How to Talk with Teens About Interracial Dating
It's hard to believe that just over 40 years ago, the U.S. had laws restricting interracial relationships. Society's view of interracial relationships has changed considerably since then, but you might be wondering how to discuss the issue of interracial dating with your teen. Dating can be complicated enough without any added issues, so having an open and honest talk with your teen is an important way to foster communication and understanding.
Know the Subject
Arm yourself with the most recent statistics concerning interracial dating. The younger generation is much more accepting of interracial relationships than previous generations. According to the Council on Contemporary Families, nearly half of all Americans have dated a member of another race, with nearly 90 percent of the younger generation saying they approve of such relationships.
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Be honest about the positive and negatives to interracial dating. You will need to have a frank discussion about racism. It still exists and if your teen dates a member of another race, they will both be likely to be subjected to it. A 2012 AP poll reported by NBC shows that 51 percent of American's expressed explicit anti-black sentiments, up from 48 percent in 2008. Of course, racism comes in all sizes and can be directed against any race, not just blacks. Society is changing, though. CNN reports that Wilcox County in Georgia had its first integrated prom in 2013. While it might be shocking to think that segregated proms still existed in modern America, it is heartening to hear how these kids pulled together to overcome prejudice and insist on an integrated prom 2. When discussing these issues, don't forget to hit on the positives of interracial dating such as each being enriched by the addition of the other's persons culture, the strength of character to be built through standing up for their convictions and the diversity that will be brought into both families' lives. The Anti-Racist Alliance is an organization dedicated to undoing structural racism. It offers workshops and monthly meetings for those in the New York area. It also offers online forums, articles and videos to help those dealing with issues stemming from racism.
Remember that interracial dating is still just dating. You will need to ensure your teen knows and understand your rules about dating in general, which might include a curfew and that you will want to meet, in person, any potential dates. This is a crucial time to discuss your expectations and set up clear boundaries.
- Arm yourself with the most recent statistics concerning interracial dating.
- When discussing these issues, don't forget to hit on the positives of interracial dating such as each being enriched by the addition of the other's persons culture, the strength of character to be built through standing up for their convictions and the diversity that will be brought into both families' lives.
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- NBC News: Majority Harbor Prejudice Against Blacks
- CNN: Segregated Prom Yields to Unity
- Inman, AG, Altman, A, Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A, Carr, A, Walker, JA. Cultural intersections: A qualitative inquiry into the experience of Asian-Indian White interracial couples. Family Process. 2011;50(2):248-266. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01358.x
- Lichter DT, Qian Z. Boundary Blurring? Racial Identification among the Children of Interracial Couples. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2018;677(1):81-94. doi:10.1177/0002716218760507
- Seshadri, G, Knudson-Martin, C. How couples manage interracial and intercultural differences: Implications for clinical practice. J Marital Fam Ther. 2013;39(1):43-58. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00262.x
Angela Darland has worked in the field of early childhood since 1998 as a certified Early Intervention Specialist, trainer, conference presenter and writer. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M, an MBA from TWU and an endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Specialist from the Texas Association of Infant Mental Health.