Interracial Dating

It still requires that both sides be committed to a lot of work

I don’t speak for everyone, but I will say a good majority don’t disagree with the statement that interracial dating is difficult. Black and white dating has been a focal point of distress for this nation since its own inception. To fall in love from two opposing societal access points was a full act of rebellion for white folks and foolish recklessness for Black folks. 

Has it changed? 

There’s always the stories of the happily ever afters, and how the love-struck and the determined couple’s dedication to each other won over society’s hate. We love those stories; we all want to be that story. That story requires a strong and assured BIPOC counterpart, and often a very thoughtful, self assured and (seen as) selfless white counterpart. 

With society’s foundational, historic and modern view of Black beauty, intelligence, efficacy and mental health capacity, what does it take to build trust and respect in order to cultivate a relationship where the marginalized counterpart is fully seen, lifted and unapologetic? Is that the goal — both parties being themselves, openly and without caution, sans exocitism, savorism, appropriation? 

When we fall in love, do we really get to escape that Black and Brown folks’ representative communities are playing factors to our existence, and is that true for our white counterpart? Do we collectively know or consider the depths of that responsibility, when we look in their hazel eyes or they love our skin tone?

But then again, why complicate great sex and chocolates?

HELLO, this is me, and I have questions…

I believe it takes significant consideration on both star-crossed lovers to embark in such a love and allow each other to be fully expressed. White folks enter a world that introduces them to the very worst sides of their communities when they date Black and Brown people. They see firsthand the work it takes to exist while being Black or Brown. They see, for a moment, that their privilege does not extend to their beloved. Just like that, you’ve become your partner’s first real lesson in racism. 

Living in close proximity to whiteness and lacking a full representative community makes it hard to escape being someone’s “experiment.” It’s next to impossible to escape the learning curve — you eventually compromise, or be single.

When dating, your culture and identity are up for exploration. Is this where the compromising begins? How soon do you ask about their social justice stance on Black Lives Matter, and how do they feel about reparations and can they name two HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities), and if so, why? 

Or does this line of curiosity seem like too much? When you’re curious about your new lover, what topics are most representative of your well being? Is it like introducing a new world — does that matter to you? 

The best of these cross-cultural relationships allows and encourages your full expression without the weight of defending your existence. In a perfect world, transracial, cross-cultural relationships won’t take from one community or shame the other. Is that our world? 

That sounds beautiful. It sounds ideal. Why so often, is it seen just as a betrayal?

Ayisha Elliott’s podcast Black Girl From Eugene is raw and uncensored monologues and conversations about living while Black in the PNW. Listen locally at 11 am Sundays on FB Live; simulcast on KEPW 97.3 FM. Audio found on all major podcasting platforms.

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