How to Date Interracially?
March 29, 2007 8:19 AM   Subscribe

How do I make the best of dating interracially? Are there resources or counselors that could help me be successful?

I'm a 29-year-old biracial man living in Chicago, and I've come to realize that interracial dating is the pits. As I am rarely attracted to black women (for lengthy and complex reasons), I find that dating is very difficult. I realized that were I Caucasian, I wouldn't have any problems (I'm stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active and oh-so-modest), but it seems that for most women, the color line is a difficult one to cross.

So I turn to the Hive Mind: are there any resources online or in print that might be able to help someone like myself make the best of my situation? I was hoping that somewhere there might be a counselor who specializes in interracial dating guidance, but sadly, relationship counseling is only applicable once you actually have a relationship.

As an aside, I realized that being gay would be easier; while there is also a stigma attached, at least there is the benefit of a community of like-minded individuals to whom one can turn. I'm on my own here.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (54 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This doesn't sound like a race issue to me, it sounds like a small-minded people issue. I can't speak for "most women", but this woman has no problem with color lines, nor have I ever met one who does. I imagine there are tons of women in Chicago that feel the same - you just have to find them. And for that purpose, there are dozens of AskMe questions to give you a hand.
posted by meerkatty at 8:30 AM on March 29, 2007

Come to Europe and live for a year. Alternatively, go to where there are lots of European girls.

When you say "most women", you mean most American women. Your segregated society has created this mindset, but fortunately for us who live outside your country, this is not a problem.

If you are from a biracial family, then obviously, your parents crossed the line.

Also, one more thing thing may be that you are attributing your failure in dating to your race, it may not have anything to do with that, but simply that you are targeting the wrong girls. You have to pick the ones where something comes back towards you, not just the ones _you_ find attractive.

Forget this race thing entirely, and just assume that a woman that does not want to date you is put off by your personality. It is usually more accurate.

Of course, race may be the issue, it is America after all. Thank God I live in Europe where we do not have such problems.
posted by markovich at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2007

Thank God I live in Europe where we do not have such problems.

You've got to be kidding me.

I'd have to agree with meerkatty. As a teenager and in my early twenties living in Atlanta, my white girlfriends and my white self dated mixed race and black men quite frequently. I can't imagine Chicago would be less open than a big city in the deep south. Where are you getting the idea that this is because of race - have several women told you this? I know you're anonymous and can't respond in the thread but perhaps a follow-up email to jessamyn could help clarify things?
posted by hazyjane at 8:53 AM on March 29, 2007

it seems that for most women, the color line is a difficult one to cross

in Chicago? Really? You are either hanging out with the totally wrong crowd, or it's not your race at all.

I realized that were I Caucasian, I wouldn't have any problems

Oh, bullshit. You'll hear from legions of white guys trying to date white girls that have the same issues with rejection.
posted by desjardins at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2007

29... in Chicago... I'm stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active...

Advice? Okay. Don't post anonymously.
posted by kmennie at 9:07 AM on March 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

Not in any way meaning to be offensive, but maybe if you can imagine what a black woman would have to do to be attractive to you, you can get an idea about the kind of thing you might have to do to be attractive to a white woman.
posted by Phanx at 9:10 AM on March 29, 2007 [5 favorites]

I can't point you to an interracial dating guide, but I would specifically advise against it. I've dated interracially before and I imagine any guide that was specific would be a parody of itself.

Be open, have confidence, learn and teach. Women are thinking about much more than you realize, and you might find that if you get to know one well, she'll like or love you regardless of what you look like.

Perhaps you've fallen into what many of us do, which is a pattern of trying to date unattainable people.
posted by cashman at 9:10 AM on March 29, 2007

Europeans don't have a problem with OTHER COUNTRIES' minorities because they have primarily a Christian/Muslim divide while America has primarily a white/black divide. So that could work to your favor, personally, as long as you're not Muslim.

Some women may just not like black men for whatever reason, this is a matter of individual preference, after all. Others may be nervous about being unconsciously offensive, added to the nervousness of dating... not so much fun.

Maybe look to meet women in less high-pressure situations, like a club or a class or something rather than a bar or a dating site, so they get a better chance to know you as an individual.
posted by dagnyscott at 9:11 AM on March 29, 2007

I agree with the comments above that the issue may not be only that of race, but to answer the question as posed:

As I mentioned in my answer to this askme question, a search on Amazon for "interracial" and "interracial relationship" brings up a lot of books -- many people have worried about and written about just these issues, over many decades. So there is a large literature there for you to explore, and within that literature you can see a range of possibilities.

Coming at this from a different direction, you identify as "biracial," and note in your question that you have had problems dating black and white women. Have you explored the possibility of seeking out and dating women who also identify as biracial? It's not that their "color" will be more compatible (and indeed "biracial" can cover an awful lot of the spectrum), but rather that someone who has decided to publicly embrace the "biracial" identity may have had to explore the same issues as have you, and there may be some compatibility in having made that journey.

