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Racy JC’s Top 5 Challenges of Interracial Dating (and Their Solutions)
Photo: I Got the Fever
Today’s contributor is J.C. Davies. J.C. spent more than a decade managing money and writing stock opinions on Wall Street. After the market downturn of 2008, she began focusing on her other area of expertise: interracial dating. She has more than 20 years of experience dating men of different cultures, including: Latino, Asian, Jewish, Black and Middle Eastern men. She lives in Midtown Manhattan with her boyfriend and geriatric cat. I Got the Fever, the definitive guide to intercultural dating, hits bookstores February 1, 2011,
As the author of the definitive guide to intercultural dating you could say that interracial dating has been my life (and even more so in the last couple years). Researching my book I found that, although old-school racism towards interracial couples has gotten better, they still face a lot of challenges. Including, but certainly not limited to my Top 5:
1. The food. You may be saying “No way JC! Food is the biggest challenge of intercultural dating?” But the one thing that came up in almost any interracial pairing was difficulties dealing with food. There was the black guy who refused to eat his Japanese in-laws eel fish because it was too raw (alive technically). Or the story of my ex’s stinky Menudo that should officially be classified a weapon of mass destruction. Most cultures take offense to food gone uneaten so here’s my advice: 1.) try it, most times it’s not as bad as it looks (or smells) and 2.) have your main squeeze give you a heads up on any food challenges so you are prepared.
2. The language. This is another hot button for intercultural couples. If you bring your black girlfriend over to meet your Chinese parents, try to get the folks to speak a little English. If that is not possible, then translate for her. And if the relationship starts to get serious she might want to learn the language, at least a little of it.
3. The strangers. I included this one because most people think that strangers staring or making comments is still a big issue for interracial couples. The truth is, in most cases, it’s not. But sometimes it comes from where you least expected it. If it happens don’t get your panties in a bind. The best course of action is to ignore them. And remember they don’t know you, so their opinion, issues, mishegoss mean nothing to you.
4. The family. With family, there are always expectations that you will likely not live up to. And what’s worse in a lot of cultures you can’t come out and ask because they may give you a passive aggressive non-answer. This was particularly notable in Asian and Latin cultures. So what is a girl to do? Ask your boyfriend. Learn his family’s cultural norms. Then just be on your best behavior. If you are polite, thoughtful, and respect, often they will come around.
5. The roles. A lot of cultures still have very old-fashioned values concerning gender roles. Jews and black guys may be used to strong women, but Latinos, Asians, and Indians are less likely to expect you to bring home the bacon, than to fry it up in the pan. Differences in expectations regarding gender roles is a huge challenge. And the solution is also a tuffy. All you can do is take the time to get to know him well. Meet his family and see what their family structure is like. Be honest with yourself about any red flags.