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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students can be more receptive to interracial dating

Published: November 1, 2013
Section: Opinions

I was in kindergarten when I first met an interracial couple. My family had just moved into a large residential community in a suburban area of Georgia. The neighborhood was large but very homey, and consisted of a variation of ranch and colonial homes with large yards. It was a very family-friendly environment with a mixture of young couples, middle-aged couples (like my parents), elderly couples and many children.

One of our neighbors was an elderly black couple whose children had already graduated high school and were off working and in college, while our other neighbors were a young black and Asian couple who had two toddlers, one daughter and one son. Prior to moving to this neighborhood, we had lived in a minority-based apartment complex, mostly consisting of black and Hispanic families and whenever we weren’t home, we were socializing in the Haitian, Seventh Day Adventist community.

I had never seen or met a married couple that was not of the same race; all I mainly saw were white, black or Hispanic couples. But I had never seen them mixed together. I did not actually figure out this couple was interracial until I was a little older and finally had a deeper understanding of interracial couples. I believe this was the flame that would light my attraction to other races.

13 years later, I now reside in a suburban area of Massachusetts and attend a small, liberal arts university. I look around and see many faces of different ethnic backgrounds and many social groups with people of different races. I would describe myself as a hopeless romantic and a liberal lover, meaning that I love across all races, and I would say that I do see many other liberal lovers around me.

With a campus population of just under 4,000 students and a 25 percent minority rate, there would appear to be plenty of potential lovers to go around. Considering the diverse demographics of Brandeis minorities, one would think that initiating an interracial relationship would be easy. Personally, I have not found this to be the case.

Even though I am still years away from walking down the aisle, a recent Facebook survey referenced in the Huffington Post revealed that about a quarter of married Facebook users met their spouse in college. But now on the flip side, I have to look at the nation’s statistic of 0.3 percent of white men married to black women and have to begin reconsidering my chances of nailing a white man.

Within my circle of African American female friends, most of them said they are liberal lovers, like myself, and wouldn’t mind dating a white man, but none said they had a preference for white men. Four of my close girlfriends are currently dating African American men, another is dating a Latino and black man and another is dating a black and Indian man. Out of this same demographic, three have dated white men in the past and all but one out of the three claimed they would date another white man. Within my own family, my sister has dated a white woman and my brother has been interested in white women but never dated one, similar to myself. Reflecting on my dating history, I have always been attracted to white men, but have yet to actually date a white man. This could be due to attending a predominantly black and Hispanic high school, a predominantly Pacific-Asian church and living in predominantly black suburb.

There are stigmas associated to a black woman desiring a white male partner. Commonly, these women are described as wanting to be white or interested in their money. Degrading stereotypes also follow white men who seek a black, female partner, such as having a fetish or having “jungle fever.”

Even as times are progressing and there is an increase of Americans approving of interracial marriages, there is still a disparity among white and black couples getting married. Television shows (i.e. “Scandal” and “Parenthood”) help advocate interracial couples by depicting black females in relationships with white men and more importantly, these are educated and independent black women paired with equally educated and strong-willed white men. These television shows assist a little bit on the topic of interracial dating and how it is possible for black females to have a white partner, but the harsh and degrading stigmas that follow these couples will continue to hinder them from walking down the aisle.