Markovich's suggestion, above, is worth noting not because Europe doesn't have racism (it does, in a huge way) but because dating outside your culture is a time-honored and very useful approach to this issue. You can both be each other's "exotic other," and can avoid some of the baggage that comes with dating someone from your own culture. Europeans are as happy as anyone to exoticize the other, and if you aren't feeling totally at home in your local dating pool, why not take advantage of that? And if Europeans don't float your boat, Canadians, Brazilians, Jamaicans, Australians, or Venezualans might. (And with Chicago's large immigrant population, you wouldn't actually have to travel if you didn't want to.)
posted by Forktine at 9:12 AM on March 29, 2007

You say that for most women, the color line is a difficult one to cross, but maybe white women aren't attracted to you for the same reasons you're not attracted to black women.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:16 AM on March 29, 2007

I was hoping that somewhere there might be a counselor who specializes in interracial dating guidance, but sadly, relationship counseling is only applicable once you actually have a relationship.

Actually, no. The therapist I was working with a while back gave me plenty of relationship advice, and I am (and was) single. It was unsolicited and not really what I was looking for, but I'm sure you could talk to a psychologist who would be more than happy to share their thoughts.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:18 AM on March 29, 2007

Look, "stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active" do NOT stay single for long. So I don't think this is about race, it's about you, giving off some weird vibe (and I sense needy desperation from the tone of your post) which is keeping the chicks, white or black or polka-dotted away. Your reasons for not dating black women are "lengthy and complex". Might some of that be affecting your general demeanor when approaching women?

If you keep picking out white women who won't date you because of race (and actually say so, as opposed to you thinking that's why they won't date you), then I'd still say you're trying to work out some issues by always picking out such women. Doesn't make you or them bad, just indicates you got some stuff to figure out and/or resolve. Add to the fact that you're having trouble hooking up in large city like Chicago and I really think there's something else besides someone else's racial issues going on here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 AM on March 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

In other words,
Hey, where the white women at?

People who are hung up on race are not attractive to people who try not to be, even when the hang up might have been taken as a compliment. Then again, when I googled "where the white women at?" to get that link -- there was all of this:

White Women Black Men .com
Why Black Men Love White Women

Maybe this is what you want -- but I hope it is not. You do not want to be as graceless as these people. People are people, and you want to conceal whatever attraction you might feel towards someone as a type, rather than as an individual. We all have "our type," but I think it's better if the people who fit that type don't know about it, lest they feel they've been cast for a role.
posted by Methylviolet at 9:35 AM on March 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

I find this almost funny because of all of my female friends, I am the only one married or in a relationship with a white man. Every single one of my friends exclusively dates black men. They have no problems with interracial relationships (and actually a few of them live in NW Indiana near Chicago), so I'm thinking maybe you're looking in the wrong places or for the wrong things in a woman.
posted by hollygoheavy at 9:39 AM on March 29, 2007

Wait a minute.

You're a "stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active" so-called man of color, and you are having trouble attracting white women?

Something doesn't add up here. I would wager my modest savings that it has much less to do with your skin color than it does with your approach or vibe. Either that or you're unemployed.
posted by milarepa at 9:40 AM on March 29, 2007

What everyone is conveniently forgetting is that the OP is BI-racial, meaning half black and half something else. I know there are lots of women who love to date men of color, especially bi-racial ones. I think a lot of this depends on the social circles that you interact with. My impression is that like San Francisco, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods which serve as a proxy for cliques. If you are looking for what we call a "marina" girl - good luck! Because this clique is consumed with conformity and appearances, if her friends arent dating bi-racial or men of color, she won't either. She also wears same shoes and clothes as her friends, talks the same, and has a mediocre education, and is not an intellectual. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more well-rounded person, there are a host of women with the "dated black, never go back" attitude. I suggest you look for them at spoken word poetry forums, co-ed sports leagues, writing or adult education classes, salsa classes (where being a stylish attractive man of color that hopefully has a sense of rhythm will be a key advantage), or any other activity that you enjoy that attracts open-minded, intelligent people.
posted by zia at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2007

I can't speak for "most women", but this woman has no problem with color lines, nor have I ever met one who does.

Ditto to this....I honestly didn't know it was a big issue for young people, especially in a major city.

I don't have any practical advice for your current situation, but if you ever want to move you might consider a city known to be more tolerant to interracial relationships. Not that Chicago isn't, necessarily, but I live in the Twin Cities and it seems to be pretty accepted here.
posted by cabingirl at 9:54 AM on March 29, 2007

I am rarely attracted to black women (for lengthy and complex reasons)

I don't know if you're doing this or not, but if you're seeking out dating partners only of a certain race, it can be a major turn-off, especially to many of the same women who think dating outside their race or culture would be no big deal. At least that's how it would be if you were trying to date my liberal friends, hyper-conscious about percieved racism as we tend to be.

I broke up with someone after learning that she only dated guys with my skin color and not her own. (Well, there were a lot of reasons, but that was a main one.) And I've heard plenty of Asian people complain about the "Asian fetish." Nothing wrong at all with dating someone of a different race, but a lot of women would like to think that there's something on the inside that attracts you to them.

