All Mixed Up:Interracial Relationships
As a country, we’ve come a long way in terms of racial equality and discrimination. Many people are moving past racial stereotypes and becoming more open minded and understanding of other cultures. The increase in interracial couples and children is proof that Americans are supporting this idea.
Interracial relationships can be a touchy subject for some. The thing is, they are nothing new. During slavery, owners would have sexual relationships with their slaves. Though they weren’t always consensual relationships, they existed nonetheless. Movies have been made, and plays and books have been written on this subject. It’s something that interests many people historically and socially.
From my experience with interracial relationships, I’ve never put a lot of thought into the race of the person I was dating. If they were cute, they were cute, it just didn’t matter their race. As I got older, I found that this didn’t always translate to my partner or their families.
My sophomore year I dated someone outside of my race and I had the opportunity to meet his parents on several occasions. They were very nice and welcoming and always seemed to be very accepting of their son’s and I relationship.
A year after we ended our relationship, I found this to be different. Our break up was unexpected and he told me it was because his father didn’t approve of him dating a black girl. Because of his father’s constant jokes and taunting, he felt that we’d be better off as friends.
Though I liked him a lot I had to learn the hard way that prejudice still exists and that it can easily overpower someone’s feelings for one’s feelings for his partner in a relationship.
Dating interracially is often seen as taboo in many cultures. In America, it has grown into a more accepted idea. According the most recent census data, 10 percent of all opposite-sex married couples differ in race. This is a 28 percent jump from 2000. With these numbers, it is obvious that America is taking its “melting pot” reputation to a new level. With schools now being more integrated, there are now more minorities going to college and entering the professional world. This is helping to change the notions and ideas many have about different ethnicities. Citizens are finding it hard to blame their hesitation to date outside of their race on the socioeconomic statuses of their counterparts. So, they have stopped blaming and started embracing.
I conducted a survey this week and shared it on my Twitter and Facebook. 71 people responded and the results were quite interesting. About 53 percent said they had dated outside of their race but when asked if they would consider marrying someone of a different race, 21 percent said no. Only 5.6 percent felt that race was a “deal breaker” when it came to dating where 28 percent said they race was completely unimportant in determining who to date.
These numbers hardly reflect a precisely accurate opinion of our peers, but it does give us some sort of idea of how we are viewing each other in terms of relationships and race. We’re working toward a greater good in terms of appreciation, love, life, equality and education. So try “Something New” and get your “Jungle Fever” on.
Rosalyn Taylor is a journalism and African American studies major, and a Traveler columnist.
Her column appears once a month.