Duke It Out: Intercultural Dating

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman, so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like lowering the drinking age!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Let’s get one thing straight: here at CollegeCandy, we accept all colors and creeds – and we are not talking about race here (a girl from Jamaica and one from Kenya might share a racial group, but have totally different cultural heritages). In fact, it was my multi-ethnic group of friends who got me thinking about the issue.

Because I have no real cultural heritage, I never really considered issues like this, at least until my Indian friend mentioned that she only dates inside her ethnic group. A part of my brain automatically said “that’s racist!” But then she started talking about how the culture she grew up in is important to her and how she would rather be with someone who can understand and share that background with her, and maybe their kids, one day. And I have to admit, I can see her point of view.

I’ve spent most of my dating life with white Christian guys because they’re who I grew up with, but now that I’m dating a Jewish guy, I have to admit, sometimes I feel like an outsider. And likewise, I’ve wondered what would happen if we had kids? After all, the way that I ended up without a cultural heritage was that my ancestors didn’t bother about their cultural differences. These are questions that had never occurred to me before, but suddenly, they seem important.

On the one hand, there are a lot of great things to be said about inter-cutural dating. After all, isn’t looking past the surface, seeing everyone as equal, something we’ve been aspiring to for a long time? All of the mixing helps us learn and understand about other groups – and let’s face it, you make more of an effort to understand something if someone you care about is involved in it (Manishewitz would not have been on my “to try” list if not for my guy). Also, I certainly wouldn’t want to give up my relationship, or expect anyone else to, just because of something like background – it sounds silly to even consider it.

At the same time though, our differences make us all interesting, and as we start inter-dating, there is some inevitable diluting. For example, a girl I know who is half-African American and half-caucasian recently had a baby with her husband who is also of mixed race. Though both of them have always considered themselves African American, their daughter was born with blond hair and green eyes, and though they love her desperately, neither of them is quite sure how to address the issue of her culture. By that same virtue, I certainly wouldn’t feel right about a guy I dated giving up some part of himself for me, but then I can’t imagine giving up some of my traditions (I LOVE Christmas!) for a guy either – certainly neither could do it without somehow holding it against the other.

So, what do you think? Should we say, “screw it” and date anybody? Would it be a good thing if we all weren’t so separated by cultural differences? Or should we try to preserve our heritages, possibly at the cost of love and understanding?

Coupled. He Loves You, But Will His Mom?
Coupled. He Loves You, But Will His Mom?
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