In America about 1 in 12 marriages in 2012 were interracial. This might catch a lot of parents off guard, since the older generation is still a bit hesitant about interracial relationships. A research conducted by Dr. Melanie Killen reveals that there is not only a difference of opinion between the generations on this topic, but the social taboo regarding interracial couples is also very much alive. However, if your teen is facing such teenage relationship problems, it’s important that you keep your own emotions and biases in check and deal with this situation as neutrally as possible.
The Color Mute Syndrome
The color mute syndrome is the latest challenge regarding interracial relationships, according to Rebecca Bigler, professor at University of Texas. It is actually about the political correctness that forbids all of us from discussing race and ethnicity. So get around this hurdle and explain to your teen that while in the modern society, racism means considering others inferior as compared to one’s race, it is still completely acceptable to talk about race and discuss interracial dating. So start off on positive re-enforcement. Help them celebrate and learn from racial differences. Heritage helps us grow as people, sharing said heritage can help others do the same.
Facing the challenges
As open minded as society may seem to be towards interracial relationships in movies or on TV, in real life your teen needs to be prepared for social isolation. According to a research conducted by California State University on the acceptance of mixed couples, the tolerance for interracial couples is lower than that of gay couples. Talk to your teen about the kind of reception they might expect socially. People still tend to stare at mixed couples, friends and family will openly disregard their choice, some might even pass rude comments and in a number of situations social acceptance will be slim for their partner. Specifically remind your teen that you are not trying to dissuade them from their interracial relationship. All you are trying to do is preparing them for what they may have to face in the future.
Tolerance is key
Make sure that throughout this conversation, you emphasize on racial tolerance not just on a social level, but personal as well. Remind your teen that tolerance and patience is crucial for a healthy social existence, even though not everyone is capable of showing it. Remember, the way you approach this subject could set your teens attitude towards other races for the rest of their lives. It could also come and stand between you and your teen as a major bone of contention, so be very careful about how you might come across to your teen.
Loving them no matter what
Never present your teen with the choice of you vs. their love interest. That is a burden no parent should wish upon their child. Make sure to convince them that no matter who they chose to love, your love for them is absolute. It is important for your teen to know that you’ll support their decisions about life and love, no matter how society or family may view it. This is why keep your interracial dating advice unbiased and neutral, so you don’t come across as prejudiced or over protective.