None of This is Easy: A Week of Conversations on Love, Sex, and Interracial Dating

Lakeview Terrace

I was reading the latest Essence on the plane and realized that their main feature on black dating once again boiled down to black women need to date a white guy. (To be fair, Essence printed a longer version of this article, which we’ve already taken to the mat.) But all the talk of black women increasing their market value by diversifying their holdings made me die a bit on the inside.

It also got me thinking – there are so many missing conversations on race, love, sex, and dating, why do we spend so much time rehashing the same old stories? And since I’ve moderated conversations on all kinds of people’s issues with dating and relationships, I think would be a public service at this point to show that (1) dating and relating isn’t easy for anyone and (2) stereotypes impact how we came to our own ideas about dating, and what is often missed in media or mainstream conversations. In addition, I wanted to throw a bit of a wrench in the gears by including queer discussions of dating in the roundtables – generally, these articles only look at what heterosexual black women should do, and ignore every one else.

So I put out a call to about 75 friends of the blog, long time commenters, and regular contributors. And they responded with their stories that are honest, painful, and beautiful. So without further ado, here’s the roundtable descriptions and schedule.

The Black Roundtable

This one is part article response to the Essence piece, but also a discussion of the myths around intra and interracial dating. Presented in four parts, starting today and running through Tuesday. (Jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

The Asian Roundtable

As a mod, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of contention between some Asian men and women that closely mirror the conversations in the black community – without the media attention. In addition, there are complicating cultural factors to explore, as well as the broader idea of “dating white” and “dating nonwhite.” Starting tomorrow, presented in three parts. (Jump to part 1, part 2, part 3)

The Mixed Race Roundtable

Exploring the idea of “dating in/dating out” does or does not apply to mixed race people, and observations on how the panelists interpret these conversations about what people should and should not do. Starting Tuesday.

The White Roundtable

Much has been made about black women dating white men, but no one has really touched on attitudes toward interracial dating in the white community. The panelists discuss the messages they received growing up, and their experiences with dating both interracially and intraracially? Starting Tuesday.

The Latin@ Roundtable

Partially a response to Latina’s article from a couple months ago on “Latinas Dating Black Men” which didn’t really discuss black Latinos. Also a conversation about the boundaries of race and ethnicity, particularly when Latino is such a broad and encompassing term. Starting Wednesday.

The Way Outside the Constructs Roundtable

Black Enterprise had a study which showed that the indigenous outmarriage rate was 50% – and this was something that wasn’t covered often, considering that most studies do not gather data about these populations. How is the dating conversation complicated by colonialism/genocide, and what are the considerations from an indigenous perspective? Starting Thursday.

The Beyond Marriage Roundtable

This one is for the married, once married, and queer folks on the thread – so many of these articles position marriage as the “solution” to this problem – that if everyone just gets married, all these problems would be magically solved. But we all know that isn’t the case. In this roundtable, panelists discuss how intra or inter-racial relationships played out after the wedding, and if the messages you received from society or culture changed. Starting Thursday.

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  • Yasmin

    I’m not Arab American but it seems this group has consistently been excluded in spaces that pride themselves in being inclusive. I’m trying to be conscious of my own privileges as a black woman, even as they intersect or are within my marginalization. I know when we talk about race or racism, my own experiences will be reflected in the discussion. I’m pretty sure they have many topics outside of terrorism, “the veil” and racial profiling they would love to discuss. I also know many friends who read Racialicious articles (I post many on my Facebook) and I’m sure they would appreciate seeing some of their experiences reflected in this roundtable and Racialicious in general. Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      We have two people who identify as Arab and two people who identify as Persian in the “Way Outside the Constructs” roundtable.

  • Anonymous

    Lookin’ forward to the indigenous roundtable!

    • Kari

      Tell me about it!

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  • Anonymous

    When all the entries are posted, would it be possible to link them all here for easy reference, especially so one could direct someone who should learn about the discussions surrounding interracial relationships to here?  Thanks!

  • Marava

    I’m so looking forward to this series! On the topic of indigeneity, will the panel address interracial dating and indigenity within Latino communities? As a mestizo Chicana, I can recall various instances in which friends and relatives on both sides of the border implicitly and explicitly urged me to stay away from “indios,” alternatively used to describe dark skinned Mexicanos and members of particular Mexican indigenous groups. 

  • Anonymous

    This is going to be really interesting! I am especially looking forward to the white rountable, since I feel like we don’t hear much about interracial dating from the perspective of white folks. Also looking forward to the indigenous rountable.

  • http://molecularshyness.wordpress.com jen*

    I’m ready! I don’t know if I’ll be able to read it all, but I’m excited.  

  • Elton

    Thanks for putting this together.  I’m looking forward to reading the responses!

  • Morenaclara

    I am so pumped to for this!!!!!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/DBChen BryAnn Chen

    Really looking forward to this series.

  • http://twitter.com/techjitsu TD Warren

    As a black man married to a white woman, I am looking forward to both the Black & Beyond Marriage roundtables…

  • Grace

    So looking forward to all of it (not just the stuff that “applies” to me)! I”m curious to see though if bisexuals and other non-monosexuals and transfolks will be included in the conversation, as well as South Asians.

    Just curious. ^_^

    • Anonymous

      We invited around 85 people of varying identifications and allowed people to participate in whichever roundtables they wanted to. About 30 responded…you will see for yourself who did what and who chose to share what.

      South Asians are currently in the Asian roundtable, but since that one was well fleshed out by the first day, we may do a breakout to incorporate more voices.

      • Jleigh

        I too would like to hear from South Asians in particular! They’re often underrepresented in these discussions.

      • Jleigh

        I too would like to hear from South Asians in particular! They’re often underrepresented in these discussions.

  • Mona Pily

     “Latina’s dating black men” 
    I don’t know if this is Latina’s error or yours, but an apostrophe “s” in this case is grammatically incorrect if the purpose is to indicate plural Latinas. 

    Aside from that, can’t wait to read the posts!  :)