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MOVING PAST BARRIERS

October 28, 2007

I grew up in an extremely non-traditional household, raised by a gay father who befriended a diverse group of people from various cultural backgrounds.  Because of this, I was able to view human beings as individuals, taking things like skin color into account only peripherally.

Interracial dating was a no brainer and as soon as I was of age, I became an  equal opportunity dater, hooking  up with whomever I took a fancy to no matter his race.

In a less than tolerant world, my dating choices raised a few eyebrows, especially considering the fact that I grew up in the South, where dating anyone other than your “own kind” was an admission of self-loathing and treason.

I didn’t let such attitudes deter me and continued to date people from all walks of life, a fact that fostered an openness that has greatly enriched my worldview.

My husband, on the other hand, wasn’t as lucky.

He was  a blond haired, blue-eyed country boy with a slight drawl and a good nature.  In his neck of the words, interracial dating was practically unheard of and dating “black” was considered a step down.

Nonetheless, he was intensely attracted to black women.

Despite this, he pursued cheerleader type blonds although never felt satisfied in his relationships with them.

One fateful day, he had an epiphany.

He realized that he didn’t have to apologize for his likes and dislikes and that he was only hurting himself by denying his true passions.  This enabled him to no longer fear the stigma of dating “outside his race.”

Luckily for me, he took the plunge and never looked back.

Many people are where my husband was, afraid to rock the proverbial boat, even coming up with handy barriers, like cultural differences.

In the modern age, more and more blacks and minorities are starting to embrace the pervasive culture that they were born into.  Boundaries that were once in place are breaking down. For instance, many of my white ex-boyfriends were surprised to learn I enjoy  sci-fi, listen  to rock music and quote Nietzsche.

Why the surprise?  I am the product of the land in which I grew up.  A dark skinned person raised in China would adopt the ways of the Chinese.  Skin color wouldn’t dictate whether or not a person spoke a certain  language or dictate  interests.

Cultural differences are fast becoming non-existent and therefore, no longer an excuse.

Simply put, interracial dating is about choices, the choice to be attracted to a person for any number of reasons, without apology.  The world will soon catch up to this idea, in the interim,  my hubby and those like us will continue to move forward in dignity and love.

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Students on Interracial Dating and Relationships

October 28, 2007

cute interracial coupleMuch time has been spent focusing on race relations, but in the year 2007, are we even closer to understanding why it is that some of us “just can’t get along?”

Despite optimistic numbers that show that people are more accepting of interracial marriages than they have been in the past, there are still underlying tensions that are not being addressed, particularly in the realm of multicultural romance.

How is this so, when race is supposedly no longer a factor in today’s world?

As much as whites like to say that blacks play the race card and keep the animosity going, it is largely white kids who fear reactions from their parents, as “Guess who is Coming to Dinner” scenarios play out in their heads. Even worse, some consider a person of another “race”, okay for dating, but not for anything serious.

I am reminded of the case of a girl who dated a white male for some time and eventually got pregnant. While he told her he would be there for the kid (and half heartedly complied), he wouldn’t even consider marriage., as blacks were merely okay for dating only.

The article, BLACK OR WHITE , written by Heather Crothers, expounds a bit on modern ideas of race and dating relationships, from the point of view of college students.

One such student, declined to express his parents’ feelings on the matter, but junior mass communications major Jasmine Terry, said [of her mother’s outlook], “She doesn’t agree with it. She believes that everyone should stay within their own race, which I don’t agree with.”

Another question that was posed in the article, was “Is it an insult to one’s race to date outside of it?’

Student “Brown” stated, “No, I don’t think so, but honestly, I just love black women, and personally, I think every black man should at least date one black woman.”

Another Hispanic student named Donald, added, “It’s not like I’ve only dated Mexicans. I’ve dated blacks and to me, they have no respect.”

What about racial terms—should they be used in mixed relationships?

What some people had to say was eye opening.

Brown believes that, “It depends on how deep the relationship is,” but Donald argues that racial terms don’t matter because, “…. We know what we are and what we are not.”

Some said the biggest difficulty is gaining acceptance from the elderly crowd, and other concluded that the biggest difficulty is persecution from your own race and ridicule from family members who don’t accept it.

I thought I could no longer be surprised in this realm, but I suppose I was. There seemed to still be walls that should be broken down by now.

But perhaps I am impatient, and the bricks are being removed, one by one. I just hope that I will live to see the day when articles like BLACK AND WHITE, and even my own, will be looked at with confusion by a mixed, and loving, society.

That day is perhaps, closer than we think.

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TIRED OF PLAYING GAMES

October 28, 2007

Q: I have been dating this chick for going on three months now, but we have not had sex. I am trying to be respectful of her feelings, but I am starting to believe she is playing games. I really do like her, but since I am white, and she is black, I think she is afraid I am just trying to get a little “chocolate” on the side. I have assured her that this isn’t the case, but can’t seem to be make any head way. Complicating things is the fact that we work together, and there are rumors that she is hooking up with a black guy who works in our department. I would like to know what is gong on before we go any further. Should I confront her with my suspicions or just let it go and walk way?

