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Top 3 Cultural Problems for Interracial Relationships

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, so we know that cultural issues are a big deal when it comes to interracial relationships and, honestly, they are probably the single biggest hurdle to get over. Interracial couples tend to either become numb to the public disapproval they receive or they develop permanent blinders that prevent them from seeing or paying attention to it at all.  And, honestly, dealing with the constant scrutiny can actually tend to create an even stronger bond between an interracial couple and bring them closer together.  However, the majority of a relationship is spent building and spending a life with your mate.  So, when the two of you are all alone, that’s when the real issues tend to present themselves.  And how you get through those is what will make or break it for the both of you.

 

Cultural issues are the hardest to work out because our social norms are ingrained into us as children and, as adults, they are often difficult or impossible to change. We thought about what the typical cultural issues are for people in interracial relationships and developed the following top list of problems for interracial couples to consider.

 

1. You didn’t have the same life experiences. When one of you grew up in the south and the other in the north you are bound to have different contexts. Maybe one person grew up appreciating a big Sunday dinner with family and the other is more accustomed to informal dinner chats surrounding the TV or maybe even no interaction at all. Different life experiences can affect the way you interact with your mate and what you both value in life.  When you don’t see life through the same lens, it can pose significant problems.  Sure, this affects same-race couples as well but the issue can be even more pronounced for interracial couples. Consider, for example, that one person may see law enforcement in a positive light while the other views policing with a critical eye because of those different life experiences. One of you may have seen nothing wrong with the Zimmerman verdict while the other may clearly feel like it’s business as usual and think the verdict is incredibly racist. Imagine the drama around the topic of conversation!

 

2. You don’t have the same core values.  Core values are those fundamental beliefs a person has and the guiding principles that dictate their behavior and actions. They allow people to distinguish between right and wrong and set one’s internal compass.  A lot of people in relationships claim to have the same core values and take pride in that being one of the things that brought them together. But what happens when you don’t share the same philosophy about how life should be lived?  Religion, financial management, the importance of family, the value of honesty, and a belief in work/life balance are all examples of core values that, if not shared, could pose challenges for an interracial couple.  And, they are likely to vary dramatically in some cases because of cultural differences.

 

3. You don’t have the same interests. It can be hard to relate to each other when one of you grew up listening to Neo Soul and the other grew up listening to Grunge rock. Culture plays a huge part in a person’s interests and, as we all know, having shared interests is vital to a relationship.  Culture impacts our tastes in everything from music, art and literature to physical activities. When you don’t share the same interests as your mate you can be doomed from the start because they help you grow together as a couple.

 

 

So, how can interracial couples get beyond having different life experiences, different core values and different interests in order to make it work? Well, they may not be able to change what’s already set in stone but they can concentrate on establishing new cultural norms that they can share together.  Creating new life experiences, finding out what core values matter most to you as a couple rather than as individuals and finding new shared interests are all things that can help interracial couples navigate around the common cultural problems that can sometimes divide them.

 

 

Interracially yours. -Cupid out.

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Kudos for Cheerios and Interracial Marriage

Interracial Family

We know this post is several weeks late given that the Super Bowl was last month, but we just had to say something about the infamous Cheerios ad that had everybody talking.  Props to General Mills for deciding to bring back the interracial family that caused so much of a stir last May for their Super Bowl ad. That took some guts and the company, along with the actors in the commercial, should be commended for not being swayed by ignorant people.  In case you weren’t aware, the original ad features a black husband, a white mother and their bi-racial daughter.

 

In that ad, the daughter asks her white mother about the heart-health of Cheerios and, inspired by what her mother tells her about the benefits that the cereal can have on lowering cholesterol, which is good for the heart, the daughter pours a box of it all over her sleeping father’s chest.  Incredibly sweet commercial and awesome because the adverting world finally came into the 21st century and made an ad that resembles how a lot of families are looking these days. Interracial and inter-ethnic opposite-sex-couple households jumped by 28% from 2000 to 2010, according to the Census Bureau. So, why in the world did it prompt so much racial backlash that General Mills had to disable the commenting feature on YouTube?

