We live in a diverse society where we cross paths each day with people from different backgrounds, cultures and races. With the vast amount of race and ethnic diversity, it is inevitable for some to become involved intimately and romantically. Although love sees no color lines, unfortunately many people do and these racial boundaries can affect how they feel about interracial relationships. Although race relations have improved and with country the becoming more accepting of different cultures, many problems and concerns still arise for those who choose to date outside of their race.
Interracial relationships are able to benefit those involved in many ways. It allows them to experience and learn about new cultures and backgrounds, providing them with an understanding and appreciation for others that they may not have previously had. It also gives an opportunity to look within oneself to and fully grasp the beauty and richness that is evident in people of different races and nationalities. While challenges are prevalent in all relationships, interracial couples may have a greater degree of difficulty in navigating through those issues. However, couples that can work through those racial differences and cultural misunderstandings can possibly have more stability in their relationship than same-race couples. Understanding those differences and having an appreciation for them can strengthen a relationship and build a long lasting bond that a couple can cherish.
As in any relationship, the values that each of carry plays a major role in how we interact with one another. Values uncover the true nature of an individual by revealing how they view certain issues. Interracial couples may have different value systems which can often cause frequent disagreements and can lead to tension and conflict that can split the relationship. Values are nurtured and developed through our family relations and they can certainly have an impact on how we observe and understand interracial relationships. There are some family structures that are more open and tolerant of interracial relationships while others are completely against them, believing that there should not be a blending of races. Children of families that are less tolerant of interracial relationships can feel enormous pressure to date within their own race due to the backlash they could experience from their family. Some families are so extreme about their beliefs that they are willing to disown their children for choosing to be romantically involved with someone outside their race. A person could be torn between their partner and their family, feeling tremendous levels of stress and fear for having to make such a difficult decision and choose between the two.
Another important issue within interracial couples is if they decide to have children. Biracial children can sometimes feel the most adversity because of the emotional instability when trying to determine their racial identity. Interracial children could suffer from an identity crisis because they are often pressured to choose a race with which to associate. Children may also face negativity from within their own family. When one child resembles the physical likeness of the preferred race, the family may tend to favor that child over the other who may have physical attributes of the other race. Families that alienate children due to their lack of racial and ethnic tolerance often do not recognize the emotional toll that it will have on them. In addition to racism within their own family, biracial children will also struggle for acceptance in their community. This prejudice can have psychological effects, leaving the child feeling isolated, confused and uncertain of where he/she belongs.
Some people get involved in interracial relationships solely based on the stereotypes that may be associated with a particular race. For example, there are stereotypes that associate Asian women to be submissive and obedient. By building a preference based on perpetuated racial stereotypes, people can often develop a racial fetish whereby they only date others of a specific race centered on attributes they believe those groups to exemplify. Choosing to be with someone based on perceived stereotypes will not allow you to fully appreciate the diversity and culture of that person because you are too preoccupied with superficial aspects rooted in false perceptions.
Interracial couples definitely face more challenges that same-race couples, however, these are not issues that cannot be overcome. As our society continues to evolve, perspectives on race are changing and becoming more tolerant and race is not as much of a factor as it once was. While aspects of racism still linger, those who choose to engage in an interracial relationship should make certain they are doing it for the right reasons and that they understand the ramifications of their decisions. They should make sure they have open lines of communication with each other and be able to accept their racial and cultural differences. Furthermore, interracial couples need to have a high level of internal strength in dealing with the population of people that oppose the relationship, from family members to friends to community members. There has to be a comfort level to see past the naysayers and do what they feel is best for the relationship.