10 Pitfalls About Interracial Relationships 27

Interracial Love I should start off with an apology at the negative tone of this post’s title; but I believe that people should know the negatives upfront, get past them (if they want to) and then go on to pursue their dreams.

I love sharing my experiences and opinions with others (hence why I’m a blogger). Dating interracially is one of the topics I have no issues talking about. However, in the past 24 hours, I was censored from another blog that focused on interracial realtionships — specifically Black women who date interracially — because of my comments regarding White and Black men and the disparity in their penis size (which is ultimately a non-issue: read on, and you’ll see why). Rather than focus on blogging about this fruitless subject, I began to think about why these are such hotbed topics to begin with. Why is it, on the heels of 2012, are we so fascinated with racial distinctiveness, yet not interested at all in what unites us? And what unites us…as human beings…is the longing to find a mate, and be fully accepted by them.

Unfortunately the “battle for love” is one that is fought among people of all persuasions. With a divorce rate of well over one-third, we all have a lot on our plate when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship. But still, interracial romantic relationships present a whole new set of challenges. Here are ten of them…and this list is far from being exhaustive.

#1 – Yourself. When you enter into an interracial relationship, you have to sit down, and make an honest assessment of yourself. Do you have the strength, courage, tenacity, and patience to deal with the issues that being in an interracial relationship poses? Can you deal with the criticism from your family? If you family is accepting, can you deal with the disdain from the public? What about your co-workers? Do you have it in you to be an “educator” or a “token” of diversity?

In all honesty, some people deal with this splendidly. They do not care about what other people think about them and they are not deterred if no one (or if only a few) around them are doing what they are doing. But some people are just the opposite. And that is ok. But you have to know what type of person you are; you have to know what your social limitations are, before you can consider dating interracially.

#2 – Family. Without a doubt, the impact of family on your relationship has a lot to do with the emotional independence of the couple. Many people could simply care less about what their parents or family think about their life choices. But many people do. Thankfully, in my experience, most families are at least quietly tolerant of interracial relationships. They may not like it, but most parents aren’t disowning their children over it. But they may feel alienated and not connected to your significant other. If this is the case, take the high road and be polite, kind and thoughtful. Don’t give them any “weapons” to use against you. But maintain that you should be respected. If there is any disrespect, then cut your losses. You are in a relationship with a person…not a family. Just make sure that your significant other is supporting you unabashedly when their family is in the wrong. If not, then it may be a warning sign. You don’t want to end up like that chick that was calling Dr. Laura.

#3 – The Public. This one is tricky and multifaceted. On one hand, you have absolutely no control or influence over how strangers treat you. If you go out with your significant other, be prepared for at least one grossly ignorant comment shot your way at least once per month. I usually choose to ignore such people. However under no circumstances do I shrink away from my status. So when people say, “Oh are you his girlfriend?” with a raised eyebrow, I don’t hesitate to answer in the affirmative. Shirking away from your lover in public is disrespectful on so many levels!

#4 – The Minority Community. I was tempted to put “The Black Community” there, but these issues are not unique to White/Black couplings. Sadly, the minority community will label those who date outside of their race as “sellouts”. This makes no sense, but many people still hold on to this. In a nutshell, just because someone chooses to date outside their race, does not mean that they hate themselves or others from their own community.

From a personal perspective, I never saw interracial relationships as problematic…in spite of having grown up in a place and time where it was relatively rare (although this is, thankfully, no longer the case). Although I didn’t understand the details of it, my father’s mother was of South Asian decent: her parents were Bengalis who came to Jamaica as indentured servants. They had 7 children and only 2 of those 7 married other South Asians. The rest, including my grandmother, married and had children with Black Jamaican men. No one demonized my grandmother for this, because she was born and raised in a country where 90% of the population was Black. Here in the United States, yes, we are blessed to have a diverse society with large, vibrant communities of different cultures. The downside to that however is people grow to believe that in order to insure the survival of your culture or community, you have to marry only within that particular community.

#5 – Other Interracial Couples. Now this is an interesting (and surprising) one. 5 years ago, I automatically saw anyone else who was dating interracially as my ally…or at least a kindred spirit. I no longer think this way by default. While I’m not sure if this is bred by jealously or insecurity, the end result is ongoing challenges to the integrity of your own relationship.