 

Because racial hatred is still, as well all know quite well, alive in our great nation. We can’t say it enough … this is 2014!  Interracial dating and marriage are not just fads and interracial couples are not going away. It is mind-boggling that anyone could take offense to this commercial.  How does a daughter caring enough about her father to try to help him with a gesture that is so endearing possibly conjure up the kind of anger that would make people spew out references to Nazis, troglodytes and racial genocide?  It’s beyond us, but that’s exactly what happened.  We support freedom of speech but General Mills and YouTube did the right thing by turning off the comments.

 

And, not to add fuel to the fire, but you have to wonder if the ire would have been the same if the ad had featured a white husband, a black wife and a bi-racial child. Of course, ignorant people still would have pitched a fit about it, but we’re guessing that maybe the backlash might not have been as much.  There is still such a war against black men in this country.

 

So, you would think, in a time where Super Bowl ad spots are going for $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime,that General Mills would consider something a little less controversial, right?  Wrong!  They stuck with Cheerios and gave the brand its first-ever Super Bowl commercial instead.  And we love that General Mills went even bolder this time with the new ad!  This time the family really gives bigots something to talk about as the father tells his daughter that mommy is expecting and that she’s going to have a baby brother. In typical kid fashion, the daughter takes the opportunity to bargain for a dog!  This was great advertising because other than a box of Cheerios being on the table as the father and daughter have their discussion, the ad makes no real mention of the brand. They got their message across very subtly yet powerfully.  Polls showed that many people said they would buy Cheerios just to support General Mills for making such a courageous move.

 

So, kudos to Cheerios for celebrating interracial marriage and families in a time when they’re so prevalent.  That shows that at least some companies are starting to catch on.  It’s time to herald our diversity rather than ignore it.  As of this writing, the ad had over 5.3 million views on YouTube with over 26,000 “likes” and less than 3,000 “dislikes” which obviously speaks to how the majority of people feel about good advertising that sends the right signal.

 

Well done.  - Cupid out.

 

 

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Is Counseling Taboo for Interracial Couples?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are interracial couples less likely to seek counseling than their same-race counterparts?  This subject is part of a larger cultural difference between white and non-white people and presents some interesting dynamics for those in interracial relationships.  There is not always agreement about seeking outside help for problems in any relationship, but could interracial couples be even more divided about it than others?  And, if so, how can they get beyond that to take advantage of services that could offer much needed assistance?

 

It is a true statement rooted in statistical fact that people of color have traditionally been reluctant to the idea of counseling and therapy.  Many in the mental health community attribute this aversion to an overall perception that counseling is not productive for African Americans or Latinos because they don’t believe that they share the same types of issues as white people.  Granted, there is a general stigma among people regardless of race or ethnicity that counseling is not worthwhile or won’t be effective.  However, this sentiment seems to be more pronounced within communities of color and, as a result, often times many people don’t get the kind of mental healthcare and assistance they need.

 

There is a longstanding belief, especially in the African American community, that psychological issues aren’t relevant.  When you’re descended from people who endured the travesty of slavery and the hardships of racism and discrimination, it’s easy to feel like the problems of today are trivial.  However, white people are not as dissuaded from therapy or counseling and end up taking advantage of those services much more often. They learn to move past issues, which can lead to more productive and fulfilling lives.

 

There are other reasons besides social and cultural stigmas that keep people of color from counseling and therapy. In many African American communities, for example, problems are shared with church groups or family networks because it’s affordable and comfortable. The only challenge with that approach is that the people being consulted for help usually aren’t trained professionals in psychology and they may also be too close to the problems to provide an objective lens.

 

So, what kind of impact could this have on an interracial relationship where one person wants to seek counseling and the other is opposed to it?  If a white person in the relationship wants to seek counseling for example, and a black person does not this could present even more problems for the couple, outside of whatever issues they were initially dealing with that prompted the need. It could drive a wedge between them and strain communication at a minimum.  The person who wants counseling may try to make a case for it and the person who isn’t interested in outside help could very well shut down altogether. And, there’s also a very real possibility that an interracial couple could stop being color-blind over the issue.  A black person may accuse their white mate of not being strong enough to deal with their problems without professional help and a white person could accuse their black mate of subscribing to old taboos that are preventing them from moving forward. Let’s be honest … those are possibilities that just aren’t going to be present in a same-race relationship and they could really complicate and/or further damage a situation.