(on preview, what Methylviolet said.)

Anyway, if you're looking to meet those liberal babes, look for them in the non-profit sector and in education. Do some charity work, like teaching ESL, and you'll meet plenty.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:58 AM on March 29, 2007

The average rejection rate for a man is 6 out of 7. This means that out of the 7 girls you approach, only 1 is gonna say yes.

Does this suck? Ehh, maybe but that's how it works. There are a million reasons why you will be rejected and race can be a part of it.

There are a lot of people who prefer to date within their racial status and there are others who date exclusively in other racial groups. If you're finding that the 6 out of 7 girls are rejecting you for your race (and you need to have this verified - they need to tell you with the fake line about 'i'm only attracted to whites, sorry'; if you're just getting rejected, that's not good enough), then you are hanging out with the wrong crowd. There are plently of girls who will date a man of a different ethnicity.

I identify myself as mexican and I have been rejected based on race before. It sucks but it's not the end all/be all of relationships and it illustrates the other person more than it does you. Your skin color is your skin color - its just how it is. If you're getting rejected by 1 white girl, try another one. If they reject you, try another one. That's how dating works. Also, there are a hundred other 'races' to choose from. You don't have to pigeon hole yourself into just 'white'. Date arabs, indians, native americans, latinas, etc etc. There are whole subsections of hispanic society that are whiter than freaking germans. You really should expand your horizons.

If, however, you're going to assume that all white girls are rejecting you because you're black, you're dillusional and probably are getting rejected for major character flaws and using race as an excuse for your own inadquencies as a human being.
posted by Stynxno at 10:04 AM on March 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

this is probably not your issue, but as a long shot, are you hitting on these women in a way that is culturally appropriate to them? this is not a problem exclusive to race but more to subculture, but if you are crossing subcultural as well as racial lines you might want to think about it. this problem could go either way in that overtly sexual or comments or a heavy-handed approach may be obnoxious to some women who don't know you well (despite being acceptable to other groups of women), or on the other hand your advances may not be perceived as such if they are somewhat subtle and the women are not necessarily expecting them from you. just a thought...
posted by lgyre at 10:21 AM on March 29, 2007

You may want to read the essays in Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin.
posted by chunking express at 10:34 AM on March 29, 2007

i'm mixed-race, and i don't really feel like it's ever been an issue, *except* those times I was single and was looking for reasons why.

i hate saying this, because *everyone* says this, but unless you're a "natural" (ie, you already know how to pick-up women), then you're probably trying too hard.

don't close yourself off to opportunities where you can meet new people, but try to stop obsessing about being single.

the other thing to keep in mind is you live in an urban environment, and I feel people are a little more wary of striking up conversations with strangers, so it can help if you are able to put yourself in a situation where people feel comfortable talking to you. of course, i don't know you, so i can't say what this is (maybe going to friend's parties, maybe volunteering, maybe djing a club).
posted by fishfucker at 10:39 AM on March 29, 2007

I think the legacy of racial and ethnic division in Chicago is probably a big part of your problem.

Try spending a few weekends in Toronto, and going to some jazz clubs and see if your reception isn't a bit warmer.
posted by jamjam at 10:44 AM on March 29, 2007

Piggybacking on previous comments and adding my own.

I'm a black woman and I prefer to date outside my race for, as you've mentioned, complex reasons. But, and this is a big but ... I do not exclude black men from my dating pool...cuz that's just silly.

I mean, if you're asking white women ... or whomever you prefer to date ... to be open-minded about your ethnicity shouldn't you be demanding the same of yourself?

Just a thought.

I should add that I've had good look placing SBF seeks SM ads on Craigslist. OK...well good luck is relative here since I'm not currently seeing anyone but my point is, you put your phenotype out there immediately and if someone is interesed, they'll bite. Good luck.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:45 AM on March 29, 2007

One more thing: During the summer I spent in Chicago during law school, I was squired around town by an adorable Polish guy and we never got so much as a second glance. I saw plenty of interracial couples during that time. Plenty.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:47 AM on March 29, 2007

I realized that were I Caucasian, I wouldn't have any problems (I'm stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active and oh-so-modest), but it seems that for most women, the color line is a difficult one to cross.

Oh, you'd just have different problems if you were Caucasian.

A lot of people don't think in theory that race would be an issue in who they choose to date, but they don't wind up dating outside of their race. Race and culture are bound up together, and most people do gravitate towards those who are more like themselves. The suggestion upthread to seek out ways to meet biracial women may be helpful for you.

Being biracial, you're already coming from a more complicated racial identity. This doesn't need to be a minefield, but if you're feeling at odds with your own identity, you're going to project it.

A side-effect of politeness about race is sometimes a squeamishness about acknowledging cultural differences for fear of seeming racist. It can be tricky to distinguish relationship issues from personal issues from actual race or culture issue. (i.e. Don't be afraid to acknowledge differences, but it's not productive to make garden-variety disagreements or miscommunications about race. Same principle goes for folks of the same race, too, of course, if for instance there's an economic disparity in upbringing.)