I’ve seen this in all sorts of incarnations. Other Black women who date interracially (including my BF’s ex), seem quick to make judgement calls on the quality of our relationship (in spite of having very limited information available). Many websites and blogs that seem to celebrate interracial relationships are really just a front to perpetuate very narrow views on why interracial relationships are “ideal”, “preferred” or “superior”. Well at the end of the day, no romantic relationship, interracial or not, is the same. People who imply this, usually have serious issues with my next pitfall.

#6 – Stereotypes. In regular conversation, I’ve been known to freely state that “I hate stereotypes”. Well this is not untrue…but it also doesn’t tell the entire story. You see, stereotypes do have some basis in fact. That “fact” can be concrete, or not so concrete. In addition, stereotypes must exist in that they are important in regards to social learning and the assessment of others. So what I really have an issue with is the improper application and use of stereotypes.

If you are in an interracial relationship, you cannot discount the power of stereotypes. Even if you yourself do not put a lot of weight on them, others around you do. You have to accept this, and you also have to decide how much weight that you personally will place on these stereotypes perpetuated by others…whether they be true or untrue. For example, there is the stereotype out there that Asian women are submissive and obedient. Now an interracial couple that includes an Asian woman has a fight on their hands no matter what in this regard; because if the woman is not the submissive and obedient type, then they have to decide how much effort (if any) they are going to put into combating this stereotype. If the woman is in fact submissive and obedient by nature, then they are going to have to fight for the legitimacy of their relationship in that it means more to them than just a man trying to get a woman who will obey him.

In addition, do not buy into disparaging stereotypical comments made about yourself or your relationship either. Statements like “Oh, she’s the type that would date Black men.” or “You’re the type of Black woman that White men wouldn’t like.” is just projected negativity. People who make such statements have some sort of issue with other people being happy, even though it is masked as “wisdom” and advice. Everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness, and also to be free to define what “happiness” means to them!

Interracial couples also have to examine the stereotypes that they hold between each other. Did you hook up with a Black man because of his sexual prowess? Are you dating Asian men because you want smart children? Both notions are incredibly foolish and dismissive of the deep and true qualities of romantic relationships. Which leads me to my next pitfall…

#7 – Fetish vs. Attraction. Yes, this is a very real and touchy issue. Today’s society is a “pick and choose” type of place where we are use to having lots of options. Well this type of attitude does not translate very well over into the romantic arena, and yet, many people approach their love life like shopping in a mall. When you are dating, it is especially important to determine how the other person sees you. Are you being seen as a potential mate, or as this person’s next adventure?

A tell-tale sign of this is if the person is reluctant to bring you around family and friends; or only willing to see you under certain circumstances. But I also think it is fair to not confuse a fetish with genuine attraction. While society may push out an “ideal” in regards to physical beauty, the truth of the matter is, we all have our own individual preferences. A White man who hangs up a picture of Pamela Anderson is not accused of having a fetish for buxom blondes. Likewise, a man that has a preference for the body and features of Black women shouldn’t be labeled as having a fetish or of being shallow. This goes for anyone. It is sad that we are still not free to be honest and say “Hey, I like ____” because of social stigmas. Acknowledging and loving the differences between us is not fetishism. We are not just souls floating around; we are a package of bodies and souls. While it sound utopic to just “focus on what’s on the inside”…that is just not reality. We shouldn’t pretend like it is either.

So the bottom line is you are free to like what you like. You are an individual, so lust over your well-endowed Black man, or thin, golden-locked blonde bombshell. But at the end of the day, you cannot base an entire relationship on physical qualities. You don’t have to deny that you like them…but real love goes much deeper than that.

#8 – Educating. If you are in an interracial relationship for the first time, or your partner is, prepare yourself for a steep social learning curve. It can easily be overcome…if the two of you are open-minded and honest with yourselves. You also have to know when and when not to take things personally. Ignorance is not an excuse for insensitivity. Take Black women’s hair for instance. There is no need to “call out” and make statements about the things that we do to our hair. Just like there is no need to “call out” you mother or grandmother for dying her hair. Keep things in perspective. Think about your partner as yourself for a moment. How would you liked to be asked about your body…your heritage…and your customs? If you honestly don’t know, then tell your partner this. Make it a point to be sensitive…but also make it a point to learn.