A: Well, the answer to that lies in just how much you like this girl and if she was someone you’d known for some time prior to asking out. If so, you should be able to get a read on what she is doing. How did she treat or talk about past boyfriends? Did she strike you as a game player before?

If the answer is yes, then you already know the deal. If no, then chances are, she simply has a concern she has not expressed, which could very well be that she has developed an interest in another man.

Whatever the issues, you need to have a sit down talk with her and let her know how you feel. Not coming forward with your true feelings does you both an injustice, besides, she may feel a bit relieved to get whatever is going on with her off her chest.

It is better to know than to wonder.

If you want my true opinion, home girl could just be experiencing some jitters, especially if this is her first time getting with a white man. Despite our reputations as being sassy and over sexed, black women tend to be just emotional as about sex as any other woman. If she really likes you and has some genuine reservations, this may make her hold back.

If you want honesty, then foster an atmosphere for communication. If you come at her with anger or appeared injured, she won’t be very forthcoming. Let her know that you are willing to hear her out without judgment and she may finally spill the beans about what is stalling your intimacy.

Also, try not to take stock in office gossip. I know when I was in the corporate world, every time I grinned at a fellow African American, every one thought we were dating. Let it come from the horses mouth, otherwise assume it isn’t true unless otherwise validated.

I do hope you two will work it out, and I sincerely wish you the best!

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Side Stepping Political Correctness

October 25, 2007

In an age where simply breathing the wrong way could offend someone, we appear to be tiptoeing around fairly insignificant details.

For example, labeling someone as “that black woman” can get you written up at the office, or royally chewed out by the injured party.

But where is the offence?

As a black woman, being called “black” has never upset me.   It is simply a descriptor; no different than saying someone has blue eyes or blond hair.

At times, categorization is essential, not only for census takers, but in visualizing events, for instance, how helpful would I be if, after witnessing a robbery, I simply described the perpetrator as a  “human being?”

Interracial dating is not safe from the daunting stranglehold of political correctness, and it can be hard to balance open dialogue with respect for cultural differences.

I myself have found that knee jerk responses abound in this particular arena.  A minority person may become easily offended by an innocent remark, whereas, a white person may blithely gloss over the feelings of their date with a “get over it” attitude that can appear racist and combative.

In the past, I have been on the receiving end of the latter attitude and frankly, it rankled.

Why?  Well, if one were dating a person of the same culture, and they declared they didn’t like Chinese food, one wouldn’t say, “Hey get over that!  Who cares if you are allergic, that’s the past, let it go!”

Saying such a thing undervalues the other person’s legitimate thoughts, feelings and ideals, something you don’t want to do when you are trying to win someone’s affections.

If you plan to date interracially, you have to respect opinions and perspectives that may not jibe with your own.

Sad fact is, some individuals harbor ulterior motives when they begin to date someone of a different cultural background, either to try something “exotic”, prove they are not racist or “educate” an individual towards a particular political view.  This happens on both sides of the fence and can leave the person of interest feeling patronized and condescended to, a pawn in an  “agenda” and not a date.

People should date to get to know one another, not to prove anything.

In essence, interracial dating is a potential pc minefield, but I have distilled success in this arena down to two basic principles.  Display manners and accept varying outlooks.

If you are dating a guy or gal of color that wants to be called African-American, don’t roll your eyes.

It is not about political correctness.

It is about the individual and respecting their point of view.

When we remove politics and agenda’s from the racial dating scene, a surprising thing happens-we start to see the other person as a fellow human being.   In doing so, we   find the common ground we didn’t think existed, learn a thing or two and maybe, just maybe, find love in the process.

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Top Interracial Dating Do’s and Don’ts

October 21, 2007

During my many years in the interracial dating scene, I was asked numerous questions that began with the phrase, “Why do you people …?”

Irritation scale? Ranks right up there with nails on a chalkboard.

Individuals who asked such loaded questions often failed to realize that the query made me feel as if race was all they saw when they looked at me. Black people are not hive- minded zombies. We all have varying points of views and outlooks, just like any other group. I am no more a delegate for all blacks than a Caucasian person would be for all whites.

Such experiences lead me to compile my own personal list of do’s and don’ts for interracial dating. Many of these would apply in any dating culture, but some are very specific to bi-racial romance.

FIVE DO’S

1-Show respect for differing opinions. You can be passionate about your beliefs while allowing others the right to their individual worldview.

2 -Be upfront and clear about your dating objective. Are you looking for a casual relationship? Marriage? Starting off with similar goals in mind can make for greater dating success.

3-Be attentive. Talking all over your date or zoning out is sure fire way to appear self centered and is a huge date killer.

4-Turn off your cell phone! Answering a ringing phone is disruptive, rude, and unless you are a trauma doctor, inexcusable.

5 -Dress to impress. Showing up well groomed and looking nice makes your date feel appreciated and valued.

FIVE DON’TS

1-Never start a conversation with “Why do you people?” No matter how well intentioned the question, it will appear racist and put your date on the offensive.

2-Leave religious and political topics alone. Knowing where someone stands on the issues is important, but the first few dates are not the time to bring them up

3-Don’t make assumptions. Disregard tall tales and racial stereotypes; look at your date as an individual.

