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Since when did D.C. become a biracial city? In your 11/21 piece “Love Knows Color,” on interracial dating in D.C., there are five articles, all on black and white American interracial dating. Would the thesis that seems to permeate all the articles, that the main reason for interracial dating is attraction to otherness, hold up if your research had included other races and cultures?

I believe that the tenacity of this thesis is especially suspect in situations where people date across racial and cultural lines. How does dating between a Vietnamese-American and a Salvadorean immigrant or a Caribbean Indian and an American white affect this thesis? How do we deal with an American black dating an African? They are racially similar, but culturally different. And what of multiracial people? Where do they fit into this discussion? For people who establish relationships (vs. casual sex) across racial and cultural lines, any attraction to otherness cannot overcome the numerous problems that necessarily arise due to racial, cultural, and often linguistic differences. Couples who establish relationships must have something more that bonds them to one another, or else communication problems will inevitably break them apart. What the articles do point out is that relationships based on attraction to otherness fail. What they fail to point out is that there are successful relationships across racial and cultural lines.

What we need to remember is that people who belong to different races and cultures—and often more than one—date each other, not races and cultures. What upsets me about these articles is their simplistic handling of the issues around interracial dating. In the United States, we couch almost every discussion of race in terms of black and white, and Washington City Paper has diligently followed suit. Attraction to otherness has a great deal to do with interracial dating and should be explored, but interracial dating cannot be reduced to “jungle fever,” and other factors in interracial dating should have been explored.

Adams Morgan

via the Internet