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How Is Race Defined And What Is The Truth About Being In An Interracial Relationship?
The most basic definition of being in an interracial relationship is one in which each person belongs to a different race.
Race can be defined as a social group that can be grouped together by distinctive physical traits.
Most of the images we see in the media referencing interracial relationships are usually, a white man and a black woman, or vice versa.
I am going to be using the terms black and white in this post rather than Caucasian, African, Afro-American et cetera. Please don’t take offence to that, if you do, please stop reading now.
There are a ton of different couples in the interracial dating world that aren’t acknowledged as much as black and white.
Interracial can mean a black woman with an Asian man, a white woman with an Indian man, or a Spanish man with an Arabic woman. You get my point.
Dating outside of your race might show that you are open-minded, however, it won’t put a stop to prejudice or judgement.
The growth of interracial relationships over the last 20 years is evidence that we have advanced towards accepting these kinds of relationships. It’s about time!
Being In An Interracial Relationship Is Not That Big Of A Deal – Or Is It?
Not to me or us at least. Two people from different backgrounds who met, fell in love and are happy.
So why do other people make such a big deal about it?”Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour.”Click To Tweet
Quite often, we are reminded by others that we are in a such relationship.
Thanks, as if we didn’t know already.
Then come the questions –
“will you raise your child in both cultures?”,
“What does your family think?”,
“Oh I dated a white guy once….’’
…and my personal favourite, “Is there a reason you chose a white man over a black one?”.
No! He just happens to be who I fell in love with.
Being In An Interracial Relationship
Little incidents occur on a daily basis that re-inject race into our relationship.
Little things such as asking for directions, ordering dinner in a restaurant, being in a foreign city on holiday, even at the grocery store.
You gain a certain insight on how you are treated as individuals versus how you’re treated when you are together.
These things will in big and small ways illuminate how people may treat you depending on what race you are.
Here in Vienna, sometimes people stare at us and it’s like “Have you never seen a black woman and a white man before?”.
Some will even do a double take! Get a grip, welcome to the 21st century!
Being In An Interracial Relationship Can Be Hard
Cultural differences can cause tension and misunderstanding within the relationship.
In the Asian culture, leaving your shoes at the front door is something you do. Some people adhere to this tradition, others don’t.
In certain traditions, you tend not to smooch your partner in front of your parents.
Even if you are married and have been for twenty years, you just don’t.
In Africa for example, it is seen as inappropriate to live with a partner before marriage. Parents prefer their children (especially daughters) to live at home even at the age of thirty rather than live with a boyfriend,
In Europe, you move in with your boyfriend when you are ready – be it a few months, or a year after dating. No Big Deal.
It is important for both partners to be aware of each other’s cultures and traditions. Respect traditions and stick to them, or find a compromise.
These cultural traditions and differences will surely come up in most interracial relationships.
Meeting Family And Friends
Fast forward to that awkward moment when you are meeting your partner’s friends, family, or acquaintances for the very first time.
Their eyes spring open in shock upon the sight of you.
OMG…. he neglected to tell them what race you are… again.
You can almost read their thoughts – the words are practically jumping out of their faces.
Oh…you didn’t tell me she was …black!
They want to say something but know they shouldn’t. This is a drama free zone, right?
Besides, it is considered “politically incorrect”.
I faced this often times when we started dating. It never once occurred to him to mention I was black.
Why would it? I don’t go around announcing his “whiteness” either.
So what is one to do? If your family members are “culturally conservative” and have no experience with interracial relationships, you might want to sit them down and let them know that you’re now a part of a mixed couple.
Help them to understand the common misconceptions that surround being in an interracial relationship. They may not know any different. You are the teacher.
Be open to ALL questions.
This will help to avoid any weird, uncomfortable awkward moments when you meet each others’ family.
Their first response may not be the happy joyful one you would like, but remember, it is not a personal attack against you, your partner, or your relationship.
At the end of the day, If they refuse to accept your relationship, then you need to consider setting boundaries.
It is 2017 – if anyone feels threatened by interracial relationships, then they need to have several seats!”Speak the language of love, not colour.”Click To Tweet
All my life, I attended international private schools.
While writing this post I wondered how many couples ended up with a spouse or partner from the same country as theirs.
I decided to create a survey. My target was for 100 responses, as of this moment I have 93 responses, so I am basing my percentages on that.
Out of 93 international school alumni (my high school), 57 female, and 36 male, only three couples are with a partner from the same country as they are from.
The Truth About Being In An Interracial Relationship
The point I am trying to make here is that the international experience does not necessarily make you blind to race. It does, however, awaken you to the benefits of blending culturally.
Interracial couples have the same issues that any other couple have.
It can be annoying when you are stared at or questioned, yet, I can think of worse things in this world.
It’s not all negative and blah! There are so many great things about being in an interracial relationship that I could write for days!
