Dating Outside Your Race | Part I: The Most Difficult
Updated: Mar 24
Interracial dating. We’ve all seen it. Some of you are products of it, maybe you’ve been in an interracial relationship yourself. Many people know that I was in a long term interracial relationship. I had my ups and downs, and there were challenges we both had to face because of our different cultures.
I decided to look back on the happiness, pain, excitement, insight, and craziness of dating outside of my race and culture. I also took it upon myself to invite others to share their experiences (whether good, bad, or in the middle) so that I can make this post.
A handful of people came out and either had coffee with me, or gave me some answers via email/messenger, phone or video. I was so happy to have these conversations! I mean, why not?
I began by asking these questions:
How has interracial dating changed your perspective on life & relationships?
What were the difficulties and pleasures of dating across cultures? (this can be as personal, or vague as you feel comfortable)
Were there ways in which you felt you had to assimilate, or prove that you were not a stereotype known in your culture? Did your spouse/significant other?
Is/was it difficult to bridge both cultures/families together?
If this is your first interracial relationship, what is something that you wish you would’ve done differently, OR would’ve known before dating into another culture?
What is some advice that you would give to someone dating interracially, but doesn’t want to upset their parents/family, etc?
As the conversations got deeper, I came to realize that this discussion was so large that I couldn’t write everything related to the topic of interracial dating in one post.
I decided to do this post in 4 parts. That way, I can share each conclusion without you having to read a novel.
Let’s do this!
The Most Difficult Part of Interracial Dating is…Parents
Yes, you’ve heard it here first people! I’m pretty sure this isn’t a surprise for many you. A lot of us know (or are one of those people) that found it difficult to break the mold and date outside our race because of a parent’s disapproval.
Some people have parents that are against dating outside their race. Other people have significant others that have been treated badly/differently because they are not of the same race as their partner (I am a living testimony to that).
You may be asking, like my dear gal pal Laura:
“Why does the parent care what race their child is dating? If they are happy, just support it!” Laura Stoffel
I know, I know, it should be that simple but it’s not. When it comes to race and culture, I have figured out a couple things. A) Some parents are afraid their child will lose their culture or neglect to teach their kids the culture. B) The parent(s) believe a stereotype of the other race to be true, and casts that same ignorant thought on the child to make them date their own race. C) The parent(s) are afraid of what people may think.
The last one is the biggest. Especially when it comes to very traditional cultures. Such as the Hmong culture. According to Hmong Times Online, a patron they interviewed stated this:
it was shameful and that by dating and marrying outside of the Hmong community, you are disrespecting your parents… Hmong Times Online
Is it true though? Are we disrespecting our parents by dating outside of our race? Or are we just creating a more ignorant world by following this scare tactic to keep racism/colorism alive? Also, why do we care what other people will think? Why does your child’s happiness depend on people they don’t even care for or know?
Then I guess you’d have to ask yourself, is it that you care about what other people may think, or are you so afraid to love something/someone different than you that you’d rather continue ignorance than be a little uncomfortable?
Another patron I interviewed, who happens to be my fiance, stated that the most difficult was,
Her being accepted by my parents. Because my parents are traditional. It’s a challenge to get them to accept her as a person, instead of the bullshit stereotypes that they were taught and took with them after they migrated here to the states Peter Vang
Now, don’t get me wrong not all parents are like this. Matter of fact, a couple interviewees stated that they had absolutely no issues at all when it came to their parents.
My mom always has my back and is in an interracial relationship herself…so she understands. Kelly Her
If this were a perfect world, we would have parents that accepted everyone like Kelly Her’s mom. But not all of us do.
I have heard from many people that they are afraid their parents will disown them. Some even say that they don’t want to hurt their parents or cause more stress on them because they are already ill.
But will dating outside your race really cause that much of a reaction that they end up on a deathbed? Too harsh? I know, and I don’t care.
That is the dramatics of it. SOME parents scare their kids into staying with what they know because venturing out to things unknown will bring too much unneeded attention. Also, some parents can’t handle the thought of not knowing how to protect their child if something were to go wrong in a marriage.
If I can continue to use the Hmong culture as an example. Traditionally speaking, when a woman marries a man she is now in that family. She moves out of her family’s house and into his house (or his family’s). She now has nyab (daughter in-law) duties to that family. She follows their rules and customs as they see fit. Remember, I’m speaking of a traditional Hmong family.
The parents can no longer be that complete protection because she is now a part of another family.
Imagine their daughter dating outside their race. A race they’ve only heard rumors about and a race they feel is beneath them. The miseducation, or lack thereof, not knowing the customs and culture of the race could create a fear in the parent. The keywords hear are miseducation & lackthereof. Also known as: Ignorance. Go ahead, look it up yourself.
Although I can understand from that prospective, I still don’t agree with it. But we cannot change our parents. We can only live our life knowing that at the end of the day our parents want us to be happy, and be with someone that loves us.
To end this post that has gotten a little too long, I want to say this. To those of you that have dealt, or are dealing with ignorant, or parents that are not open-minded, stick in there. Like I previously said, your parents might say hurtful things, they may even disown you, but they will come around. You know why? Because most parents cannot deal with having their child completely out of their life.
If you decide to stay in that relationship, this is a reminder that you need to make sure you defend your partner at all costs when it comes to this subject. Put your foot down. If you ride the fence between your parents and your significant other, your partner may start feeling the consequences more than you. They will continue to feel that you are not truly on their side, at least I did.
It’s going to be hard. It always is, but any excuse your parents use to stop you from dating out of your race is not fact. It is fear. The other person CAN love you like your own race. The other person CAN learn your customs, just like you need to learn theirs. The other person CAN and WILL if you both are on the same page. Don’t let your parent’s insecurities stop you from being with someone you love (or potentially could love). And DON’T allow other people’s thoughts/opinions come in your relationship (no matter who they are to you) because your relationship will fail. Tremendously.