A poll and general discussion about interracial relationships

I was involved in an interesting discussion this morning about interracial relationships, and I realized this might be a good general topic for the Dope. My dating experience has been entirely interracial, and I have a feeling that the members of this board have pretty broad experience along these lines. So I’m starting a poll to ask about people’s interracial relationship experiences, but more so than the poll results, I’m interested in hearing about people’s personal experiences and thoughts on interracial dating as a whole.

Please, share your own experiences, add your own questions for others to answer, throw in your comments. I want this to be a very broad discussion. If you’re willing to share it, I think that both your age AND your location could be very relevant, here. Some other things to consider with your contributions:

  • Is race ever a factor for you with regard to your dating choices?
  • Do other interracial couples you run across grab your attention more than a same-race couple? If so, why?
  • Would you be turned off, unaffected, or complimented if someone new you were dating told you that they were mainly/only interested in dating people of your race?

Also, please note that for the purposes of the poll, “sex” is defined broadly and is not limited to intercourse.

Meh. Don’t think it’s a big deal, although I have noticed that different races seem to have more or less of the type of women I tend to be attracted to.

The only real reason I might possibly be against it is how any potential kids might be affected. I’m pretty sure I’d have to move. It sucks being so close to the KKK “capital”.

You left out “Am in an interracial relationship though not marriage now”, which is my case.

  • Is race ever a factor for you with regard to your dating choices?
    Ye-es…mainly in that I almost never date men of my own race (E.Indian). I find though, that I might date Indian men that were raised here in the States like I was.
  • Do other interracial couples you run across grab your attention more than a same-race couple? If so, why?
    Yes. I don’t see a lot here, in upstate NY. When I visited Montreal a couple of years ago, that was the first thing I noticed - the amount of interracial and gay/lesbian couples walking the streets.
  • Would you be turned off, unaffected, or complimented if someone new you were dating told you that they were mainly/only interested in dating people of your race?
    Turned off to a small extent. Because then it seems like they don’t care about elenia but just some exotic view of Indians are. However, if I find this is just a small portion of their attraction, I can certainly get over it!

I am currently in a racial combo I almost never see - Indian and Chinese. Sometimes I joke that if we ever find a couple with an Indian man and a Chinese woman we’ll be BFFs forever. :slight_smile: I’m 34, if you need to know that.

Define “interracial.” Someone with ancestors from Germany and France and someone with ancestors from Pakistan and Afghanistan would both be Caucasian; would a relationship between them be considered interracial? I’m guessing that for the purposes of this discussion, we’re saying “yes.”

Hmm, guess my response got eaten. I’ll try again -

My first serious, live-in boyfriend was a Native Indian. His race wasn’t a concern to me at all. Interestingly, with my dark hair and eyes, it seemed like I became a Native too when I was with him.

I do notice interracial couples more, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s probably because they are not the norm around here.

I would find it weird and off-putting for someone to tell me they’re attracted to me because of my race; I’m not just a piece of meat!

  • Is race ever a factor for you with regard to your dating choices?
    Yeah, and I’ll tell you why. When I was 16 I met the love of my life. The only guy I’ve dated who ever said he loved me and meant it. The most amazing guy ever. He happened to be black (I am white). My parents flipped the fuck out. They lost their minds. I was (and am) a great student, a great kid, never did anything wrong. But I fell in love with a black guy and became a horrible monster to them. I was grounded forever and it was pretty much the worst thing I’ve ever done in their eyes.

I still don’t understand the whole thing, 15 years later. But from then on I just decided it wasn’t ever going to even consider dating a person of another race again. Not that I don’t find them attractive or that I don’t think I could be compatible with someone of another race. I just don’t want to have to choose between them and my family. My family’s not going to change, I don’t want to deal with it. If I end up being an old maid because of it…oh well.

It makes me sad, but that’s life.

