I love sharing my opinions with others especially in October when I get to write about my favourite topic- relationships. In this article, I want to focus on some of the problems that people in interracial relationships may encounter. Not saying that everyone in this type of relationship has problems; however, due to the political climate globally and society’s fascination with racial distinctiveness, the public may not be so kind depending on which part of the world you happen to be. It is highly likely that someone in an interracial relationship will encounter an opinion, an experience, an ignorant comment or behaviour because of their choice of partner. We are now living in age where everyone speaks about race issues freely, even when they are being offensive. Thankfully parents and family members are tolerant of interracial relationships and tend to not criticise even when they do not respect the relationship.
I like to talk about the issues that some people would rather not talk about. It has been my observation that, the manner of some guys that date interracially, gives off the impression that they may think that they have obtained a higher social status because of it. They seem so proud, as though they have achieved something of great significance. They become upfront about their exclusive attraction to white women, and they will give you a list of the reasons why they are attracted to white women. Quite often, the reasons that they will give are based on comparisons to black women. It has also been my observation that Black men that date outside of their race behave as though they should be treated better because of it. I met a black guy once who made it a point that he mentioned his wife’s nationality severally during a conversation. He would make phone calls in my presence to his friends and he would point out “the interesting fact” each time that his friend’s wife was also a Polish national, a British national or whatever. He made it seem so great and I half felt pity for him.
Some people deal with the situation very well and may not care about what other people think. That is well and good until children are brought into the dynamics. These children end up caught up in the brutality of prejudice and rejection- then it stops being about two adults in love that don’t care about everyone else. So many people don’t take the time to look into the potential issues that may come with dating outside of your own race, until a life altering situation occurs such as a racist incident. A lot of mixed race children are bullied and encounter racism by their peers in schools and communities. The sad part about it all is that the white parent is often in the position where they are inexperienced to help their child because they cannot relate to their child’s problems. They don’t know what it is like to experience racism, so that being said, they don’t know how best to help their child.
Putting aside how the world out there responds to mixed race children, parenting together as an interracial couple is another challenge within itself. At the end of the day; everybody comes with a bias and we all carry our biases wherever we go. What then happens when a couple has differences in social attitudes or prejudices? What happens when they clash on decisions around how a child is raised? How do they synchronise the different sets of cultural or even religious backgrounds? How do they incorporate cultural influences and behavioural expectations? How do they make decisions on how and with whom she spends her spare time? How do they agree upon what the child wears, as well as how she should wear her hair? Clearly, these are some of the unforeseen challenges faced by interracial couples.
putting all the drama aside that comes with interracial relationships; I know “brothas” that are left out at holidays. Their wives go off with their children to her family for the holidays, he stays behind on his own, or goes off with his family or friends because he does not fit in with his in-laws. Maybe they don’t welcome him or make him feel like a part of the family. I have seen it happen with our “sistas” too. The husband attends family and social functions with the children, and she is excluded. Whatever the case, before anyone thinks about dating interracially, I think that they would need to address and understand who they are; and be real to themselves about what their social limitations are to begin with. I would sincerely urge anyone considering interracial dating or who is already in a relationship with a white person, to make sure that they are pursuing the relationship for the right reasons; and to get a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding being in that sort of a set-up. Once people are able to understand the issues, then they are able to do make informed decisions, especially where children end up being born out of the relationships. We can never say that racism will go away, but we need to know what measures we are prepared to take to prevent our loved ones from encountering it. Otherwise in not thinking things through, we only manage to breed misery and separation and that does nothing, in as far as keeping families intact.