If I were to say, close your eyes and think of a romantic partner who would you think of? What race are they, what would be their skin color, what languages do they speak, where is their family from, and what do they believe? I think the majority of us would imagine somebody pretty close to what we are like. I think this is very common, and there is nothing wrong with it.
I’m choosing to write my paper on intercultural relationships. The Ted talk by Ngoc Tu, brings an interesting view on how we interpret intercultural relationships. His Ted talk talks about how moving to the United States posed dating struggles for him. He is an Asian man looking for love. He talks a lot about how inter-cultural relationships have been a struggle for him because of is differences in culture/race. He wants to encourage people that intercultural or interracial relationships are not a bad thing.
Taboo is a big thing in cultures around the world. Each culture has different taboos and stereotypes with intercultural relationships. Ngoc found some of these taboos to be challenging in trying to find a woman to spend the rest of his life with.
I can relate to this man in ways others cannot. I married a girl from a different culture. My wife is from Germany and there are a lot of differences between her and I. I remember when we started dating some of my family members told me it would be a hard road and that there would be a lot of differences between us compared to marrying somebody with in my own culture. At the time I didn’t think much of it and didn’t really take it into consideration, but there was definitely some truth to what was said.
The first year of marriage was challenging for me just with cultural change. Not only did I marry somebody from Germany but I also moved to her hometown in Germany and lived there for two years. It was extremely hard for me to get used to the change in culture and differences. Now I have a completely different outlook. I love having a multicultural relationship.
In the close of Ngoc’s talk he gives a bunch of positives to why we should be in an intercultural relationships. The biggest one that stood out to me is that if engaged in an intercultural relationship, you can discover an entire new world. This was so true to me and my relationship. I had no idea how different Europe is from the United States. It has opened my eyes and given me so much more knowledge, enjoyment, and travel opportunities than I could imagine.
Yodanis, Lauer, and Ota (2012) talked about how they did many studies with interviews where they asked participants about ethical relationships. They found that people sought out intercultural romantic relationships because of the difference in culture rather than in spite of them. They also found that actively seeking cultures from oneself helps reduce homophily.
This study helps us understand that a lot of people actually choose to be in intercultural relationships just for the advantage of the other person being from a different culture. I think if both parties go into a relationship knowing that cultural differences have positives and negatives they will find that the positives will outweigh the negatives.
Hafenbrack, Eastwick, Maddox, and Galinsky (2017) talked about the positives in having intercultural relationships in the workplace. They do multiple studies to test this theory. They did a study on how intercultural dating relates to creativity in the workplace. They actually had subjects start dating during this study. The results found were that participants having dated people from other cultures has superior creativity performance.
I can totally see how this is an accurate study. I feel that having two different minds that may think completely different opens up opportunities for enhance creativity. If people that are in the same culture and think similarly may not come up with as many creative ideas. I can see how this would play is an advantage in the workplace environment and helping companies progress and come up with new innovation.
I know for me in my life having my wife being able to look at situations differently than I do makes a huge impact on coming up with good solutions. There are a lot of times that the choices I make and how I make them are the right way, and the same goes for her. If I didn’t have her to look at things differently than I do I might be stuck in my own ways and never be as creative or come up with other solutions.
With all this being said I think it is important that we have intercultural relationships. We may not have the opportunity to be in a culturally romantic relationship, but we definitely can increase our way of life by having relationships with others outside of our own culture. I encourage all people to look at intercultural relationships as a positive thing. We need to look at it from the view as Ngoc did, we get to experience a whole new world. Many people do not take advantage of this because of the stereotypes and taboos our own cultures create. If we can let them go and reach out and learn about other cultures, so many more opportunities and positive life experiences will come to us.
Yodanis, C., Lauer, S., & Ota, R.(2012). Interethnic romantic relationships: enacting affiliative ethnic identities. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(5), 1021. https://doi-org.ezproxy.uvu.edu/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.01005.x
Lu, J. G., Hafenbrack, A. C., Eastwick, P. W., Wang, D. J., Maddux, W. W., & Galinsky, A. D. (2017). “Going out” of the box: Close intercultural friendships and romantic relationships spark creativity, workplace innovation, and entrepreneurship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(7), 1091–1108. https://doi-org.ezproxy.uvu.edu/10.1037/apl0000212.supp (Supplemental)
Tu, N. Tedx Talks. (2017, February 16) Interracial Romantic Relationships | Ngoc Tu | TEDxTCU. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO4q2c_d2TA&t=301s