Fierce

From Strained Family Ties To Outright Abuse, These Women Opened Up About Interracial Dating

Many of us date people from different cultures and backgrounds. We asked our FIERCE community if they had stories related to the issues they had dating someone of a different ethnicity and the responses were enlightening, hopeful and sometimes even a bit heartbreaking.

Differences can be overwhelming but interest is super key.

“For me was so difficult. I’m Mexican, raise and born in Mexico and I was dating with a Xicano man, but he never was into the Mexican culture… long story short, we broke up. Some differences were overwhelming.”

Expressing excitement over exchanging cultures goes a long way.

“My husband of 13 years is a white American while I’m Mexican American, first born generation of immigrants. He loves my heritage and appreciates my family. He gravitates toward our culture because his family doesn’t really have anything like that except being American, which is kind of boring to him. They know they are a big mix of English, Irish, and Scottish with some Dutch and German but that’s really the extent of it… he’s also learned Spanish and went with me to live in Cuernavaca for a month to study.”

The sad truth is that fear of being judged or mistreated sometimes keeps us from such fulfilling relationships.

“We don’t. We get dirty looks everywhere we go. I’m either a traitor or a thief.”

Previous interactions with other races and proper communication are vital

“I think both of us being bi-racial (myself being Ecuadorian and Irish, my bf being Black and Polish) has shown us that there are many different ways to do the same thing and that not all things are as they appear. When we run into those cultural differences, it helps to try to see the duality of the situation. Communication and respect are [key].”

You can both learn about your cultures together.

whitemenblackwomendating / Instagram

“I play him the Mexican survival guide videos. Very accurate, also lots of communication!”

Talk about the shared struggles of your cultures.

italian_stallionne / Instagram

” I’m really passionate about this topic. I’m Mexican-American & my husband is South African. Like my parents, he’s an immigrant. A white immigrant. While the differences of being a white immigrant and a Mexican one are obvious, it’s the shared struggles & similar perspectives that are worth highlighting.
One perspective that has struck me is when my husband said, “I noticed Americans don’t make eye contact. In South Africa we at least acknowledge a person by doing so….” then I sarcastically thought to myself, ‘wow, what an idea. People recognizing the existence of other human beings.” Though I am guilty of this! BUT. Why am I guilty of this? Could it be that I was raised to acknowledge others even if it meant hugging every tia & tio in the room? Or my favorite, less intimidating way of respectfully recognizing that your fellow humans are present while also respecting your boundaries: greeting a room full of strangers with a smile & a “buenos días,” as you sit quietly in an open chair at the doctors office? But we don’t do this in America, at least not where I’m from. Most of us tend to do the opposite of acknowledge each other.
So back to the point:
we navigate our cultural differences by having these kinds of dialogues; connecting the dots. Mapping out how different humans attempt to figure out this crazy world we live where a wild fascination with the color of skin & borders exist. Who are we when we let go of our country & our skin?”

Speak up but also listen and learn.

“I’m Mexican and my bf is black/puerto rican my family has knew about him before when I talked to him in high school but they never really liked the fact that we were together so they separated me from him and made me switch high schools my senior year it was hard I talked to other people the two years we lost contact but realized he’s my happiness and now I gave us another chance without my family knowing I’m still figuring out how I’m going to let everyone know Ik that some of my family will shut me out because they are really old school/ traditional Mexicans and what me to be with someone of my race and my beliefs but we love each other so we are gonna make this work.”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

interracialkissing / Instagram

“Respect, appreciation and being open to conversation. He still thinks I’m a little crazy for wanting to one day pierce our future daughter’s ears.”

When you have kids, be sure keep your families involved.

“Been in a 10 year relationship. My husband is Asian and it’s been so hard even til now. His family has a hard time dealing with the fact that he is with a Mexican woman. We have two kids and I can count with one hand how many times they have seen my kids. I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old. My son looks completely Asian and my daughter looks mixed. Just a few days ago he asked me why me and his dad look so different and I told him we are from two different ethnicities, different parts of the world. He said he wished he was only Mexican and looked like mommy  it’s hard because my family is all he’s ever had. We try to visit his family but they always say they are busy. Being in a interracial relationship has been so hard for me. It’s been so draining they even encouraged him to cheat in the beginning of our marriage. I’m drained, don’t know how much longer I can do this for. I know this is not the case for all interracial relationships but it’s been hell for me.”

