What To Do About This Teenage Dating Dilemma?
Dropping my son off at school one morning, I pointed out an African American girl and said, “She’s cute”. My son replied, “I only like Hispanic girls!”
It’s not that I do not want him to date outside of his race it’s just kind of hurtful that he does not want to date an African American girl, you know, someone that looks like his mom. Perhaps even more hurtful, he has not even TRIED! Am I wrong for feeling this way?
Dear Feeling Rejected:
You don’t say how old your son is but if you were dropping him off I’m going to guess he’s in middle school or a lower classman in high school. For the sake of this answer, I am going to assume he is in 8th grade. One of the things I love about kids is that they, for the most part, are pure; they have not been polluted with issues of race and gender (too much) and that’s a good thing. So if your 14-year-old son, whose hormones and feelings are just starting to stir, goes to a school that is heavily Hispanic, that is what he sees and will be attracted to.
When I was young, I went to middle school in Yuba City, California. My first boyfriend was white, my first kiss was to a white guy and I dated my share of white guys in college. The issue for me, quite frankly was one of access. It’s not that I was not attracted to black young men; heck I had a wicked crush on Michael Jackson! But my high school was predominantly white. There were only about 12 other black students, half of them were girls and one was my own sister! So you can see I just didn’t have an opportunity to meet African American boys my age. Because of that (kids were trying to conform and not a lot of them dated outside their race) I went to exactly two dances in high school with the only other black guy at the school. We did not particularly like each other and shared only one thing in common, the color of our skin. The dates were short and not a whole lot of fun.
Of course, all that changed when I got to college. Not only did my circle of friends get bigger, I started dating people who I was genuinely interested in, with mutual likes and tastes, no matter their race. My parade of paramours could well have been mistaken for a meeting of the UN general assembly. Having said that, here’s my advice for you.
1. Do Not Lay Your Own Issues Of Race On Your Son
I am not saying that you do not make him cognizant of race and racial matters; every African American parent knows he/she needs to prepare our kids for those issues. As much as we want to believe we live in a colorblind society, we do not and he needs to know that. What I am saying is your desire for him to date (and perhaps marry) a black woman is your issue, not his. Let him be a kid and get butterflies in his tummy and tongue-tied around whomever he feels attracted.