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Is Interracial Dating Still Taboo?

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Authored by Neal F. Litherland in Dating 
Published on 09-03-2009

We’d all like to think that the days of racism and bigotry are behind us. Unfortunately, a simple glance at the news or the occasional overheard conversation can straighten someone out on this fact pretty quickly. Even though the tide is changing on racial relations and things are most definitely improving, there are still some things that can make people touchy. One of those is interracial dating, and the idea that interracial marriage may follow.

For centuries interracial relationships have been considered taboo for one reason or another. However, those days are far from the distant past. But answering the question as to whether or not the taboo still exists is a complicated one that takes in a lot of different factors. The first factor is geography. Generally speaking those who live in cities are more open to the idea of interracial dating because people who live in cities are exposed to such a variety of cultures and ideas. They accept that kind of relationship more easily. If a geographic area is a melting pot of races, then interracial dating will happen more often and it will be more acceptable. If the opposite is true, and the area is more or less homogeneous, then interracial dating may very well have a taboo on it.

Another factor to figure in is the friends and family of those in the relationship. If an interracial couple is dating, then they’re going to want the acceptance and approval of other important people in their lives. If the couple has supportive friends and family, then chances are they won’t feel any sort of taboo on their relationship. If however, their family or close friends makes an issue out of their partner’s race or ethnicity, it will probably put a strain on the relationship that may not have otherwise been there.

The third factor is the people who are actually participating in an interracial relationship. Sometimes an appealing factor of being in an interracial relationship is the taboo associated with it. These sorts of relationships rarely last long because at least one partner is using the other as a thrill, and not accepting them for who they are. If the two partners love and accept each other as people, ignoring the stereotypes and taboos of interracial relationships though, then chances are good that there won’t be a great deal of internal pressure because of any lingering taboo in the minds of those who are actually together.

While there are always factors that can cause a relationship, any relationship, to fail, sometimes interracial couples still face a harder time gaining acceptance. Hopefully, as people move forward and begin to understand that the idea of race should be used as a tool to understand culture and not as a weapon to keep people apart, this will cease to be the case. But until that time, there will always be certain places, and certain people, for whom the very concept of interracial dating and relationships is and will always be a taboo.

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