Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lineage of love

A close look at yesterday's historical significance points to a less political and possibly more Odd Couple friendly topic.

Interracial relationships.

Not only did we elect the first African American President of the United States…

But we elected a man whose parents were of a different color.

A man whose parents quite possibly endured stereotypes and discrimination because they chose a relationship which was out-of-the-ordinary.

And while Obama’s Presidency tears down racial boundaries in the political world, what significance, if any, could his election have on the world of relationships?

How resistant, or eager, are people to date someone of another race? How have these ideals changed and evolved in recent years, if at all?

Because while few can deny that Obama’s politics inspire the masses…

I can't help but wonder if it was his parents choice that truly ignited change.


Sten said...

When I've been asked if attracted to men that aren't white I have two words with which to reply. Taye Diggs. Beautiful, beautiful man.

I'm a big fan of good-looking men of any color. As long as they have an equally good personality of course :)

My brother is really only attracted to women of Asian decent. It has never been an issue with my family. I'd probably disown my parents if it were.

A mixed race couple shouldn't be a big deal. You love who you love. I like to think it isn't something that is looked down on anymore, at least no like it used to be ... but I know this country still has a ways to go as far as tolerance, unfortunately.

Jared said...

Well, from another angle, what if Michelle Obama were white? Would Obama have even gotten close enough to smell the nomination? Would he still be Oprah's BFF?

Chrissie said...

I've wondered the same thing Jared... Obama's mother was white, but I can't help but think he'd be looked at differently for choosing a white woman for his wife.

My own experience has taught me that "smaller towns mean smaller minds" when it comes to this sort of thing. It wasn't that far in the past that I found myself proving stereotypes wrong and defending my personal choices as they relate to interracial relationships.

I'd like to think it doesn't matter and as someone, like Sten, who finds ALL SORTS OF MEN ATTRACTIVE (tall helps;) for me it's hard to understand that for some it still does matter.

A NYT article that dates back as recently as this Presidential Election interviewed people who decided not to vote for Obama because his parent's choices were "morally wrong."


Colin said...

I think that the race issue that should be looked at with Obama and his wife is the deeper racism that is prevalent in black society today. Mulatto or even lighter-skinned black people are discriminated against in the black community. Bill Cosby and many other commentators have discussed the issue through various outlets over the past few decades, but rarely does it get the attention that it deserves. If Obama, being a mulatto, had married a white woman, chances are that the black community would not have supported him nearly as much. The fact that he is married to a light-skinned black woman possibly reinforces the the racial stereotypes held within the black community, but won him more support in the end.

I personally don't find anything wrong with mixed-race couples. You're going to like who/what you like and that is what you'll look for in a s/o. I do find it interesting from a psychological standpoint that Obama chose to marry a black woman as Freud would tell us that we look to our mothers when looking for a woman to marry.

Yuki said...

Well, Freud's ideas have been, more or less, debunked.

I have no issue with mixed relationships, as I'm dating a white man (I'm Asian, does that count?) but I remember that when I was younger I wanted to marry another Asian and have little Asian babies. Mind you, this was when I was 5-8.

But, you know, there's just a little thing about mixed race couples that I've never completely settled. Some people state they prefer certain races, ie, "I love black women. They've got such beautiful butts!" and I'm never quite sure whether to take that as a racist statement or just a personal opinion, you know, steak over lobster. But, I mean, it's a little degrading to know that someone is dating you because of your race - it's like you're just a little fetish of his, that your race is more important than your self.

I don't know. What do you think?

Colin said...

You bring up a good point Yuki. I think a lot of experiments in relationships across racial boundaries are precipitated by a fetish-like desire or even a sense of adventure. While the motive can be a bit demeaning in the sense you were describing, if a good relationship comes out of that ability to break down the racial barrier in your own life when it comes to relationships, then it's all good in the long-run.

Chrissie said...

you do bring up an interesting point yuki, but i wonder if we aren't all guilty of being interested in people because they fit into a little "fetish" of ours.

whether our tastes are based on race or just plain 'looks' i think most relationships are entered under pretty superficial circumstances.

i usually find men with dark hair and eyes attractive... so is it degrading if i seek those sorts of men out in the dating world? and if not, then why would it be anymore degrading if i said "i like men with dark hair, eyes, and skin"???

Jared said...

It's kind of a fine line Chrissie. With the racial fetish thing, it's more like you already have an image that you're attracted to, and you're just finding someone who resembles that image.