American Love Stories . Featured Posts | PBS

American Love Stories

Featured Posts
DialoguesStoriesTV SeriesDig Deeper

Visit the Dialogue Archives at Web Lab

The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 8, Thread 2.

1. Is Interracial Dating a Form of Self-loathing?
Fri, Sep 17, 1999 - 1:15 PM/EST

as a multi-racial man i find that my black friends resent me when i date a white woman and accuse me of self-loathing and 'selling out'. personally, i feel this is unfair, but i can appreciate that women of color can feel as if one of their 'brothers' is rejecting them and their race when they are on the arm of a white woman. i'm conflicted. when i do date white women, it isn't because i hate my brown skin and i'm ashamed of my af/am side... to me it's more complicated than that.

not to get to oedipal about this, but my mom is white. a white woman raised me. i love and respect my father's culture and i feel more identified as black because that's how i was socialized and how i was judged. but... how can me dating a white woman be self-loathing when the closest individual to me growing up was white?

that being said, i have found that when i date women of color there is a sense of understanding and shared experience that i don't have with white women who i feel can sympathize, but can't really 'empathize' with my experience and the things i deal with from day to day... i don't know... i'm still struggling with this stuff that's why i'm looking forward to discussing it... i'd love to hear the toughts of men that experience the same thing, women of color, and white women that have dated other races...

3. Self-loathing or socioeconomic climbing?
Fri, Sep 17, 1999 - 3:53 PM/EST


I have often noticed that 'biracial' people whose mothers are white have the identifying conflict you mentioned more than those whose mothers are Black. I've wondered if it was for the reason you mentioned, that people have a psychological need to be associated with their mother, even racially. Does anyone else have any thoughts on that?

I don't think that dating outside of one's race equates with self-loathing, but under current societal conditions, I think it almost always does indicate something along those lines with respect to Black people. Most of the Black people I know who date outside of the race are trying to escape some aspect of their racial identity. It seems like they are stragically aligning themselves with other races in these interracial relationships, not mainly for love and uderstanding, but attempting to separate themselves from the disrespectful treatment Black people are subject to at times. I definitely understand the desire to change the way we are treated, but I don't think we should have to try to escape our own racial identity in the process. People are worthy or unworthy of respect based on their individual actions, not their race or who they associate with.

I know that some people will be angry with me or offended by me saying that many people get involved in interracial relationships for reasons other than love and understanding, but it is true. I do, however, know that some people are in interracial relationships because they are in love, but I think those people are an underwhelming minority.

5. A Former Boss
Fri, Sep 17, 1999 - 9:30 PM/EST

I used to work for a Regional Manager, who happened to be Black. I am Black, and he used to always make comments about "those white people..." He was a very dynamic guy, well dressed, well spoken, MBA Northwestern. When I knew him, he was married to a Black woman. He and his eventually did divorce. He eventually left the company we worked at and married one of the white co-workers in the office. His ex-wife said that he aspired to have everything the white male managers had. It is my understanding that he has changed the way he speaks to emulate white people more, and encourages his oldest son who lives with him to date white women exclusively.

6. just a few thoughts
Fri, Sep 17, 1999 - 10:53 PM/EST

First of all, after reading some of the above, I begin to understand what you are up against, dbl scorpio! There really is a lot of anger directed at interracial couples. Hang in there buddy. And once again I say follow your heart. I don't know that I like the term bi-racial either, but it is ridiculous to try to deny one whole side of who you are. It is hard to grasp that someone wants to force the term black on you when your mother is white. On one hand, you are chastised for rejecting your people, and then almost in the same breath you are asked to deny your own mother. Absurd. I think there is a political agenda here that goes way beyond the love of family.

And why does dating/marrying someone of another race have to mean you are denying your own people? By coming into contact with difference, we learn about ourselves. I do not want to be black any more than my wife wants to become white. That is a neurosis which people love to imagine, but again, that relationship would be destined for failure sooner than later.

And frankly, I don't buy this idea that black people cannot be racist. That's a copout, and it is usually followed by a separatist diatribe. I am not trying to incite an emtional response, but understand that when someone makes a blanket statement about how most people involved in interracial relationships are not in it for love,I am offended and frankly surprised by the simplicity of that kind of stereotyping.

I really think people need to take a good hard look at why they are so bothered by people whose skin color is not the same loving each other. This is a complex issue for some, but it is also pretty simple. We are here. We love each other.And we're not going away. In fact we are having children who will be better equipped to handle the wonderful complexity of a multi-racial world.

8. Can't we all just get along--:)
Sat, Sep 18, 1999 - 1:01 AM/EST

Man oh man--you truly opened up a can of worms on this one, didn't you scorpio? What can I say...I guess I can begin with an old and blue cliche, "love knows no color." Simply put, I believe that. But, what I believe and the reality of the racial polarity dividing this country(after 400 yrs.) is another thing.

As an ethnic group, Blacks continue to struggle with their identity in this country. One of the most powerful statements in the American Love story series was one in which Bill states, "Black culture is dead in America, we have assimilated." He continues to elude to the fact that integration was the worse thing that happened to Black Americans. But, my main point being, we, as blacks, must be careful of our definitions of "blackness". We need to think about where these definitions come from and how these definitions are perpetuated.

I believe as a culture, Blacks must continue to work toward an all-encompassing definition of who we are--a definition which involves our history, as well as guides our future. We have to learn to look beyond the looking glass that society has placed before us as our cultural definition. In sum, Scorpio, if you want to date a white woman, then do so--this should have little to no bearing on your identity as a "black" man. When in doubt, always stay true to yourself:).

9. Please read, Doug
Sat, Sep 18, 1999 - 3:59 AM/EST

I'm not sure if you were speaking of me, Doug, but dbl_scorpio, is not up against me. He is a Black man and I am committed to and dependent on his success. I am not opposed to anything he does unless it is intentionally harmful to other people.

Also, I definitely didn't say that dbl_scorpio should deny any side of himself, but it should be understood that most people who are classified as Black in America are actually a mixture of different races and ethinicities. We can assert our identity as Black people without marginalizing within ourselves, and I think that approach would help a lot of people who are only aware of the recent (present generation) racial mixing in their family to overcome their self announced problem of racial and/or cultural alienation.

10. Please read, Doug (continued)
Sat, Sep 18, 1999 - 4:04 AM/EST

Doug, I also don't think your children are any more well equipped to deal with a multiracial world by virtue of the fact that his/her parents are different races. I get tired of hearing people say that the way to deal with issues surrounding multiculturalism is to consciously create more mixed race people. I've encountered this diverser than thou attitude countless times and I think you need to think about where it comes from. Being married to a Black woman doesn't automatically exclude you from being a racist, either.

Also, Doug, I did say most Black people that I know who are in interracial relationships. I don't know that many of the however many million people are in interracial relationships, so my sample is limited. I can only make definite statements about what I have actually seen and question the rest to gain some understanding. I was not stereotyping.

I'm not bothered by people of different races loving each other at all. Love is always positive.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 2 from Relationship Group 8.

Partners   Produced by Web Lab

Copyright © 1999 by Zohe Film Productions and Web Lab