Life is good and even seems promising. You’ve fallen in love and your honey excites you on so many levels. Yet what should be one of the happiest moments in your life has turned into a personal nightmare.
You’re getting advice to walk away and end it. It’s not that this person is abusive or unkind. They just don’t fit most peoples’ mold of a suitable partner. And all because you two don’t share the same skin color.
According to Pew Research Center’s census data, in 2013, a record-high of 12% of newlyweds married someone of a different race. This does not take into account the “interethnic” marriages between Latinos and non-Latinos. In fact, 6.3% of all marriages were between spouses of different races that same year. This was up from less than 1% in 1970.
Times are a changing. In 2014, 37% of Americans said having more people of different races marrying was a good thing for society. This was up from 24% four years earlier. In 2014 only 9% felt that this trend was a bad thing for society. 51% said it didn’t make much difference.
According to the latest census data, there are over 5 million interracially-married couples in the US. That’s 9.5 percent of all married Americans. While the most common combination seems to be Latinos and Whites, some racial groups are more likely to intermarry than others. Of the 3.6 million adults who got married in 2013, 58% of Native Americans, 28% of Asians, 19% of blacks, and 7% of whites have a spouse whose race is different from their own.
Yet given these encouraging statistics, why do so many of us fear venturing outside of our comfort zone?
We profess to be cool and open-minded. In reality we are not. Our experiences with people of different races are limited to what we see or hear on TV. And what we see or hear is fed to us in disparaging Technicolor. Talk about stereotypes. Welcome to the world of the thug, drug dealer, welfare recipient and terrorist.
Fear of the unknown is what I call it. We convince ourselves that similarity of upbringing makes for a stronger connection. This is not always true.
As an equal opportunity dater, I have gotten some very nice surprises when I have ventured outside of my comfort zone. I have met and enjoyed people I never would have met, had I not kept an open mind.
Take for example, the African American up and coming attorney for a major company who just happened to speak German and Japanese fluently. And no, he was never in the army. There was the blonde-haired, blue-eyed filmmaker who’d been adopted by African-American parents. His perspective and understanding of life, and race relations made for interesting conversation. Then there was the East Indian entrepreneur, so good looking, he could have starred in a Bollywood movie. Both his eloquence and personal style made him a head turner.
My Iranian date was one of the most cultured and well-read men I have ever met. And my ex-husband, who was as Aryan looking as they come, turned out to be one of the most liberal and progressive men I have ever encountered.
What it boils down to is that people are people. By ruling out a person because of their skin tone, you just might lose out on the love of your life. So before deciding your admirer is not worthy, take a look at his character, and not his skin color.
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