Every day, college students are given a chance to try something new. It can be as trivial as going somewhere new for lunch or as significant as changing your major. One of the more interesting opportunities we’re given is the chance to date people of different races. Interracial dating can open our minds and allow us to experience other cultures.
By indulging in new food, culture, music, tradition and religion, we essentially broaden our perspectives of the world, allowing us to see through someone else’s eyes. With all the amazingly attractive people on campus, one might think that students would be lining up to date new people, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Before I began surveying students, I expected to hear cliché comments such as “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” or “Race shouldn’t matter when it comes to love.” But to my surprise, the student body was rather divided on the issue.
In fact, many of the students I spoke to seemed to favor the idea of dating within their own race. San Diego State senior Tahitina Berhanu, who is Ethiopian, said she has been curious about dating other races, but ultimately feels comfortable with people from her culture. “I’m drawn to [dating Ethiopians] because we have the same culture, the same food, same traditions,” Berhanu said. “I feel like I’d have to ex- plain more to [someone of a different race] because I can’t speak my language freely around them … it just won’t come naturally.”
SDSU junior Jose, who is Mexican would rather date people with a Mexican heritage. “It’s not the same. Ideally it’s better to date someone of the same ethnicity. [For me] she has to be Mexican … the communication wouldn’t be as good with any- body else. Latino culture has more indirect language,” Jose said.
The more students I surveyed, the more frequent such responses became. One Caucasian student said that dating a African-American girl would be a “culture shock” and that his family would be more comfortable with him dating a Hispanic or an Asian girl.
It’s like we have a Yougurtland of deli- cious people on campus but everybody’s stuck on their favorite flavor, refusing to try a free sample. Where are all the people who are down with a swirl?
Well, it turns out there are many people on campus who find interracial dating to be acceptable and even fun. An SDSU fresh- man male said, “If she’s hot, she’s hot.”
SDSU junior Ashley Melendez believes interracial relationships can work. She has been in an interracial relationship for almost two years. Melendez is Puerto Ri- can and African-American and her boyfriend, Johnathan, is Mexican. “[This] is the first interracial relationship I’ve had. It was more about his personality,” Melendez said. “Being in an interracial relation- ship has definitely opened my mind to new things. I would encourage everyone to date outside their race at least once in their life. You never know until you try. Let go of all the stereotypes and just see what it’s like.”
There are plenty of people who have proven love can transcend color. It wouldn’t be fair to deny yourself true love and happiness simply because you’re afraid to step outside the comfort zone.
Interracial dating is so much more than the issue of skin color. It is an issue of culture, religion and even classism. At the end of the day, interracial dating is a personal decision between you and the person you may or may not be interested in. No one can truly say whether interracial dating is “good” or “bad.” We all have the right to date whomever we please without having to explain ourselves. But never forget there are always different options. You might just like what you find.