What Interracial Dating Taught Me

What Interracial Dating Taught Me

If a person makes you happy, then no one else's opinion matters.
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Ever since I can remember, I have always been the only African American. I went to a predominantly white private school from Pre-K to fifth grade, participated in predominantly white sports and activities, and even lived in a predominately white neighborhood. So, it became natural that I started to like guys outside of my race.

My brother who is 8 years older than I am, has always dated interracially so I never thought anything of it when I started. My parents are absolutely amazing, and are very accepting. Growing up, I was used to being around white people, so I never thought dating them would be a problem.

When I entered high school, I had an on-again, off-again boyfriend who was African American who I was madly in love with (it was just the hormones). When we finally called it quits, I started seeing this really cute guy (he was not at all African American). Not only was he cute, but he was also smart and could make me laugh, which is the best way to earn brownie points.

The first time we went out, we went for ice cream (he won brownie points for that, too). There were senior citizens there when we walked in, and I politely smiled and continued to go to the register. As we got our order and sat down, I had a really weird feeling. When I looked around, I realized that they were all looking in my direction so I assumed that there was ice cream on my face. I wiped my face so many times, I could feel my skin getting dry. Anyway, even after I wiped my face, we were still getting looks, so I then thought it was because he was talking to loud so I told him to quiet down. But we were still getting looks. I had come up with so many excuses as to why they were looking at us: a wardrobe malfunction, something in my teeth, or my hair was messed up. I checked for all of those, but it wasn’t that. When I was finishing up my ice cream, I wiped ice cream off his face with a napkin and that’s when I saw what they saw: our skin color. I automatically remembered my best friend telling me a story about her family’s disapproval of her dating interracially and I knew that’s what they were looking at. The uncomfortable feeling I had was being judged for dating interracially.

After that date, I became more aware of the places we went, and the looks we got, which made me very self-conscious and insecure. I was constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was looking at us, that it made me no longer want to go out. Over time, I talked to him less and less, and soon we weren’t talking at all. It was like a cycle, I would talk to guys outside of my race and really like them, but then I became self-conscious and eventually stopped talking to them.

It took about three more cycles for me to realize that those strangers in the ice cream shop had been dictating my life and I had been letting them. I was so worried about what others were thinking that it was getting in the way of my own happiness. Although my realization was amazing and changed my life, it came a little too late, and I lost some amazing people. Even though it’s good to please others, it should never get in the way of your happiness. Interracial dating taught me that if a person makes you happy, then no one else's opinion matters.

Cover Image Credit: Contemporaryfamilies.org

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.

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"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"

"Yep."

"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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No, I'm Not Getting Ready For You

There is nothing more insulting than being asked "who are you getting so ready for?"

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So I'll admit it: I am the girl that we all know will be the last one out the door. That final spritz of perfume, stroke of highlighter, swipe of lip gloss and glance in mirror are everything to me. An unexplainable frenzy consumes me during these final moments in my routine.

The only way to ruin that frenzy for me? Ask me who I'm getting ready for.

Throughout college, I have noted that an overwhelming amount of girls base their appearance on the presence of another person. More times than not, this "other person" just so happens to be the boy of interest. I have repeatedly witnessed and been an offender to this toxic behavior. Don't believe me? Try getting ready in a house full of 7 females for the past three years. Come 8 p.m. and seven girls scrambling to swap their tops, apply more makeup and bathe in perfume when word gets out that a certain someone will be at the party. This is the very moment I believe girls are making a huge mistake.

In the past 6 months, I have learned to get ready for me and only me. My friends become infuriated when I get "too ready" on the average day, insisting that I have no one to impress. I consistently express my mindset of feeling my best when looking my best. I have learned that when you allow someone else to alter your daily routine, you begin to lose pieces of yourself. As we have all heard before, at the end of the day you can only depend on yourself. For this reason, no matter the surroundings, look the way that makes you feel the maximum level of comfort.

Personally, I have noticed a drastic change in my behavior when I leave my house looking presentable. When I leave the house unhappy with my appearance I'm immediately unfriendly, unapproachable and a straight up bitch. That being said, someone might be uncomfortable in heels. Others might be uncomfortable in sweats. You might be uncomfortable in a face full of make up. The girl sitting next to you might be uncomfortable with a bare face. Which ever person you may be, never assume that someones appearance is for the pleasure of others. So, get as ready or unready as you want for every occasion. Dress to the nines on girls night, wear a hoodie to the party and wear a little more make up to class today to determine which physical appearance makes you the best version of yourself.

This change of habit will not come easy, as it took me three years to understand the importance of putting myself first. Self worth effects every relationship, accomplishment, failure and attitude throughout life. Putting yourself first will change your life in ways you wouldn't expect. This lifestyle shift has shaped me into a more outgoing, confident and bold human.

So no, I will never be getting ready for you, for her or for him. I am a firm believer in putting yourself first physically, mentally and emotionally. I hope that after reading this, you are too.


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