Disclosure: I'm white, but have dated people of sundry races. I've had unexpected "you people" accusations hurled at me because it made a good zinger in an argument. I've liked people of different races but felt shy about expressing it because I didn't know how they felt about interracial dating. I dated a biracial guy who tends to date white women...who knows darn well that that this is what people say behind his back everytime he meets a nice girl. I live in a racially-diverse enough city that sometimes I don't notice race as someone's primary distinguishing characteristic. But that took awhile, even for a die-hard liberal like me.
posted by desuetude at 10:54 AM on March 29, 2007

As I am rarely attracted to black women...
... < snip> ...
I realized that were I Caucasian, I wouldn't have any problems (I'm stylish, attractive, in shape, intelligent, active and oh-so-modest), but it seems that for most women, the color line is a difficult one to cross.

Or, you can keep blaming your skin color and the women who don't date you. That's attractive.
posted by sephira at 11:16 AM on March 29, 2007

Why not try online dating? You can post in most profiles that race is not an issue. You can also do the same on Craigslist.

People get wigged out when they find out someone doesn't date inside their race. So either come up with a shorter explanation or work on that part of yourself.

You'll have such an easier time dating once you stop defining people by their race. Hold on, speaking from experience here. Black, white, Polish, Indian (desi or native american) -- they all have such history and associations. If those associations are amongst the first things your mind process when you meet someone new, it's going to come across: a distaste of black women, a fawning nature over white women (an extreme example). Once you're able to see someone's skin color as no different than their hair color or voice or hair color and you're treating people as people first and census boxes second, your game will be sizzling.

Going back to having a shorter explanation for not dating black women -- if you can't come up with one, then you don't understand yourself. Most dating gurus say it's not worth it to date until you know who are. One reason, once you know who you are, you're a lot more confident. And confident people go on more dates.

Good luck :)

disclosure: ooh, fun. i'm black, live in an urban city, and have dated inter and intra racially (mostly inter).
posted by whitneykitty at 11:17 AM on March 29, 2007

1. I would have a hard time dating a guy who required me to be more open-minded than he was. That would be a huge huge red flag for me. I have a hard time reading "I don't date black women, ever" as anything other than racist, and why would a woman who's un-racist enough to want to date someone of another race want to date a racist member of another race?

2. As a white woman, I have noticed that black men on the street or in casual settings often don't register in the "potential dating pool" part of my brain without a bit of a nudge (or, at least didn't when I was single). Partly because I've never dated a black man, but probably mostly due to ingrained racism, it takes a black guy approaching me flirtatiously to shift my thinking into "Oh, he's cute" or even "Oh, he thinks I'm cute." So if you're having trouble even approaching women, or getting to the point of asking them out, that may be part of it, maybe?
posted by occhiblu at 11:18 AM on March 29, 2007

Before you blast this guy too much he may have a the women he wants to date have RELATIVES who would have a problem with it? My white daughter's hubby is black. My husband and I accept him but my parents do NOT. I myself never seriously considered dating a black man mostly because of the crap I knew I would catch from my folks.

Our generation is getting over it, but there is a generation that THINKS it is about the worst thing you can do.
posted by konolia at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2007

Yeah, caucasians and gay people don't have any problems in the dating world. You may be stylish, attractive, and in shape, but intelligent? Hardly.

You come across as an ass in the 30 seconds it took to read your post. Everyone else is to blame for why you're not dating--you're not attracted to such and such because of their problems and the other such and such isn't attracted to you because of their problem. Give me a break.

Try diagnosing and fixing your own issues before you try diagnosing everyone else's.
posted by dobbs at 11:26 AM on March 29, 2007

Just to add another point to the list, one of my oldest friends is biracial (black and jewish), and he has almost never had an issue finding a date (rather the opposite). So I would really take a look at your interactions with women, and see if the issue doesn't lie there.
posted by KirTakat at 11:26 AM on March 29, 2007

Follow-up from the OP:

I am confident that race is at least an issue because I've lived in other US
cities (and abroad) and my experience in Chicago is unique. In spite of
census data putting the African-American population in Chicago at
approximately 37.5%, at most bars I wind up at with my friends, I am the
only dark face there. My experience is that Chicago geographically
self-segregates, so I rarely experience melting-pot establishments that
aren't nightclubs (which I avoid). I'd move elsewhere if I could, but it's
not an option right now.

Phanx: Part of what makes it hard to date within my race is that culturally,
I trend towards what would be considered Caucasian in my tastes. It's just
how I was raised, but my encounters with other African American children
were unpleasant ("What do you mean, I'm an Oreo?") because of it, and so I
avoided them. That's a hard lesson to unlearn, though I am working on it.
Socializing isn't a problem, and I definitely mix well with all races, but
something as deep-seated as attraction does not change overnight.

cashman: I definitely don't want to waste my time pursuing the unobtainable.
Having the insight to know in advance who is unobtainable; there's the rub!

