Interracial Dating: Hot Topic with African American Women
Are you an African American woman who has dated outside her race? You may have had many responses, reactions, ambivalences and other experiences that were both positive and negative. You dared to step out of the mold and expand your view to date a person rather than an ethnicity (in the situations that are absent of dating to boost social standing, financial gain, or dislike of your own ethnicity). Statistics show that there are 87 black males to every 100 black females which prove there may be some truth to the notion that there are not enough black males for every black female. With those statistics add to it the lack of pairing because of personality incongruencies, incarceration, gay men or African American males dating outside their race it appears that the true ratio puts African American women at lesser odds to be paired with an African American male. So, why then are black women apprehensive to date outside their race? Some common arguments that black women have for not dating outside their race is:
- Men from other races just don’t understand my culture and experience.
- Men from other races have a culture that I don’t relate to / respect /.
- Men from other races don’t approach me.
- My friends and family won’t fully embrace my partner if I date outside my race.
- Lack of opportunity because I am surrounded by more black males than any other race.
- Men from other races seem to have a bias against black women.
- I don’t want to be considered a “sell out” for dating outside my race. I like my race and want to promote black success.
- Raising bi-racial children is hard. I don’t want my children to experience the added tension of being part black and part – white/Chinese/ Indian etc.
Can you relate to any of these responses? If so, you are not alone. Is this really the path you want to go down? Our society puts emphasis on finding the right partner and even takes polls to pigeonhole the “best” race to date. This can be absurd especially when big weight is put on the opinions of the few who participate in the polls. The sample could be biased and not fully represent our population as a whole. One poll taken asks people which races of women were more desirable. Needless to say, Black women were at the bottom of the list. This type of poll makes black women appear less desirable and unlovable. It is perpetuated by radio host, magazines, television host, blogs, etc. pointing out the results as if to be celebrated. It is also perpetuated by the lack of men from other races seeking mates of other races other than from the black pool. According to the dating site statistics, black women get the least amount of responses. So is it that black women do not want to date outside their race or is it that society has painted a picture that black women are not dateable?
With that in mind, are you a black woman that desires to find a mate that shares your same values? Have a good heart? Loves you for you? Cherishes your culture and your essence? If you were not able to find the ideal mate in your own race, would you consider dating outside of your race? How would dating outside your race change your identity? What would you gain? What would you lose? The next set of questions/statement consists of a thought exercise to help you uncover your underlying thoughts and feelings about interracial dating. There is no right or wrong answers to this exercise. You will be able to sift out your concerns and reactions toward interracial dating in order for you to make a healthy choice when deciding to date. Consider these statements about dating outside your race:
- I tend to agree/disagree with interracial dating.
- Do I believe that people should only date within their race?
- What are my beliefs about my race?
- Do I respond when I see interracial couples?
- What are my beliefs about myself and dating?
- Would I realistically date outside of my race?
- Will my family accept my boyfriend if he is of a different race?
After thinking about the above questions/statement, and you are considering dating outside your race, consider these questions to help you summarize your thoughts about dating outside of your race:
- What are my thoughts about interracial dating?
- There is a shortage in the pool of black men to date and I will limit options if I don’t explore dating outside of my race.
- The way my family defines happiness is …
- The way I define happiness is …..
- Not understanding culture may be a barrier; however, learning about someone from a different culture/race could expand my personal knowledge of other cultures.
- My relationship with a man from a different culture can break barriers to how other cultures view black women.
- I close myself to getting to know men from other cultures because I don’t believe they are interested. If I become more open to dating outside of my race, I might have more options as to finding someone that meets all of my competing needs, desires and wants. Having a wider pool of possible dates opens up options.
Whether your decision is to date within your race or outside of your race, it is completely up to you. Each path will have its own strengths and limitations. Your happiness is ultimately up to you. Many people learn by trial and error. Others learn best by example. Our hope as therapists is to help you find a path that makes sense for you. You have the power to find a person that fulfills the characteristics that meet your basic needs of race, color, culture, economics, body, humor, kindness, intelligence, life style choices of children, location to live, style of living. In general the more open you are to meeting people, the more choices you will realize there really are. You have the ability to create the kind of world that you want to live in. If you are having trouble identifying your thoughts and feelings about this topic, please feel free to make an appointment in Center City at The Center for Growth to have a therapeutic conversation with a counselor about this topic.