I just finished reading this memoir by a woman who grew up biracial in the United States in the 70s and 80s, and I was surprised by her experience. She talks a lot about how different she felt from everyone else, especially being one of only a handful of kids of color in some of the towns she lived in and schools she attended growing up, and knowing hardly anyone from a mixed-race background. It wasn’t until she started college — at Stanford University — that she was finally able to connect with other mixed-race students and her journey toward self-discovery and self-identification really took off.
I guess I was most surprised by her story not because I couldn’t believe that someone who looked different from her peers (and from her parents) would struggle with identity, but because someone who is only a decade older than I and who grew up in and around college towns knew so few other mixed-race families. Granted, my own upbringing was a little unique. I grew up in and around military bases in Japan, Korea, and Germany and didn’t live in the states until I started college at 17. But my friends and close neighbors were mostly American, and so many — like, probably a quarter — were mixed-race families. Save for my college years, most of my life since graduating high school has been spent in big cities where, again, it is not unusual to see interracial couples as well as kids and adults who don’t easily fall into a single category of race. Because of this — and for plenty of other reasons — it wouldn’t seem weird to date outside my own race (if I were single). That said, I have not had a real relationship with anyone who isn’t white, and, of course, I never contended with the idea of having mixed-race children. What about you? What is your experience with dating outside your race? Have you? Are you currently? Are you the product of an interracial relationship? How has race affected your dating life and your relationship(s), if at all?