Thursday, March 5, 2009

Interracial dating still not accepted

Interracial dating still not wholly approved of in United States

Although attitudes surrounding intercultural and interracial dating may have improved in recent years, there are still hardships that many have to face in choosing their partners. Thursday, the Ohio State Multicultural Center took on this issue by orchestrating an open discussion about dating, race and culture.

Elizabeth Warren, Intercultural Specialist at the MCC, said that people should discuss highly personal issues more often. "We are in a place in our world and culture where we need to create a space for open dialogue," she said. During the dialogue on Thursday, students discussed a variety of issues, from society's views on interracial dating to how families put pressure on their children to date within their culture or race.

Some states banned interracial marriages in the U.S. until 1967. Kashif Khan, intercultural specialist for the MCC, remembers the time in American history when interracial dating and marriage were a consequence of war.

"We are [an] imperialistic country and went into a lot of countries for military reasons. Soldiers got together with indigenous people. For example, in Japan, they claimed 'war brides,'" he said.
With the expansion of diasporic communities in America's melting pot, many different cultures and races have dated, married and had children because of proximity in big cities such as New York and San Francisco.

"General exposure to different types of people allowed for interracial dating to happen, although society tried to control it," Khan said.

The discussion led to an agreement that there is an "authenticity gap" between public and private acceptance of diversity in dating and marriage. This gap is the difference between how people react to interracial or intercultural dating in public, and what they say behind closed doors.

Because some people are intolerant of interracial relationships, some feel they need to validate their relationship, said Teena Poole, administrative associate for the MCC.

"Some people feel that they have to justify why they fell in love with someone outside their realm," she said.

Khan said society can bridge the gap between attitudes about interracial or intercultural dating by examining their own values. "It comes down to your own values," he said.

"Are you compassionate? How is being discriminatory against interracial/intercultural dating compassionate?"


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