Dating Outside Your Race | Part II: You Mean I Can Date Interracially and Enjoy It Too?!
Updated: Mar 28
Dating gets so complicated sometimes. Let’s throw differences in the middle, a little shake of personalities, upbringing, and a huge dollop of the good old racial complexities. Maybe add a little dash of the otherwise uncanny cultural differences.
But there is a silver lining. There are things that we all have found to be pleasurable while dating outside our race that we’ve never experienced, possibly in depth, dating within our own.
While interviewing some candidates about the enjoyment or pleasures of their experience in interracial dating, the #1 subject that came up was…
I mean, of course! Food has such a healing power. You can cross so many boundaries with just a taste of food.
Amanda really put this into perspective:
Everyday things I do that seem so normal to me, such as how I mash garlic with a mortar & pestle when I cook, can seem weird or strange to my partner & I love showing them that traditionally this is how my family does it. Amanda Torres
There were many times when my ex-fiance would cook Hmong food. He would pull out that mortar and pestle, throw in some Thai peppers, fish sauce, salt, a little sugar, fresh lime juice and cilantro. I didn’t understand what any of this meant, and I damn sure didn’t know that something so simple would taste SO GOOD!
On top of that, while he would cook things like pho or boiled chicken and herbs, I was able to learn where these foods came from. He was able to explain to me how his people took other traditional dishes and made it their own. Or how rice porridge was made when there wasn’t anything to eat as they fought to escape the hands of the Viet army before migrating to the U.S.
Through food, I was able to experience the taste of spices I have never heard of in my life (or were too afraid to try). Like Adrienne being introduced to Indian food from her partner, she was able to have
Flavored food! I used to not eat Indian food and now I love Indian food. When I was growing up I was used to bland food, but now I am enjoying adding more spices in my food. Adrienne Gruenes
I mean, yes! Food can make people happy and bring so many people together. It also helps the people involved get to a much deeper part of themselves. Their roots.
Roots: The Deeper Connection
“Despite the difficulties, we still find pleasure in learning […] so I enjoyed retracing my roots with him. I also enjoy teaching him Hmong because it helps me with my Hmong reading and writing.” -Anonymous
Food is fine and dandy, but it brings into a much deeper perspective at life. Our roots. What part of our culture helped mold us to be the people we are today? What have we shown our partner? One of the volunteers, who wanted to remain anonymous, stated that when introducing their culture to their partner for the first time, they didn’t realize how badly they were representing their culture.
This person made it clear that they had so much “self-hate for my own culture. When I saw how negative I was about my culture with him and how it impacted his ideas and views, I knew I was going about my cultural introduction with him wrong”.
I found that to be interesting because sometimes we don’t realize what kind of example we are portraying. Sometimes, like in my volunteer’s case, we show this self-hate or negative side of the culture and in turn our partner feels that they have that same freedom to talk down (or make fun of) that culture around other people.
Unfortunately, without putting ourselves in check and making sure we express all the facets of our culture, it can end up causing some trouble within your support circle. A good example of someone that may have talked too negatively about the culture and felt the freedom to speak on it was a person my volunteer Pazao wasn’t too happy about.
I’ve seen a few of my friends’ s/o make racial remarks about our hmong shaman parties but thinks it’s okay because they’re dating a hmong woman Pazao Yang
It can be tough to show the best parts of our cultures while also trying to educate our partner on the ugliest parts. But that is the beauty of interracial dating. There is no black and white, there’s a whole lot of grey and we all are in the middle trying to figure it all out, together.
As a black woman, I dated a Hmong man for 6 years. I am a minority and so is he. We were two PoC dating in a strange society. What I enjoyed most while dating him, was getting to see the sense of community and family. Although there were many broken moments, stupid fights, and unforgivable actions; they still came together at the end of the day.
He was able to see the black culture in a whole new light. He learned that while, yes there are some people that live to the stereotype, we are not all like that. He was able to taste our food and experience our soul. He was happily accepted into my family from his first introduction. The point I’m making here is this, there is always a difference from what you hear about a race and what actually is. Peter gives a lovely example with dating in the black race,
“Learning the history of soul food and being able to eat it was really interesting for me. Learning about the black culture that I was taught in school vs what I learned while dating in the culture was such a huge difference but it was amazing to experience. “
So, what are you learning about yourself and your culture so that you can effectively share this with your partner? Don’t shy away from the bad parts, because you just might be the light in the dark to help break boundaries.