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Stubbornness, immaturity, constant arguing, jealousy— they’re all signs of a teenage love. Insert a black girl from Brooklyn and white guy from New Jersey, and you’ve got a young interracial couple struggling to find balance in a society still far from being colorblind.

Growing up in a conventional two parent household in Westwood, New Jersey, Paul, 19, describes his life as stereotypical.  His family is upper middle class; he drives a Mercedes-Benz, having only had one girlfriend before his current relationship, often the girls he’s been attracted to he refers to as “stuck-up.”

He believes the biggest obstacle he and his girlfriend, Corrine, 20, face in their relationship of a couple of months is a difference in their upbringings, not race.

“It’s not so much a black [or] white thing, but that we’re from different areas. She’s from an urban area and I’m from a suburban area,” he says, with his arm resting on the couch behind Corrine. The three of us sat in his spaciously furnished living room of the Queens house he rents with nine other guys. A black curtain hanging from the doorway, separating us from the den area one of his housemates turned into bedroom.

Starting out from an upper middle class family in East Flatbush Brooklyn, Corrine briefly dated multiple guys from different ethnicities and cultures— from a dope boy to a future Olympian— she’s interacted with most.

A month after their first encounter in the car of a mutual friend, the two often ran into each other in the athletic study hall of St. John’s University.  They quickly entered a relationship, after spending hours a day together doing school work, both not knowing much about the other. She has only had one relationship prior to meeting Paul. Since then, they have constantly clashed over race and culturally sensitive issues. Corrine says she has had to inform him that comments he has made often offended her.

“[He would say] I’ll act ‘ethnic’ or I’ll act ‘black’ or I’ll act like I’m from Brooklyn. Oh, this is my favorite one— ‘you’re acting like a ghetto black girl from Brooklyn,’” she sarcastically says.  “It used to make me so mad, until one day I finally had to let him know, he can’t say things like that because it sounds offensive coming from [him].”

Paul interrupted her, “Coming from me? So what if it came from a black a person?”

“It’s still offensive,” she says.

Paul believes such is an example of being from different areas, saying that one night after a Chinese restaurant messed up Corrine’s order; she called the place demanding the rest of her food after failing to soothe her anger.

According to the National Healthy Resource Center, interracial relationships are most common among the middle class, among those with higher education. College increases individuals exposure to other races/ethnicities and the idea of intermarriages.

Unlike Corrine who has been attracted to guys of different ethnicities. Paul didn’t develop an attraction for black women until college. She often worries about being too ethnic, debating one night while dressing if she should get braids because Paul doesn’t like them.

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