  • Do other interracial couples you run across grab your attention more than a same-race couple? If so, why?
    I think so, a little bit. Sometimes I think I just notice it the same way I would notice a “hot” person being with a “not so hot” person. I have two friends who are married - she’s a very dark-skinned woman of Jamaican origin and he’s the whitest white boy I know. To look at them you’d be all “what? wow.” But since I know their personalities and how well they go together, it’s not a surprise that they’re together. Outwardly, if I didn’t know them, they would turn my head.

  • Would you be turned off, unaffected, or complimented if someone new you were dating told you that they were mainly/only interested in dating people of your race?
    Unaffected mainly because of my own personal experience. I don’t get riled up about guys expressing their desire to date/not date fat chicks, either. Everyone has their reasons and desires.

This. I am (to the best of my knowledge) 1/8 Chinese and 7/8 British. I once had a girlfriend who was 1/2 English and 1/2 Sri Lankan. By the usual definition of race, that relationship is all Caucasian, except for my 1/8 Chinese ancestry.

ETA: And, of course, that makes my marriage interracial, though it doesn’t feel that way to us at all.

I would have voted “I’ve never had sex with or dated someone of another race, but I wouldn’t mind” except that I would mind since I am happily married and monogamous.
But, if I were not married and the right woman showed up, I wouldn’t give a rat’s butt what race she was.
At my age, I don’t care about what anyone else thinks.

Oh, and I am a ‘white’ man born in the state of Georgia.
According to my genealogy, both of my parents were either 1/16th or 1/8th Cherokee, so I also have some Cherokee ancestry. Truth be told, I wouldn’t consider Native American (or First Nation, or whatever…) to be that exotic. And having grown up around black women all of my life and having several of them as family friends for more than 25 years, that wouldn’t be exotic either.

One of the BEST things that has happened here in the ATL is that interracial relationships have become much more common. I can think of no other mechanism that could eventually dismantle racial bigotry than interracial marriages. It is very hard to demonize a group of folks when one of your children could resemble one of ‘those people’.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

Where I grew up in SE Michigan, you’re generally black (i.e., of African descent or at least look like you are) or white (anyone else of any race), and so although I’m married to a Latina, I don’t often feel like I’m in an interracial relationship. I did answer the poll that I was, though.

If I weren’t happily married, then I wouldn’t limit my sexual activity to any particlar race, although like so many people, I’m initially attracted to certain combinations of characteristics that some races aren’t known for commonly exhibiting, and so then it might appear that I’m shunning one race or another, when in fact, hot is hot in any race, if you’re hot.

I guess I should point out that I don’t intend for the poll options to be taken quite so literally. Assuming anyone else gets this far before answering the poll, please consider yourself to be hypothetically (if not actually) single for the purposes of this question.

Also, for those who are currently in a relationship that may end up in marriage but is not yet marriage, I would request the “dated and had sex with” option. I apologize for not making the wording more clear.

Yes, for this specific discussion, I do consider that to be interracial, although I think your point is fully valid.

I’d say around half of my boyfriends have been black and thankfully it hasn’t been a big deal to anyone we were close to. I’ve never had sex with anyone that wasn’t white, but that’s just coincidence.
Is race ever a factor for you with regard to your dating choices?
– Not really. I’ve had black women give me shit sometimes when I had black boyfriends, but that’s not a deterrent so much as something to be aware of.

Do other interracial couples you run across grab your attention more than a same-race couple? If so, why?
– Sometimes, if there’s a big contrast in skin color. I think it’s pretty.

Would you be turned off, unaffected, or complimented if someone new you were dating told you that they were mainly/only interested in dating people of your race?
– I’d think it was odd, but it wouldn’t scare me away, unless s/he had expectations based on my race or they were stuck on some stereotype.

I figured I’d answer the questions I raised myself, while I’m at it.

I would say that race is not a factor for me with regard to my dating choices. I find women of all races attractive. I’ve had people definitely accuse me of not liking black women because I’ve never dated one. My own mother accused me of that, once. But I’d done very little dating in my life, overall, and I think it’s mostly coincidental. I don’t run across a ton of other blacks (male or female) in the circles I tend to run in. If I were currently single, I would just as happily date a black woman as anyone else.

