NOTE: This archive only contains Carolyn Hax columns through March 2011. Her more recent columns are located here.

Carolyn Hax

(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
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By Carolyn Hax
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dear Carolyn:

Some friends of mine had been talking up this guy they thought would be perfect for me, so I finally went on a blind date with him. It turns out he's black, and while I am NOT racist and have no problem with interracial dating in general, it's not for me. I just prefer to date white guys.

I told my friends why I wouldn't be seeing him again, and they were, shockingly, horrified. Did I miss something here? I know interracial dating is more prevalent now than it used to be, but I didn't realize it was SO common that you get in trouble if you don't want to do it. I figured if I'm the one who needs a kick in the pants, you're the perfect person to give it to me. But I'm hoping you'll tell me I'm right, that no one should have to date anyone they don't want to.

Sacramento

You're right -- no one should have to date anyone s/he doesn't want to.

And your friends are right, too -- they shouldn't have to pretend they're not horrified by something they find morally repugnant.

And you're right, interracial dating is more prevalent now, but its prevalence here is the cart; the issue here is the horse.

More people date interracially because more people realize that the only alternative to being racist is to judge each person as a person.

Your decision not to date this man wasn't about his character or lack thereof, it wasn't about his sex appeal or lack thereof, it wasn't about his intellect or lack thereof, it wasn't about his sense of humor or lack thereof, it wasn't about his work ethic or lack thereof, it wasn't about shared history or lack thereof, it wasn't about his goals or lack thereof, it wasn't about his compatibility or lack thereof.

To your credit, you're owning your opinion; all you had to say was that you didn't find him attractive, and this conversation doesn't happen.

However: We're having this conversation because you didn't find his race attractive. That's what racism is.

Dear Carolyn:

My girlfriend calls every night, whether she has anything substantive to say or not. We live in the same city and see each other three or four times a week. I'm happy to talk on the phone when one of us wants to ask or tell the other something, but I do not see the point in sitting silent on the phone while she's reading a magazine or making dinner. How do other couples deal with this? Am I just being callous?

Boston

Hardly. Your complaint is perfectly reasonable.

If you want callous: The way other couples usually deal with this problem is by driving each other slowly insane, breaking up uglier than they needed to, going on to meet other people who demonstrate what actual compatibility is, and eventually coming to regard that relationship as their vaguely embarrassing relationship-training-wheels era.

Maybe you and this girlfriend have a brighter future than that, but only if you can say to her outright that the magazine-calls drive you nuts, and only if she can hear that without getting defensive. Bright side, you won't have to wait more than a day to find out.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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