Part of the reason I posted anonymously is that I knew this subject would
garner a fair bit of vitriol and I'd prefer it not to impact me in real
life. Also, I should clarify a few things: this isn't "Where the white women
at?" (I do love that movie though), as I'm attracted to almost every other
race. I am well employed, to boot. I wouldn't doubt that *where* I'm looking
may be part of the problem, as I'm engaged in multiple activities like
volunteering, civic organizations, teams, group art, and more. If that's the
case, where to go?
posted by jessamyn at 11:30 AM on March 29, 2007

I've written and rewritten this about five times.

I'm white and my wife's black. We live in the Midwest. It's certainly smaller than Chicago, but it's not a tiny town with two bars and a post office.

I never thought of it as an interracial relationship -- I just thought I was going out with ______. People will sometimes ask me if I or we get a hard time about it or if we get looks. Yeah, sometimes, but I really don't care. That's not my problem.

I'm oversimplifying that a bit, but come on, it's not 1767. It's not that big of a deal.

I guess what I'm saying here is that this rejection you seem to be percieving is probably due to coming on too strong (as others have referenced) or you just haven't met the right person. I dated a lot of people before I met my wife, of all different backgrounds. None of them clicked. It's the same with dating -- you just have to keep asking people out.

And when someone says yes to a date or becomes your girlfriend, I hope hope hope that she's thinking "I'm dating (your name here)" and you're thinking the same instead of "I'm dating a biracial guy/Asian girl/white girl" because that's a pretty hollow place to be.

And as far as 'caucasian culture' goes, I have met plenty of black people I've had more in common with than white people. While I don't eat mayonnaise with every meal, I'm about as honky as they come. I've met some really cool African Americans into punk rock and other things you'd typically associate with whites for the most part. I've met some assholes too. But the key is not looking at it as "Oh, there's Mike The Black Guy" but "there's Mike."
posted by Atom12 at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2007

I had a long post written out but will pare it down:

Are you coming across as gay? Tone down the style, go for simple polos and jeans. I think in the Midwest the best thing you can do is buy upscale conservative. It looks trendy without throwing people out of their senses.

Are you an Obama level of skinniness? Get in shape, put on some bulk. Again, not exclusively Midwest but look at country music stars versus indie bands from the coasts. Notice how country music stars look like giants compared to the latter? Girls love the jock look in the Midwest and I find Chicago is no exception.

Look I am from the Midwest and visited Chicago many times. It is much more diverse, etc. than everywhere else but it still the Midwest. If you hang out with the yuppie, bobo crowd you need to fit with what they expect.

If you want to hear it honestly, most white women in the demographic you are hanging out with expect black men to be an R Kelly clone of smoothness. I have black friends who are completely normal, laid back and when they go to the bar they suddenly turn into Prince with this whole, "I am a sex God" confidence. It is almost humorous but it works, it feeds the stereotype. Intellectually I believe it completely feeds into the idea that black men are an exotic item with some sort of hold over white women, yet these friends don't have trouble getting dates.

You can do it how all other dorks and nerds do it, which is build up friendships over time with women and some of them work out. Or you can change who you are and feed into the bar system that favors "first impressions".
posted by geoff. at 12:13 PM on March 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am confident that race is at least an issue because I've lived in other US cities (and abroad) and my experience in Chicago is unique.

Sorry, but could you be a bit more specific? As in, have you actually had a large number of white women in Chicago say they weren't interested because you're biracial or black (I realize they're different, but with the one drop rule, everything not white is considered black), while white women elsewhere have been fine with you?

In spite of census data putting the African-American population in Chicago at approximately 37.5%, at most bars I wind up at with my friends, I am the only dark face there.

Yeah, but that's not an issue 'cause you're interested in white women, yes? Not knocking you for that, just noting your preference.

Or do you think most white people in Chicago or at least in your circle self segregate and therefore have no interest in non-whites?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:19 PM on March 29, 2007

Go hang out in Wrigleyville.
I have a clique of friends there (10-15 folks) and two of 'em are black guys. There's also a black guy here in our group of friends that hangs out with them when he's in town (but the lucky bastard's in Brazil right now).
They have a license to mint white pussy.
And sure, sure, it's partially because they get fetishized as the other, and sure, sure, they tend not to have relationships that are formal or long-term (but neither does anyone else in that group). But the black guys pull a disproportionate amount of white ass (there don't seem to be any black girls in these bars or in the clique), and are pretty happy with it.
So, advice— Aside from hainging out in a white hipster neighborhood, try getting together with college pals who like to drink and are living the life of the young and single. I recognize that the plural of anecdote is not data, but what you're describing is very much outside my observations.
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2007

Look, theres going to be a fraction of girls who wont date you because of ethnicity, or height, or your nose, or the money you make, or because of how your teeth look, or your religion, etc. Just suck it in and deal with it. Eventually you'll meet someone you'll click with and all these concerns will be forgotten. You'll look back at this mefi question and laugh. Trust me.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:09 PM on March 29, 2007

at least there is the benefit of a community of like-minded individuals to whom one can turn.

