how if only he could find a woman from a specific race, he’d truly be happy in his romantic relationships. John complained that his history of dating within his own race had caused him to be miserable due to his mate’s constant loudness, bickering and complaining. He also said that partners from another race possessed more attractive attributes than the overweight women within his own group. I often tried to explain to John that behavior and race was two separate things, but he was firm in his point of view. The next time I saw him, he was attempting to parallel park his car in a very small space. Moving the wheel slowly, he was trying to squeeze in without hitting the car behind him. An overweight woman stood outside the car yelling loudly and cursing so loud I could hear it as I was walking by. Pointing her finger at him through the passenger’s window from the edge of the sidewalk, she was threatening him as he repeatedly struggled to park despite her standing there. After finally getting it right, John exited his car silently with his head down. He was embarrassed and defeated. As he removed items from his trunk, the woman stood beside him still yelling about how he couldn’t park the car.This woman, although she looked and acted like the women he had complained about, was another race. John had finally found the mate of another race he was seeking, but she was the same way. Essentially, the problem wasn’t the race of John’s mate, but his choice of mates.
Moral of the Story: Some individuals have proclaimed that mates in their own race have many negative traits and if they could only find a partner in another race, they’d be better off. Newsflash, there are no racialized gene for rude, lazy, despicable, pleasant, happy, or jovial personalities. Men are men and women are women. There are only individual personalities and if you continuously date the same type, it’s time to look in the mirror.