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Is dating really black and white?

Dear Guys,

I’m African-American, love my ethnicity, and am fully aware of my history. I also have a sensual leaning for slightly older white males.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the brothers, and latin men can roll the R’s like sin (ooo boy).  However, the majority of my lovers and close male friend happen to be white.

For me and my family this has never been an issue.  But recently a comment was made in a social (and very multi-racial group) that between races was something only the younger generation could fully embrace.

This really struck a nerve with me.  I’ve always believed that true love isn’t color blind, but all accepting.  I never thought of it in terms of generations or age.  Yet I can’t shake the feeling that the statement, may not have been racist, but was very ill-informed.

What do you think?

Liz

Dear Liz,

Great question. We’d love to know the context the statement was made in. However, we’ll still give our opinion on the general topic.

Differences make the world more interesting. But in relationships they are just one more thing to address. Ethnicity, religion, political leanings and class are the big four. But there are more. For as you know, relationships are difficult enough to sustain over a lifetime. Throw one more possible issue into the mix and it only makes it more challenging, especially when raising children.

Honestly, age has nothing to do with embracing differences. In fact we don’t necessarily see more acceptance in the world now. Sure, our country is more integrated in some ways, but when people leave work or school and go home, it’s pretty clear that people who are similar in whatever way, stick together. It’s human nature, and it’s no different for the twenty somethings, forty somethings and sixty somethings. People feel more comfortable with people that are like them.

Sure this country is becoming more and more of a melting pot. And certainly the young people embrace this change more than older people. But generally isn’t that what young people are about? Young people take more risks generally. They push the envelope. They experiment. They explore. And just as their parents influenced them to be more open minded, they’ll influence their kids, and hopefully at some point, maybe 200 years from now, differences, while still being present, won’t be a factor.

THE GUYS are not about ignoring differences. Honestly that just makes the person who is different feel more different. We feel people should embrace differences, even point them out. When it’s obvious, it’s obvious! All this pretending that we’re not different isn’t helping.

So far we haven’t really answered your question have we?

So here goes. No, we don’t agree with your friend.

With all this celebration of differences going on, somehow the white people(European) and the black people(African-American) have still not found a way to celebrate each other and accept one another fully. It’s sad really. Sure, you do. And we certainly do, but the stereotypes and mistrust, still haven’t changed. Yes we’ve absolutely progressed in the last forty years, but it’s a very slow change, and a slower integration than we’d expect.

So when your friends says, “…this is something only the younger generation can embrace….” we say, maybe slightly more. But unfortunately not a lot more.

So no worries. You keep doing your part. We’ll keep doing ours. And hopefully we’ll see the day where this question doesn’t even come up.

THE GUYS

22 Comments on Is dating really black and white?

  1. Saw this on Facebook and thought “Wha–??” (I’m very articulate, aren’t I?) Differences (no matter what kind) have always been just part of life. The kids and I used to stop to talk to people in wheelchairs (so the kids would learn how similar they were to themselves) and mentally handicapped people (I used to work with them, so they’d flag me down in public), older people and everyone else we could find. We learn what’s different (and sometimes WHY things were different), how they think and feel and reach what’s similar. No biggie.

    Lately, probably because I’m older? It seems the “different” people I run into are more guarded, looking for an argument or just mean. Soooo right now I automatically avoid anyone different. >:( I don’t like it. It isn’t me and I’m working on it.

    Anyway, until recently I never understood what the big deal was. If everyone was like me the world (although, prettier – haha) would be really boring! Not that I’m really boring…you know what I mean!

    🙂

  2. My favorite part of my career at my current company was about 8 years ago when we had a real fun lunch group… men, women, black, white, we’d get a big table in the cafeteria and just laaaaaugh.

    The thing is, there ARE differences between races and cultures; there just are. Like you say, pretending they’re not there is silly. But the point is that differences are not value judgements in and of themselves. There’s no better or worse, right or wrong, it’ s just different. And that’s OK.

  3. Like whoever you like. The rest is just blather.

  4. @ Guys: I could kiss each and every one of you. I personally love my differences and am attracted to individuals who follow their own tune (sorry I’m not much into conformity). I believe that yes, while differences can be challenges in relationships, they can also be the intrigue and spark that makes everyday an adventure.

    I once dated a first generation Irishman who’d earned his citizenship 15 years ago. He’d only dated a black woman once (and they were both 13yrs). I’ll never forget his first comment to me, “you have a great bumm.” Guess it was the accent, because it worked. We dated strongly for a little over two years, and parted as friends.

    We talked alot about our cultures and taboos (and yes, we even had the “how come a black man can say the “N” word and I can’t”. – it always comes up). I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s been over 8 yrs since I’ve seen him, and I still smile whenever I think of him.

    I guess I’m fortunate to have been raised in a very diverse and low income part of DC. Our financial status made it necessary to depend on one another. We were real neighbors then, and the differences between the races made for some good eating.

  5. people who don’t tolerate people who are different than themselves are assinine. intolerance is the only thing i can’t embrace. (however, as an aside, i’ve actually grown more open-minded and tolerant with age. i thought i i had it all figured out as a young person, but now that i’m older and wiser, i know there in no perfect scheme, but complexity is a sure thing.)

