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5 Things You Should Know About Interracial Dating

I was hanging out with a white male friend recently, and we were discussing interracial dating. I’ve never dated outside of my race, but after conversing with someone who has, I can truthfully say the conversation was both enlightening and daunting.

“Switching Teams” is a phrase I have often heard out the mouths of men and women who have experienced repeated dissatisfaction when dating individuals of their own race. I hear women jokingly declare that they are “opening up their minds” and “expanding their horizons,” after growing tired of empty-ending love affairs with men of their race. They humorously, or in some cases, seriously consider having a relationship with a man who does not share their same heritage.

The same thing happens with men. They generalize certain behaviors and characteristics about women of their same ethnicity, while flirting with the idea of dating someone who is of a different ethnic background. Social media has coined these interracial love affairs, making the #swirllife an all-out movement.

I learned a lot from talking to my friend. Here are a few important things that everyone should know about interracial dating.

1) Ask what you do not know.

Communication is essential. However, in relationships where two individuals come from completely different cultures, with two entirely different backgrounds, it is important to ask questions. Successful interracial relationships thrive when both people feel comfortable asking the uncomfortable questions. Should you choose to engage with a person who is not or has not been exposed to your culture, encourage them to be inquisitive. What they understand they can respect.

2) Not everyone will accept your love. 

Unfortunately, interracial relationships are still a target for hatred and ridicule. People have their own reasons for why they believe people should only date within their race and sadly, we will never live in a world where people understand that you love who you love. To be in an interracial relationship is to understand that your relationship will be tested or shunned. What others believe is not fundamental to the success of your relationship. It’s the individual bond that you two build as friends and lovers. That is at the forefront; everything else is irrelevant.

3) You can still empower your people and love your culture.

I have a friend who is Dominican. At the peak of all the riots, protests, and the relentless instances of police brutality, she messaged me crying. She wanted to know how I was feeling and what she could do to help. She acknowledged she did not completely understand what I was feeling, but knew it had to be painful. She, a Dominican woman, wanted to know how she could lend support her Black friend. My friend knows that me being pro-Black does not mean that I am anti any other race, ethnicity or nationality.

Who you choose to love does not dilute what you stand for. There are many people who will argue that a Black man or woman cannot possibly love themselves or their people if they choose to date or procreate with someone of a different race. At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, you can advocate for the empowerment and human rights of your people and still love someone who is not Black. When you date outside of your race, know that your partner can never fully understand the practices, plights, and systems of your people. But it doesn’t mean that they cannot empathize and be a source of support.

4) Be yourself.

My nephew married a Caucasian woman who fit right in with our family. When she came to family gatherings, we didn’t pretend to be a soft spoken, mild-mannered, or extremely poised family because she was white. When she came around we were loud, obnoxious, wild, and 100% ourselves. He allowed her to see where he came from because spending his life pretending to be anything other than himself was not an option. Years later, they are now married with two beautiful sons.

If at any point you feel like you have to change or alter who your are to meet the expectations of your lover, you are in the wrong relationship, period. This especially goes for interracial relationships. Trying to assimilate or mirror the behaviors of your partner, so you appear more suitable to them or others is not a relationship you want to be in.

5) Check your motives.

This shouldn’t have to be said, but it does. When making the decision to date anyone, make sure that your motives and intentions are pure. Don’t make the choice to date someone of another race because you have given up on yours or because you are trying to fulfill a fetish or sexual fantasy. Regardless if it is same race or different, make sure that love or the potential for love is the true driving force.

Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. Keyes supplies clients with the necessary tools and techniques to awaken their divine energy, heal their open wounds and create an aura of love, compassionate and tranquility. In 2013,  Keyes was named “13 People to Watch For” by Rockford Register Star and in honor of Black History Month 2014, Keyes was recently named a“Neighborhood Hero” by ComEd’s Power of One Campaign. Keyes in currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and hopes to one day be a best-selling author and motivational speaker. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships.