Joe is a white man. He recalls the story of when he told his Polish mother the woman he had been seeing for a few years, and the one he was getting serious about was black. We were driving in the car and she asked me if she was Polish. I said”no”. She then asked, “French? English? German?”She went through almost every country in Europe and when I said no to each one she grew quiet for a moment and then she asked, “She’s not black, is she?”When I said”yes”she was quiet again before saying, “Oh.”
Joe married that black woman and they have been together for more than ten years but that conversation with his mother was just the first of many nervous times the couple faced. Luckily, everything worked out for the two of them and everyone gets along just fine.
When you decide to date across color lines, it won’t matter what ethnicity you are and it doesn’t matter what ethnic group the other person belongs to; someone you know is going to have a problem with it. The plot in My Big, Fat Greek Wedding was anchored in the disapproval of a Greek patriarch when his daughter comes home with a non-Greek boyfriend. It didn’t matter that the guy was European; he was not Greek.
Ethnicity is more than just race – it can be where someone comes from; their background, a set of customs even a religion.
We use the word Hispanic to define Spanish speaking people but if you were to ask, you would be told there is a difference between a Spaniard, a Mexican, a Puerto Rican, and a Brazilian. There are differences between someone who is Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. While many of us may think nothing of it if people within these groups marry; within the groups themselves, there could be some tension. Imagine what will happen when they walk in the door with you.
Here are three things to be considered:
Decide when and how you will explain it to your family. If this is something you’ve never done before, you should give them a heads up. You may think you have nothing to worry about because your folks may have raised you to believe all people are the same, but if they have never explicitly told you they have no problem with ethnic or interracial dating, you should prep them. Consider it a blessing if they have no problem, but you will have the chance to deal with any issues before you bring everybody together.
Be prepared to tell them why because someone is going to ask. “There aren’t enough good black men out there; you have to bring home a white man?”You should know how you’re going to answer the question.
Be Clear of Why You’re Dating”Outside”.
For most people, interracial or ethnic dating is no big deal. It’s not something done on purpose, you just like the person. But there are people with preferences. Robert DeNiro dates black women. He’s dated white women why back when, but for the past few decades, the wives and the girlfriends have been black. Now, if that’s just how his heart and head work together; that’s fine. It would be a different story if he was trying to make some kind of political statement or if he wanted to upset his parents by not bringing home a nice Italian girl who knows how to make spaghetti sauce. If you are doing this because you’re mad at your parents or trying to make a point, find another way to make it. Dating involves two people and using someone is low, using someone because of their color is nasty. Get a buzz cut instead.
If there’s a problem between your significant other and your family, it’s your job to fix it. This is your family and your lover and that makes it your problem. If your mom is having a problem warming up to your boyfriend, you need to defuse the situation as soon as it crops up. You need to sit your parent(s) down and set the ground rules. The same rule applies to your extended family: friend, co-workers, and acquaintances. People need to understand just how far they can go.
Don’t let whatever obstacles and barriers they may be stop you from dating the person who touches your heart and your senses. Just be prepared when those who don’t agree with you want to interfere. That often happens even when there are no racial or ethnic differences; being prepared to deal with them will make it easier for those who have a problem with you deal with it, and you, better.