Should Race or Skin Color Affect Who You Date?

Does Skin Color or Race Matter When You Date?

The human race is created in many beautiful colors of skin. So why should skin color matter when choosing whether or not to date someone? I don’t think it should. I would say that it is much more important to date someone who shares your same beliefs and values than your skin color.

However, when dating someone of a different race or ethnicity, you could face some unique challenges. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date them. It’s just important to be aware of what challenges could occur and be ready to meet them head-on.

Challenges from Those Outside of Your Relationship

For the two people in the relationship there may be no issue at all, but perhaps others outside the relationship cause a challenge. A typical Romeo & Juliet kind of scenario. Two people from different backgrounds or cultures coming together to prove to the world that love can rise above all our differences.

If there are people in your life who don't think you should date someone of a different race or ethnicity than you, I suggest you talk to them and find out what their reasons are based on. Then explain how you have found someone who you really connect with on many different levels. While some may have a difficult time with interracial dating and marriage, you don't have to live that way.

Us vs. The World Identity

Some people who date someone of another race, look at their relationship as being under attack. They get wrapped up in an Us vs. The World mentality. Together they are part of a cause to fight against the negative perceptions. Pretty soon their entire relationship is built on the two of them taking on the world. The problem with that is sooner or later those who are against the relationship will quit caring about the race situation, and the foundation of the relationship no longer exists.

My advice is to be sure your relationship is built on enough substance so that you can remain strong even when the emotion and drama of standing alone against the world is gone. Sometimes without Us vs. The World, the relationship crashes because there was not enough foundation to begin with.

Cultural Difference

Some of the challenges facing interracial dating are due to cultural differences. A good question to ask is: Can the two of you adapt to each other's culture? Remember, cultural differences can be a big deal. Be wise about who and why you're dating, interracial or not.

It can be a lot of fun to embrace a new culture. Be willing to learn about the traditions, celebrations, music, and food that make up your partner’s culture. Ask questions about what it was like to grow up in that culture? What did they love most about it? It’s also important to ask what challenges they faced? And how those challenges shaped them and their views?

By appreciating their background, you will demonstrate that you desire to get to know them better and build deeper love and acceptance between the two of you.

Faith Differences

Differences in what you believe (or don’t believe) about God can sometimes be harder to reconcile. While faith is a part of someone’s culture, it goes much deeper than traditions. It goes more to the core of who you are and how you see the world. For someone who is deeply committed to their faith, their beliefs will shape how they live their life and what their life is centered on. It defines you.

Religious differences can mean:

  • Different beliefs about marriage and raising children
  • Different morals and values
  • Different priorities
  • Different ideas about sex and physical intimacy
  • Different ways of planning for the future and thinking about your purpose
  • Different beliefs about eternity
  • Different ideas about what teachings guide your life. (The Bible, The Qur’an, The Torah, The Sutras, The Vedas)

It is crucial to have very open and honest conversations about these things early in your relationship to make sure you can agree. Don't let your heart get in too deep and then discover your miles apart on how you view God.  I’ve seen a lot of well-meaning people try to force their boyfriend or girlfriend onto the same page about religion, but a person's belief system is not quick to change.


As you can see, it's not so much about the color of your skin, as it is about your beliefs and values. Pay attention to what you agree and disagree on and openly communicate about those things sooner, rather than later. Don’t compromise who you are, that will only result in a life of conflict. Rather define what’s important to you and your partner and what your non-negotiables are. Do you agree on those? If so, then you have set yourself up for a meaningful relationship no matter your race or culture.

Are you frustrated with dating? For ideas on how to think differently about dating read, "Do You Have a Type? Try Dating Outside the Box"

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
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2 comments on “Should Race or Skin Color Affect Who You Date?”

  1. How do you approach the situation? Like, I have a crush on a guy (opposite race) but I really don't know what to say...or if he'd be interested in dating outside his race..

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