Opinion | Zoomers embrace prejudice in multicultural relationships

By Andrew Prozorovsky, Senior Columnist

Young people are always more liberal than the generations before them, but Gen Z has shown through activism, consumer choices and voting that it is unusually progressive. These “Zoomers” champion issues like environmental protection and LGBTQ+ rights, while overwhelmingly rejecting the reactionary politics of figures like Donald Trump.

Although Zoomers have demonstrated a commitment to left-wing dogma, there are several ways that they are more conservative than many realize. Gay rights may be uncontroversial, but unfortunately, issues like transgender rights can still divide young voters.

Gen Z purportedly preaches tolerance and attempts to destigmatize sexuality, drug use and mental illness. But through conversations with other college students, I have shockingly found the stigma toward intercultural (and by extension, interracial) relationships is still alive and well.

I’ve been in two long-term intercultural relationships. I’ve been outnumbered in class discussions where the majority argues these relationships preclude culture from being passed down. I have participated in a roundtable discussion with others in intercultural or interracial relationships who detail the judgment they have faced from their peers. I have had many conversations with my own peers who set rigid ethnic or cultural requirements for their own dating life.

A lot of these objections stem from a few main sentiments: Dating outside of “their own” would disappoint their family, they believe it hinders the passage of culture and, of course, established prejudice against certain groups.

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It is valid to argue people are more likely to feel a connection to those who share the same background. A preference is one thing, but a requirement is another. When one’s “type” includes an ethnic necessity, it’s problematic.

If one has children with a person from another culture, the passage of his or her own culture may not be completely automatic, but it doesn’t prevent it. It may take a little work, albeit less if one’s partner embraces the other culture. The child would grow up in a multicultural space, which grants its own developmental benefits.

Some are critical of dating someone who is white because of skepticism based on historical western atrocities, but others have narrowed their dating pool to only white people or their own culture.

Some conversations I have been privy to revealed some students are willing to date outside of their own identity, but draw a boundary somewhere and claim their family would never accept if they dated someone of a particular identity. That is difficult to spin. That is demonstrating complicity in one’s family’s bigotry.

The issue is Gen Z exudes closed-mindedness regarding multicultural and interracial relationships, which then warps into judgment upon others. The line is shrouded, but some of these conversations clearly crossed into darker territory.

Although much of this prejudice is well veiled under the guise of jokes, like when young people comment “not the colonizer” on a TikTok with a white and non-white couple, some of it manifests in uglier ways. People who date outside of their culture are often labeled “self-hating.”

I personally have been accused of “fetishizing people of color” for having dated non-white women. The fetishization of people of color is a real, disgraceful phenomenon, but it’s a serious, unwarranted allegation to levy on an interracial couple.

Certain communities have a strong sense of solidarity derived from a shared history. When a member of that community dates outside of that community, it can feel like a betrayal and therefore is discouraged. But that feeling is misguided and flirts with prejudice.

This prejudice is somewhat married to jealousy that is linked to one’s “in-group.” A white man being bothered by a white woman choosing to date a Black man clearly stems from bigotry. This same principle can be applied to similar convictions Zoomers hold about someone dating cross-culturally.

Gen Z may pretend to be “woke” and progressive, but it needs to recognize and contend with this ugly stigma that still exists even in the most progressive spaces. Gen Z is incredibly cognizant of identity politics, but it becomes toxic once it judges people for transcending their own identity in their dating life. The sooner the problem is recognized, the sooner society can counteract it. It is time to put to rest this “forbidden love” trope.


Andrew is a senior in LAS.

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