It's been about 53 years since Loving v. Virginia allowed interracial and interethnic relationships to be out and open without the fear of being imprisoned (or attacked). The number of interracial married couples rose from 7.4% to 10.2% between 2000 and 2016...and that number will likely continue to rise. With the concept of identity being more diversified in 2020, it's important to know what the words interracial and interethnic really mean. Race essentially means a grouping of people that have similar genetic traits and interracial means a joining of people from two opposite races. Ethnicity usually encompasses a shared culture which can contain music, art and traditions. When someone from two different ethnic cultures join in a union, it's called an interethnic relationship.

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As a cisgendered hispanic man from Puerto Rico, my dating experiences have always contained components from interracial or interethnic spaces. Even dating a fellow Puerto Rican, I sometimes run into ethnic differences depending on where they come from. Dating into different races and ethnicities has always been something I believe in, not only for personal growth but to help break down stereotypes and associations out there. Here are the reasons why interracial and interethnic dating are the best. Besides, who wants to date someone that looks like them?!

You Learn How To Be More Empathetic

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Often times, we don't have the concepts of race or culture at the top of our thoughts and it's easy to forget what privileges we navigate the world with. When you're dating someone from a different race, you're able to see the difference in privileges in real time and can have a better understanding. Instead of reading about someone who has experienced a form of racism on the news, when it happens to our partner, it hits home and can help us empathize on a whole new level. It lessens our own individual fragilities and lets us look at the world through our partners eyes. It won't make you understand what your partner goes through on a daily basis as if you were living in their shoes, but it will help you understand and (hopefully) learn to be more sensitive.

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You Learn to Love the Things That Make Us Different

When you take an interest in someone, their culture comes along with that and it's a great opportunity to learn about a new cuisine, tradition or art. You can even take things further and plan trips together to each others motherland. Accepting your differences and valuing them as something special can make dating interracially fun and not make it about race vs. race or culture vs. culture.

You Break Stereotypes

We've all heard them before. Stereotypes and labels have more to do with sex than they do about actual relationships so why allow them to influence who you choose to date? By willingly entering someone else's space without any prejudices or fetishization, you break stereotypes that society built.

You Realize We're Not All That Different

If you take a close look, you'll realize that we're actually a lot more similar than you think. Our shared beliefs, similarities in cultural traditions and other shared aspects of life are only discoverable when you make an effort in getting to know someone that is different. If you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with differences, it keeps you in the dark with missed potential matches flying by.

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You Show The World That It's OK

By dating interracially, you basically tell the world that it is ok. What's better than quelling racism and promoting diversity in just one Instagram post? By normalizing a certain behavior, we allow others to view it as more common. It's also a great lesson to children on how diversity can showcase the beauty in differences. Even though a survey form the Pew Research Center from 2017 says only 9% of people disagree with interracial coupling, it's still very important to showcase your love for your partner with pride.

You Don't Let Societal Racism Win

Dating interracially is a different experience than dating someone from the same race as yourself. You might get looks, comments and even slurs, but the important thing is that you don't let that enter your relationship. Never let outside influences dictate who you love...whether it's someone of a different color, culture, identity or the same sex.