DEAR HARRIETTE: I hung out with some friends and got an earful. My friends said that even though their children go to a predominantly white school, they have told their children that they had better not bring any white girls home as a date or to marry. They were adamant about this, completely unapologetic in their belief that their black children had better marry black. They went on to talk about the history of racism and segregation in our country as reasons for why they want their children to stick with their own. While I understand their point, I don’t like this attitude and don’t think it’s fair, considering that they have surrounded their kids with white people. What is your opinion on this? -- Racial Lines
DEAR RACIAL LINES: This is a tough situation to be in. In general, people often want their children to find partners in whatever their affinity group or groups may be. It is natural for people to want their children to choose like-minded people who share a similar history. It is also true in our culture that racism has created many deep-seated challenges that continue to fester hundreds of years after the end of slavery. All of this may figure into your friends’ views on who their children should date.
The challenge, in my view, is that people fall in love not based on race, but on a variety of other reasons that are out of your control. Further, people fall in love with the people they meet. If you surround your child with people from other cultures, it is natural that they may choose one of them as a partner. A parent’s efforts to control their child’s heart usually do not work.
My hope for my child -- and yours -- is that they find someone who loves, respects and supports them; who welcomes the fullness of who they are; and who is willing to grow together and learn from each other.