- Gender and Relationships
4 True-Life Stories of Interracial Dating "Don’ts" [part 1]
© Nicole Paschal, All Rights Reserved
In recent years, the subject of interracial relationships has been at the media forefront. In simplest terms, the media has told us which interracial couplings are most successful, which are wealthiest, which race and gender is destined to be alone, which is not, and which would rather not select the other. It is as if the intersection of race and personal relationships has become more divisive, despite the increase in interracial unions. At a time where races and ethnic groups interact equably more than ever in history, socio-cultural categorization of one’s heritage still acts as a wall between populations. Such a wall is often filled with misinterpretations, stereotypes and often ridiculous assertions that cloud proper understanding. Unfortunately, for some, interracial dating is like climbing over the Great Wall of China. Once they get over the wall (representing diversity), they’re surprised to see they are still in China. Below are true stories of what you “don’t” do when entering the world of interracial dating.
#1 Don’t assume anything. Everyone is an individual.
Tale of the Interracial Dating Don’t: My first story arises from one of my own experiences before I married. Years ago, I dated a non-Black airplane mechanic out of San Francisco. I was sure he was a very liberal guy from an equally liberal city. So, I thought he would not so easily prescribe to racial stereotypes, but I was wrong. On one specific occasion, he asked me about the soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.” I thought that was odd because it wasn’t the type of series either of us would watch. So, I told him I didn’t know about the soap opera because I don’t watch it. He replied with shock, “Really, you don’t watch it?” and continued talking in disbelief. After he pressured me about the series for some minutes, I grew agitated and explained to him why I didn’t watch. After all, he knew I was a college student, in my early twenties with a full time 3rd shift job and not a moment free. Although I am not in marketing, it was highly likely that I didn’t fit into the show’s demographic! More importantly, it’s just not my type of series. However, after dating 2 months and knowing me fairly well, the racial variable still seemed to cloud any rational thought he possessed. Finally, after explaining myself and proving I didn’t watch, I asked why he was going on about it. He replied, “Well the Black guys at work said Black women love it.” He was dismissed soon after.
Moral of the Story: There are no such things as what White guys do, Asian girls do, Black girls or Muslims do for that matter. Furthermore, only the simple-minded tend to think in terms of absolutes. You wouldn’t want to be considered simple would you? Certainly there are cultural trends amongst any population, but never should it precede your date’s individuality. For example, if your girlfriend is from India, it’s likely she may be Hindu. However, she could also be a part of the Christian, Muslim, or smaller Buddhist sects in India. There are too many individual variables in the world than to try to define someone based on the color of their skin or geographic origin. So don’t try.
#2 Interracial and Intercultural dating don’t give you permission to become a social deviant.
Tale of the Interracial Dating Don’t: A friend of mine dated a man whom I will refer to as Tim. Their relationship was both interracial and intercultural. Tim was born outside of the United States in a country with very strong conservative views towards dating, sexuality, and marriage. Also, he practiced his country’s primary religion which carried those same tough standards. In his culture, there was no sex before marriage and couples were supervised while courting, amongst other things. My friend, an American girl of a race and religion different than Tim, met him while he was working. She said he was nice and respectful, and talked early on about religion. However, on their first date, his engine was revved on high. From constantly dropping sexual innuendo to simultaneously groping and trying to kiss her, Tim was very disrespectful. As my friend protested, his reply was usually, “Oh come on.” However, between his sexual advances, she explained to him that she previously thought he was a nice, conservative, religious guy. At the end of the date, as he pulled in front of her house with his hand traveling up her thigh at that point, she quickly jumped out of the car and asked if he was the same way with women in his own country. His reply was, “No way! I can’t do this at home. They’d kill me!” Tim was sent on his way.
Moral of the Story: When interracial and intercultural dating, never alter your behavior based upon your dates geographic origin or skin color. Allow the same treatment and respect for any partner. No one appreciates disrespect despite cultural diversity.