Interracial couples almost always get my attention, and I think it has to do with the fact that I don’t see that many. I suspect I notice couples where one party is black more than other interracial couples just because I’ve been a part of that and, earlier in my life, at least, I used to be rather self-conscious about it. But I generally smile when I see another interracial couple.

I’m pretty sure I’d be bothered by someone telling me they were into me specifically because I was black, all stereotypical jokes aside. It’s one thing to really like dark skin or some other feature that is most typical of a particular race, and I certainly find some physical features more attractive than others. I tend to be really struck by women who have hazel eyes, for example. But that doesn’t mean I seek them out specifically, or that I wouldn’t bother with someone who had blue or brown eyes. So…I dunno. I find it a little creepy when someone limits themselves specifically to one race for dating. YMMV.

I think it would be interesting if the poll were parsed by gender too; I’ve NEVER heard a man say he would disqualify an otherwise attractive woman just because of her ethnicity, but I’ve heard lots of women say they’d disqualify a man because of his.

For those of you in interracial relationships, how do people react to you? I am in an IR relationship myself–a fairly uncommon combination, and people stare at us constantly, which is fine, but for some reason, other people get really upset. You wouldn’t believe how frequently I get yelled at out of cars.

I find it really sad that because of something that happened when you were sixteen you have given up trying. Not that I don’t think you should if you want to, They were wrong. That doesn’t mean they would react the same way now that you are an adult.

I’ve encountered very little negativity in my experience. In my first IR relationship, my girlfriend’s parents were very against her dating anyone who was not also Filipino, and particularly dating a black guy. Her parents lived out of the country, though, so it was mostly a non-issue.

My ex-wife and I had a single incident when we were walking in San Francisco, of all places, where someone who appeared to be a skinhead or of the ilk yelled a racial slur at me while we were holding hands. But I obviously can’t say for sure if he would have done that had I not been walking alone as opposed to with a white woman.

With my current girlfriend, there was an occasion recently where she and I and one other person were walking at the beach, and someone passing by muttered something to the effect of, “You’re an abomination to humanity.” The three of us did not agree on who or what he was referring to at the time, but in my mind I’ve suspected that was directed at us as a couple. Which I think is silly, but there are lots of silly people on this planet.

Beyond those two or three examples, I can’t really think of any instance where there has been any reaction – positive or negative – to me as part of an IR couple. If people are staring more than they would otherwise, I haven’t noticed.

For me, race doesn’t matter; personal style does. The only concern I’ve had when considering interracial relationships is kids, because of the “one drop” conception of race that we have in the U.S. (someone can have seven great-grandparents of European extraction and one Black great-grandparent and still be considered Black)–basically, the worry that if I marry someone of a difference “race,”* other white people won’t see any of *me *in our kids, just my husbands “Otherness.” The old, “Oh, a white woman with multiracial kids, they must be adopted” problem. But while it’s something I’ve *thought *about, I guess I see it more in the context of a hurdle to be overcome if I ever get there–not something that would stop me from getting involved with someone.

*Scare quotes because I think the entire idea of race is a social construct.

Yup, this is the big thing behind it for me. When I brought my current girlfriend home from college the first time, I got a couple jokes about liking Asian girls, because I had also dated one briefly in high school, and like it was some kind of fetish that I had. No, but I am often attracted to girls with really dark hair and of slight builds, and guess what? Yes, it’s really that simple, and no racial or otherwise skeevy motives.

Anyways, I have been dating a Taiwanese girl for something like four years now, and she’s probably The One. Some random people and relatives have done a double clutch, but whatever - not my problem. I’m with her because she’s smart, she’s pretty, and we make each other happy, and I don’t especially care what anyone else thinks.

Heh, I’m a Chinese dude and I’m going on a first date with an Indian girl this weekend. Wish me luck!

For the OP, personality is really the most important thing for me in a relationship. Race doesn’t really enter into the picture.

Have not and will not: have not because I just haven’t, and will not because I’m married and do not plan to ever date again outside of my husband.