4- Never treat your date like a flavor of the week. I actually had one guy exclaim, “I also want to date an Asian girl and a Hispanic girl before I get married.” Gee, glad I could oblige your checklist…

5-Never treat your date like an escort. A man I met online once asked me to come to the back door of his home so no one would know he was dating a black girl. I gave him a not so polite “no”. If you are not in a place where you would be proud to be seen in public with your companion, then you may not be ready for interracial dating.

Interracial dating can be eye opening and fun with the right mindset. I eventually met and married a wonderful man in that world, and I am blissfully happy. No matter your goals, if you come into this multifaceted environment with an open heart, you can be richly rewarded.

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Interracial Dating Equals Deviant Behavior?

October 15, 2007

One day, I ran across a book that detailed unusual and deviant sex acts. The thing wasn’t mine, but had somehow found it’s way into a box of my old drawings and knick-knacks.

Figuring it belonged to an ex roommate, I picked it up and started to read.

The book was, shall we say, enlightening…

You name it, human beings have done it! From eyeball licking to, I swear to God, mucous sucking, there seemed no end to the depravity found in this extremely thick hardcover.

It’s been several years, so I can barely recall the actual name (I do know it had “deviant” and/or “unusual” in the title and was penned by a female doctor). I also remember that the PhD’s tone was clinical, detailing information in an encyclopedic sort of way.

As far as perverse entertainment value went, I somewhat enjoyed the read, that is, until I happened upon a chapter about interracial dating.

What sticks out in my mind to this day, is the fact that the non-judgmental feel found in the rest of book was nonexistent in this section. The woman made it clear that she felt individuals who engaged in interracial dating and sex truly hated themselves, as well as members of their own race. She went further, eluding that people who had an interest in anyone other than his or her own race, was mentally ill.

I was flabbergasted to say the least, especially since the book had been written in the 1990’s, and not the early fifties, as one would assume by such blatant racism.

I put the book away and never picked it back up.

Since that time, I have learned that there are still a few psychology textbooks that proclaim that those indulging in interracial dating and or interracial activities are considered sexual deviants.

What gives!

How can we preach the idea of racial equality, yet say intermixing isn’t psychologically sound? A man can like a blond, a red head, a short girl, a fat girl, tall girl, or Jersey girl and no one thinks it is a mental illness, but if a man prefers Asians, suddenly his attraction is deviant?

How can an adult and reasonable person’s attraction to a fellow Homosapien, who happens to be dark, white, light or any variant thereof, be considered deviant?

We are not talking about a guy wanting to date a cow here, (also detailed in the book) we are talking about mixed couples finding one another attractive.

Now, I am not one to start crusades, but by gum, I would gladly do so in this regard.

Mankind can’t evolve until it gets past the idea that looking different means a person is somehow substandard and unworthy of consideration by members of the opposite sex in any given race.

I say, let’s start a revolution today, and I will begin the festivities by finding and burning that blasted book!

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Ebony and Ivory-Prefect E-Harmony

October 10, 2007

Interracial Singles offers more ways to connect than a lot of the sites I have been reviewing thus far.  With an impressive list of features, you can sign up for free to gain access to a  photo albums & gallery, send messages anonymously, post on interracial message boards, participate in  interracial chat, send smiles and search Interracial Personals 2-Way Matching.

The site itself states that interracial singles is an “Online personals for interracial singles or those seeking interracial relationships.” And is one of a small list that offers the service.

I liked the layout of the site very much as it was easy to navigate  the color choices  were soothing and there was a hassle free quick search option right on the home page.

As I often have  a want to do when the option is available, I performed a search, first as a man seeking a woman, to check out what would be competition if I wasn’t married.  What I found was a very nice selection of profile photo thumbnails, with sexy and attractive ladies to choose from.  Of course, once I clicked on a picture, I was taken to a registration page, but after seeing the  1-9  offerings out of  1000  of  profiles, if I was a guy,  I’d been coming up with a sure fire user  name and password.

Out of curiosity,  I performed another  search, just  to see what the pics on the male side of things looked like.

All I can say is that such hotness sought to be illegal!

The success story on the first page is another selling point, as it is sincere and definitely romantic.

Written by a woman who called herself louised01, the posting reads, “At first, I honestly didn’t believe I could find “the man that could capture my heart and mind”…Well, when I first saw him in person, for the first time ever in my life, “my knees went weak”, that may sound corny to some, but it actually happened and I am finally experiencing what I hear others talk about. He is the man that I need and want, someone that refuses to let me “run away” because of fear. Like a good book, I look forward to each new chapter with him and a very happy ending!!”

Now, there are those who have wanted to take the plunge into intercultural dating, who have always felt something of an attraction for people on the “other side of the fence.”  Indulge your fantasies and go for it.  It doesn’t matter what other people think.  We have but one life, and in the end, it is we alone who must walk into that good night to meet our maker.  Do you want to be swimming in the regret that you didn’t pursue your own dreams out of fear of what someone else might say or do?

Love knows no color or boundary-sign up for Interracial Singles and find your hearts desire, today.

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