Ok, so I’m gonna be real. In the past, interracial dating never seemed like it could even remotely be my thing. It was difficult for me to see myself finding commonalities with a guy outside of my own culture. But an interview with Chasta Piatakovas, leader of D.C.’s largest interracial singles Meetup Group, changed my perspective.
Chasta, an advocate for interracial dating, sat down with me one Sunday afternoon to discuss her views on race and dating, and the benefit of coming out of your comfort zone.
Susan: Do you think there’s a benefit to dating outside of your race or culture?
Chasta: Absolutely! If you’re willing to date outside your race, you expand your dating pool exponentially. You also get the opportunity to experience another culture or religion, be exposed to new ways of thinking, have an incredible experience with someone you love and respect, and to teach others around you that the relationship is like any other. I learned a few languages and cultures, and earned an unpronounceable double-the-letters last name by dating outside my race.
Susan: A lot of people are apprehensive about dating outside of their race because of the racism in present society, what would you say to them?
Chasta: I’d say a couple of things. First, I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t worry about the racial climate. Just go out, have fun and keep an open mind. Sometimes, we create issues in our heads that may never become real issues. Like worrying about what we’re going to do with the house when we haven’t even applied to that dream job abroad. Secondly, you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to. If a person has all the qualities that you’re looking for, would you rather sit at home alone than go out to that new restaurant you’ve always dying to try just because their [skin] color doesn’t match [yours]? Everybody’s money spends the same way. Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about race if that is important to you. Sometimes it’s necessary to have those tough, uncomfortable conversations. I’ve been lucky enough to have white partners that were willing to have a conversation.
Susan: So, what is the goal of Interracial Dating and Social Connections?
Chasta: Simply, for people to meet, greet, and have fun. IDSocialConnect allows singles to step out of their comfort zone and try something new with diverse people.
Susan: How do your meetups work? Do you go around hooking people with each other?
Chasta: No, we’re not a hookup site. We plan events that facilitate interaction and conversation…anything we can do together to be social and have fun. That includes happy hours, dinners, film screenings (including eight screenings to see LOVING) and conversation, theater outings, sporting events, volunteer opportunities. Since 2008, we’ve hosted 430 meetups. We’ve had marriages result from people meeting at our events (an organizer met his wife through one of his meetups) so there is good chance you’ll meet someone who’s like-minded to go out on a date with! As an organizer, I make sure that no one leaves an event without meeting someone. We have a rule that no one leaves without meeting at least three people.
Susan: So you consider IDSocialConnect to be a diverse group?
Chasta: Yes. I can’t think of a country not represented in our group. We’re both diverse and inclusive.
Susan: What is the percentage of men to women in the group?
Chasta: Roughly 45% men, 55% women
Susan: What advice do you give to someone who is looking for a meaningful relationship?
Chasta: My number one advice as an advocate for interracial dating is do not have a racial preference. When seeking a partner, it should be “I desire a [gender] who has [list of qualities].” Specifying whether s/he has to be black, white, Asian, Latin, etc. is limiting. While I have dated mostly white men, I don’t specify race when seeking a partner. I desire a man who is an educated and well-traveled professional interested in hockey, culture, and dining out. If I got hung up on race or physical attributes, I wouldn’t have had the great experiences that I’ve had. I want women — especially Black women — to be comfortable with engaging with men of all races and ethnicities; have a conversation, and I mean safe conversation, without assuming the worst. Just have fun. And if you have concerns about interacting with different ethnicities, join IDSocialConnect because it’s a safe social community.
IDSocialConnect has over 2,500 members and engages in monthly activities in the DMV area. If you’ve ever been curious about exploring relationships outside of your own ethnicity, Interracial Dating and Social Connections (IDSocialConnect) is a good place to start. To become a member, or find out about any upcoming events, visit: https://www.meetup.com/idsocialconnect/
What are your thoughts on interracial dating?