Even if you significant other is comfortable with an interracial relationship and has previous experience with one, you still are not off the hook. Other people will ask you “Why” a lot. I’m not in the habit of explaining my actions to others; but I do like to use examples and analogies. The truth is interracial dating may not be all the rage, but it is not rare either. Many famous people date interracially and have long-standing, successful relationships. Sometimes people just need to understand that you are not a trailblazer; that their own limited experience does not translate over into what society is really like.

#9 – Making a Statement. For what its worth, I’m very much against highlighting interracial relationships as a way to make some sort of social, economic, or political statement. To me, love is love. You are blessed whenever you have someone to love you — no matter what their color may be! Beyond that, the rest is just commentary. However that is just me. Like I mentioned previously, you have no control on what others think or do; and most likely, many will assume that your choice to date interracially is the result of some sort of ulterior motive on your behalf.

Well I’m not going to lie, and say that this isn’t true in regards to some interracial relationships and people who date interracially. But you can’t be bothered with every interracial relationship…you have to stay focused on yours. Only you, and hopefully your partner, know the true nature and motivation of your relationship. From there, do you best to live it out…both publicly and privately. But be forewarned, if you are dating interracially to make some sort of statement, then you are providing a disservice to your significant other and your relationship. It won’t take long for them to realize that they are just a pawn, and one day, the game will come to an end. So keep that in mind. Focus on the interior…on your life, and the home you are building with your mate; THEN worry about public perceptions.

#10 – Know Your Ultimate Desires. What do you want from a romantic relationship and how does dating interracially contribute to that? It sounds like a “duh” question…but it really is quite deep. For example, you may love the excitement of having sex with a Black woman; but you would be uncomfortable fathering biracial children. You may have no problem dating non-Christian men, but ultimately, you want to get married in a church and raise Christian children. So you have to be realistic. What issues are you willing to compromise on and deal with in the long term?

And the sooner you do this, the better. Trust me, it is pretty devastating to date someone for a year or two, only to have them “admit” to you that they can’t envision having children with you. A big reason why relationships (not just interracial ones) fail is because of not sharing the same goal…or being on “different pages” so to speak. If you don’t know what you want, then no one else does either. And when you know what you want, be sure to communicate that with your partner so that they can determine if the two of you want the same things.

So on that note, I’m going to finish up with a segment from The View where they discuss interracial relationships. It goes without saying that I totally agree with Whoopi here; and that Sherri presents an example of some of the negative feelings that get projected out from the minority community.

Share Away!
Tweet about this on Twitter3Share on Facebook69Share on Google+2Share on LinkedIn1Pin on Pinterest8Digg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon2Buffer this pageEmail this to someone
  • Michaela Coel

    Thanks for this, very insightful and intelligently put.
    I agree with you completely; that we are blessed to have someone that loves us regardless of their race. It’s nice to hear a different viewpoint other than the usual which tends to be something along the lines of “date white men, they don’t mind if you wear a headscarf to bed”.

    Thanks again

    • http://www.rishona.net/ Shona

      Thank you Michaela; I’m glad you enjoyed!

  • Pingback: Interracial Dating Can Be Different | Brandy & The Gang()

  • Pingback: Your Questions About Men Loving Women | Signs You Met the Right One()

  • Pingback: Your Questions About The Pitfalls Of Dating | www.Oasis Dating Tips.com()

  • Pingback: Google()

  • Pingback: Your Questions About The Pitfalls Of Dating | www.Oasis Dating Tips.com()

  • http://hiresteve.com/ Steve Foerster

    I respect that different people take away different things from similar experiences, and I’m not trying to be argumentative.  Still, it’s interesting to me that my wife and I are of different ethnicity, and we’ve never experienced any of these issues.  I essentially never even think about this stuff — I only even read this article because I was on your site reading something else, saw the link, and thought, “Huh? What pitfalls?”  Are we so unusual?

    • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Shona

      The pitfalls exist mainly because of others and the underlying racism of our society. It is not because interracial relationships are wrong or strange. But those who engage should be made aware of the possible reactions from others. For many people, what others say or feel do not matter. But for others, they may not be willing to put up with the extra strife for the sake of a romantic relationship.

