My family was the only Asian-American family in our small, rural town in the south.When I was finally allowed to date, I knew I was only allowed to date white boys.

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– where affinity groups can be together without the presence of the oppressor – exist: so that tough conversations can be had with fewer guards up, so that you can communicate thousands of ideas in a single collective sigh, so that you can cry together with those who don’t just sympathize, but empathize.

And while it’s important to be willing to talk to your partner about race and to feel comfortable bringing it up, it’s just as important to be willing to step back and recognize when your whiteness is intrusive. I’ve been the “But I love you, and you love me, and why can’t you share this with me? Because it’s really difficult to watch your partner hurt and not be let in. Maybe it isn’t appropriate for your partner to take you home to meet their parents.

Before you meet your date’s parents — and/or before you introduce your parents to your date — talk about your families. Discuss your parents’ attitudes on interracial relationships, their individual roles within the family, and to what degree you value their opinions.

If you know of any outright opposition to the relationship, try to prep your date with any background information — understanding perspectives can help soften attitudes — that might explain why your parents feel the way they do.

The one black male friend that stopped by our home to say hello to me started the biggest fight I’d ever had with my mother. If my parents exploded because my platonic friendship with a black guy, I was scared to imagine their reaction if I actually dated one.

When my husband first wooed me my freshman year in college, I threw away his phone number.

That is, unless you count my first boyfriend – José – who, in the second grade, long-distance collect-called me from Puerto Rico and got me in a lot of trouble with my dad. But I think it’s worth revisiting these concepts within the context of romantic or sexual relationships. And the way we practice our allyship in those contexts should reflect that.

So, whether you’re years deep in a charmingly fairy tale-esque romance with your beau or you’re just now firing up to dive into your first, here are seven things to remember as a white person involved with a person of color.

My parents hated my husband the first time they met him.

They didn’t hate him because he was a theater major and out of work actor.

Telling Parents and Siblings if You Live at Home Telling Your Family as an Adult Dealing With Prejudices in Your Family Community Q&A Once socially frowned upon in some cultures, more and more people accept interracial dating and marriage as a non-issue these days.