Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interracial Dating: A Generational Perspective

Giving and getting the first hand interpretation on interracial dating can be some of the most interesting feedback to live through and experience. Through my personal journey of interracial relationships I have encountered everything from bigotry to blind acceptance. One of the best and most interesting ways to view the reactions to my relationships is with people who are from different generational gaps. Over the years I have met my parter's siblings, parents, and grandparents. This has allowed me a unique perspective from each of those different age groups and shown me the ways that not only those individuals reacted, but the way that age group in general would react.

Let's start out with the youngest group. My first long term interracial relationship partner had a much younger brother. He was about 9 when I first met him and he was a pretty good kid. He was from a small town where there were very few people of any minority race which made it interesting that I was dating his older sister. Even though I'm Asian, at first he assumed I was hispanic since that was the only race other than white which had permeated that small suburb. Long story short, over time he came to view me as an older brother. He loved me and accepted me with no bearing of race on my personality at all. To him, I was just another person who happened to be integrated into his family through being in a relationship with his older sister. As I saw some of his friends make racial remarks or base judgements off of race I never saw that from him.

The median generation, that of our parent's age group was much more divided. Being a small, country town there was plenty of racism going around in conversation and through various groups of people. Since the majority of white people in the town so far outweighed the number of anything else it was a pretty uncomfortable feeling for most of the minorities. Although my partner's mother and father were very accepting of me I got more than a few judging stares and suffered through quite a few awkward glances at my partner and I holding hands simply because she was white and I was not.

The last generation I had particularly direct relationships with was that of my partner's grandparents age group. This was by far the group from which I received the most negative feedback and judgement. There was a plethora of older people in the town we lived in and for most of them they had not really seen up close and personal a couple from two different ethnicities. Some of them visibly and emotionally were upset at the sight of it. This made me pretty mad at first since we live in such a modern society of acceptance, but this town in particular was a slice out of the past. It hadn't grown the same way most of society had in recent years and because of that the people there were not all very kind. It did show the trend of people just getting less and less accepting as the years went by and as the generations grew older. This is a trend which I think people all over the world share.

As people get older they get stuck in their ways. It is hard for them to adapt to the world changing in ways they've never seen before or are uncomfortable with. Hopefully this pattern of people getting more accepting in their younger age from exposure to media and the real world will continue and eventually the ideas of racism and judgment based on skin color or orientation will diminish even further.

By Mark

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