As Dr. Martin Luther King's speech goes, I've been brought up to not judge people by the colour of their skin, but rather by their character. I cannot control how someone may view me, but I can choose how I view the world. So when it comes to dating, race is not an issue, but an individual's character is!
While some people prefer to date within their own race, there are also those who prefer to date strictly outside of their race. Both to me seem to offer a limited approach to dating. To date within a box of "I will only date someone who is ____ (whatever race)," is dating with constraints. Like really, what does that have to do with how well a person will treat you? You could be shutting the door on The One simply because of his/her race. I believe love sees no colour.
Yet, even with my hopeful "we are the world" outlook, I am wise enough to know that we haven't reached an era where race doesn't play a factor for some people when selecting a mate. In fact, in online dating it has been found that racial preferences do exist, with black women being "disproportionately snubbed by men of all races." What gives?
Well, I'm not going to debate this finding... now. I'll save it for another day. However, I thought I would jump down the rabbit hole of interracial dating, and offer four DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to dating outside one's race.
1. Do Man Up. Often the greatest barrier to dating is the willingness to be vulnerable and to ask your person of interest out. If a girl is old-fashioned, like me, she may depend on the guy to do the asking. This challenge may be further magnified when it comes to dating outside your race.
Sometimes people assume someone would not be interested in them because of their race. The problem with this is that one's attempt to be "forward" and flirt may be altogether missed. It might be shrugged off as nothing more than someone being friendly. Meanwhile, the poor guy/girl interprets it as not being interested in them. What we have is a failure to communicate. Sometimes you have to be a little bit more direct when approaching someone outside of your race. On the other hand, you may just be too intimidated to even try and ask someone outside of your race out. I'm sorry, but you've got to man up! Rejection is hard, but you'll never know unless you ask. The worst thing someone can ever say is no. Besides, if you see her as a person (and not just her race) why shouldn't she be willing to see you as a person as well? And if your race is an issue then obviously this person is not right for you. But you do have to step up to the plate and ask her out.
2. Don't Use Stereotypes. Stereotypes are deadly because they over-generalize things. When it comes to dating, people want to be treated like an individual, so avoid stereotypes at all costs! This is not the way to win your beloved's heart. Do not use stereotypes in your approach to picking up a girl/guy. Do not use stereotypes to appear knowledgeable about your beloved's race. And do not refer to stereotypes to show how accepting of all mankind you are. Obviously, a difference in race does exist and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging these differences, but you don't need to live in the land of labels.
3. Do Be Open-Minded. If you are dating outside of your race, you are going to be exposed to different cultures and habits. While it may be intriguing to you why your new black girlfriend showers with a shower cap, understand that this is the norm for her. Likewise, dating a different race may also involve exposure to different cultures. You must be willing to try new things, learn and embrace diversity. Diversity is a beautiful thing, so enjoy it!
4. Don't Change. News flash! If you are dating someone outside of your race, they know that already! Translation: this means you don't have to change who you are. The best person you can ever be is yourself. You don't need to change the way you act, the way you talk, the way you dress, what your interests are, or whatever! But you do have to be comfortable being you. Sure, differences may exist between you and your beloved. Getting to learn these differences doesn't mean you have to change who you are, it just means you have to appreciate it. YOU are enough!
At the end of the day, everyone just wants to be loved. We may have idealized what that packaging might look like when it arrives, but we must be willing to expect the unexpected. Love doesn't discriminate, so why should we when it comes to finding love? And certainly, when it comes to love you should never allow the prejudice of others to deter you away from what your heart leads you to. Let them live in their world of hate and move on.
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