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I know of a dear lady who will turn 70 years old this year. Like many parents of grown kids, she desperately wants grandkids to coddle and spoil.  She is also looking at her son to have offspring to continue the family name.  This dear lady is an African-American and she wants her son to marry an African-American lady.  However, her son is currently dating a white woman.  She is seemingly amazed over these ‘recent developments.’ Quite frankly, I am amazed that African-American parents are amazed regarding interracial dating.  Here are a few reasons why many African-Americans, including the millennial generation, are crossing that oft barred racial divide:

  1. Complete Immersion. This lady’s son went to an all-white high school; he was the only African-American in the entire school of 600 students.  This is complete immersion into another culture.  When middle-class African-Americans move to the suburbs, their kids will likely be in predominantly white contexts and will likely find those of the majority race attractive.
  2. Ahistorical.  Many young people are simply oblivious to the severe racial tensions of yesteryear.  Simply put, many millennials are ahistorical. In general, the white-black issue is not a big deal for this generation.  (Recent events, however, with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, etc. may awaken these young whites and blacks. But I doubt this will curb the number of interracial couples.)
  3. Postmodernism. Postmodernism is the air that millennials have been inhaling since being the womb as those born after 1985 have been dubbed the ‘postmodern generation.’ Postmoderns, in general, are anti-authority or cynical of authority.   This means that postmoderns will debunk societal, artistic and even familial norms. Postmoderns have an interest in multi-culturalism; they like to explore other cultures.  Postmoderns regard their personal experience as truly indicative of reality or as the way things truly are.  These three tenets combined – anti-authority, interest in multi-culturalism and high value placed on personal experience –  increases the chances for an African-American son or daughter to cross over and date someone of a different race.
  4. White females are the standard.  2014 has closed and 2015 has begun.  Yet the white female remains the ‘standard of beauty’ in our world in general and our American culture in particular. Look at most commercials, look at most magazine covers and a white female will grace the cover.
  5. Role Models.  Many well known people have crossed the racial divide and young people have taken note.  Consider Eddie Murphy who has been dating Paige Butcher for a number of years.  Consider Robert Griffin, III (RG3) who married the former Ms. Rebecca Liddicoat (a white female).  50 cent dated comedian Chelsea Handler for a spell.  Halle Berry is married to Oliver Martinez (a fair skin man).  And recently, the world saw New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who is African-American.

African-American parents should not be amazed at such things!

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