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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Love and Identity Among Biracial Children

What are the dating preferences - or prejudices - of the children of interracial marriages?

"I’m not attracted to black girls. I’m attracted to white," said Kamia Smith, a biracial lesbian whose mother is black and father is white.

Her dating preferences may seem hard to believe - especially because of the racism Smith experienced growing up. She said she tried to befriend a group of white girls when she was younger.

"They said, 'No, you're too dark to be in our group,'" said Smith. She replied, "No, because my palm is light - so I'm turning white."

The experience left her sad - but it has not affected her preferences in a romantic partner.

Psychotherapist Dr. Richard Cohn said dating outside one's race prompts a host of questions.

“What is it that I want to date outside of my race? What is it about how I see my own race? Do I want to be separate from them by being with the white majority I would say? Do I feel that I have then overcome the prejudices towards my race? And I think that’s whether the person is willing to talk about that or not.”

Smith believes her preferences stem from her childhood, growing up around her father and his two biracial children from a previous marriage. She also attributes her preferences to the fact that much of the academic institutions she has attended are predominantly white. 

Her preferences may come across as prejudicial, but the existence of interracial relationships today comes from those willing to date outside the relative norm.

“We’re putting together a new race," said Cohn.

"We’re creating the best of everything, by putting something in the mixing bowl and turning the blender on and seeing what we come out with."

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