*The dating scene can be difficult to navigate from the start due primarily to the different ways in which men and women are socialized.
When you add dating someone outside your race into the mix, making a permanent connection very often becomes even more complicated. Of course such relationships are nothing new in America, since the first mixed-race birth was recorded in 1620.
However, since that time, the blight of institutionalized inequality and racism hindered the acceptance of these relationships. But the number of interracial relationships is now on the rise, with the Pew Research Center recording a 14.6% increase in such couplings in 2008.
Responding to this upsurge in multiracial unions, journalists Janice Littlejohn and Christelyn Karazin have written a book that offers guidance to woman who are interested in taking the first steps towards dating outside their race. The Robertson Treatment recently interviewed these two women to gain a better understanding of this somewhat new territory.
Robertson Treatment: What motivated you to delve into this hot topic?
CDK: Having been married to my husband, who is Caucasian, for 10 years, I’d gone through all kinds of issues: feeling of somehow disloyal to my race, dealing with stares from passers-by, and wondering in this day-and-age, “How many other black women really worry about this stuff?” Janice — my former college mentor and a career journalist, who as a single woman and has always been open to mixed race and culture relationships — and I realized as we delved further into the subject that there were many African American women who were open to dating and mating “out” but were afraid, or simply unaware, of how to take the plunge. SWIRLING is a true manual — sort of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” – for anyone who is considering making a move into unfamiliar romantic territory. Dating out can be wonderfully sublime. But for the novice, it can be daunting and intimidating.
JRL: We’ve both been there, with varying degrees on the outcome. In SWIRLING, you get the perspectives of Christelyn — a woman who found marital bliss with someone of another race, and me – a woman who is happy to date a rainbow of men without the down-the-isle end game. We hope in our stories, and those of so many other women and couples, that readers can be motivated to explore and find the love they desire and deserve.
RT: Why is it important for African-American women to consider interracial relationships?
JRL: It’s important that women consider all their possibilities – be it race, culture, faith, age, etc. – in finding a mate. Everyone wants love and to be loved. But statically speaking, there just aren’t enough African American men for every African American woman. By broadening the scope of eligible men, black women can indeed find love and happiness with someone who may not look like them, but someone who has common interests and aspirations.
CDK: Our aim with SWIRLING is not to try and convince women to date outside their race or culture or faith, but simply to help those who are interested in doing so. There are so many moving parts in this game, and women—and men – need to know what they’re signing up for when they get into mixed relationships.
RT: Explain the reluctance that many women feel about entering into such relationships?
CDK: So much of the reluctance comes from fear – fear of their relationships not being accepted by their own family, friends; of not being accepted their own culture or religious sect.
JRL: But African American women aren’t alone in that. As we explore in SWIRLING, people of all cultures and creeds tend to connect to people who are similar to them – it’s human nature – but that doesn’t have to stop women (or men) from stepping outside of their comfort zone.
RT: In countries with a high incidence of interracial relationships, the African presence has been fully absorbed into the general population. Do you have concerns about the same thing taking place in the U.S.?
JRL: African Americans and black culture in America are an inherent part of the fabric of this country – from our music, art, language, style, colloquialisms, etc. So the United States is indeed more connected to black culture than it wants to concede – and that’s not going away. In terms of relationships, of the African American women we spoke with for SWIRLING who are involved in mixed-race and cross-culture relationships say they feel more connected with their blackness, or African-American-ness, and impart that cultural legacy to their children – and even with their spouses or significant others. As one Caucasian husband noted about being married to his African American wife, the experience has given him a greater appreciation and awareness of and sensitivity to black people and other minority groups that he would not have had otherwise.
CDK: In essence, it opens us all up to a better understanding of one another based on character, not color.
RT: Given its history, do you think that America will ever come to terms with this subject?
JRL: We believe that it can, and it is one of the reasons we wrote SWIRLING. It’s time to change the dialogue in on race and culture issues in America, particularly where it concerns relationships of mixed race and culture. We don’t deny that African Americans – and other minority groups – have had a harried history with the majority culture; there’s no denying that race still matters. The key here is to understand that this discussion is not just about black and white anymore, and it’s important to talk about these issues without it becoming divisive. We need to dialogue with a search and a hope for understanding – not to continue laying blame. We live in a global society of many races, cultures and creeds, and as African American women, we see the world as our oyster — we simply want to find the one with the nicest pearl.
RT: Can this trend be turned around: Is rehab still possible in between black men and women?
CDK: Statistically speaking, black women still marry within their race more often than they do not. The issue here is not whether black men and women can get along, but that black women feel comfortable about opening themselves to the possibilities for love regardless of what the package he comes in.
For information on the authors tour schedule go to beyondblackwhite.com
AUTOMOTIVE SPIN PREVIEW – 2013 NISSAN ALTIMA
About a month ago I was privileged to be a guest of Nissan at their U.S. headquarters in Nashville for the unveiling of its 2013 Altima. While the Altima is already widely known for its power and upscale allure, the latest incarnation of this ride offers improvements that will make it even more popular among drivers who seek vehicles in its class. Make sure to check out a full review of this ride in an upcoming edition of Robertson Treatment’s Automotive Spin.
2012 Kia Sorento SX
It’s rare to find a ride that meets your expectations in nearly every category, but the new Kia Sorento gets really close. Offering the looks, style and driving experience to satisfy even the most demanding driver, the latest incarnation of this ride is ready to give its competition a serious run for their money.
Wow Factor: Armed with a sportier new exterior design and improved power enhancements, the new Sorento strikes just the right balance that will inspire drivers seeking the mid-size SUV experience.
Ride: The latest edition of the Sorento is outfitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that gives it the maximum power to handle a variety of road conditions. The ride was smooth and very responsive and the gas mileage was on point, averaging about 21 – 22 miles in the city and over 30mpg on the highway.
Comfort: With superior design and high quality materials, the Sorento’s interior can compete with the best vehicles in its class. As a tall man (6ft 4), I appreciated its great leg space and also the ride’s controls, which are easy and accessible. The Sorento’s cargo space is also ample enough to handle most loads. A big plus is Uvo system, which will allow drivers to control various function via voice command.
Spin Control: With a great price, fuel economy and solid performance, the Kia Sorento now has all the goods to compete with the big boys in its class. I predict this ride will appeal to drivers across many demos and may actually make it to the top of its class.
Copyright 2012, Robertson Treatment LLC all rights reserved.