  6. I grew up in the South. My mother’s family were strong segregationists. She once slapped me for referring to a black woman as a “black lady.” I was stunned. I never shared their beliefs, and it caused a rift, but I did not care and stuck by my principles.
    In our art guild, we embrace artists equally. One of my closest friends is a black male artist and entertainer. The argument that it is hard on the children of a mixed marriage is something I find to be archaic. President Obama is the product of a mixed marriage. I don’t think that it has hurt him over the years.

    I have had occasion to question someone’s motive in dating outside their race, because I have known people who have done that for the sole purpose of upsetting others. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

    This is the 21st Century–We need to move on and embrace each other equally.

  7. @ Judy: Big hugs, hon. My mother grew up during the end of segregation. Her parents were last generation sharecroppers (you wouldn’t even believe some of the family albums). Yet with all she experienced, my mother has never expressed or shown any bias what so ever. To the contrary, she made it a point to expose my sister, brother, and I to as many people of different walks as she could. In DC that’s not too hard to do. I’ve benefited from her determination and sense of decency.

    @NP: Hon, you are still the master of big ideas, few words. Ashe

    @PattyPunker: Age is always the greatest lense for reflection. I was so sure I knew what-was-what the second I graduated from high school. 26 yrs later I’m just glad I didn’t end up on a cold slab somewhere.

  8. I agree with nothingprofound – just like who you like.

  9. I have to say that this saddens me deeply. It is difficult enough for people to find love in this crazy world and then to have it challenged with something as small as the color of your skin. I know race is a big issue and that some things concerning race shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it comes a time when we have to put the important issues to the front and erase the issues people try to make issues. I say if you love him or her past her color; be free to love.

    jwriter
    joe4christ.blogspot.com

  10. Great Post Guys and I look forward to that day the question never comes up..if ever 🙂

  11. I have just one quotation to share, “I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one ‘race’ – the human race – and that we are all members of it.” by Margaret Atwood. It is true that some older people may still find it hard to accept and it is of no surprise since they have been brought up that way since young. We wouldn’t expect all of them to change overnight. Some will eventually change and some will probably leave the world holding on to their perspective.

  12. I’m kind of in the same position as Liz. I’m Latina and I end up dating white guys a lot. I’m not actively looking for them, but it just happens. My ex-husband was white. It actually was an issue for us. My family accepted him, but his family had a hard time relating to me. They would make kind of racist comments a lot. They were always well intentioned but sometimes I just couldn’t believe the things they would say. I was under a lot of stress one time when his mother said something and I couldn’t hold back my thoughts. She was very careful around me after that.

    I definitely agree with The Guys. While we might have made a little bit of progress, we certainly haven’t reached our goals of having a color blind society. I was just reading an article not too long ago about an employment study. Researchers sent in applications to various employers. They were the exact same application, but one would have a name typically ascribed to African Americans like “Jamal” and one would have an Anglicized name like “Rick”. Very often, “Rick” but not “Jamal” would get a call for an interview. Exact same application! We haven’t come very far.

  13. A very provocative and thought-provoking post, Guys. This is a touchy subject. Sometimes I think we haven’t come very far, or at least not as far as we think. I think a lot of people have just learned to hide their prejudices better.

  14. To me it seems strange that the age thing is still an issue, regarding relationships. With how hard it seems for most people these days to even date normally and find someone between work, appointments and other responsibilities, I say that age should definitely not be an issue and people should thank their freakin’ gods that they could actually find someone remotely compatible. The race issue is even more baffling. Especially in this day and age. Really? There are still people hung up on others dating someone who isn’t their skin color? Amazing and pathetic- all at once. Somebody needs to smack these idiots in the back of the head and remind them of how narrow minded and stupid they are.

    I volunteer for the job. 🙂

    Great post, Guys

  15. To Naughtie Scribe: I would LOVE to see those photo albums! You should create a collage and post it on your blog!

    My ex-family (I was completely disowned almost two years ago, thank goodness!) is still just as racist as they always were. Some people just never grow up. Being an artist has taught me to embrace diversity, because it makes me more creative.

  16. Excellent post and pretty deep! What was that movie with the boy who fell in love with the old woman? Was that Harold and Maude? Age shouldn’t make a difference, and neither should race in our book. Loved the read!

  17. @Everyone…………….Thanks for your great insights. We have the best commenters!! You are all so thoughtful and helpful. We’re sure Naughtie is very appreciative of all of you.

  18. Loving and living your life is tough enough without worrying about all the shoulds and coulds. Joyously embrace who you are and don’t worry about the rest. 🙂

  19. Enter your comments here…When i moved to this city “Bradford” From a rural area I attempted to build some bridges with some of the ethnic minorities on an individual basis with mixed success there being roughly a quarter of a million Asian and black residents here. One who i befriended a huge Jamaican dude who turned out to have dubious sexual preferences. I should of in fact not tried to build any bridges just “take as you find” no more no less

  20. Appreciating the differences in people is good, as long as we are aware that there are cultural differences which many not change. I have known several couples who were inter-racial and had long term relationships. It depends on the individuals.

  21. I love what Liz said in her question, because I feel the VERY same way:

    ” I’ve always believed that true love isn’t color blind, but all accepting.”

    INDEED!

  22. @Angelia…….Amen!

    @Stugod………..That sounds a bit scary actually. Hope you extracted yourself in one piece.

    @Askcherlock……….Cultural differences do exist, but they shouldn’t stand in the way of two people being together. In fact, learning about a new culture, is exciting, and actually a positive for a relationship.

    @Meleah………It certainly is supposed to be that way.

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