Dialogue will be hosted to prepare students for multicultural dating

State Hornet Staff

With a diverse student population at Sacramento State, students have an opportunity to learn about dating others with different cultural, religious and racial backgrounds.

Sac State’s Multi-Cultural and Pride Center will host a dialogue to prepare students before going out to date in a multicultural society.

“ I hope people will open up so they are not limiting themselves,” said student assistant at the Pride Center Trevor Garcia-Neeley. “There are lots of questions that come up when dating someone with a different background.”

Garcia-Neeley will host the dialogue and said dating is a mechanism to break stereotypes and social expectations.

Sociology graduate student and MultiCultural Center volunteer Christina Cannon said the dialogue consists of two parts. The first part will focus on attraction and preferences, while the second will explore cultural dating etiquette.

She said the college environment forces students to open up socially and intellectually.

“I think it’s important to be open and allow people to self-identify,” Cannon said. “I mean you never know what you like until you try, right.”

According to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, there are 54 million couples in the U.S and nearly four million are interracial couples.

The research also showed Sacramento having one of the highest rates in intermarriage and younger generations and college students are also most likely to be accepting and participate in inter-dating.

According to the Pew Research Center, nine out of 10 students between ages 18 to 29, are open to inter-dating regardless of race because of their racially liberal views. Asian-Americans were found to have the highest percentage of being open to inter-dating with 93 percent while African- Americans have the lowest, at 88 percent.

 Criminal justice graduate student Ashley Armstrong, said she identifies herself as Black and Caucasian. She is currently dating Gustavo Casimiro, a Sac State alumnus, who identifies himself as Mexican.

Armstrong and Casimiro said they have dealt with issues in their relationship because of different cultural backgrounds.

Before moving in with Casimiro, Armstrong said she was worried because he came from a background where women cooked and cleaned.

“There have been times where I call my mom crying because I felt like I was not making a connection with his family,”Armstrong said.

Casimiro said the biggest struggle is with language and holidays because of different rituals.

“I always have to translate because she does not speak Spanish,” Casimiro said. “And with my other Mexican girlfriends,I didn’t have to.”

Casimiro described his family’s Christmas as very united and Catholic.

“They were passing the baby Jesus doll and I was supposed to kiss it. I felt out of place, but did not want to be rude,” Armstrong said.

Career counseling graduate student Elizabeth Velasquez said she identifies herself as Mexican. She has been dating Mark Consavage, who is Filipino and Caucasian for the past two years.

Velasquez said their differences are not because of ethnicities but because of their different cultural upbringings.

“He was brought up in a wealthy family and it bothers him that I always watch what I spend,”Velasquez said. “He just does not understand that I was not brought up in the same conditions.”

Velasquez said she is very sensitive about her culture and believes Consavage is ignorant on how to properly refer to her culture.

“When we first started dating, he would always say you Spanish people. We’re Latinos not Spanish. It’s little things like that,”Velasquez said.

Although cultural differences can be difficult for some couples, there are others who adjust without problems.

Sac State alumna Victoria Belasco identifies as Filipino, Cuban and Native American. She has been dating criminal justice major Hashim Munir,who is Pakistani and Fijian for two years.

Belasco said they have never had to deal with problems related to their cultures.

“To be honest we haven’t had to adjust to anything because both of our families are very Americanized,”Belasco said. “With cultural differences, I would say just our religion and what we eat.”

All three couples said the greatest part about multicultural dating is the experience and ability to learn about other cultures.

To personally share your experience and learn about cultural dating etiquette attend the “Dating in a Multi-Cultural Society Dialogue” in the MultiCultural Center  Feb. 19 at 5 p.m.