When my father was born in 1941 Oklahoma, African-Americans could not share water fountains or school pencils with Caucasians, let alone date them.
My, how times have changed.
Though it comes with its own set of problems, interracial dating has become less of a dangerous endeavor and more of — dare I say it? — a normal thing.
As an African-American graduate of a private high school, I have always been around more Caucasians than African-Americans, and my romantic counterparts have reflected that.
Others have had the opposite experience. A white junior majoring in engineering thinks that she is mostly into Asians at USC because she “came from a particularly white, tiny private school.”
“We literally only had two Asians in our entire grade. and they were girls,” she said.
I have never had a problem with dating mostly white guys, and with the exception of a couple of jokes, my parents don’t really care either.
This is certainly a reflection of our modern age. And though some parents might be like my own — wary of welcoming an in-law of another race — society in the United States fervently frowns upon a parent who refuses to allow their child to cross racial boundaries.
In the case of a junior public relations major with an attraction to blond-haired, blue-eyed cuties, her Indian family is “rather sad, especially if [she doesn’t] have an Indian wedding.”
As of right now, the student’s parents are fine with her decision to date solely white men. She’s not sure, however, how they will take it if and when she seriously settles down with someone of another race.
Some students certainly do meet their future spouses in college, but in this day and age, most don’t get married until age 26 or after. Because of the fact that college is often seen as a time of experimentation and fun, parents of children who tend to date outside their race probably don’t think that it’ll amount to anything.
In reality, though, the kind of people you date in college have a strong significance. As USC Professor of anthropology Erin Moore said, “Dating is that baby step leading to figuring out who you want to marry.”
And though many parents can bite their tongue when their child brings home a boyfriend or girlfriend of a different racial background, the idea of their grandchildren sharing cultural values with those of another race can be disheartening.
“What I’ve noticed is that you don’t really understand your own feelings about things until you are raising your own children,” Moore said. “You think about ‘how am I going to celebrate the holidays?’ Things that are innate in you become issues in a marriage.”
Most college students aren’t looking for partners to settle down with for the rest of their lives. But in a quest for a semi-serious romantic counterpart, you might find that you don’t consciously choose a mate based on their color. It just so happens that your eyes go all Jessica Rabbit for a particular race.
When asked if she was attracted to Mexicans because of the taboo nature of crossing racial lines, a white senior said, “No, I’m just attracted to their tall, dark and naturally handsome good looks.”
And as one white junior puts it, “I’ve learned a lot of Spanish through some of my guys, tried new foods. I think because I am white and do not really like American culture, this part makes it easy for me.”
With students becoming more comfortable with dating outside of their race, an increase in mixed-race populations is inevitable. According to The New York Times, the 2010 U.S. Government Census showed a 134 percent increase in people who identify as multiracial since 2000.
These people will date those of all colors, and in the future, the face of our families will reflect the diversity that our country aims to protect. In a few years, there will be no such as 100 percent black or 100 percent Latino, and this conversation will be nonexistent.
So while bringing home your black boyfriend might not go over as terribly — or hilariously — as on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, your parents and grandparents might still feel a tinge of disappointment that their grandchildren will not have the same upbringing that you or they had.
But as the years go by, society will change and people will simply adapt — as they always have.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in critical studies. Her column “Lovegame” runs Thursdays.