America has a long history of rocky interracial relations when it comes to economic, political, and social issues. Race remains an uncomfortable conversation for many Americans and avoidance continues to prolong a needed national discussion on the matter. The fundamental problem with interracial relationships in America is that it runs counter to the American historical record of laws and social mores. Love is one component of humanity that cannot be regulated or administered by laws and governments. This pursuit of personal freedom did not yield to the laws of the land and therefore interracial became part of the American fabric as racist policies did throughout the centuries. The penalty for many interracial relationships between African-Americans and Caucasians in the past left the burden of punishment on the person with the darker complexion that could result in beatings, incarceration, or even death. The Caucasian party participating in interracial relationships of the past was commonly banished by family and friends or faced public humiliation of some sort.
In 2012, interracial relationships are not so taboo due to a normalization of the practice among celebrities, and other popular public figures. Even though laws have been rescinded that prohibited interracial marriages and changes in the social dynamic to tolerate these relationships have evolved, there are still challenges ahead.
An interracial relationship is an undertaking that is not meant for everyone. These relationships must undergo the standard trials and threats of homogeneous with the exception that more social scrutiny may be incurred. This challenge is a filter for many people and therefore the number of interracial relationships remains small by comparison to those that are more homogeneous.
The fundamental challenge for those getting involved in an interracial relationship is to consider the sacrifices that may be required in this pursuit. The differentiating factor that must be established first is the rationale behind the pursuit. If the endeavor is based solely on curiosity or novelty, then an interracial relationship may not be suitable in comparison to the social risks. Most often the way the people who are curious or just want to experiment with a person of a different race is to engage discreetly without notice. The goal is to use the experience similar to an amusement park ride. "Been there done that." is commonly associated with people seeking experiences more so than relationships. A well-known approach for people with this disposition is that the racial and sexual interaction is the sole mutual benefit to both parties. The premise of these types of interracial situations is exploitative similar to being attracted to a well-endowed woman or man.
Love should come first despite race or color in order for an interracial relationship to be successful. Those individuals with racial preferences such as exclusionary rules filtering out others based on race are also counter-productive because they limit themselves to a smaller dating demographic. The right person will not be defined by race as much as commonalities, perspectives, interests, and dual admiration. People that use race as the premise for their interest in an individual does a disservice to themselves and the other party.
After meeting someone suitable for love that measures up to the criteria that would be applicable to anyone that would make a person happy is the first step toward happiness. If that individual happens to be of a different race, then that should not matter. The pursuit of happiness is far more important. Understanding that some elements of society may take issue with a decision to date a person of another race, the two parties must unite around the fundamental foundation of the relationship and not the race. By doing this early, couples can solidify a perceived weakness by society. In fact the interracial couple may be more secure in the relationship than more traditional homogenous couples in some cases. This strength will evolve from unity among the parties when facing opposing forces from family, friends, and relatives.
There are some families and friends that will not take issue with a family member involved in an interracial relationship, but the couple should be prepared some alienation from those opposed. The interracial couple will have to also take certain measures for personal safety in respect to interracial friendly venues in order to avoid conflict. Even though the country has a tolerance for these relationships, regionalism still plays a role in the attitudes of people in respect to interracial relationships. States such as California, New York, and Florida are among those cosmopolitan areas that are more interracial friendly among others throughout the nation. The focus for aspiring interracial couples is to pursue the happiness sought and ignore the opposition and negative aspects because both will remain in the wings.
James L. Adams is a writer and consultant on a host of topics in the areas of relationships, business, international business, career development and other areas.
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