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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Her Parent Don't Want Her to Date Me Because I'm Black
Letter #: 399580
Category: Dating/Relationship

Original Letter

I've been with this girl for 3 years. We dated the entire first year. The other years we were hidden. During the first year we found out some of her family had problems with her dating a black guy. I broke up with her but shortly after realized I loved her and that shouldn't stop me from making her happy. When I tried to get back with her her mom said no. I believe if I make he girl happy then she should be free to date who she wants. Now if she's ever caught with me her parents will hit her. I just don't think any of this is right. I needed advice from other parents or adult on if they think this is right?

Elder Response

Terrance, you are in a difficult position.  I can’t tell from your letter how old you and your ex-girlfriend are, and that will play a part in my response to you.  I find it personally repugnant that your ex-girlfriend could be hit by her parents at any age, but will assume from that small bit of information that she is under 18 and living under her parents’ roof.

Your question seems straightforward enough; that is, does another parent or adult think what is described in your letter is right.  As both an adult and a parent, that’s an easy one for me personally:  no, it isn’t.  I find racism abhorrent and don’t feel race should play any role in who we date.  I agree we should be free to date whoever makes us happy.  And I certainly don’t believe parents should hit a child regardless of the issues they might be having.

However, there are certain things your letter doesn’t tell me.  If your girlfriend is over 18 and living independently, the decision as to who she dates is hers, not her parents’.  While she should certainly hear them out, as an adult she should be free to make her own decisions on this issue.  However, if she is a minor and/or is living with her parents, they do have the right to make the rules that your girlfriend lives by.  You may not like those rules and may not agree with them, but unfortunately whether or not you agree with them isn’t relevant.  As the adults in the household, her parents do have the right to run the home as they see fit, however objectionable, racist or wrongheaded their rules might be in your eyes.

As a parent, I set the rules for my own children as do all parents.  In my house, I want my children to be happy and it’s up to them who they date as long as their dates are honest, kind, good people.  I will raise concerns if I feel my children (and I) are not being treated with honesty and respect by their partners.  This brings me to my next point.  You mention that you openly dated your ex-girlfriend for a year but were “hidden” for the other two years.  As a parent, I would be furious, upset and deeply disappointed to find that my daughter had been sneaking around in a secret relationship for that period of time.  Most parents do not appreciate sneaky and deceptive behavior, and on that basis alone I would say “no” to any child of mine returning to a relationship that had gone on in secret.  Please consider that this could be at least part of the reason her mom opposes your getting back together.

It seems to me that your ex-girlfriend is the person in the best position to intercede with her parents.  It is up to her to talk to them, determine what their exact concerns are and try to address the issues that are causing them to oppose a continuation of your relationship.  It is my hope that whatever their objections are, racial or otherwise, that they can be overcome.  I hope she can convince them of your good intentions, and allow you to resume your dating relationship out in the open.

I wish you the best with your relationship and with this young woman’s parents, Terrence.  Thank you for writing to the EWC.

Best Regards,



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