The Do’s & Don’ts Of Interracial Dating In 2021
It’s 2021, and it’s time to have a nuanced conversation about interracial dating. Whether we like it or not, the topic of race is deeply ingrained in our society and there’s a global conversation happening about what it means in our lives more than before -- politically, socially, and of course, romantically. So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of it all, shall we?
If you’ve been in an interracial relationship before, or are currently in one right now, this discussion will definitely hit close to home. But if you’re single and interested in dating someone from another race or ethnicity, we think there are some important things you should consider and educate yourself about first!
Our goal is to get you off on the right track with helpful tips for having discussions about race that are inevitable. Keep scrolling to read our interracial dating do’s and don’ts!
Don’t say you “don’t see color.”
This isn’t the right foot to start off on. Trust us, even if you think it sounds like the right thing to say, it’s not. This is considered a “microaggression,” which is an indirect, subtle, or often unintentionally negative interaction or behavior that communicates some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. Quite frankly, it makes you sound tone-deaf, especially considering the times. Plain and simple, color exists and we can all see it -- who does it serve to ignore it? In fact, acknowledging this difference between you and your partner is intentional, celebrates the beauty in your differences, and is one of the keys to growing your relationship.
Don’t date another race just because it seems “exotic” or “different.”
Love is love, and you really can’t help who you’re attracted to. But let’s say you’ve been dating within your race for your entire life and now you want to “branch out” because you’re “tired of” being exposed to the same kinds of people. But it’s truly in poor taste to say you want to date, for example, a person from another race just because you never have before, as if you’re just checking off a box on your bucket list with no regard for their individuality. We know, it might feel harsh to hear, but delivery and perception is everything! That type of approach is offensive and you’re likely ignoring the real issues underneath. Could it be that perhaps you’re actually tired of seeing certain flaws among your own race being reflected right back at you? Dating another race isn’t going to fix that. Be aware of racial biases and if you feel like someone is approaching getting to know you on that vibe, please know you’re worth more than that!
Don’t make someone’s race a fetish or some badge of honor.
We’re cutting straight to the chase: if you’ve said anything remotely similar to the following: “You’re cute for a [insert race here] person,” you’ve got some serious work to do. This isn’t a compliment and won’t get you more than a well-deserved side eye. It’s also important to note if you are someone who only dates people of a specific race. It could be a coincidence, but racial fetishization is absolutely real.
Do have open discussions about race. And have them OFTEN.
As we mentioned up top, the times have changed and it’s become impossible to ignore conversations about race. Whether it’s part of a dramatic plot line on TV shows like The Bachelor or there are real-life implications, like whether or not you feel comfortable bringing your significant other home to meet your parents, you need to be open about these things with your boo.
This is also the time to address any unhealthy assumptions you might have about your partner’s cultural practices and more. We’re all a little ignorant to some extent, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay that way. Some might say there’s a little truth to stereotypes, but many of them are just rooted in deeply hurtful and discriminatory beliefs. So, make a point to talk about this early and often with each other as your relationship grows.
Do make an effort to learn about your partner’s culture & the difficulties they might face.
Do your research! Google is a great outlet to use for research and alleviates some of the pressure from your partner to fill you in on any and everything related to their ethnicity. Especially for Black people, who’ve carried the burden of explaining racism, microaggressions, and defending their culture for far too long. Take this opportunity to genuinely learn on your own.
Do speak up when others are being racist -- especially when your partner isn’t present.
It’s one thing to check your friend or coworker for that offhand uninformed (or straight-up offensive) comment when your bae is right next to you. But if we’re being honest, it’s about how you show up for them when they’re NOT around that speaks volumes. Whether it’s grandparents saying that they can’t wait to have mixed grandbabies or friends asking if certain racial stereotypes in the bedroom are true, it’s up to YOU to call that stuff out as inappropriate and enforce respectful boundaries. They’re your friends and family, so if they’re disrespecting your partner, make sure you have your partner’s back. You’d hope they’d do the same for you too, right?
The Bottom Line
Ideally, we’d love to see your interracial relationships thrive! That’s why we’ve outlined these do’s and dont’s and thought-provoking questions for you and your partner to work through together. Every critique is not an attack, and you should be prepared to learn. Remember that ALL relationships involve learning about someone else and how their experiences or identity has shaped them. Being in an interracial relationship can sometimes make that more complicated, but having those differences and learning from each other is almost always worth it. Wishing you well, lovebirds!