Parents: It’s 2020. Stop telling us which races we can date

Race, ethnicity, religion and even gender are outdated concepts that should no longer limit who we choose to date.

By Adriana Contreras, Staff Writer

Parents can be overbearing. They encourage us to get good grades, stay out of trouble and even lay down the rules of dating as we get older. They control us and the decisions we make because they want to ensure that we have a bright future. Not wanting to let our parents down, we are sometimes scared to go against their word or stray away from the path they’ve set for us. 

Some teenagers have the freedom to make their own choices but those who are not as fortunate find themselves being cautious with their decisions, fearing the disapproval of their parents.  

This is especially true with romantic relationships. 

When we are the apple of our parents’ eye, we want nothing more than to please them. Most teens would much rather conceal their relationships instead of being seen as a disappointment who falls short of expectations.  

I was raised in a predominantly Hispanic community. My parents encouraged me to bring home a man who is the same race and religion as me when I was old enough to date. Under the impression that their thinking was reasonable and that they had my best interests at heart, I never questioned them. 

It wasn’t until high school when I realized how wrong my parents’ thinking was. The student body is very diverse and school provides the opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds and ethnicities. High school expanded my cultural awareness.

My dad always tells me things like, “You have to be with Latino man that is hardworking and a ‘macho’ man.” 

I realized my peers experience the same thing.

“My dad would tell me I could date as long as it wasn’t a Mexican,” Cristal Ludena, a student of Peruvian and Mexican descent  said. “He would list stereotypes, such as they mistreat women and are very machismo (have a strong sense of masculine pride).”

She ignores her father’s comments because she values her partner’s personality over his ethnic background. 

“His judgements won’t dictate who I will marry,” she said.

“Growing up it was implied that I have to marry a Muslim man to continue to practice Islam and have children who will practice it as well,” said Alisha Zaman, a student of Bengali heritage. “My aunt and uncle married outside of our culture and religion and I was constantly told that I ‘better not end up like them.’” 

Zaman went on to explain that her parents’ limited way of thinking have driven her to resent her culture and religion. 

Our parents should not pressure us about who we should date because it is outdated and results in us resenting them. When we were younger we may have believed that our parents always knew best, but as we mature and learn from our own experiences, we form our own opinions. 

Besides, times have changed. Race, ethnicity, religion and even gender are outdated concepts that should no longer limit who we choose to date.