 

So, how could an interracial couple move beyond this problem?  Like we mentioned in another article about dealing with some unique problems for those in interracial relationships, you just have to push through it by preserving open lines of communication and not pushing your own issues onto your mate. Hear the other person out and find out what their specific concerns are and truly listen to them. Remember, communication is about sending and receiving a signal … it can’t be one-sided. Perhaps the right answer for a couple isn’t counseling ,or perhaps it is, but staying committed to sorting through it together until you find the right path for help is what’s most important. Talking to an elder who’s been there might be the best choice if a couple can’t afford counseling. Then again, a trained professional who specializes in addressing the root cause of problems and has the ability to facilitate effective dialogue between a couple could be the right way to go too. Being honest about cultural differences will, in the end, be the most helpful for an interracial couple to find a solution, as long as they’re not clinging to those differences as a means for not addressing problems.

 

Talking is a good thing. - Cupid out.

 

 

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Interracial Dating and the Myth of Marrying Up

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“You did good … you married a white man!” 

 

That’s an actual quote that one of our staff members (a black woman) recently heard from one of her aunts.  Apparently, her aunt thought that she had done well, financially or socially, because she’d married outside of her race.  We thought that notion was something that simply had to be explored – especially since there’s so much buzz about black women not getting married in today’s society!

 

In this post we’d like to explore the idea of hypergamy, or “marrying up” as it’s commonly known, and how this myth casts a negative shadow on the interracial dating community. Especially between black women and white men. It’s sad that in 2014 there is still a stigma that black women choose to marry white men in order to climb the social and economic ladder.  Rather than focusing on the foundation of love as a means for marriage, people continue to associate stereotypes toward interracial couples.  And the black woman/white man combination always takes the brunt of the scrutiny for some reason.

 

First, let’s talk about why this notion of financial or social gains as a result of interracial marriage between black women and white men is absolutely absurd.  Although this isn’t necessarily a great statistic to make the argument, black women are currently the least likely of all women to get married.  According to the most recent census, 25 percent of the marriages of black men in 2010 were interracial.  However, black women do not cross the color chasm nearly as often.  If black women were driven by ulterior motives to marry outside of their race then they would be rivaling their black male counterparts in the interracial marriage department.  As a matter of fact, among all women who made up the 8.4 percent of total interracial marriages in 2010, black women comprised one of the lowest numbers overall.

 

Some statistics say that 43% of black women between the ages of 30 and 34 have never been married.  However, this figure is also similar to the percentage of unmarried women among other races except for white females.  Black women are simply not dating or marrying interracially enough to even be accused of marrying up.  We’re definitely not saying that’s a good thing; we’re just stating facts that would seem to debunk the myth.

 

Next, what exactly is “marrying up” when black women are enjoying more success today than ever before?  The black community has approximately $850 billion to spend and black women control 62% of that pie.  Here’s another interesting factoid: the ratio of women to men at black colleges is 7 to 1.  It’s hard to make the argument that black women are out looking for interracial mates to increase their financial or social standings in the world when they seem to be doing just fine by themselves.

 

Today’s black woman is highly educated, doing well financially and she isn’t even dating outside of her race often enough to be perceived as marrying up.  So, that shouldn’t even be something of concern to black women thinking about interracial dating as a viable option.  Black women should just ignore this type of talk and do whatever makes sense for them because they are the ones in the driver’s seat of their lives. And no offense to the older generation, like the approving aunt of our friend, but that antiquated kind of thinking is bound to die as black women continue to flourish.

 

 

Explore the possibilities. - Cupid out.

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InterracialBlindCupids Presents: The Walk


 

Check out the newest installment of our animated series about interracial dating!

 

With their first date in the books, Tina and Brian go for a walk to end the night. Were they able to get beyond their differences or was this just a one-time experiment in interracial dating?

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