  • Pingback: edu backlink service()

  • Input

    I admit that I get very annoyed at those who use interracial relationships to elevate themselves like they are more open-minded than anybody else. I’m an Asian woman and I get this all the time from Asian woman that only date white men. I mean, how can they be more open-minded when they make great efforts to specifically date white men only? They’ll never admit that in addition to common problems that happen in any relationship, some issues might actually stem from their different ethnic background. I guess by admitting that their differences can actually raise problems (where it may not occur in same-race couples), they fear traitorous to their own interracial relationships. That kind of immaturity raises my blood pressure. Why can’t they just be honest about the “pitfalls” as this article points out. There is nothing demeaning to point them out as long as you know how to avoid them. Of course, maybe they’re not telling the whole truth. Maybe there are no problems stemming from racial differences because these women have completely abandoned their Asian-ness in order to fit in with their white mate, which would be shockingly sad if found to be true. When these people gloss over the challenges that can happen in an interracial relationship, they are only doing themselves a disservice. Their relationship is no longer an honest one but fall under pitfall #9. And I am seriously irritated how they berate Asian men, seeing as I am married to one and am perfectly happy.  

    • http://www.rishona.net/ Shona

      Thank you for your comment, you make some great points!

    • Nasir

      Racism exists because we’re not educated about each other, you think you know, but until you’ve spent serious time with multiple people of another race you will never truly be educated on who they are.

      • john

        i dont think racism is only about education its more about what other people think about it,humans influnce each other so we are expected to follow the norm in most societies.its also about our own fear as to something we cant identify or relate ourselves too, once we have conquered that fear the beauty of two people in love of differrent races has no depth

  • Shovo Shake

    Australian Swingers Contacts is the number 1
    swinging resource for Australian Swingers in Australia! Here you can meet,
    chat, find friends and like minded couples or singles for partner/wife swapping
    fun. We have been growing fast in the Cities, why not have a look at some of
    the latest members in these cities Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth,
    Townsville, Cairns, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong, Sunshine
    Coast, Hobart Geelong.

    Join Now Here: http://australianswingerscontacts.com/

  • Lorena González

    I realize this is an old post, but as I’m in a interracial/intercultural relationship for the first time it called my attention. I’m thinking of an extra issue for Asian and Hispanic minorities: language barrier. Right now I’m thinking my mom would love my white boy, but then I think: how would they get to really know each other if they don’t speak the same language?

    • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Shona

      That’s ok Lorena; one of the “blessings” of the internet is that once you put something out there, it is available for a long time! I thought a bit about your comment, and in all honesty, I do not have any advice since I’ve never been in that situation. However during my pregnancy, I noticed a lot of discussions on parenting boards about language issues at home, between in-laws, and in child rearing. It didn’t take long for me to find one of these threads (one is here: http://www.whattoexpect.com/forums/blended-and-multicultural-families/topic/language-barrier.html ). Reading through some of these message boards may be of some help and offer some guidance. It may also help to bring the subject up to your mom as a ‘what if’ scenario, and hear from her directly what her thoughts are.

  • Ettiene

    The caribean coastal cities in Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil have, for centuries, been immigrant havens with a great variety of ethnical mixes. Because of such, the cultural background in these societies blurrs out the racial distictions to be made when it comes to interracial relationships and their offspring. The complicated issues arising from such relationships are mostly based on ignorance, not only from those outside the relationship, but from those very same people involved in it. If the relationship is sexually based, no matter how it may be approached, it is bound to fail as any other relationship would. But two intelligent beings who are attracted to each other based on sexually secure personalities and natural mutual trust will outlast anything that comes their way. Acquaintances, friends and relatives of these couple tend to be mature and intelligent enough to have no issues with it. Interracial couples who share a cultural and educational background have a much better relationship than those who only share a sexual attraction, because sex is limited to the physical, whereas culture and education encompasses everything.

  • beige

    You didn’t finish your thought, why is penis size a non-issue?

    • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Rishona Campbell

      Because in the grand scheme of things…it doesn’t really matter.

