Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year that focuses solely on being in love and Valentine’s Day on a college campus is full of new, old and complicated relationships. Georgia State is one of many colleges whose campus is crawling with diverse couples. From different ages to mixed races, almost every kind of couple is found at Georgia State.
Living in the city means that the mixing of cultures is unavoidable. Whether it is lab partners, roommates, or friends, interracial relationships are found everywhere. But for some reason, people still tiptoe around couples with mixed races. People still ask questions like “What does your family think?”, or “Aren’t you worried about your kids getting bullied?”, as if those questions don’t apply to all relationships.
Diversity killed The Cat
Being students in the city, some Georgia State attendees may not think twice about race, but that does not mean interracial couples aren’t still being harassed in certain areas.
Ace Wynn, a black man who is dating a white woman, says that he and his girlfriend have received uncomfortable stares and whispers.
“If we go to the deep country and we are walking around the fair, you can see the glares. When it catches you, you either get tired of it or you just want to say something.”
Wynn admits that it does get to him and he is not the only one.
Jenny Vu has also gotten comments about her relationship since she is a Vietnamese female dating a white male.
“It’s weird when there’s another couple where both people are the same race, and they look at you like, ‘Why are you together?’”
Demographics play a big role in how many people feel about mixing races in relationships; the generation, culture and area people live in can affect their way of thinking. Lauren Deneau, a white woman dating a Filipino, agreed.
“The people that are viewing [interracial relationships] in a negative way are the ones that haven’t been around other cultures a lot…people who have only been around the same race their entire lives aren’t as culturally competent.”
An evolving society
Jan Gonzales, a Filipino man currently in a relationship with a white woman, believes interracial couples are slowly becoming a social norm. As times change, the newer generations are leaving the old ways in the dust.
“I feel like older generations [are more against interracial couples],” Gonzales said. “They are used to sticking to their own race. But we get to date other races and we have homosexual relations in today’s society.”
Things that were once taboo in society are becoming normalized more than ever. With different cultures all around, it is hard to avoid the diversity. This leads to newer generations growing up with different people and it allows them to be more tolerant of others.
“I definitely think the norms of relationships are evolving,” said Josh Roberts, a Colombian/white male with a multiracial girlfriend. His girlfriend is very ethnically diverse, mixed with Thai, Spanish, Puerto Rican and Russian.
“People have become more understanding and accepting and have realized [there] is much more to experience besides the culture they associate with,” Roberts said. “People like the aspect of being cultured and finding out about new things and interracial relationships have a big part in that.”
Open Playing field
There are many people and areas that oppose diversity in relationships. The city has nearly become a safe haven for a variety of people, which is why so many interracial couples are found in Atlanta.
“Everyone is on the same playing field,” Deneau said. “Especially where we live: In a big city where every culture coincides.”
Several students believe diversity plays a large role in how an individual’s life is shaped. Going to a school in a city that has access to many different cultures allows others to try new things.
“I think a lot of positive things come out of interracial relationships,” Roberts said. “Savannah [and I] have learned a lot from each whether [it] be about food, culture and things like that.”
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it is important to focus on what love is really about — that no matter the age, sex or race; it is equal.
“I’ve never really looked at my relationship as being interracial,” Deneau said. “I don’t think that race really plays a role when it comes [to] love. It just is what it is.”