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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Not so black and white: Can interracial relationships work? This newbie needs help

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Author Topic: Not so black and white: Can interracial relationships work? This newbie needs help
MissTK
Neophyte
Member # 108531

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Hello there!

Wow, I'm really becoming a regular here now:) I just have so many questions though. This is the first time in my whole LIFE that I've come across such an amazing place with so many supportive people willing to help.

So I don't know how relevant my story is to other countries but here I guess it's still a bit of a big deal. So I'm 20 and I'm a black, third-year university student. For some reason, my whole life I've just had this affinity for Caucasian guys. Not for any particular reason, I just was that way. They (well, the majority of them) were always so much more supportive and friendly towards me while I was growing up so I only ever had a handful of African friends. Most of my friends were either Indian or Caucasian.

I won't even go into the plethora of names that I got called because of it while I was in high school and accusations of be "not being black enough" and "pretending to be white". I don't know what my personal preferences have to to with everybody else but hey, life. My parents noticed but have no problems with it whatsoever. As long I was hanging around good people, their skin colour was irrelevant to them. My mother even told me once that it didn't matter what race guy I brought home, just as long as he made me happy. That was a real huge thing for them to tell me because I'm from a very traditional African family and the ideal would always be for you to marry another African.

So naturally, because of the racism that still lingers in the minority of families here, my crushes have always been one-sided affairs because of my skin colour. African guys hated/still hate me and think I'm being...Jeez, I dunno? Trying to be better than them? Whatever that means. I won't get into all my bad past experiences but this year, it really got to me.

I started singing in the university choir this year and I became friends with this wonderful, wonderful guy (M) at the beginning of the year. He's in second year, smart, funny, charmingly awkward, gentlemanly and just the sweetest person in general. And he's pretty cute I guess:) Without noticing it we sort of gravitated towards each other. It wasn't like a train-smash crush like they usually happen, we sort of just gently intersected each other's orbits. I mean, I don't feel like this unbearable longing when we're apart but when I know we're going to see each other soon, I get all nervous and excited and when we're around each other, it just feels easy and right.

Our choir recently went on a tour and we spent a lot of time together. Nothing weird, just sitting talking about anything and everything and when we were on our way back home, one of the other boys asked M about an apparent disagreement M had had with somebody the previous night. I asked M and he said one of the girls had asked if we were together. I was kinda shocked and a bit excited I guess. Never been in a relationship/courted/hit on, whatever. I asked him what he said and he said he told her no. That he couldn't date a person of colour because his parents are "kind of racist" and he wouldn't know how to approach being in a relationship with somebody from another culture. The girl (being black) was offended and got on his case but he blew it off.

I'm a pretty understanding person so I wasn't offended. I understood and was kinda oddly amused but I was curious. While were boarding our flight home, I asked him if anything would happen between us if I was white and he said: "Yes! No! Maybe, I don't know. Not necessarily." I'm not sure what to make of this. I've just realised that I like him quite a bit and he's the first guy in my whole life to ever reciprocate the feelings. Whenever he looks at me it's always like he wants to say something but can never find the words to it. I'm an incredibly loquacious person but we make each other go utterly BLANK when we're together. The somewhat hopeful but bashful looks that he sends my way just KILL me! What do I do when the first guy to ever possibly show interest basically tells me that he likes me but can't date me because of my race?

[ 09-29-2013, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: MissTK ]

Posts: 24 | From: South Africa | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I think this -- like any difference there might be between us and who we date -- is going to mostly depend on if we feel whatever that difference is is too great, or makes us incompatible, and if we are or are not supported in our relationships, by this token or any other, by people we care about.

In terms of the what-if of someone deciding they don't want to date you because of your race, I'm not really sure how to address that, especially as a theoretical. In part that's because one person saying they don't want to date us because of something we can't change about ourselves -- our ethnicity, our color, how we look, our gender, our sexual orientation, etc. -- may be an, "Oh, whatever," depending on who that is and what the situation is, while with another, we may be totally gutted.

You know, per what M said, what I am hearing someone say is that they wouldn't want to put someone through racism with their family, which can either be a very caring choice or can also be about not wanting to rock the boat at home, face their own racism, what have you. But I wouldn't project that on yourself.

Of course, you also know you come from and are living in an area where -- GOOD GOLLY THE RACIAL TENSION AND DISCHORD. I mean, I think in South Africa, any of this is going to be so much more loaded given the history, no?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MissTK
Neophyte
Member # 108531

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Hello Heather

Yes definitely. South Africa is just a minefield of racial problems waiting to happen. What hurts and frustrates me about this situation is that he genuinely feels something for me. I think it would be different if was just like "Hey, you know I don't like you like that. Is it cool if we stay friends?" I mean, it would still be disappointing but I guess I could deal with that. Eventually.

I mean gosh. Like, while we were on tour driving around in the bus between cities, we'd always sit next to each other and he's very adamant that his personal space is his. And he'd let me in it. Like lie on his shoulder and stuff (I'm a relationship/physical contact noob so this alone had my blood pressure rising quite a bit) and one night after a performance, he even let me massage his back. Good Lord, I felt so weird doing that. Like, good weird though. Because I massage all my friends, I'm good at it so I offered him one because his back was stiff. And he seemed a bit out of it. I'm not sure if he was getting turned on by it and trying to hide it? Oh my word. So much confusion right now!

I also understand that not all families are like mine. I'm incredibly lucky in the sense that even though my parents grew up in a time where there was a big racial divide, they haven't adopted those ideas or carried them on later into their lives. I don't know if I should ask him if he wants to try something because I really don't want to put him in an awkward position where getting into a relationship with me might cause a bit of an upset in his family.

So maybe I should just back off and wait it out, see what happens?

Posts: 24 | From: South Africa | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I'm not sure I am hearing this guy having said that your race is a dating barrier for him. It sounds more to me like he landed on that it wasn't why you weren't dating. But if you want to know, I'd say you need to ask more directly and let him tell you if it is or isn't an issue, you know?

I'd also say that if and when we are interested in pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with someone, we really have to put that out there if we truly want a chance to pursue that. Someone has to, after all, and in my book, the person to put it out there first is the person who had that feeling or desire and felt they would like to do something about it. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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