This is really untrue. We're all alone. The grass really isnt greener.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:13 PM on March 29, 2007

I think that many responders here are being very quick to tell the OP that it is in his head, or that race is not a factor.

The OP says that the racial dynamic of Chicago is different than other places he has lived, and I don't think that it is appropriate to be so fast in saying "you are wrong in your perceptions." I am in a visibly mixed relationship, and I can clearly see that we are perceived differently in different places. I'd be pretty irritated to be told that that is simply a misperception on my part, honestly.

A quick search produced some pretty striking statistics on racial segregation in Chicago. From this pdf:

Chicago ranks fifth in the nation for the most residentially segregated metropolitan area by race (based on
dissimilarity index)...

The Chicago area ranks fourth in the nation in African American-Caucasian school segregation.

So maybe we could accept that the extreme residential and employment segregation in Chicago exists and could be playing a part in what the OP describes. He asked a set of questions that aren't being addressed, but to which there are answers. There may not be many counselors who specialize only in interracial dating, but there are plenty with a specialization in interracial relationships and families, for example. (Here is the faculty bio for Tsui-yee Dorothy Chow at Argosy Univ. in Chicago, who lists just that specialty; hers was just the first that turned up in a Google search.)

He has also asked, at the end of his follow-up, where in Chicago he might find a more mixed social environment. Sending him to "a white hipster neighborhood" doesn't really address that question, but hopefully there are such places in the city.
posted by Forktine at 4:30 PM on March 29, 2007

I'm a 29-year-old biracial man living in Chicago, and I've come to realize that interracial dating is the pits. As I am rarely attracted to black women (for lengthy and complex reasons), I find that dating is very difficult.

Some white chicks won't date black guys. Face it! You will have to "play" more often to succeed.
BTW, I am German and have dated all kinds of women and I can tell you: The really tough ones are the Jewish ones since I am German. Trying to lay a Jewish girl and telling her that you are German is like telling the average chick that you torture small dogs in your spare time....
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:03 PM on March 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

In spite of census data putting the African-American population in Chicago at approximately 37.5%, at most bars I wind up at with my friends, I am the only dark face there. My experience is that Chicago geographically self-segregates, so I rarely experience melting-pot establishments that aren't nightclubs (which I avoid). I'd move elsewhere if I could, but it's not an option right now.

So let me get this straight: you're spending most of your time at bars where you're the only "dark face"? Then (for whatever incidental reason) you're spending time with people who choose to hang out where African Americans generally do not choose to hang out, and should not be surprised that you're not considered dating material.

Consider: if you hung out with people who were always taking you to German bars, full of Germans + you, would you be surprised if you weren't considered prime dating material by people who prefer hanging out with Germans?

Extreme example: if you hung out with lesbians, and always found yourself at lesbian bars, full of lesbians + you, you wouldn't be surprised that none of the people there would want to date you.

So, GET SOME NEW FRIENDS. The kinds of friends who hang out at clubs where people of various walks of life intermingle. Chicago isn't the only city with racial or religious cliques, and it doesn't ONLY have them, either. You're hanging out with the wrong people in the wrong places.
posted by davejay at 5:39 PM on March 29, 2007

(sorry, BARS. Hang out at BARS where people from various walks of life intermingle.)
posted by davejay at 5:40 PM on March 29, 2007

Again, disagree davejay— In my group of friends, the lone black guys get approached MORE because they stand out. That's why I advocated the Wrigleyville hipster neighborhood, because the indie rockin' black guys do amazingly.
posted by klangklangston at 6:38 PM on March 29, 2007

I'm nearly in the same situation as liquorice. Same country, same relationship, same skin colour combination. Race was never an issue in our relationship (Bangladeshi & Australian). Heck, sometimes we have to think a little bit to realize we're interracial - it's not something that comes up to mind often.

Try not even making race a consideration. Stop caring about it. Look at people for who they are. Stop thinking about if they're black or white or brown or pink or purple or rainbow polka dots or whatever. Go for their character and personality. See if that doesn't make a difference.
posted by divabat at 6:40 PM on March 29, 2007

You come across as an ass in the 30 seconds it took to read your post.

I agree. It's not your skin tone, it's your approach.

Good looking and fit, chocolate dipped with a good job?

You would have to beat the women off with a stick if you weren't wrecking it at the moment.

Have a friend who is successful with women go out with you one night and critique your style. You'll learn more in one night than a month's worth of askme's.

The really tough ones are the Jewish ones since I am German. Trying to lay a Jewish girl and telling her that you are German is like telling the average chick that you torture small dogs in your spare time....

This is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever read in the green.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:59 PM on March 29, 2007

The really tough ones are the Jewish ones since I am German. Trying to lay a Jewish girl and telling her that you are German is like telling the average chick that you torture small dogs in your spare time....
May I suggest (when in the US) that you just tell the hot chicks the city that you're from (or the, uh, province? if your city is famous)? I know this is terrible to admit, but our geography skills are very very poor on the whole. You might find a girl who won't ask "and where is _____." If you're lucky, she'll actually think that the city is a whole country she's never heard of, and will be too embarassed to ask.

