It’s been celebrated in movies such as “Something Different,” and “Save the Last Dance” and is fashionable among Hollywood celebrities, but have interracial relationships been truly accepted by Americans?
Interracial relationships are also prevalent among other ethnic groups. More than 20 percent of unmarried Latino women live with white men. Approximately, 39.7 percent of unmarried Asian women live with white men, 5.8 percent with Hispanic men, and five percent with black men.
Lila Brown, of Atlanta, Ga., says that interracial relationships are quite common where she lives. “In Atlanta, you will see interracial couples everywhere throughout the city from nightclubs and restaurants to cultural events,” Brown said. “It is accepted in a city that is culturally diverse.”
Brown, an African-American woman, is in a relationship with a white man. She chose her partner for emotional reasons.
“It was not calculated, nor was I influenced,” Brown says. “I was hesitant at first; this is the first time I dated outside of my race.”
Unlike Brown, Paulette Fontanez, a photographer from Los Angeles, has had many interracial dating experiences partially due to living in one of the most diverse parts of the country.
She said that since Los Angeles is so large and multicultural, it is very easy to date outside your race.
“I am Hispanic and tend to date outside my race all the time,” Fontanez says. “I don’t actively seek out Hispanic men. In fact my last boyfriend was black, the guy before him was white, and right now I am seeing a Persian man.”
Fontanez said she has not faced negative reactions because of her choice in partners. The only opinions that mattered to her were those of her father and brothers, who were both supportive of her decision. One of her brothers is married to a Catholic Mexican women and the other is engaged to a Muslim Indian.
“We take in all shapes, sizes, colors and faiths in my family,” Fontanez says. “That might not be the cultural norm, but it’s absolutely the familial norm (for me.)”
Edward Savio, an author and businessman, from San Francisco, gained a unique view of interracial relationships 20 years ago when he moved from a “lily white” town in Connecticut, to Howard University, a predominately black college.
Savio, a white man, dated several black women while he was at Howard and noticed that both black men and women faced criticism for dating outside their ethnic groups. Black men received a lot of flak for dating white women, especially from black females who felt that their dating opportunities were already limited.
However, black females were more understanding of a black woman dated a white man. Savio said, “In their minds, when a girl dates a white guy, it’s because there’s not enough good guys to go around.”
With social boundaries falling, it seems that many women are choosing partners based on compatibility rather than skin color.
Brown does not believe that black men should be obligated to date within their own community. She says that she bases her choices of a partner on more personal reasons.
“Marriage should always be about love and being happy,” Brown said.
According to Fontanez, a man’s smile and personality are more important than his ethnic background.
“If he can hold up his end of the conversation, I’m more interested,” Fontanez said. “I’m attracted to smart, ambitious men, whatever color they come in.”