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What's it like to discover the woman you're dating is a black woman?
Just for the record, before I start, I am probably one of those women that you're talking about. My father is White, my mother is half Black and half Native American*. I have my father's blue eyes and hair that used to be blonde but has settled at light brown in the last decade (and looks like it's going to be silver-white within five years), my mother's nose and cheekbones, and skin that can be anything from ivory to cafe latte, depending on the time of year and my health. Here in England I refer to myself as mixed-race; in America I haven't quite worked out what to call myself, as I look more Caucasian than African-American, but several people have told me that anyone who has Black blood is Black. (This doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I figure, when in Rome... *shrugs*) What would I do if a woman I was dating told me she had an African-American parent? Probably say, "Cool," and go back to whatever I was doing. If she seemed to want to have a conversation about it, I might ask questions about her family and life experiences. If she didn't seem to want to talk more about it, I wouldn't. I would not feel like it was something she should have told me before. If I needed to know before, then I would have asked. Race / ethnicity / culture is not particularly important to me, either my own or other people's. Possibly this is because my mother was adopted as a child (in a secretive, closed adoption, which was common in the 1940s), and I only know the bare minimum about her background, so I don't really have any roots, and I've never felt like I belong to a particular ethnic or cultural group. In addition, we moved around between countries a lot when I was a kid, so there's nowhere that I consider home, and I don't feel patriotism for any particular country. That said, I understand that background and heritage is important to a lot of people, and if it matters to my partner then it becomes important to me. I've dated people in the past for whom racial and cultural identity has been a vital part of them, and I'm always happy to ask questions, learn, and celebrate. I've also dated people for whom their race / ethnicity / culture has very little import, and in those cases I haven't asked much about it. I just take my cues from my partner, on a person-by-person basis. I accept that for some people, it's important that t date (and eventually marry) someone of the same ethnic background. It's not something that I'll ever fully understand, but I accept that some people feel that way. However, if it's important to you, then the onus is on you to ask about it before you get deeply involved with someone. And yes, asking will put some people off - even some people who are of the race / ethnicity / culture that you're looking for - because a lot of people will think it silly, or even offensive, that it matters to you. But honestly, anyone who's offended by the question probably isn't mentally and emotionally compatible with you anyway, and you're better off finding out early. I'm not going to chastise you for wanting what you want, any more than I'd criticise someone who wanted a partner in a certain income bracket, or a partner who had a specific physical characteristic, or a partner who only wanted to have one particular type of sex. It's not my place. But I will tell you that if you want something particular in a partner, and if it's a dealbreaker for you if t don't have it, then you're the one who has to make that clear. It's not your partner's responsibility to try and figure out what's important to you, and pre-emptively lay out all the details of their background. Whatever dealbreakers you have, it's on you to ask about them. Edited to add note. there are a few things that it's generally accepted (in America and England, at least) that a person has a duty to lay out upfront on a first date - eg marital status, if t have children, any incurable contagious diseases. Even with those things, though, it's still smart to ask, if t're important to you. *Supposedly. Mom was adopted overseas in the 1940s, and the only information I have comes from incomplete adoption agency records which could easily be BS. I really should get genetic testing done at some point, when I have a spare couple hundred pounds. For now, I don't really identify as anything, and know almost nothing about Finland (where she was born), or any Native American tribes, or the Khoisan people. I don't know if this would change if I had concrete evidence. *shrugs* I've always been driftwood, and maybe that wouldn't change.
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