Tips for Interracial Dating
What To Do When Your Friends and Family are Prejudiced Toward Your Date
Dear April Masini,
I'm a freshman in college and just met an amazing guy who's also a freshman. We are so compatible together and I know my friends from home would all love him, except that he's white. Nobody at my college has a problem with interracial relationships, but people in my hometown will definitely not understand why I'm dating a white guy. This guy is more amazing than anyone I've ever met, so shouldn't my friends and family just be happy for me?"
April Masini's Advice :
Differences between men and women start with gender and can include race, religion, political outlook, and economics. And that’s just for starters! Differences loom from sleeping with the window opened or closed; wanting kids and not wanting kids; living in the city or living in the country – and goes on – depending on the amount of tolerance existing within the couple. Race differences are often more volatile than other differences because they are visual and obvious, whereas other differences between men and women have to be sought out in the form of clues like listening for hints in jokes told, reading bumper stickers on their cars, and trying to figure out what they like by their appearance, lifestyle, and possessions purchased.
Feedback from family and friends
When a man wants a woman .... or a woman wants a man ... and she hasn't been lucky in love, it's a great idea to expand options and look outside the box we all start out looking within. In doing so there will ALWAYS be feedback from family and friends about whether the relationship is "good enough" or "bad news." Everyone likes to check in on your date – in case you hadn’t noticed! Lots of people have ideas about what is going to make a good relationship or a bad relationship, and many people have a lot of trouble with men or women dating and marrying outside their racial, religious, economic and educational backgrounds. In fact, this is such an overwhelming problem, it’s been the stuff of great literature – from Romeo and Juliet to Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. So if you are dating someone who is another race, EXPECT to hear dissenting views. It's your choice what to do next. Here are some ways to handle a situation you're uncomfortable with.
When someone speaks badly of your date because of their race
- Walk away. Avoid conflict.
- Address the comment by saying, "I'm sorry you don't see what I do in my date. You're missing out."
- You can also say, "It makes me depressed to hear you talk like that. If you can't say anything positive then I'd rather you didn't say anything." Your critic will then either take the hint and clam up, change his or her views or continue to engage you, at which point you should walk away.
- You can dig deeper with the critic of your relationship by saying, "Have you always felt this way about people who are other races than you are? Where do you think these feelings of yours came from?"
Understand that it takes some people a long time to break out of patterns of behavior and thinking that they may have -- including prejudice. Rather than fighting it head on, try to understand that it usually stems from fear of differences. If you can see the person criticizing your dating outside your race as someone who is fearful and needs help, you may be able to let any of your own anger about the situation go.