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Why is there a bias against interracial dating?
AJC ^ | 1/10/04 | AJC

Posted on 01/10/2004 7:02:50 PM PST by freedom44

Shaunti Feldhahn, a right-leaning columnist, writes the commentary this week and Diane Glass, a left-leaning columnist, responds


As a kid, I never realized there was a bias against interracial dating -- or that any serious racial bias still existed. Like most kids in the Washington, D.C.-area melting pot, I grew up around everyone from the children of African diplomats to kids who came over on the boats from Cambodia. My classmates spoke every language and lived in everything from luxury lake homes to public housing. Our dinner guests were just as likely to be from Nigeria or India as from Kansas or California.

After graduation, I left home for a summer waitressing job at a Colorado guest ranch, completely unaware that my multi-racial upbringing had been unusual. I learned fast.

Twenty young staffers came to the ranch from all over the country, and we girls put up pictures and frills to make each bunk our own. One evening, I showed another waitress my snapshots. She gestured at a Homecoming picture of me and my best friend with our dates, standing in front of my date's vintage Mercedes.

"And who is this," she asked, "your chauffer?"

"No, silly," I laughed, "he's my date."

"Your date?" She pulled away, appalled that I would go to Homecoming with a black friend. She stood up, walked out of the room and never spoke to me again. From then on, she communicated through other staff members. "Mary, tell Shaunti to fill the syrup bottles."

Word got around quickly. The next morning, the two cooks -- two young men who had been my friends -- started chanting, "once you go black, you never go back" over and over again. I was horrified, and had no idea how to respond. They were merciless the rest of the summer, and I received a ruthless and swift education.

Why is there a bias against interracial dating, especially between blacks and whites? Almost certainly, people with that bias are people who have no close friends of other races. And unfortunately that's still a sizeable population. Once you have spent time with each other, cried on each other's shoulders, worshipped together at church, or played games long into the night at each other's homes, somehow the idea of their daughter dating your son becomes a non-issue.

And that relationship, by the way, is what makes the difference between giving politically-correct lip service to racial diversity and having a real love for one another as people, and a desire for community.

The problem is, there will always be those who choose to wall themselves off from those friendships, whether out of subtle discomfort or hard-core bigotry. But in most cases, no wall is wanted. It's just that someone of another color seems different. And they are different. We all are. A rich mixture of different elements makes us all who we are -- including our race, gender, economic background, faith, beliefs and interests. That's what makes relationships so interesting and worthwhile, including dating relationships. And because racially biased people have never experienced it, they don't understand what a blessing that diversity can be.

Rebuttal Diane Glass AJC columnist

Shaunti gets a gold star for political correctness. I don't think many would disparage her heartfelt experience. But asking "why is there racism" isn't nearly as interesting or provocative as asking what you are going to do in the face of bigotry? We all know racism exists. Knowing something doesn't change it. Doing something does.

After Shaunti faced racism head on, what did she do? Did she shy away from interracial dating as an adult, bite her tongue and shake her head in silent disapproval? Or did she fight bigotry with spirited defiance? Silence and obedience are just as toxic a poison. And the question I'm dying to ask is: Would Shaunti consider marrying a black man? She advocates a stable home where the triple scourge of divorce, atheism and gay marriage endanger children. How would she feel about an interracial marriage fraught with social stigma, family arguments and sarcastic barbs at school? Would she take a stand against racism if her children had to suffer?

I wonder.

I ask because the statistics suggest that many may lament the failings of a racist culture but few want to withstand the approbation when racial boundaries are crossed. Since 1980, interracial marriages have more than doubled but today this still only represents a mere 2 percent of married couples in 2000.

Interracial dating isn't so black and white. Pardon the pun. And yet it is. The Asian population intermixes with any race and this barely raises an eyebrow. Likewise with Hispanics. It's often an issue of black and white relationships. Black men with white women is the most problematic for Americans, even though black men and white women are more than twice as likely to marry than black women and white men.

Resentment and a healthy dose of prejudice are veiled in the tales about the mythic physical endowments of black men. Yet racism isn't only a failing of the white population. Black women often feel betrayed by black men who look outside of their race and choose the arms of an enemy who exemplifies the American ideal. The blond Ivory Girl smile and blue eyes of Tiger Woods' future wife no doubt raised the ire of many who wondered why such a powerful role model to black youth couldn't embrace his own race.

Racism, like the history of marriage, is about power: Who has it, who wants it, how can I get it? People feel betrayed and angry about interracial couples because these couples step across enemy lines. "Can we all just get along?" That's not likely until power among the races is on a level playing field and marriage, or dating, is no longer an act of treason.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: african; asian; black; blacks; caucasian; dating; diversity; intermixed; interracial; marriage; mixed; multiculturalism; pc; white; whites
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1 posted on 01/10/2004 7:02:51 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44
After reading this article, I'm more happy than ever that I was raised in home without American race based drama. My mom was shocked that interracial marriage was illegal when she first came to this country 1963. She's a West Indian creole woman herself, and my father is Italian. The only reason why black-white is such an issue is because of the past history between the two groups in this country. Either way, race was NEVER brought up in this home because I had two parents who had better things to do.
2 posted on 01/10/2004 7:07:52 PM PST by cyborg
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To: All

Donate Here By Secure Server

3 posted on 01/10/2004 7:09:01 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: freedom44
The only time I hear of the issue of whites/blacks marrying, it is usually brought up by a black person complaining that the best black men turn against their race and marry white women.

It has never been an issue with anyone I've ever known.
4 posted on 01/10/2004 7:12:47 PM PST by kingu (Remember: Politicians and members of the press are going to read what you write today.)
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To: cyborg
Either way, race was NEVER brought up in this home because I had two parents who had better things to do.

