A few months ago, the Cheerios ad showing an interracial couple and their child sparked all kinds of ridiculous controversy which made thousands in our country hang their heads in shame. Reactions to this ad show a disgraceful state of backwards individuals that still exist in the USA today.
According to the 2008 census, 15% of new marriages are interracial. So, why does it feel weird to some to see an ad representing a normal consumer population on TV? The website We Are the 15 Percent aims to change that. This is one effort to show the real faces of interracial families. Hundreds of families have submitted their photos to show that interracial marriage isn’t all that strange anymore- but is a normal part of our society.
But there is one reaction to racism which makes me very uncomfortable.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who are determined to marry someone of a different race, just to make a point.
Have you ever heard someone say “I like white girls” or “I am only attracted to black men” or “I fit better with desi guys.”
Isn’t this another form of objectifying someone for their race? Isn’t this classifying someone as part of a group which they may or may not fit into?
Something is wrong with a person who is attracted to someone just for their ethnic label. A person’s race is only one quality that expresses who they are. Putting an individual in a box is a dangerous game to play when considering about a lifelong relationship. If a person marries another primarily because of their race, they will be disappointed when that person surprises them by being an individual with a mind of their own.
I recently heard a story on This American Life about a white American man who only wanted to date Asian women. Eventually he got what he wanted, when he met a Chinese woman online and got married. He was really disappointed and surprised after a few months of marriage when she showed him that she had a unique personality and didn’t fit into his little box of what he thought an Asian woman was supposed to be.
Marriage is not a project. Marriage is not a label. Marriage isn’t something a person should do to prove anything to someone else. Marriage isn’t a statement. A strong marriage is built on commonalities, interests, and shared values. Marriage is a commitment to an individual (and their family.) Each person is different, and can not be defined just by their race. Human beings are complex, and each marriage is different, be it “interracial” or not.