By: Abrena Rowe ~Copy Editor~
Growing up, I was surrounded by interracial relationships because it was the norm in my family. As a child, I was never discouraged from having friends or crushes on people outside of my race. My family was nothing but supportive of my friendships and romantic preferences. The naysayers were found amongst my peers.
It’s not that I exclusively date outside of my race. I’ve actually only ever officially dated within my race, but there is no doubt that my attractions stray outside the confines of the Black community.
So why is it whenever I bring up this topic with some of my Black peers, their first reaction is to tell me I am setting myself up for failure? These claims are always followed with arguments that these types of relationships would be too much work, that the parties involved are too different from one another and the cultural barriers are too high. There would be too great of a disconnect from the way in which we were raised in order for us to connect and be able to communicate in a constructive manner.
However, I see interracial dating as a learning experience. You’re presented with the opportunity to learn and love with someone who didn’t grow up the same way you did. He or she can teach you to understand their past experiences, and you canteach them your own.
As for the ease of the relationship, no relationship is easy, and every relationship takes work. Relationships don’t exist in the realm of instant gratification, and if you don’t expect to put a little effort into it maybe dating is not for you, interracial or otherwise.
As I mentioned before, there are many examples of interracial relationships in my family. I could trace back many, many generations and list several successful marriages that had faced the test of segregation and racism. Their unions lasted because of commitment, love and devotion. These relationships include marriages I have admired my whole life, courtships I have watched develop into marriages over my lifetime and promising couples still in the early dating stages. All of which serve as models for my future relationships in some fashion, not because of the interracial aspect of the relationships, but because of the love and commitment between the people involved.
Yet, people still tell me when I point out someone I find attractive who isn’t Black that “it’ll never work out, you two are too different. He won’t understand you.” As someone who grew up bullied by her Black peers for being too “white,” that particular insult never made sense to me.
Better yet, they tell me that I’m a “traitor,” a “disappointment to my race,” or that I “can do better.” Whether they mean this as a joke or not, it still hurts. Most of my life I have grown up on the outskirts of the Black community because of things like this. At some point we have to recognize that it isn’t okay to bar others simply because they think differently.
When I hear people say “I’d never date outside of my race,” I can only think that people have no clue who they may come across in their life. How can they alienate themselves from an entire race of people if they have not personally met every single person that fits the demographic? How can one exile an entire race of people or pigeonhole themselves to one race of people?
I realize there are cultural and religious restrictions that can cause some people to date within their race. That’s fine, and I accept that.
But the people who blatantly say they are not attracted to someone simply based on the color of their skin absolutely makes zero sense to me.
I am a strong supporter of the phrase ‘love is love.’ You owe it to yourself and whoever you find yourself attracted to pursue them, especially if the attraction is mutual. Never hold yourself back from someone because you have some preconceived notion that you would never date someone like them based on a stereotype they fit.
How can you live in an environment with so many different walks of people and ostracize yourself to one type of person?