As for the Original Poster, I'm sorry, but you do sound like a jerk. There are some women out there who go for the "Hey pretty lady, you're white! Look at me, I'm so awesome, by the way, did you get your the gun show?" type of fellow. I'm not in that club. Maybe keep notes about what you're saying to these women and what they're saying back? Are you actually asking them out? To what kinds of events? If you're trying to pick up chicks in bars and asking them to go to, uh, I don't know, the opera, that might limit your responses. But, if it's just coffee or better still, something you can get them to mention in a conversation, you have more "luck." Luck is also mostly referred to as "prepared." As in, do your homework, understand the concepts, and you'll probably pass the test. If you don't find out anything about these women, you can't expect to get very far.
posted by bilabial at 10:17 PM on March 29, 2007

Mr. anonymous, the one mitigating factor your didn't address in your follow-up is what part of town you live in. Yes, Chicago is self-segregated to a large degree. But there are some neighborhoods where that matters less than others -- Wicker Park/Bucktown, Logan Square, Wrigleyville to a certain degree. If you're expecting the Lincoln Park Trixies to fall for you, you might be barking up the wrong tree.

Rather than psychoanalyze you further, I'll actually answer your question: Here are a couple resources you might turn to for a more effective dating pool.
- Chicago Interracial Dating (paid dating service)
- Chicago Multiracial Individuals & Couples Meet-up (maybe a support group would help)
- Nerds at Heart (maybe a smart girl will like you better)

Anyway, good luck.
posted by me3dia at 10:18 PM on March 29, 2007

Wow, someone actually answered the question posed. I would add, if you haven't done it already, mention that you're looking for someone to your male friends and female, particularly already-attached, friends. You don't need another person telling you that leading with "I'd prefer a white girl" is not a winner, but soft-pedal it: "Ideally someone who looks like,oh, I don't know, like your shy friend Susan but is a bit more bubbly like Rita. But I'm flexible." And if you play an instrument, join a local band that plays about as regulaly as you're able.
posted by Martin E. at 6:55 AM on March 30, 2007

Girls love the jock look in the Midwest and I find Chicago is no exception.

I call bullshit on this statement, but do agree with everyone saying that in Chicago, it's all about the neighborhood. While living in the ukrainian village and logan square areas I saw lots of diverse couples (I was part of one), and while hanging out in Wrigleyville/Lincoln Park not so much. If that's where you spend most of your time, get out of the primarily caucasian neighborhoods (do they still use the term "trixie" in chicago? don't try to date those girls) and into the more diverse/liberal neighborhoods and you're more likely to find more open-minded white/asian/hispanic women.
posted by echo0720 at 7:43 AM on March 30, 2007

echo you have not had the opportunity to hang out with the Lincoln Park Trixies.
posted by geoff. at 11:14 AM on March 30, 2007

As an aside, I realized that being gay would be easier; while there is also a stigma attached, at least there is the benefit of a community of like-minded individuals to whom one can turn.

Have you considered the fact that maybe you're gay? Most of the gay people I know don't consider it 'easier' to be gay, it's who they are. Try hanging out in gay bars and see what happens.
posted by haqspan at 7:29 AM on April 1, 2007

White woman of Jewish origins who has dated in a whole lot of races and cultures.

Have you considered Jewish women? There's a long, cultural history of dating outside one's group there, particularly in the U.S. And smart women, and grad students, and people involved in the arts or politics or volunteering, or joining a church, or going back to university? Get to places where your words, cultural orientations, and deeds will have an opportunity to advertise themselves more loudly than your skin.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:35 AM on April 2, 2007

Good comments everyone...

I am a biracial male, as well. I came to this site looking for some answers, also. I was raised in white society, and I have many friends in the white community. I am fair-skinned to the place where I can go out to the beach and get a tan, or pass your brown-bag test, or your blue-vein test.

I came up at a time where the nation was being told not to judge on the color of one's skin, but on the content of one's character. So, a person's character has always been important to me.

After 30 years' worth of watching romantic hesitation and stonewalling on the part of white women in interracial courtships, I have arrived at some conclusions.

It takes a certain resolve on the part of the woman to be able to withstand the pressure of being in a romantic relationship with someone of a different race. Social pressure from society, and the expectations of friends and family play into this decision. She has to ask herself if she loves this biracial man more than she loves the status she enjoys in American society. Almost always, the answer is no. Her life is a lot less complicated if she just simply sticks to dating people within her own race. In this way, she doesn't have to constantly explain him or her situation to the people she cares the most about.

However, when dealing with a situation where the male pursuer is of another race, she doesn't want to come across or look like someone who is biased, so she will consider being his friend, but that's about as far as she is emotionally able to go. Once the biracial male pursuer tries to stretch the boundaries of the friendship, she will then begin to put up some resistance. This is where, most of the time, the effort to pursue her starts to have problems.

