Friday, May 18, 2007

Inter-racial Dating and Marriage Part 1

Inter-racial Dating and Marriage Part 1
by Ehav Ever

Skins may differ, but affection dwells in white and black the same.
William Cowper (ca. 1793)

I have looked around the African American blogsphere and I have noticed a number of sites that discuss inter-racial dating and marriage. Some sites talk as if it is okay on some level, yet inherently wrong on another. I have never understood what the problem is with this and why people get so flustered about it. There is no universal law that dictates that people with similar skin tones, must only date and marry each other. There is also lots of scientific and genetic proof that the Western concept of race i.e. skin color is bogus as a method of defining a person's cultural heritage. What does make sense is common religion, culture, language, life experiences, education, etc. as a method of determine ethnicity i.e. true racial standards.

I personally refuse to be defined by a limited window of who I am. My heritage, faith, and my own personal choices define who I am and I date and marry who I choose based on the things mentioned. Also, who has the right to tell someone they are wrong for preferring someone with a certain skin tone? So what if there are some men who prefer light complexioned women, because there are also men who prefer dark complexion women. So what if there are African American men who prefer so called "white" women, there are also so called "white" men who prefer African American women. Everyone has the right to choose whatever physical and interpersonal characteristics make them happy in a mate.

What makes the issue more strange is the double standards that often come with the territory. I once knew African Americans who basically forbid their children from dating White people, yet they lived in a predominately white neighborhood and their children attended predominately white schools. I also knew White people who allowed their children to experience rap and R&B music as well as Black athletes, but prohibited their children from ever dating a black person. What is up with those double standards?

I am Jewish so there a number of African American women who I could never marry since having a Jewish wife determines if my children are legally Jewish. At the same time, if there was an African American women who was legally Jewish then I could date and(or) marry her, but I don't base my love life on trivial things like skin tone. Also I prefer non-American women to date and marry for personal reasons i.e. I speak more than one language and I am now living in Israel. When I was a kid in America there were places where dating a person with a different skin tone could get one into serious trouble. Yet, these things have changed to some degree in society due to the colorization of certain segments of the media and such, and this is a good thing.

For me what has always been important in a woman are the following things.

1) What is her faith, and is it something she believes because of her own journey for truth with a capital T?

2) Is she confident about her life and the path that she seeks? Does she make her destiny or does she let life walk all over her?

3) Is she cultured or does she at least of an open passport to the world?

4) Is she modest in her ways of dress, speech, and action? (I don't like woman who show off all that she has. I like woman who keep certain parts of themselves a mystery.)

5) Does she speak my language, literally? (Hebrew, English, and I am learning Arabic)

6) Does she keep me interested in her with her witty conversation and does she have something tos say?

7) Does she follow the crowd or is she the leader to follow?

8) Is she kind hearted, but also tough and able to stand up for herself?

9) Does she exercise? Not saying that she has to be skinny or thin, but a well shaped woman is beautiful no matter where the curves are or are not.

10) Is she someone who will allow me to be there for her when she needs it?

11) Will she be there for me when I need her?

All of these things are some of the basics that I find beautiful and I can find this in a wide range of women from a number of cultures and skin tones. Maybe the belief that one must remain within a certain skin tone when it comes to dating and marriage are the reason that some people are stuck single or in unhappy relationships. Maybe their sole mates are out there somewhere, but not in the outer packages that some segments of societies force upon them.

At the end of the day faith and culture is more important than skin color.‎


Leslie said...

I agree with you. Skin tone isn't an indicator of compatability.

Very thoughtful post.

storm indigo said...

I agree. It is more important that you find a true connection. I think it is funny how closed minded a great deal of people can be. Love is love.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if what a person desires (whether secret or not secret) is what only handle they have at really seeing their true zivug. Moshe Rabeinu was the only one with clearest of visions, but perhaps we also can see just a little bit. That which we can see, tainted by social pressures, can make us look for something else and dismiss what we can almost see -which is a marker for one's true zivug. I wonder?

Ehav Ever said...

Leslie and Indigo
Thanks for your comments. I am working on a part 2 to this article where I want to go a bit deeper into it. So keep an eye out.

You bring up some real interesting points. A few months ago I was reading Rabbi Hayyim Angel's book, Through An Opaque Lense, and he discuss the point of the difference between Mosheh Rabbeinu (Moses) and the other prophets. He brings up the opinions of I believe the Rambam where he states that Mosheh saw Hashem (God) through 1 dirty/unclear lens where the rest of the prophets saw Hashem through 15 or more different lenses.

The basic point was that as Mosheh Rabbeinu knew that man could not see Hashem (God) and live, yet it is said that Mosheh spoke to Hashem face to face.

There is also a saying that each husband and wife that are born are actually souls that are split when they are born, and that it is a matter of them reconnecting. There is also an Arabic concept that each man has the name of his future wife, or potential wife, on his forehead, but only God can see it. Vice versa for women.

As you have pointed out, that is where I think the downfall is in certain parts of Western society. The idea that the outer desires are all that matter for happiness. I think that there are many people who are realizing that this can be empty at times and there is a need for something more.

Jessica said...

oh,,,, guys, you can not image what I have found. I am a black cuttie and I just met my love half year ago and we will get married next month, and interracial love of course. Am I lucky? So lucky I think, and I wanna share my happiness with all of you here.

By the way, I found my half part baby on a great site. He is really gorgeous, even sometimes he is a liittle shy. -:) If you try, you also can be the next lucky one. LOL. Here it is .

Bye!! and good luck to you all.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Ehav,

That was a very interesting post. I have for a long time held the belief that the chances of finding your soulmate in the narrow world most of us inhabit in nearly impossible.

Also I am in total agreement about race, there is no such thing. There is culture and history that groups may share but that transends skin color usually.

I wonder how much happier people would be in their love relationships if the whole notion of race was seen for what it is, someones fantasy.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Mes Deux Cents,

Thanks for your comments as always. Yes, I think there are some people who may be happier if they was attention of he myth of race. Unfortunately, if it wasn't race it would be something else.

Anonymous said...

Ehav, very interesting blog, thanks for keeping it up!

The issue of interracial mixing among Jews is something I've struggled with my whole life...

I've grown up and lived in Toronto though my parents are Israeli. I have a strong connection to Israel, but I also grew up amongst people from all over the world who also came here for better opportunities and to live in peace. The beauty of being a child on the playground in a multicultural society is that you don't consider religion and 'race' as issues. Eventually I went on to have a serious (and problematic) relationship with a muslim girl, and later on have been with many women of different backgrounds.

The problem is that when religion and culture are involved, we are not all seen as the same. This is the paradox - love is colourblind. There is no colour of a person's soul. I was never a religious person - spiritual, yes - but growing up amongst Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc, the predominant view of one religion being more right then another is ludicrous. For this reason, it seems to me like marrying amongst 'your own kind' is more of a tribal negotiation. I think of even within Israel, where the differences between Teymanim, Ashkenazim, Beta Israel, etc exist. What difference would it be for me to marry a Palestinian than to marry a Sephardi woman (I'm Ashkenazi)? In the end, we're all "children of Abraham", and if its an issue of faith, I may have more in common with a Palestinian than someone being a designated Jew.

Just a final comment, I am a strong advocate of marrying "outside your kind". In many closed societies, including Ashkenazi Judaism, incest does exist to varying degrees. The more humanity mixes, the more we all benefit!