Same here, and further, not ONE of us six children married another WASP. I have Black, Cherokee, Jewish, and Hispanic relatives as well. It makes family get togethers interesting and often quite funny.

I think it is a generational thing. The older generations may have been appalled, and this is learned behavior...

5 posted on 01/10/2004 7:12:52 PM PST by Gorzaloon (Contents may have settled during shipping, but this tagline contains the stated product weight.)
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To: kingu
Reading too much Terry McMillan books
6 posted on 01/10/2004 7:13:46 PM PST by cyborg
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To: freedom44
That's not likely until power among the races is on a level playing field

I've never seen this "uneven playing field" that people keep talking about. Where is it?

7 posted on 01/10/2004 7:16:40 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Gorzaloon
Things are very different. I'm glad I'm living in America today in the year 2004 where every last little issue doesn't divide along racial lines (no matter what the media says).
8 posted on 01/10/2004 7:17:04 PM PST by cyborg
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: cyborg
Reading too much Terry McMillan books

'fraid the name doesn't ring a bell, and being on a very slow dialup connection at the moment, googling to find out who it is doesn't really appeal at the moment. My experience has been listening to talk radio, where the topic will go on for hours and hours.
10 posted on 01/10/2004 7:22:47 PM PST by kingu (Remember: Politicians and members of the press are going to read what you write today.)
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To: kingu
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, the bible for the angry black female (and some wonder why they're still single) My experienc is the same with talk radio, esp. when I heard things like 'Kobe is guilty. What's he doing messing with white women?' :sigh:
11 posted on 01/10/2004 7:25:05 PM PST by cyborg
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To: freedom44
I live across the street from two interacial couples; in Forsyth County, Georgia, no less. I haven't observed any of the neighbors treat them any differently than any other married couples.

They've been good neighbors so far; that's all I care about.

12 posted on 01/10/2004 7:26:32 PM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: kingu
..wrote "Waiting to Exhale"..became a movie with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. Then wrote "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" which became a movie with Whoopi Goldberg.
13 posted on 01/10/2004 7:29:31 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: nugnut
I dated a black woman while in the army and my wife dated black men while she was in college. No big deal to me, but I have noticed an interesting dynamic. It's OK for whites (at least in Oregon) to date outside their race but god forbid a black or hispanic sees one of their daughters dating a white guy. My sister-in-law married a Mexican guy living in Nor-Cal but a good buddy of mine in my National Guard unit was seriously pissed about his daughter dating a non-mexican. It's kinda funny, I can't repeat what I told this guy cuz there's some serious "don't ask, don't tell implications" (guys that have been in all male combat units will probably get it) but we all had a good laugh about the double standard.
14 posted on 01/10/2004 7:35:29 PM PST by Tailback
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To: fight_truth_decay
How Stella Got Her Groove Back was actually good (I'd even recommend watching it. Whoopie stole the show as usual)... WTE was another story,long and drawn out.
15 posted on 01/10/2004 7:36:00 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg; fight_truth_decay
Thanks for the info, I'll remember who to ignore if the name ever comes up in conversation. Then again, I come across a version of it in the American Indian community, with women complaining that the best men get taken by White women, and American Indian men complaining that the best women get taken by White men.
16 posted on 01/10/2004 7:36:17 PM PST by kingu (Remember: Politicians and members of the press are going to read what you write today.)
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To: freedom44
I wasn't aware there was such a bias. Somehow I keep missing these memos.
17 posted on 01/10/2004 7:38:31 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: freedom44
One of my older sisters dated a black guy during her rebellious stage and ended up marrying him.

My father who is from the south was very opposed to it, so my parents didn't attend the wedding, though the rest of us did and had no problem with it.

Though the marriage didn't last long, and she's remarried twice since (both white much for the "once you go black you never go back" cliche) it opened my eyes up to the degree of opposition against interracial couples.

I had a brother marry a Korean and another married a girl from Guam and my parents initially gave them both problems about it.

However, I've had many, if not mostly black friends during my life and found that there is a lot of opposition to interracial dating and marriage in the black community as well.

I think prefering one's own race is a natural tendency and doesn't necessarily mean that much otherwise.

18 posted on 01/10/2004 7:40:18 PM PST by Jorge
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To: cyborg
At first, I wasn't going to respond to your post but your comments are something else.

You seem to be just as angry as those black females you accuse. Maybe some of those black women react the way they do because they are aware of history. It is a historial fact that SOME white women have falsely accused SOME black men of "wanting them" and the black men got hung or worse for it. Even in law, I believe it was Jared Taylor who brought up in his book, Paved With Good Intentions, that in rape cases, when the victim is black and the perp is black, the burden of proof is on the woman. When the victim is white, suddenly, the burden of proof SHIFTS to the black man to prove that he's innocent. With Kobe Bryant, why isn't the history of his "alleged" victim allowed to be considered? Maybe because it destroys the notion that SOME white women are as pure as snow as SOME white men have propped them up to be. But, I haven't been keeping up with the case so that might not even be relevant.

The sad truth is the history of blacks and whites in this country is bitter and painful. White women were right there with white men, discriminating against blacks, encouraging and defending the abuse of black men and women and, if you're black, you would know that. Maybe that's why so many of those so-called "angry black women" feel the way they do about black men who feel the need to chase down white women as if white women were the only women on the planet.

And before you "go there", I am a black woman who is happily married to a black man.
19 posted on 01/10/2004 7:42:09 PM PST by Sister_T (Democrats are the REAL enemies to freedom in the world!)
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To: Jorge
I do not about you guys, but I feel uncortable dating women of other ethnic background.

I can work with them and chat with people of other ethnicities, but when it comes to dating, I prefer someone similar to me.
20 posted on 01/10/2004 7:42:35 PM PST by Magno
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