For his part, if he is successful in securing her cooperation, he then has to deal with the pressures of explaining her to his family. In my case, the resistance I regularly encounter usually comes from the black female members of my family.

What's wrong with dating black girls, they ask. Well, there isn't anything wrong with dating black girls. The question is whether or not the desire for them can match the desire for women of other races. Sometimes, one or the other group seems to be too familiar. It's more intriguing, more alluring, more exciting to explore what's on the other side.

That desire exists because, to the biracial person, he or she is constantly asked by society to choose between one, or the other, culture. The rules of American society do not apply equally to the biracial person. We are told that this is a free country, and you have the freedom to make your own choices. You're free to choose, so long as you choose what society thinks is best for you. And that's bogus.

So, in the effort to exercise free choice, one of those choices happens to be a choosing of someone who is of a different race for a life's partner.

No woman (or man) wants to be in a relationship with someone if it isn't the other person's choice to be there. It isn't fair to the woman, and it isn't a product of genuine desire. Rather, it's a product of a divided society that forces people into choosing one group over another group.

Perhaps the answer for biracials lies in dating other biracials. That's a racist conclusion in itself. But I think the two people involved would share something in common that they can both build upon--- this idea that they both come from diverse backgrounds.

Once you get beyond the racial arrangements, then you can move on to the other issues that all couples face--- availability, readiness, economic status, educational levels, and other facets of compatibility.

But let's get back to the original issue. It's not often that I run across a black woman that captures my interest the way white females do. I would say during the course of my lifetime there would probably be about half a dozen black women that would be someone I would be interested in. The last one was about a year ago. White women, on the other hand, come and go more regularly.

If I find a black woman that captures my interest, chances are she is involved with someone else at the time. This is common for white women, as well. Most of the time, these girls are beautiful on a level that can hold its own with Madison Avenue's standards of beauty. Therefore, they have more options.

I don't think it's fair for the OP to blame white women for his lack of progress in relationships. I think the girls in question have to confront their own fears, and they have to withstand the pressure that is built into the relationship. I think it's a better approach to find beauty and value in every woman, and then decide to do whatever it is that makes you happy. If you are doing what makes you happy, then the women will gravitate to you, and then you can deal with women on a more level playing field.

But if you are always placing the woman on some sort of pedestal, due to her status, then she is relieved of the need to make an effort in the relationship. You know you are in the wrong place if it's you that's making all the effort, and it's you that's doing all the phone calling, and it's you that's buying all the dinners, and sending all the gifts, and spending all the money, and it's you that's enduring all the rejection and all of the resistance, because she isn't into you. If she isn't making the effort with you, but she is certainly making the effort somewhere else, then that's all you need to know. I say turn around, click your heels, and move on.

It's better to say, look, I feel good about myself, and I have very low expectations for women. Until they can demonstrate to me that the relationship is worth working for, worth fighting for, then I can begin to start to show some appreciation for this person. If I keep my efforts at the same level she is keeping hers, and I am able to maintain, then we will be equals in this deal. If I accept the relationship at the same level she wants it at, we can be successful, and there won't be this tension that has existed in the past. If she wants more, she will let me know. If she wants less, well, that can be arranged, too. So long as you are treating people the way you would like to be treated, you stand a better chance of running across someone who might decide to stick around for a while.

Remember, things have changed a lot for women in general. There is more economic liberation, they have more choices, and they depend a lot less on a man for things. I don't know of any woman who would opt to choose a man who is having difficulties coming to terms with who he is.

I discovered white women at a time when I did not realize the significance of what it meant to be a black person, or what it meant to be a white person. Being around white society was something that came naturally for me, but at some point in time I realized that I needed to be able to develop the ability to put people at ease when involved in a situation where there were people of different races present.

It's been said that in a strange way, white women and black men belong together because, in their respective dealing with their counterparts, they are the ones who hold less power in their relationships. Black women hold the power with black men, as the strong ones in the family, and white men hold the power in terms of economic earning capability. A black woman involved with a white man will not tolerate any nonsense in her relationship, and a white woman involved with a black man has a heightened sense of responsibility to her commitment to him. Both groups find themselves strengthened by their steely resolve to withstand the pressure that comes at them from all corners of American society.

But, after having said all of that, if it absolutely, positively, has to be a white woman, make sure she is someone who has some past experience and some past exposure to black culture and black society. This gives her a reference point to work with. Hopefully, she is enlightened to the whole phenomenon of grouping by racial classification, why certain skin colors exist, which may help her to see that you are really more different from a gender standpoint than you are from a racial standpoint, and if she isn't hung up on the notion of preserving her customs, her culture, and her culture's traditions, then perhaps you can get somewhere with her. If you choose to be with someone who isn't dealing with you from this standpoint, then you will need to work through all of these issues, and more--- Thanks for reading---
posted by bluehorseshoe90714 at 4:45 PM on April 15, 2007

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