DATING WHEN YOU’RE BIRACIAL ISN’T QUITE LIKE ANY OTHER DATING

Hey Fam – long time no see; life has been moving at light speed – yes, that light speed. “To infinity and beyond or whatever”  For the past several months I haven’t been writing on here but rather focused my attention writing for other websites. Here is an article I wrote for Thrillist – you can peep the original article here.

For the lazy ones – yes, you! Simply read on – (I posted the article in full below) As always – be sure to let me know what you think.

 

Not everything in life is black or white.

In my world, it’s both. As a biracial man, I get the pleasure of checking off the “I Identify with two or more races” box on job applications, surveys, census research, and dating profiles. My father is black, my mother is white, and I resemble the latter more than the former. If I’m being honest, I look like a white boy who bought the edited version of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.

Dating has been a blessing and a curse. I’ve been able to dabble pretty seamlessly in dating between races, something let’s admit still doesn’t happen all that often in 2016. It’s unique to be able to exist in both worlds of whiteness and blackness — but it’s also a challenge, as I don’t entirely fill out either mold.

It’s always interesting to watch people’s reactions on date one (or two, but rarely three) when they inevitably ask what I’m made of. Sometimes I see surprise — the holy-shit-are-you-kidding-me look. Yeah, surprise! Other times it doesn’t go well. Once the proverbial cat crawls out of the bag, the enthusiasm over bringing me home to meet the parents has a tendency to dry up.

In all fairness, it’s pretty damn hard to relate to the realities of anyone who’s got a different set of life experiences than you — and being biracial can be a tough reality to embrace because we so often don’t quite fit in anywhere. I’m not white enough for white privilege, not black enough for black heritage. And while I’m happy to see more mixing than ever before, it’s still staggering how confusing I can be to people.

Biracial dating is basically the same…

There’s nothing more frustrating to a biracial person than when people ask you, “What’s it like dating when you’re biracial?” As if dating is somehow totally different when you’re mixed. Newsflash: love is a pretty universal language.

You become attracted to someone, you introduce yourself, and hopefully you go on a few dates. If all goes according to plan, you can meet each other’s families, move in together, and live happily ever after. It’s the basic gist of most love stories, Disney movies, and classic literature regardless of how much melanin you’ve got in your skin. I have all the same fears and hopes around my love interests as the next guy.

… except for a few stark differences

I’m sure it’s tempting to feign colorblindness in the hopes of avoiding uncomfortable discussions about race. We could all just carry on in joyous indifference to each other’s varying histories and traditions. Sorry everyone, but that’s ridiculous. This line of thinking is just a steamy load of bullshit promoted by people too intimidated, lazy, and pig-headed to address race issues in a meaningful way. Racism is unfortunately alive and well — and there is not a person of color (mixed or not, and even white) who has not experienced some form of it in his or her life. And that extends to dating.

There is always a fear that the other person will heavily judge you based on your race and not on your character. When you’re biracial, your background is the subject of many conversations — far more so than mentioning your Italian grandmother or Passover traditions. Sometimes the curiosity is heartfelt; other times it crosses over into determining exactly what kind of upbringing I had to ensure I’m good enough. Or exotic enough… which brings me to my next point: when you’re biracial, people who do pursue you often do because you are biracial. You are an object.

When you’re biracial, people ask you about your sexual performance and compare you to the first stereotypes they learned in a grade-school bathroom. You have to explain certain family customs that are sometimes foreign to your partner. There are times you’ll be on a date that gets ruined because of a tense conversation. You meet a nice girl, but her family isn’t comfortable with you. I’ve been broken up with because someone who had never met my family decided they wouldn’t all get along.

It starts with some self-love

Of course, unless you’re biracial you can’t fully relate to what I’m saying. And that’s the damn truth of the matter: it is what it is.

Dating is just different.

As much as people want you to believe we live in a hand-holding society where blacks, whites, Jews, Latinos, Asians, and even Muslims gather in circles to sing “Kumbaya” and become background actors for various commercials, I want you to know: the rumors are simply untrue. Yes, dating is dating regardless of one’s ethnic blend. We’re all prone to judgments, anxieties, and insecurities. At the end of the day, suffice it to say everyone just wants to be appreciated for who they are… and all the better if the person doing the appreciating of me is good in the sack. But biracial people are a mixed bag with a unique set of challenges, more explaining to do, and more understanding to be gained.

And like so many issues we face today, we’ve only just begun.

