Introducing Your Boyfriend (of Another Race) to the Family

June 29, 2010  |  

Just when you thought your tasty Mac-and-cheese was best thing to bring to family dinner night.

There have been many amazing milestones for race relations in the U.S. in the past six decades. In 1954 African Americans were given the legal right to an equal education by integration in the school system.  Anti-miscegenation laws were deemed unconstitutional in 1967 by the Supreme Court. And in the same year Sidney Poitier answered the question to “Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

But with all the change, legal reform and integration many American homes are still very traditional… traditional in whom they bring into the family at least. And while some women feel comfortable bringing any man of any race to meet their parents, some cringed at the idea.

Rebecca Bigler a psychology professor at the University of Texas-Austin, who also has a child from an interracial marriage, understands the issue with the baby-boomer generation having a hard time accepting their children in mixed relationships. “It makes us feel racist if we acknowledge race, so we try not to, and we end up being color-mute. Children learn from their parents that you don’t talk about race,” she told USAToday.

The thought of bringing any man home means you’re committed enough to take that next step. The issue is having to break the serenity between you two, by bringing in other parties–other judgmental parties–who may not embrace him.

Here are some great tips to ease the tension when bringing Mr. Right home:

1st- Let your parents know ahead of time that he’s of a different race. Trust us, it’ll just make things easier when he gets to the door. Don’t want one of those “he must be the cab driver who dropped you off” situations.
2nd- Bring him to a small family gathering first then work up to larger engagements. This way the family members can spread the word (because you know they will) and he’ll feel close to people he’s already met at smaller gatherings.
3rd- Be super open about how you met and who he is. The more they know, the more they can trust him.
4th- Take him to the side to make sure he’s comfortable once with the family for a while.
5th-Don’t be so sensitive! He’s just of a different racial background– not an alien

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