Do Interracial Relationships and Self-Hate Go Hand in Hand?

BlogHer Original Post

But you forget: being AMERICAN is about cultural diversity. Chinese food isn’t really Chinese food, cheeseburgers came from Germany, my cab driver is Jamaican, and the waitress at my favorite Korean restaurant is white. So how the heck does dating white men mean getting accepted into American society, when America is already a big fat melting pot of multiple cultures? If anything, dating a person of MULTIPLE races would be considered getting accepted into American culture, because low and behold, not all of Americans are white. Big surprise.

Of course, many articles encouraging women to date outside their race have faced criticism. One of the most notable cases is the popular book, Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate, Mixing Race, Culture & Creed. In July, Clutch Magazine first went after Swirling and other proponents of relationships with white men:

It would seem that the myth of the White Knight is alive and well. Relationships “experts” have been weighing in on why a larger number of black women should consider dating outside their race for quite some time now. In and of itself, this notion isn’t entirely terrible, although it does assume that a majority of black women are resistant to the idea of interracial dating (which isn’t necessarily the case). But when the advice is tied to mythical ideas about the superior morality, dating practices, and values of white men, it’s highly problematic.

Recently, one of the book’s co-authors (and BlogHer Publishing Network member), Christelyn Karazin, questioned the black critics of her book, including a Clutch writer who questioned the term “swirling” (and to be honest, it kinda bugs me too as it simplifies a much more complex situation):

Many times the very people who claim to be exhausted of all the interracial dating talk are the ones who give the members of such relationships so much flack. On one hand, they say go ahead with IR, but they don’t want to hear about it. Sounds a lot like the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” military policy we once had, doesn’t it?

Karazin also mentions that interracial relationships have long existed. And there have always been people who question the motives who date outside their race.

The real story behind the negative reaction to An’s essay may be that it shed light on the reason why people have an issue: the worry that minorities choose to be with someone outside of their culture because they are ashamed of their own. Dating decisions are no one’s business but the people involved, so why do we, as the observers, have such a vested interest in their couplings? Do we think that one of our own "defecting" to another side is a reflection on the perceived inadequacies of our cultures, inadequacies we have tried to correct within our own lives?

An was right about one thing: Some people DO perceive Anglo, or white, culture as the most normal and desired culture. What she misses is that society -- including the things we read and the images we see in the media -- perpetuate those ideas. We are socially conditioned that Western notions of beauty, dress, diction, and behaviour should be the norm. Her issues with self-esteem and maturity may just be a dirty reflection of some of our own.

Contributing EditorRace, Ethnicity & Culture

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