Dating between people of different racial groups has always been a topic of controversy. Students at GW tend to be open to interracial dating, often because the campus’s diversity leads to a lot of interaction among people of different backgrounds. Some of the interracial dating, however, may be due to inconsistencies between the numbers of women and men of each race at GW.
Black Enterprise magazine ranked GW one of the 25 best colleges for African Americans, and, according to the Multicultural Student Services Center Web site, almost half of the more than 330 student organizations at GW are cultural or international.
As diverse as GW’s undergrads are, some students said the small pool of students from their ethnic group is not large enough to facilitate dating between members of the group. For example, African American women outnumber men of their ethnic group almost two to one. Of the 624 African American undergraduates, 409 are female while only 215 are male.
Yemi Sholebo, an African American freshman, said she has noticed the lack of black men on campus.
“If I wanted to date a black man, I probably wouldn’t find one here,” she said.
The number of female to male students within almost every ethnic group is disproportionate, with more women than men in each group. The disproportionate numbers are almost negligible when looking at the white majority group (3,763 undergraduate females and 3,058 males), but as the number of total students in the ethnic group gets smaller, the gap between male and female students becomes more visible.
Sholebo said she is not necessarily looking to date solely within her race, and added many students at GW do not think race should be a factor in dating.
“I try to look beyond race,” sophomore Mijin Paik said. Although Paik said her family would probably prefer her to marry someone who shares her Asian background, she said she would not let race limit her choice of who to date on campus.
Junior Stephanie Sheikholeslami agreed.
“It’s more of just being able to relate to someone,” she said.
According to the GW Office of Institutional Research, 27.6 percent of undergraduates this year are African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or international.
“There is a strong multicultural community here,” said Michael Tapscott, director of the Multinational Student Services Center. “When you look at the demographics of the institution (they) are very, very good.”
Still, some members of the GW community would prefer to date members of their own ethnicity. In interviews, students cited family pressure and the comfort of having a shared culture as reasons why students generally tend to date within their race. Tradition and the fact that intra-racial dating has always generally been more accepted in society may also play a role in the trend.
“I think there’s still a stigma against (interracial dating),” said freshman Adam Baldwin. “It’s not merited, but it’s there.”