49 thoughts on “DATING WHEN YOU’RE BIRACIAL ISN’T QUITE LIKE ANY OTHER DATING

  1. Good to see you back at it again, my friend. Well said. I can sense and feel the frustration oozing out of your words. I can almost relate with the same passion, just a different issue. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Generally speaking, double standards, fake people, and liars. I hate it when people put off one type of themselves but when the doors close and the pressure’s off they become something completely different. I wish people would mean what they say and say what they mean. I also wish people would just be themselves and quit hiding behind these masks of perfection. We’ve all got issues, why do you have to feel like you need to mask yours? What are these people trying to prove? On and on and on….

        I’m tired of it all. Ready to upset some systems, if you know what I mean.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. at first since am all black couldn’t fathom but i relate to your sentiments on been biracial. Have heard biracial pals and coping can be difficult especially when all focus is on you. however, am glad u filled us in on it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could relate to you. We’re still stuck on castes, cultures and religions and I think it’s just stupid, especially when we’re all supposed to be so well educated but act worse than our ancestors.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All I can say is it’s hard being an interracial couple in ANY age. People can’t seem to move past the past. Here we are in 2016 & there’s race wars going on with black vs. white/white vs. black again. It’s sad really. I remember a time when it wasn’t this bad. Though obviously, we have regressed.

    As for being biracial, I think all of you are beautiful. Proof that something is right when so many things are wrong.

    I know I’ll likely get trolled for all of this. But hey, just my 2cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I must admit, my first reaction to “bi-racial” was wtf. There’s a label we don’t need.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way questioning your insights and interpretations, your personal reality. Hey, it is what it is (or at least has been!)

    I just think that it is very unfortunate to be in or be put in a situation where you would need to define yourself with that term.

    I have nieces who are of Irish/Chinese ancestry. I don’t think of them as bi-racial. Yet I guess they could be positioned that way.

    I just think that since race doesn’t actually exist (gasp), somehow we have to end anything that supports that narrative line.

    The way I have it figured is if you lined up representatives of all the people on the face of the earth, you would have to have a three dimensional continuum and it would be damned hard to make any concrete divisions..

    And with recent DNA-based genetic ancestry research, guess what? There just aren’t a whole lot of purebreds out there.

    But then, I guess that some 600 years later, even though we know that it was wrong in the first place, we still use the term Indian in reference to indigenous people of the Americas

    Sometimes I do despair.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just for fun when you meet a “white person” who seems to want to focus on race, ask them what from part of Africa their ancestors came. Cite the DNA studies and then hit them with the new findings of significant Neanderthal DNA connection particularly with Europeans.

    Always a good party topic at gatherings of White Supremacists.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am bi-racial and much more. Mostly I am Hispanic/Caucasian. When I was single I dated globally with every ethnicity. Although I never thought about it, I was occasionally tripped up by disapproving mothers who didn’t like my exotic background. (Their sons did…) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yep, racism isn’t dead, but at least it’s on severely wounded. People don’t have the same tolerance for that sort of bullshit anymore, or at least where I come from (not the deep south).
    My lover is a completely different race than I am, but we haven’t had the slightest issue. No tension, no awkwardness. Of course we’re both pretty laid back people. The weird stuff that took getting used to stemmed more from cuisine differences, because my lover is from a different country altogether, and well of course the accent. hehe
    I guess it all depends on how you look at life.

    Meno

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When will people realize we are all the same inside regardless of what we look like on the outside? Really enjoyed reading this post. FYI…. Even dating someone who is from a different culture yet still the same skin color poses problems. Judy shaking head ….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have to agree with an earlier comment that pretty much all of us our mutts. I’m black, white and American native but luckily for me I look “black enough” for people to just assume I am just another light skinned black girl and I don’t say that sarcastically. I can only image what it must be like to have to explain your heritage and not be fully excepted by either one. I do appreciate you sharing your experiences. Maybe it will help other people not be ignorant idiots.

