The Interracial Dating Game

I just started watching “Swirlr,” a Web reality show that explores what happens when young and hip L.A. singles cross the color and culture lines to find a date. The show is hosted by Christelyn Karazin, co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed,” and Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm, a relationship and lifestyle coaching service.

(Karazin is actually the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to drive down the rate of out-of-wedlock births among African-Americans. I think very highly of that effort.)

Check out the sneak peek:

The series teaser got off to a good start with more than 100k views, but episode viewership dropped off significantly after that. It is not clear why, but viewer response to some of the early episodes suggest that Black women are chasing White men out of desperation. (That’s another reason for me to stay away. YT audiences are sometimes a special breed of obnoxious. I think they must practice their putdowns before the post them or something.)

I’ve never been one to encourage other Black women to ‘date out.’ The dating process itself is so fraught with potential for mishaps and heartbreak that I think it’s better to think twice before dating out, I really do. I think it’s worth asking yourself if you are familiar with how the guy’s culture works, and I think it’s important to know that if something goes terribly wrong that affects Black people, he will be sympathetic and open-minded enough to listen to your feelings about it. But some random White guy who is just generally enamored with Black women or curious? No ma’am. Also, what if a Black woman builds up all these expectations about dating outside her race only to discover that the guy has major deal-breaking flaws. Like being obtuse and clueless when she wants to talk about something affecting Blacks in particular?

Curiosity isn’t what sustains a relationship long after the initial attraction wears off. You need to connect with the other person on a deeper level to keep firing that romance. Maybe you are both committed Christians or Muslims. Or maybe you’ll endear yourself to him after being a trooper on a 5-mile hike up a mountain or organizing that family get together, and even if he walks in on you in the bathroom while your hair is up in Curl Formers and you’re waiting for your facial mask to set, he won’t bat an eye. (As for what he’s doing at your place at an hour when you’re in Curl Formers and your clay mask … I don’t judge.)

In my view, any Black woman thinking of dating interracially should at least have white (or other) friends or acquaintances before taking the plunge. That way, she’ll go into it with the right frame of mind: This guy is a real person, someone’s son, brother and friend, and not just a dating experiment. Also, dating can be a minefield on any good day, and a dating relationship should be a nurturing and healthy one, not one that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You heard me: If you’ve never been comfortable with the idea of dating out, why work up the backbone or the stomach or do it now? You’ll want the experience to be pleasant for both of you, right? Imagine sitting across from a white guy who proclaims an attraction for his own kind, has no track record for dating Black women, and doesn’t know what to expect. But hey, he’ll give it a whirl with you? Does that sound like the start to a solid relationship? Just ask Kurt, he’s in episode 1.

Look, in dating find something you are comfortable with while going into it. And if you already have friendly white (or other) co-workers, friends from the gym, church, or around the neighborhood, and one of them asks you out one day, then go for it. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting time indulging a curiosity in the superficial game of dating, and maybe missing out on the opportunity to form a deep and long-term connection with someone you can call your own. But that’s just me.

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