Interracial dating questions
In future blogs, we’ll turn to same-sex couples and age-gap couples, as well as other types of diverse couples.
To be sure, there are plenty of couples who identify with more than one of these relationship categories, such as same-sex interracial couples.
According to the psychological literature, race refers to “social identification attached to physical traits such as skin and hair color.” And culture reflects, “shared meanings, beliefs, and traditions that arise as a group shares common history and experiences that give particular interpretations of the world.” So although race and culture are frequently treated as one and the same, they’re actually distinct.
Let’s consider an interracial couple in which one partner identifies as Black and the other partner identifies as White.
Relationships are the bedrock of a gratifying, healthy, well-lived life.
They’re also intricate and personal, as two people co-create their own unique little world over time, with norms, practices, habits, understandings, and a history that are theirs alone.
But for the sake of clarity, and out of respect to each type of relationship and the particular dynamics and social challenges they come across, we’ll address them individually.
There’s ample evidence that, depending on what racial category we're perceived to belong to, we encounter unequal levels of privilege, prejudice, discrimination, and violence.
And these differing realities around race are not only significant for each of us as individuals, they’re also deeply meaningful for interracial couples.
Second, race and culture have separate definitions.
When partners view themselves as a united team with their own, common story (while also continuing to hold onto their own sense of self), they’ve fostered a sense of what’s called “we-ness.” Couples can develop we-ness privately between themselves, in public, or both.
To create a feeling of we-ness between themselves, research suggests that interracial couples engage in strategies such as thinking about the camaraderie and connection they share, and keeping mutual aspirations, beliefs, and interests in mind.
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And then there are times, as in this piece, when we’ll consider the intersection between these two places, such as relationship dynamics within couples as they live amid various societal conditions.