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Parents dealing with interracial dating

When parents see how happy their children are in healthy relationships, race and background will become less important.

Between water refills and a shared plate of quesadillas, we realized we had nothing in common. “Ge Ge, when I came home with an Italian girl my parents hated it, “ my dad said, stretching out the syllables of the word hate. Grandmom and Grandpop didn’t want him to date me,” my mom confirmed, nodding. My dad has been going home with the same Italian girl for 30 years.

His little comment—a quick remark he stuck in during a goodbye—was his way of telling me that when it comes to dating, it’s worth it to break your parents’ rules.

We danced a few more songs and spent the rest of the night flirting. He goes by the American version because he thinks it’s easier for new people to pronounce. Our night ended at a diner with mirrored walls and bright lights. Silence filled our picture-perfect, antique-inspired living room. I started my postgraduate life much like my undergrad one — as a single woman with no dating prospects. I called my mom to tell her I had forgotten a few of my belongings at home. I broke the news that my new romantic prospect was Republication, knowing that wouldn’t sit right with my blue-collar Democrat family. She offered to deliver the last of my stuff the following day. I kissed my parents on their cheeks, saying goodbye.

He was born in Mali, Africa and grew up in Paris, France. Under them I could see the muscular definition in Qinisela’s arms and better inspect his sexy skin that was the color of my parent’s fears. My mom threw her hands up in a bewildered, flabbergasted fashion. I said that if my boyfriend had been white, I wouldn’t have needed to tell her. As they left, my dad put his light, fair-skinned arm around my mom’s deep olive-toned shoulder.

Give your parents — or your date’s parents — the benefit of the doubt. Try to understand their perspectives: in earlier generations, interracial romance wasn’t much of an option, so while it might not be a big deal to you, the generation gap will dictate a different attitude.

Don’t expect to win over families at your first meeting.Long-standing attitudes and prejudices won’t be cast aside immediately just because you’re a great person.

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He extended a hand and introduced himself as Quinn. Quinn wore cowboy boots, dressy slacks that were too big for him and a fitted T-shirt with ugly swirl designs on it. The next day, he took me on my first grown-up date. The desire to please my parents suddenly became secondary to my desire to tell the truth. “Quinn is black.” The jaw of my strong-willed, outspoken Italian mother dropped. After a few months I moved out of my parents’ house and into a row home in South Philly to begin my journalism career. She roared with laughter, thanking me for being upfront. As I dangled the keys of my new house in my hands, I explained that I didn’t really click with the guy.Here are some things to consider before you meet — or introduce — the parents.Before you meet your date’s parents — and/or before you introduce your parents to your date — talk about your families. Discuss your parents’ attitudes on interracial relationships, their individual roles within the family, and to what degree you value their opinions.You might be frustrated by their expectations, but they likely feel the same about your decisions.Be gentle, quick to forgive, and generous with your conversation. If your parents can’t get onboard with your interracial relationship, consider recruiting a bit of a support team.Be patient as they adjust to a change in (their) plans for their child.