Humanities › Issues 5 Instances When Interracial Dating Is a Problem Rebellion against parents is never a reason to cross the color line Share Flipboard Email Print Guian Bolisay Issues Race Relations History People & Events Understanding Race & Racism Law & Politics The U. S. Government U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. Liberal Politics U.S. Conservative Politics Women's Issues Civil Liberties The Middle East Terrorism Immigration Crime & Punishment Animal Rights Canadian Government View More By Nadra Kareem Nittle M.A., English and Comparative Literary Studies, Occidental College B.A., English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies, Occidental College Nadra Kareem Nittle is a journalist with bylines in The Atlantic, Vox, and The New York Times. Her reporting focuses education, race, and public policy. our editorial process Nadra Kareem Nittle Updated February 11, 2019 Interracial dating isn't without its problems, but today interracial relationships enjoy more support in the United States than they have at any point in history. While two decades ago, fewer than half of Americans approved of interracial marriage, now 65 percent of all Americans support such relationships, and 85 percent of young people do. Attitudes toward interracial marriage are so progressive that some people prefer to exclusively date interracially. But are they doing so for the wrong reasons? There are a number of reasons not to date interracially, including for social status, because it’s trendy or to remedy a rocky love life. Dating interracially with misguided motives will inevitably lead to problems. To End the Losing Streak in Your Love Life You’ve dated a long line of losers—deadbeats, cheaters, manipulators. They all belonged to your racial group, so you figure you’ll have better luck dating someone of a different race. That’s because deadbeats, cheaters and manipulators only come in one color, right? If only things were that simple. The reality is that you’ll have to do much more than land a love interest with a different skin tone from yours to end destructive dating patterns. The answer to your romance problems isn’t crossing the color line but examining why you’re drawn to inappropriate partners. To Gain Status The idea of dating interracially to gain social status may seem peculiar. After all, interracial couples face discrimination that may lead to distinct disadvantages. Because the United States remains racially stratified, however, it’s considered advantageous for members of oppressed groups to pair up with those of more powerful groups. From the Antebellum Era on, such partnerships have allowed people of color to gain access to a quality of life that likely would’ve eluded them otherwise. Although today racial minorities can largely succeed in society on their own, some elite people of color may feel the need to score a spouse from another race to boost their image or better fit into the corporate landscape. As noted in the short story collection You Are Free, “The world out there insisted as soon as a black man made it, he should marry a white woman. As soon as a black woman made it, she should marry a white man.” No one should date interracially due to external pressures. If Barack Obama won his presidential campaign with a black woman at his side, it’s certainly not necessary for, say, a businessman to date interracially for the purpose of upward mobility. In an ideal world, people wouldn’t enter romantic relationships for what they stand to gain from their partners. This isn’t to say that every successful minority who dates or marries interracially does so with ulterior motives. But just as some high-powered men pursue trophy wives, some members of minority groups pursue mates from the dominant culture for status. Everyone Else Doing It Wherever you look, you see interracial couples. Your friends, colleagues and relatives are all dating interracially or have in the past. Given this, you decide to take the plunge as well. After all, you don’t want to be the odd one out or, even worse, the boring one. Soon, you’re visiting interracial dating websites, and prospective dates from a variety of racial groups lie at your fingertips. Why isn’t this a wise move? The race of your date shouldn’t be the main draw for you nor should your dating patterns be influenced by what’s trendy now. The common interests and chemistry you have with a person should be the driving force for your decision to pursue a relationship. Interracial couples face real challenges. The person who becomes part of such pair because it’s hip or trendy won’t be prepared to deal with them. Rebellion Many parents tell children outright which racial groups they approve of them dating and which racial groups they forbid them to date. Actress Diane Farr is a case in point. Now married to a Korean-American man, Farr had been told growing up that her boyfriends could only be German, Irish, French or Jewish. "No blacks and no Puerto Ricans, though, or you are out of my house," Farr recalled her mother saying. Farr did go on to date black and Puerto Rican men, however, and her parents came around. Farr defied her parents’ dating rules because she formed genuine connections with men from minority backgrounds. Some people, in contrast, flout their parents’ wishes simply to rebel. No child should feel pressured to go along with their parents’ racist beliefs. At the same time, it’s irresponsible to seek out partners you know your parents would disapprove of just to rebel against them. The mates you seek out certainly won’t appreciate being used as fodder in the war with your parents. If you disagree with your parents’ views on race, challenge them directly by broaching discussions about the issue with them. And if you and your parents have other problems, don’t try to hurt them by dating interracially. You’ll only end up hurting your date and yourself for behaving so insensitively. You Feel Inferior It’s no secret that society fosters a sense of inferiority in certain racial groups. This leads some members of minority groups to experience self-hatred. Such people are not only ashamed of their culture but of the physical features they have that reflect that culture. If they could erase every trait that singles them out as belonging to their minority group, they would. Since that’s impossible, they settle for seemingly second best—coupling up with someone from a different race to make them feel better about themselves or to produce children without their telltale ethnic features. A person this insecure is unlikely to make a good partner. As the old saying goes, you can’t love someone until you love yourself. Rather than dating across ethnic lines for validation, such people need to learn how to feel better about who they are. Seeking therapy, reading up on their cultural background and surrounding themselves with positive images related to their ethnic group may help.