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It was late, maybe midnight, far away from the city center in a bizarre hotel—a sprawling, deserted complex next to the largest horseracing track in the world. No races were scheduled that weekend, and the place was empty. But there was something off, something too attentive. The first time he said it, his words were muted.

Years old: I'm just over fifty
What is my ethnicity: Latvian
I can speak: English, Chinese
I prefer to listen: Blues
I like: Riding a bike
My tattoo: None

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I have struggled before when dating a white man.

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However, not everything is black and white. Interracial relationships require more effort from both parties.

Cultural differences

There is the expectation that you will be different from your partner culturally. As a result, there has to be more communication and a willingness to learn. Culture shock can lead to a breakup, I know because it has happened to me.

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You have to be patient and show how implementing both cultures and learning from one another can actually strengthen your relationship. For instance, take the American tradition of giving cards during the holidays and on birthdays. In Mexico, there is no such thing. I appreciated them and I started doing them myself.

How interracial relationships are changing american culture

Another thing that I have learned is how to be politically savvy and active. As I see it, the United States has a culture of being up to date with politics and emphasizes the importance of voting.

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This greatly contrasts with Mexico where we have lost hope in our government officials. Actually, I tend to date interracially because of the value I see in cultural differences. Latin America has a big culture of machismo, which is a strong sense of masculine pride. I understand that not every single Latino man will act according to this ideology. I feel strongly against machismo because it systematically oppresses women.

How fictional portrayals of intermarriage haven't quite caught up

So, because I know how ingrained in society it is, I tend to shy away from men of my own race. People assume that I do so because of internalized racism, but I can assure you it is not. I date interracially because I am Americanized in the most ideal way — I see value in cultural differences.

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Latin America generally has very distinct gender roles. Historically speaking, women in Latin America have been the ones who stay at home and do household chores. Men go out to work and are the family breadwinners.

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This is not a trend unique to Latin America, but machismo permits Latino men to treat Latina women as second-class citizens. This cultural ideology prevents women from escaping oppression and excuses aggressive conduct of men by normalizing them. Machismo effectively prohibits women from being seen as equal to their male counterparts.

Our true face: interracial dating encourages open mindedness

In my experience, interracial dating has helped me develop a broader view of the world. I became versatile, tolerant and open-minded.

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It is not easy to share so much and spend a lot of time with someone who is fundamentally different from you. There first has to be a thick layer of respect. A person from a different race will not understand all of your issues and may not be able to relate to difficulties such as racism and lack of privilege.

With a loving, learning space, you can educate each other.

1. the foundation of your relationship has to be rock solid.

The world is becoming globalized and interracial couples are naturally becoming more common. Even though an interracial relationship look frightening, they are so worth it because you will gain self growth, learn from a new culture and become more versatile.

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How to handle culture clash in an interracial or intercultural relationship

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