Interracial dating has always been a topic of great controversy in the United States, affected by the long and historical conflict between different races, particularly whites and African Americans.
Until 1967, it was illegal for anyone to marry outside of one’s race. Now, although the phenomenon is no longer seen as taboo, there still exist many debates on the topic of interracial dating and its prevalence in society, especially across college campuses.
Here at Boston College, the issue was discussed most recently in an event titled “Interracial Dating: Mix to Find Your Match,” a FACES Hall Talk held on Wednesday.
FACES is an anti-racist student organization committed to educating the BC community on the issues of race, identity and systems of power and privilege.
“FACES hopes to foster dialogue and facilitated the elimination of structured inequality, discrimination and racial polarization through discussions, social interactions and academic forums on campus,” says William Hwang, A&S ’15, an active member of the organization.
In Wednesday’s Hall Talk, FACES was able to do just that by organizing a panel of speakers from all walks of life that have experienced or are experiencing an interracial relationship in order to educate the BC community on their personal experiences with race and identity.
Throughout the discussion, almost all of the panelists agreed that they have certainly gotten strong reactions from their families, friends or society in general about their interracial relationship. Their experience demonstrates that the idea of dating outside of one’s race continues to be controversial for many and, in some instances, problematic to those in the relationships.
Nicola Gallagher, A&S ’15, discussed her personal experiences with interracial dating while studying abroad in Grahamstown, South Africa. Nicola recalls that race was never a factor in her choosing her boyfriend, as it was simply a magnetic attraction that brought the two together.
“I would say people are almost confused and surprised by interracial relationships. They are curious because it is something they perceive as being different,” said Gallagher.
“In actuality it is something that should not be surprising. It’s just two people who have a strong connection, making that connection even stronger,” she said.
Gallagher also asserted that there is a lack of constructive dialogue about the topic of interracial dating on BC’s campus.
“I think there should be more dialogue about injustices and racism in relation to interracial dating. I also think that on this campus, people gossip about interracial dating. They won’t openly say things about it, but behind closed doors they will question it to their friends."
Those days, interracial dating is not uncommon in the United States. In fact, according to national surveys, most Americans do in fact approve of interracial dating.
With this approval comes a generational divide where younger Americans are much more likely to be supportive of interracial dating and to have experienced it once in their lifetime than older generations.
Thus, dialogue on the topic of interracial dating on college campuses in an important first step towards change, which can eventually lead to a national conversation on the topic.
Until then, campus organizations such as FACES may be the only platform to begin such a dialogue and to bring about young, passionate people in an effort to destabilize stigma on the issues of race, interracial dating and identity.
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