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

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A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found. Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “A relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.

Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

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Harvard’s Only Latina Professor Was Denied Tenure, Sparking Student Protests and a Larger Conversation About Institutional Racism

@DivestHarvard / Twiter

Harvard has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the US, if not the world. The Ivy League University has 36,012 students and 2,400 faculty members from over 150 countries. But although Harvard often boasts of the efforts they make to diversify their students, their faculty, and their curriculum, their track record has been less than stellar. That has been no clearer than in the recent turmoil surrounding the denial of their only Latina Professor, Lorgia García Peña. 

Once students learned of the University President’s decision to deny Garcia tenure, they were dismayed. Garcia’s tenure had been watched closely by the student body throughout the year, some going so far as to conduct a letter-writing campaign on her behalf earlier in the year. Once the initial disappointment at the decision faded, some students felt the need to take action. 

On Monday, roughly 50 students took to Harvard’s University Hall to protest Professor García’s tenure denial.

Although there is a Non-Discrimination and Affirmative Action clause in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Appointment Handbook, students believe that the decision to deny García tenure “exemplifies bias in the review process against professors of Ethnic Studies, whose scholarship and mentorship often put them in tension with Harvard’s administration”. 

In light of the upsetting denial of Garcia as a tenured professor, students drafted a petition with a list of demands aimed at the administration. The petition demands that the administration provides students with an explanation as to why Garcia’s tenure was denied. Students also demand a formal investigation into the alleged reasoning behind the tenure denial, with a specific focus on possible unconscious or structrual bias. Last but not least, the students demand the formal establishment of an Ethnic Studies Division–a request that the student body has been pursuing since 1972. 

For college professors, securing tenure is widely thought of as the most important accomplishment in their academic career.

According to The American Association of University Professors, becoming a tenured professor means that you “can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances”. In other words, it is a professor’s permanent job contract, which grants them greater academic freedom and protects them from being arbitrary fired. Usually, a professor is granted tenure after a probationary period of six years after which they’ve established themselves as valuable to the institution they’re working for. Usually during this time, they’re expected to publish academic research and findings to prove their value.

According to Professor Robert Anderson of Pepperdine University, tenure means that professors “are the most secure” in the unpredictable game of university politics. “[Tenured professors] are more like debt holders. If anyone bears the risk, it’s the staff who get tossed in the trash to save faculty”.

The uproar over Garcia’s tenure denial represents the larger struggle that many Latinx academics face when trying to establish themselves in higher education. 

As Latina Harvard student Mercedes Gomez tweeted on Monday, “Harvard flaunts its diversity and its admission numbers, but refuses to do the work to cultivate an environment for its students of color to feel safe and represented”. This statement rings true

As for the broader Latino community, they have not stayed silent on social media when commenting on Harvard’s questionable decision.

The fact itself that Professor Garcia is the only Latina on the faculty on the tenure track is room enough for skepticism. 

Harvard student Mercedes Gomez is especially invested in justice for Professor Garcia. 

https://twitter.com/gomezsb_/status/1201607299741212672?s=20

Let’s hope that the students’ activism spurs Harvard to re-think their decision.

This Latina academic has some chilling stories to tell about the way POC academics are structurally oppressed by academic institutions:

https://twitter.com/yarimarbonilla/status/1201689622583160832?s=20

The evidence seems to be piling up that these professors are denied tenure because their ideas don’t align with the institution’s bottom line. 

This Latina made a valid observation about how boringly predictable these tenure outcomes for WOC have become.

https://twitter.com/allisonefagan/status/1201864198403305472?s=20

The problem with institutional racism is that it’s so insidious–it’s often hard to see when it’s in front of you. And it’s even harder to call out.

This Latina is angry simply at the denial because of Garcia’s stellar resume. 

https://twitter.com/marisollebron/status/1201597626233315329?s=20

It’s frustrating to see that Ivy League institutions recruit off their claims of radical inclusivity, but their administrations don’t follow through when it comes to changing the structures of their institutions. 

The reason for Garcia’s tenure denial should be made public and then investigated. Because if this isn’t evidence of institutional racism, we don’t know what is.