09 June 2011

Can We Talk About?: Interracial Dating

The following is an article I wrote for Hercampus.com last year

Interracial dating. I’m sure you’ve read a generous amount about this topic in your favorite girly magazines. I have too. The majority of the articles I’ve read have been about the negative aspects but, today I’d like to show the other side; the side that I, along with many others appreciate so much in their own interracial or interfaith relationship.

Let me start off by saying that I am the product of an interracial and interfaith household. So was my father. My grandmother, a Jewish woman of Russian descent fell head over heels for my grandfather, a black Christian man from upstate New York. This was back in the 60s when racial tensions were still high and my grandmother went through a lot to be with my grandfather, including being disowned by her own family. Soon after this my father was born. Years down the line my father who was raised Jewish met my Puerto Rican, Roman Catholic mother. Soon after that I was born. And here I am: a mutt as my cousins love to call me.

I’m now dating a wonderful man by the name of Teron who is Muslim and is black. Many people find this confusing and hard to digest because I took my father’s religion and don’t understand how we make it work since our religions historically have had conflict.

Simple answer? It just works.

The beautiful thing about interracial and interfaith relationships is that you learn about the struggles that you each go through in everyday life. Teron often points out that he never realized how many identity issues people of mixed-ethnicity have and that our relationship has shown him a point of view other than his own.

I talked to another interracial couple we know, Tracy Gorman and Caitlyn Scudder. They are the “traditional” (is there such a thing?) mixed race couple, black and white respectively. Tracy is from the Philadelphia area and Caitlyn is from the Boston area, both attended Temple. My favorite part of their interviews was when they me told about their most memorable moment since they’ve been together where they could appreciate the differences in each other’s backgrounds.

Tracy’s Story:
A very memorable moment of mine occurred one evening on Temple's campus. Caitlyn and 3 friends (two white, 1 Indian) were walking to a friend's house to get ready for a party. I had been out riding my bike and decided to go with them. I had been trailing behind them a bit. Once we hit a corner two cops cars appeared out of nowhere. The cops asked me to get off my bike. I did with a confused look on my face. They then threw me against a fence and handcuffed me and searched me asking me where the drugs were. They said they had been following me since I met up with Caitlyn and friends and that I looked suspicious. Obviously I had no drugs me as I do not do or sell drugs. Oddly enough though, once they saw my Temple ID they treated me with the utmost respect as if they hadn't just thrown me against a fence and frisked me. And for a lady cop she wasn't very gentle. They ignored Caitlyn’s pleas and cries saying I was her boyfriend and they were all my friends and I was making sure they got to where they were going safely.
Why is that a memorable moment? it's because it made me feel good knowing Caitlyn would stick up for me even  with the cops in our presence and also because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong and actually had proof that the cops just assume things about people based on appearance.

Caitlyn’s Story:
A few Christmases ago his family was struggling to make ends meet and put presents under the tree for everyone yet they all pulled together scraped scrimped and saved. He bought presents for everyone with his money he received from selling back books and silly things on EBay. His aunt pitched in to buy gifts, his cousins helped out; everyone came together and it really showed the true meaning of Christmas. It was inspirational and my parents and I came together to purchase a few gift cards for his mother to purchase food and whatever else they needed. That Christmas my family and I were taking a trip to get away from all the stresses we had endured that year including losing both of my father’s parents within a 3 month period. My family and my aunt and her 3 kids went on a cruise and while it was the first large family vacation we ever took it was eye opening. A few years earlier his family had things together with his mother making a large salary and working for a reputable company but now she was down in her luck, fighting for disability, and to keep her family going. Meanwhile two years ago my family had no money, I was supporting myself without my parents help, and he was taking care of me. I just realized how quickly things can change but without family support you really do have nothing and how that is the same no matter what your race is.

I know I said that I was going to show the positive side of interracial relationships and Tracy’s story illustrates the side that is shown in so many articles on the subject. But, the part of his story that stood out to me was that he saw the Caitlyn would stick up for him. The most important part of a relationship in so many people’s eyes is trust. And the fact that an incident such as this one showed him that he could trust in Caitlyn to always be there for him and accept him for him is a beautiful thing that is shown more often in an mixed relationship.

The important thing to remember is that an interracial relationship is just like any other. From Tracy taking care of Caitlyn when she had the swine flu to Teron poking fun of my random Latin accent. The most important thing in any relationship is that you’re both just happy being with each other and any differences from color, to religion to the town you grew up in just become something to talk and learn about. Nothing else should keep you from enjoying each other’s company.

Tracy said it best when he said, “the rest of the world needs to suck it up and get along.”

And remember appreciating the differences shouldn’t just stop at your own interracial or interfaith relationship if you’re in one. Reach out and make friends from different backgrounds, races and interests. You’ll learn so much more about the world you live in and will broaden your horizons. We did come to college to learn, right?


  1. HANDS IN THE AIR!!! interracial couple & PROUD

  2. Hey sugah! Is Teron yur hubby now?