Response to: The Great Benefits of Interracial Dating
What can be said about this topic that has not already been said in some desperate plea by some poor young girl to her disapproving parents in an effort to gain their favor concerning the young man she just brought home who happened to look a little different than they had envisioned when the night before she told them, “his name is John, he’s an accountant, and I’d like to have him over for dinner some night this week.” Interracial dating…heck, interracial platonic relationships can be such a loaded topic. I’m risking half my readers just by mentioning it because no matter where you go with it, you cannot please everyone. I can be very politically correct and annoy those who want a little more straightforward approach. I can just say it like it is but those lacking the proper context for what I’m talking about will either lose their minds, call me the most blatant racist they’d ever had the displeasure of meeting, or use my words to validate some misguided and ill-informed notion they had always had that is in reality not even close to what I’m actually trying to assert. What to do, what to do?
I suppose I will just go right down the list you’re your article Elisabeth and just add a commentary to what you’ve said. Right off the bat I’m a bit uneasy because while I’d certainly say that romantic relationships that cross racial or various national or ethnic lines can be a good thing for certain people, I would like to find a different word than “beneficial”. That word just smacks too much like I’m simply switching shampoos or adding on a new routine to my workout. “The benefits of washing your car in the evening is none of those annoying sunspots.” Selection when dating anyone is not something you just make a little addition to, a little tweak, and then forget about it and enjoy the unfolding benefits. This is not what I think you meant at all, but I simply couldn’t touch the word benefits in good conscience without making note of the fact that it implies a much lighter tone than I am comfortable with regarding this topic. Like saying, “the benefits of marriage are always having someone to talk to, possible shared load of the bills, and extremely accessible sex. Yet still an unmarried man, something about that just seems like I’m not getting the whole story.
It is true, interracial relationships can open you up to perspectives and ways of doing things that you weren’t exposed to before. Yet that is also the general nature of relationships in the first place. Fortunately (although at times it can be exasperating), we have all been given varying temperaments, personalities, physical and cognitive abilities, natural talents, environmental upbringings, and the like. This means that even two twin brothers can be very different, and when starting new relationship with anyone, we do get the pleasure and the challenge of getting to know a distinct person. They come with their particular methods, whether inborn or learned, of how to conform to the world around them so as to be accepted by the group, and they also come with their particular set of idiosyncrasies that cause them to break the mold a little. When getting to know a person of a different race, this can just emphasize the fact that you are in fact learning a completely new person, however, with the hodge-podge of regional dialects, subcultures and sects that are strewn about America in particular, race is a rather poor indicator of what kind of characteristics and customs to expect in a person. Groups like blacks, Christians, North Easterners, City dwellers, business owners, or whatever are simply too big. There is so much variance within each larger group, that while we are all fairly familiar with the stereotypes that go along with each group, simply mentioning an ethnicity or an occupation virtually says nothing about that person’s abilities or inabilities, likes or dislikes, barring of course a particular characteristic that showing lack in that particular area would necessarily exclude one from the group. That being said, there is a ton to learn with any new relationship (and surprisingly even in those you’ve been in for years). There is a fortunate and yet often overlooked bit of information for proponents of interracial dating, because while the politically correct main stream craze is to embrace that which is different, simply because it is different, there are many who would disagree. They see it more fitting to preserve sameness, and for very good cause at times. In many instances they are right. In an effort to combat the xenophobia that we have seen hurt others in the past we have in one sense allowed our pendulum of acceptance swing full force in the other direction, which not surprisingly, is hurting us yet again. While certainly refreshing, difference is not good simply because it is different. Just like any behavior or custom there are certain virtues inherent in it that make it good or not. Even so sameness for the sake of sameness is folly as well. We were not created all the same, and yet are commanded to love each other regardless. The reason that the fact of every relationship being about learning is fortunate for those who have no problem with interracial dating is because those who do, often overlook the fact that a difference in race or nationality just adds a little more to the already steep learning curve of a difference in gender, families, memories, places traveled, traumatic experiences, childhood neighborhoods, hygiene habits, movie preferences etc.