  • Sony Bills

    HOW I GOT MY MONEY BACK FROM A FAKE LOAN COMPANY

    my name is paul tracy, i want to thank dr emua for helping me get my money back from a fake loan company in uk, i am a fund desk manager in one of the hotel in my country, i have worked there for close to ten years, but i wanted to start up my own business, because am very good in business, so i decided to take a loan for the business i had in mind, so i contacted a loan company in uk and i applied for a loan and they gave me all the procedures and some form to fill which i did, they told me they are working on it that i should give them some time to approve the loan, later that day i got an email from them that my loan has been approved, that i needed to register with them which i did, they later said i needed to pay for bank activation i paid that too, they later said i needed to provide a collateral and i told them i dont have, so they said i will have to pay some huge amount which i did, after one week they said my loan was ready for tranfer, that i have to pay for the tranfer fee by this time i was out of cash i had no money, i want to a friend of mine for more money and i sent it to them they later came up with another fee, that was i decided to go for spiritial help so i saw a post about dr emua how he brought one mrs jane ex who left him for almost five years, so i contacted him and i told him every thing that happened to me, he told me i will get back my money but before he do that for me he will remove the spell they put on me, after he remove the spell form me he told me that he is going to cast fire spell on them, after two days i got an email from the loan company, telling me to please undo what i did,that they were sorry for trying to scam me of my money, they said they were ready to pay back my money if only i can undo the fire i put on them, to cut the long story short i got paid the following day, to me i think this is black magic because i have never see such powers before now. i thank you once again dr emua for helping me get back my lost money. if you also need his help or you need his assistance you can email him via dremuahelphome@outlook.com or call him with his number +2348143101585

  • lerato

    Thanks for the post. Very positive.

  • Candice Frances Hernandez

    I believe this article helped me understand, why people think and say hurtful things about other cultrues. Eventhough it is not talked about, the stigma still exists. I can relate the most to #3. Either if we go on date night to the rich caucasion side of town, or to the cheap hispanic side of town there are always rude comments. I thought I was imagining it all, but now I know someone else can relate. And i do not have to care what others do or think. Thanks for the advice!

    • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Rishona Campbell

      Very true Candice – thanks for the compliments and for stopping by! :-)

  • guest

    Loved this article! My fiance and I are in an IR relationship in South Florida, I’m black he’s white and we’ve been pretty lucky. The only time people have ever approached us in our 2 years was to say something nice. My friend’s sister in law is black and has a mixed baby. When my friend visited her in Texas, someone approached them at a restaurant to tell her that she “ruined her daughter’s life by mix breeding”. I honestly hope that my guy and I will keep it together and tell the horrible woman to have a goodnight like my friend’s SIL did. Jeez.

  • Mark

    Very well written! I have a daughter who has decided to date an African American. I was raised in South Central Los Angeles. I was raised alongside blacks. When I was in the service, two of my closest friends were black. So there is no ignorance in regards to the race. Since we have been defined as a race of Hispanics, (Still can’t find Hispania on the globe..). I admit that we have more than our share of ignorance and justified stereotypes.
    I feel so strongly against this issue that I have decided to disown my child. I say that with nothing less than a tragic sense of heartbreak. I love her deeply. She is my eldest and we had a relationship that most loving fathers hold with their daughters. There is no equal. Like most fathers, I had such high hopes and dreams. Those opposed to my decision can say that there’s no possible way I could know this relationship will fail. I know. And when it does, what will those opposed say? They’ll come up with some other reason or justification for its failure. Not what actually caused it.
    I have read hundreds of articles and have researched many articles written by psychologists. Most were well written and had good points. None of which convinced me that this type of relationship is going to work out.
    She isn’t the first to bring this into our family. There was another. It was tolerated and nothing was said out loud against it. The elders only said through whispers that it was a shame, that she can do so much better. When it ended, there was a genuine sense of relief from the entire family. Especially her Mother and Father.

    • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Rishona Campbell

      Thank you for your comments Mark! I’ll be honest and say that I am saddened to hear that you have decided to disown your daughter. However I fully acknowledge that each and every instance and situation (and people for that matter) are different. Ultimately, we must all forge our own paths. Parents and family are important, but sometimes we need to go through the full cycle of an experience; from the decision to embark down a path, experience its success or failure, and then live through the consequences. Even so, it is sad that in the name of political correctness, we gloss over the very real remnants of racism and racist thinking. We do not live in vacuums. We cannot escape what we are. The only variable is how well the individuals involved can cope. Whatever may happen Mark, be open to the fact that each day brings a new opportunity. The situation today may be quite different 1, 2 or 10 years from now. Sometimes we need to close doors, but rarely do we need to weld them shut. I wish nothing but happiness for you, your daughter, and your family. Have a great Thanksgiving!