    Lynette

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m biracial too! High five! I must admit that to me it’s funny how biracial men have it different than women. (My experience at least) Men usually think of me as an exotic/sexy blend. It’s like an easy in. (lol. pun may have been intended) I’ve been lucky that this has been well accepted. Good luck on your dates! Send all my positive vibes to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Being blind (I can see outlines but not enough to distinguish skin colour), I am amazed on how people get hung up on skin colour. I have dated black, white and Chinese and, at the end of the day people are just that, people. Its a shame that people are not blind as regards colour! As a blind person I have sometimes had people ask (or more often suggest obliquely) that I would be better off dating someone who is blind or disabled. I find this patronising as my visual impairment doesn’t define who I am (although it does, no doubt play a small part in doing so). As it happens most of my partners have been non-disabled. I am not bi-racial but the experience of being disabled does, I think bare some anology to being so. Sorry for a somewhat confused response to your thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I meant to add, I went with a former girlfriend (who was black, while I am white) to a rural part of Cornwall in the UK. We had quite a few people staring at us. I am not sure whether this stemmed from racism or curiousity at seeing a blind man, with a guide dog in the company of a black lady. That part of the country has few ethnic communities. In fact I suspect it was a mixture of curiosity on the part of some, while racism was a component in the minds of others.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think you’ll meet the right person and then race, which is a superficial difference in the first place, is not going to matter. I can also extrapolate into the future a ways and surmise that the races will all eventually homogenize anyway. But these days, a lot of what people are calling racism, isn’t racism at all. It’s more about cultural, political, religious, national, or even financial differences. For instance, although I may like some individual Muslims and have no beef with many other, I neither like nor respect their religion. I’m an apostate from Islam and a woman. They like to kill apostates and treat women, children, non-Muslims and animals pretty horribly overall, but only when they’re strictly practicing their religion. I’ve been called “racist” for that despite the fact that Muslims come in all races and my reasons for disliking their religion is both person and general. Whatever. Just don’t let people define you solely by race. There is so much more to all of us than that and most of that is anything BUT race and even those things are superficial. What counts is who we are beneath all that and how we treat others.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey Tony,

    Lovely connecting with you. Yes, well, I can relate somewhat to your experiences in the article as I myself am biracial too! I rarely think about my race until someone asks, which can be awkward at times because i believe it shouldn’t matter, its the person’s character that is the most important.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fantastic article! Colorblind-ness can be just as frustrating as racism because those who typically say race doesn’t matter don’t have to consciously think about their skin color.

    At the end of the day anyone is capable of throwing turds in punch bowls, but people are also capable of producing wonderfully tasty punch.

    We all share the same space…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG my son and I were having this very conversation today. I am mixed race, my mum is 1/2 white and half god knows what. My dad was black. I am a very nice reddy browny colour. I have lots of fun filling in forms here in the UK. I tend to plum for mixed other and dare people to ask me what other means hahaha. My son’s dad is white, and we live in very very rural UK. So rural that when i fist moved here, I didn’t see another black person for about 6 months. Anyhoo, my son and I were talking and he predicted that if my possibly maybe soon to be ex does eff-off then the chances of my ever hooking up round here are pretty minimal. He on the other hand, because of the change in mores amongst the UK young, will forever have girls falling at his feet because mixed race ( that’s what we say here) boys are deemed cute, and have high dating value. He then lauched into a 30 minute dissertation of why mixed raced people are more attractive ( yes, he is studying science at uni). So Thanks so much for this article..I can go to sleep happy! For that you get a MWAH

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I’m 45 & my mother told me her mother would have mortally opposed my marriage because my husband’s mother is Catholic. That was not that long ago. I’m not trying to invalidate your position, I can’t imagine what its like, but as someone who is probably older things are getting better, not as fast as they should be, but they are getting better. Bless 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It is especially confusing to be biracial and raised by a single parent. I began to own my African American heritage only when I started going to a private majority African American high school that put an emphasis on knowing one’s past… It got even more confusing when my mom married a Muslim guy. My family is a rainbow, and if I can’t fit in a single box, that makes me vulnerable to hate, but also gives me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people (and even the not-so-amazing ones) from so many unique cultures.

    Btw, just going on your website this morning before eating breakfast made my stomach grumble even though I don’t eat pork.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This was more than well said, your post summed up most if not all of the issues some biracial individuals are facing.
    Although I’m not biracial, for some reason or the other, it is ingrained in me that people would automatically ‘judge’ or ‘look at me more’ if I’m supposed to date someone out of my race. Like…it shouldn’t be that way and I shouldn’t be feeling that pressure. We all should be able to date outside of our races and be … Happy, you know?
    Aside from all of that, I loved this entry! T’was a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Interesting and insightful! Living in India its not as much about the color of the skin as it is about your caste. We’re plagued with our own caste system and people tend to marry within their own communities. Inter-caste marriages are generally frowned upon as are love marriages since most are arranged by the families from both the sides. A concept alien to the westerners. However, being a product of an inter-caste marriage, I can understand and relate to what you’re trying to say. You get the best of both worlds however, you aren’t entirely on either one of the sides as you are caught in between!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Precisely! and borrowing the analogy from, you are not entirely black neither white and that’s how I feel … but I could care less. I just try to enjoy the best of both worlds – You too take care and have a pleasant day

        Liked by 1 person

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