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This article does not and cannot canvass the experiences of all interracial couples who have dated at Harvard.
Rather, it presents the views of three couples who agreed to discuss their stories and to add to the conversation.
“Acceptance has a positive connotation, almost the image of someone welcoming you with open arms, whereas tolerance is, ‘Okay, I won’t stop you,’” Coates explains.
Hey Angry Asian Men, It’s JT Tran here and it’s time you and I had a heart to heart…
“Black opposition at Harvard will have a thesis, an Af-Am philosophy attached to it,” says Coates.
“When someone’s talking to Dami about why he shouldn’t date me, they’ll randomly quote black nationalism text.” They also cite the success of “I, Too, Am Harvard,” a project which they both respect, as a factor that they believe has caused students to more openly criticize their relationship.
But when a student—one of Coates’s close friends, with whom she had previously lived—was asked whether she regarded interracial dating as a threat to Nigerian culture, the meeting reportedly took a turn for the worse.
While the two Asian and white couples interviewed for this article say that they have not confronted any discrimination due to their mixed-race relationship, the white and black couple interviewed said they have encountered a substantial amount of prejudice on campus.
Like any discussion of race, the topic of interracial relationships can be incendiary and can produce heated opinions.
Throughout the three months that they have been dating, Carroll and Yen say that they have never felt singled out or looked down upon because of their relationship.
If anything, they note that their genders may draw more attention than their ethnicities do. “I think the biggest deal is people thought it was cool that he was British, but that was it.” According to Shang, one challenge that Asian women at Harvard do face is the perception that some men have an “Asian fetish.” “It’s really hard to tell if the guy that’s hitting on you is actually hitting on you because he likes you…or because he just has a thing for Asians,” she says.