When we think of interracial or interethnic dating, our minds often immediately consider dating in the United States. It is most common, at the mention of interracial dating, to assume a couple comprised of one White and one Black participant, especially black women white men dating, though there is a secondary grouping of one Asian and one White participant. Though interracial dating is relatively new and on the rise in the US, as are interracial marriages, America is not the only country with such indiscriminate behaviors.
For example, in Shanghai, China an almost 70% increase of interethnic or interracial marriages occurred in the early 1990s. Those native to Shanghai were becoming more likely to date and marry someone from another country. In Canada, a similar event is occurring as differing culture groups, specifically Chinese and European Canadians, are finding themselves in relationships. However, though there is an increase in the numbers of interracial daters in Canada, it is not widely supported as yet. In fact, those of European decent are less likely to be supportive than the Chinese families. These events act as an indicator that it is not only the United States that is seeing a rise in dating outside one’s race or ethnicity.
The cause behind the increase of interracial relationships, whether marriage or otherwise, could be a multitude of reasons, and reasons are greatly dependent on each specific culture or society. Of the many reasons, one might be television. Because TV programming around the world is now more regularly showing interracial relationships, it is becoming more of the norm. What is broadcast on television, in movies, or on social media sites or interracial dating sites often sets the cultural trends of the actual audience. Media is a powerful normalizing force and makes interracial dating and marriage seem much less like outlaws and much more like commonality. The once taboo topic is now so commonly embraced that it hardly heeds notice. The acculturation of immigrants and the assimilation into the society one emigrated to become another force for interracial and interethnic dating. In short, without strict cultural boundaries set by a social group, members may feel more inclined to explore interactions with cultures outside their familial norm.
Though in America, there is still dissonance, a high number of interracial marriages have a high success rate. The percentages of successful, long-term relationships outside the United States may also be determined by access to divorce or that marriages are seen more as a contract and not a certificate of romantic promise. In the US, the most successful, stable interracial marriages are ones where the participants have good education, stable careers, and marry at an older age, all elements of stable marriages regardless of race or ethnicity. It might be assumed that because said couples face challenges unique to other same-race couples, they develop coping mechanisms that also foster strength in their personal relationship. Also, because interracial relationships are still relatively new, many find themselves with other similarly minded folks, creating relationships with others who are either supportive of or familiar with their struggles.
Prior to a serious commitment, navigating an interracial relationship at any level can be challenging, regardless of experience. To find the best success, consider going in with a positive attitude and disposing of any or all stereotypes. A positive attitude includes humor as well as an open mind. Start by meeting on very neutral terms, like the stereotypical first date of coffee or tea or something innocuous as this may put both parties at ease. On said date, be yourself and allow who you are to shine through. You are not representing your ethnicity, for example, because you don’t want your date to only see you as a stereotype. Instead, go on the date as yourself, and invite your date to do the same. Get to know each other, ask questions, and more than anything, have fun.