*Dear Tamara:

My seventeen-year-old son is only interested in dating white girls. At first I thought it was just a one-time thing, then I began seeing a pattern. Finally I talked with him about it and he told me that “white girls” are just his preference. As his mother, I am a bit offended. We have always lived in the suburbs, but our neighborhood and our children’s schools are pretty mixed so there are definitely plenty of young African-American girls to choose from. It’s not that I am prejudiced or have anything against white people, I just want my only son to appreciate women of his own race. Women that look like his mother, his sisters, and all the other women in his family. I talked with my husband about this and he is not as bothered as I am. He says our son should be able to choose whom he would like to date. Part of me believes this too, but for some reason I just can’t shake what I am feeling. Should I be offended by this?

Proud not Prejudiced

Dear Proud:

First let me say that I do not think you are wrong for being proud of your heritage and wanting your son to appreciate that heritage as well. On the other hand, we all have ways that we choose whom we would like to date. Some people only date tall people, some people are only attracted to thin people. We all have some sort of preference and people are attracted to what they like. And these preferences can change and evolve as we grow and evolve as human beings.

It always gets sticky when there is a preference based on race because the natural thought is a person prefers one race over another. Just because your son’s preference is to date white girls, it does not mean that he does not like or appreciate girls of his own race or that he is not proud of his own race. And dating one race over another does not guarantee relationship success.

As parents we want the best for our children and we want them to have good experiences and good relationships. I think you should support your son as long as he is in a healthy relationship with someone that is kind, respectful, and has good intentions.

Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.