Date humans, not races, ethnicities

I was recently talking to a guy I’d been hanging out with for a while, when he asked me a strange question.

“How did you know you were attracted to black guys?” he asked.

My friend, by the way, is black.

His question surprised me; it seemed to imply that I rolled out of bed one fateful morning and thought, “You know what—from now on, I like black guys!”

My answer to his question, however, was much simpler. I know when I’m attracted to a black guy the same way I know when I’m attracted to any other guy. Skin color has nothing to do with it.

Black, white, red or even purple, there are things I find attractive in any man. I like rough, strong hands and arms that easily lift me up. Like any girl, I love a pretty smile and a good laugh, and I highly value intelligence. I’m drawn to men who are confident and have a presence when they enter a room—and a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt.

Color just shouldn’t matter—right?

According to a Framingham State University study, about half of Americans have dated someone outside their racial group. Also, the mixed race population in America has grown by 2.4 percent since 2000.

Though interracial dating is on the rise, according to the study, interracial daters are less likely to engage in public displays of affection or meet each other’s parents. Additionally, mixed-race relationships are less likely to end in marriage than same-sex relationships.

Why the discrepancy? Interracial dating is obviously common in America, yet it seems to be hidden—as though there’s something wrong with it.

Looking over these facts prompted me to review my own dating history. Admittedly, I have dated more white guys than guys of other races. Not intentionally; that’s just how it happened. Still, I have dated my fair share of different races.

One of my first boyfriends was Asian; I dated two or three black guys in high school, and I lost my virginity to a half-black, half-Mexican guy. I continue to date and flirt with men of other races or ethnicities today, and I’ve been attracted to men of races and ethnicities ranging from German to white to Macedonian.

It seems strange to me that race should be an important factor to consider in dating. Even today, in 2012, with an interracial marriage rate of over 14 percent, there are people who consider it taboo.

As someone who has dated within and outside my race, I urge those people to let go of their prejudices. By only dating within their races, they could be missing out on meeting some great people.

After all, we’re all human—even if we do have different skin colors.