Thursday, January 10, 2008

Exploring interracial couples and dating

Making it past the racial divide reveals the difficulties all couples ultimately face in their relationships

Will they understand our table manners? Can they get used to our culture? Are they willing to learn our language? The clash of cultures has a resounding impact on the lives of those involved in interracial dating. Yes, they are aware that they look like “weird” couples on the outside, but the couples themselves don’t see colour, religion or anything else that causes separation. This is what carries over when culturally diverse people interact with one another in their work environments and in their day-to-day lives.

Karen is mixed – Caucasian and Chinese. Her boyfriend, Chris, is Jamaican. She said her male friends sometimes made racial comments about black people directed specifically towards her boyfriend that are “so stupid, but really bothered me.” Her friends thought it was funny, but as the two started dating longer, she started to become defensive.

She said she also finds it difficult when she is at family parties thrown by Chris’ family.

“I just sit there while Chris sometimes tries to translate,” Karen said.

But it’s not all negative. Spending a lot of time with Chris and his family has given her a better understanding of Jamaican culture, as well as their values, house rules and behaviour. Karen’s view of Jamaicans has broadened as well.

“An interracial relationship is not that hard to understand because it’s simply like any other relationship – you meet the family, deal with problems, learn about the family’s culture and just get to know each other as you are,” she said.

Although parents might disapprove of their children dating someone with a different background, the children usually look past this since their love for their partner is too strong to ignore.Karen said she really liked Chris, so at first she didn’t care if her parents approved or not.

“I was a bit worried they’d think, ‘Oh great, a gangster black guy,’ but they were fine. They just treated him like they would any other guy: not overly friendly,” she said with a laugh.

In every relationship there are hardships, but in most cases the differences are in personality and not in culture.

And just like any relationship, not all interracial relationships have happy endings. Again, the breakups usually have nothing to do with differences of culture.

The only difference in an interracial relationship is what is visible on the outside. Besides this, couples go through the same processes as everyone else in a relationship.

People should not continue to judge others based on skin colour – it’s always good to have diversity. People should be open-minded when they meet new people.

Being with someone of a different background gives most people a greater tolerance for other races, colours, cultures, food, languages and lifestyles.


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Bar Advice said...

It's the mentality of people and how their parents brought them up. Changing people's minds about other races or even religion for that matter, is not easy. I guess those that are getting themselves into it should expect remarks to be a constant in their lives.