To tell you the truth, coming from a family where probably about 1 out of every 5 of my living relatives is in an interracial relationship/marriage or the product of one I sometimes tend to be neglectful of the fact that they are of either culture. I just see my cousins and my brother and sister as being who they are and not as being black or white, but just themselves. I love my white relatives who have married into my family as much as I love my other relatives like my sister-in-law, my dad (who still treats me as if I were his own daughter even though he and mother separated over 15 years ago), and my favorite uncle. I have dated outside of my race more than in it, but I think that’s because the only other african-american male my age from my hometown drooled a lot when we were in elementary school together and other african-americans when I got into high school and college segregated themselves into black organizations and cliques whereas I joined groups and made friends based on my interests and not my skin color. Besides, you can’t help who you are attracted to. I know that when I went out with an ABC friend here in Taiwan a few times, we got some funny looks, but most of them were directed at him. I think that here interracial dating is more acceptable but in the US, because of all of the racial issues and problems, it’s a much more volatile situation. I can think of numerous examples of ugly racism rearing its head with interracial relationships, both romantic and platonic.
One example that always stands out in my mind from the US was when I was working at a department/grocery store. There was an older black woman who would sometimes say hi to me when she saw me. One night I was talking to her and a white woman passed holding hands with a black man. After they passed she went on about how she hates seeing couples like that because it’s a crime to the children and it messes them up with deformities because they were abominations and they would never be accepted by either race. Then she joked that I should go get that guy and show him what a real woman was. I looked at her and told her that neither my brother nor my sister had deformities nor my cousins and that it seemed that the guy was pretty happy with the real woman that he was with already. I never spoke to her again.
In Taiwan, I have also seen some interesting examples of how people here can perceive interracial dating with Taiwanese-foreigner couples. I have an African friend who lives down south that I met because she suprised to see another black woman and stopped to offer me a ride. She is the widow of an aborigine, but told me that she would never set me up with a Taiwanese man because she didn’t trust them although she herself had married one and had three children with him. It was so strange to hear such a contradiction that she loved her Taiwanese husband but would not trust a Taiwanese man or want to let someone else date one.
When I first came to Taiwan, I had to commute to Hsintien from the brown line which was about 45 minutes each way. One night after having one of those I hate Taiwan days from everyone staring and whispering and pointing at me, I was practically daring people to sit next to the black foreigner on the train. One woman did and asked me after a little while, “Are your eyelashes real?” I guess she was impressed with how long they seemed or something, but we wound up talking for most of that ride in English and Mandarin and finally we came around to my learning Chinese and she said, “You know the best way to learn is by dating a Taiwanese man.” She then tried to set me up with her son. This totally made my day because it felt like at least one person on the whole island thought of me as a person and not a circus exhibit. She apparently had no problem with interracial dating.
I think where you are in the US plays a huge role in how they treat you as an interracial couple. Even in my midwestern town of over 50,000, there were very few interracial couples in my high school, but lots of them outside of the school in the community whereas you would think it might have been the opposite. I just read an article last week about a school in Georgia that is holding a student-organized whites-only prom because the kids there don’t want any chances of interracial couples dancing together. This high school also has two senior class presidents: a white one and a black one. This is in modern-day America. And the students accept this. One student said she was going to the open prom and the whites-only prom because she had some friends at one and some at the other. Nobody even questioned it. :shock: Mind-boggling.