We live in a diverse society where every day we meet people from different backgrounds, cultures and races. With the huge amount of racial and ethnic diversity, it is inevitable that some will be intimately and romantically involved. Although love doesn’t see color lines, unfortunately many people do and these racial boundaries can affect how they feel about interracial relationships. Although race relations have improved and as the country becomes more accepting of different cultures, there are still many issues and concerns for those who choose to date outside of their race.
Interracial relationships are able to benefit those involved in many ways. It allows them to experience and learn about new cultures and backgrounds, providing them with an understanding and appreciation for others that they may not have had before. It also gives an opportunity to look within oneself and fully understand the beauty and richness that appears in people of different races and nationalities. While challenges are prevalent in all relationships, interracial couples may have a greater degree of difficulty dealing with these issues. However, couples who can work through those racial differences and cultural misunderstandings can have more stability in their relationship than same-sex couples. Understanding and appreciating these differences can strengthen the relationship and build a long-lasting bond that the couple can cherish.
As in any relationship, the values we each hold play a major role in how we interact with each other. Values reveal the true nature of an individual by revealing how they view certain issues. Interracial couples may have different value systems which can often cause frequent disagreements and can lead to tension and conflict that can divide the relationship. Values are nurtured and developed through our family relationships and can certainly have an impact on how we observe and understand interracial relationships. There are some family structures that are more open and tolerant of interracial relationships while others are completely against it, believing that there should be no mixing of races. Children of families less tolerant of interracial relationships can feel tremendous pressure to date within their own race because of the backlash they can experience from their families. Some families are so extreme about their beliefs that they are willing to disown their children for choosing to become romantically involved with someone outside their race. A person can get torn between their partner and their family, feeling massive levels of stress and fear of having to make such a difficult decision and choose between the two.
Another important issue within interracial couples is if they decide to have children. Interracial children can sometimes feel the greatest distress due to emotional instability when trying to define their racial identity. Mixed-race children can experience an identity crisis because they are often pressured to choose the race they identify with. Children may also experience negativity from within their family. When a child bears physical resemblance to the preferred race, the family may tend to prefer that child over another who may have physical traits of the other race. Families who alienate children because of their lack of racial and ethnic tolerance often don’t realize the emotional toll it will take on them. In addition to racism within their family, interracial children will also struggle for acceptance in their community. This bias can have psychological effects, leaving a child feeling isolated, confused, and uncertain about where they belong.
Some people engage in interracial relationships solely based on stereotypes that may be associated with a particular gender. For example, there are stereotypes that associate Asian women with being submissive and obedient. By building a preference based on enduring racial stereotypes, people can often develop a racial fetish where they only date others of a particular race that focus on the traits they believe these groups represent. Choosing to be with someone based on perceived stereotypes will not allow you to fully appreciate the diversity and culture of that person because you are too preoccupied with the superficial aspects that are rooted in misconceptions.
Interracial couples certainly face more challenges than interracial couples, however, these are not insurmountable issues. As our society continues to evolve, views on race change and become more tolerant and race is not as much of a factor as it once was. While aspects of racism remain, those who choose to enter an interracial relationship should ensure that they are doing so for the right reasons and that they understand the implications of their decisions. They must ensure that they have open lines of communication with each other and be able to accept racial and cultural differences. Furthermore, promiscuous couples need a high level of inner strength in dealing with people who oppose the relationship, from family members to friends to community members. There needs to be a comfort level to see beyond the naysayers and do what they feel is best for the relationship.