But I won’t because I need to vacuum the living room, make an Apfelstrudel, then pick up my darling toddler from daycare. So, let me sum it up into a list of ten.'Want to know what the 10 best things about interracial relationships?'#interracialClick To Tweet
Here Are The 10 Best Things About Being In An Interracial Relationship
10. You inherit the ability to identify with two or more cultures.
9. You break cultural stereotypes.
8. You are exposed to new ways of thinking.
7. You are always learning.
6. You Inspire hope.
5. You have an ally against racism outside your race.
4. You see the world differently.
3. You represent progress.
2. You have an ally against racism outside your race.
1. You love who you love.
Pretty awesome right?
We laugh a lot of things off and don’t take the opinions of strangers to heart.
We prefer to have fun with it.
Have you been in an interracial relationship? Currently in one? Know anyone who is?
What have your experiences been?
Share them with me in the comments section below. I want to hear your stories! 🙂
Have a great day and a wonderful week!
Great post. My parents are white and black. Both from Puerto Rico, but different color. For us, that’s our normal and we are thankful they found and chose each other.
wow what a powerful piece! open and honest. I like how you analyze from different places- Im sure as you travel its something to consider, not whether or not to go, but how you will react and expectations etc.
i’m mixed with black and white and when my parents dated back in the 70’s it was still pretty new! She told me all of the racist things people would say to her about my dad, who is black, and the kind of looks strangers would give my brother, sister and I since we are interracial children!
I have actually never been in an interracial relationship but my sister is. I remember how hard it was for my parents to communicate with him. There was always a gap of communication because they did not speak English. However I don’t see any problem, if two people really love each other then there should be absolutely no boundaries to be together.
I went to a city school that was a pretty equal mix of black and white kids, however my husband went to a high school that had only one black student…in the entire school. To me that was shocking! My family has interracial relationships, homosexual relationships, and heterosexual relationships. Love is love in my eyes. Beautifully written article!
I am so shocked that people are as cheeky as to ask if there is a reason you chose one race over another. How rude. Great post – Wishing you both every happiness.
What a great post! I am an American married to an Englisman living in the UK and we met as international teachers. People assume there aren’t many cultural differences between the US and the UK as we share a language but I found my first few years of living here really hard! It’s lovely now though so alls well that ends well!
My husband and I started dating in highschool and we were friends first. You’d thnk in the 2000s people would be open already? Not all. We’ve had people yell at us and call my husband OJ Simpson. Horrible people.
I don’t really have much personal experience with partners who are a different race than I am. However, my sister and cousin both have black husbands. We are white/Puerto Rican. Honestly I don’t think much about my ethnic background most of the time. However with so many racial tensions in the U.S. at this point, I value the insight that I get from my brother-in-law as a close part of my family. Thank you for sharing your experience on this topic.
This is a beautiful post. My hubby’s sister married a black man years ago and are still happily married with 5 children. It caused a rift in his family that still isn’t healed. It’s crazy.
When I was younger I was in a interracial relationship for a year. I was born and raised in the Netherlands but my parents are both from Curacao (a little island in the Caribbean). So i’m than “black”. I had a dutch boyfriend, but when i met his parents they asked him why he was dating such a young girl. I was 19 and he was 18 but I looked like 15. Totally cracked me up. But eventually we broke up. I love to talk in my own language Papiamentu, even though I can speak Dutch fluently, it’s sometimes difficult to express something in another language. Now I’m back on Curacao and I’m married to someone who was born and raised here and is ‘black’. I find that in the Netherlands it’s very normal to date some one outside your race. So I’m pretty used to it and I love to see couples like that. Great post.
Relationships are build onto confidence and dialogue, and I totally get the whole thing where people are looking at you differently because you’re both from different world – I dislike the word “race”, because I do think we’re just human beings, no matter our background and our cultural differences or color. We’re just who we are, and falling in love isn’t about colors or where you’re living. It’s up to you guys to decide how to live your relationship without being held accountant for your choices by others!
I’m a Filipino and my long-time boyfriend is Italian and we live happily here in Asia, enjoying mixed Asian cultures, which he really enjoys. He always says that Asia is where his heart. And I’m impressed that he learned to speak Mandarin too!
Love this feedback! It is great when couples are able to integrate themselves in each other’s cultures and traditions. Thanks for sharing your story with me Blair.
My wife is Taiwanese and I am (white) Canadian, and we live together in Taiwan with out 2 kids. So this was really interesting for me to read!!! I think we barely notice it, but as you mentioned, every time you go out, others sure like to remind you of it! But living in Taiwan, we experience a sort of reverse racism. My wife notes that people are friendlier to her/us when she is with me, because Taiwan is a country where most people are extremely curious about and friendly towards (white) foreigners.
I can completely relate to this Nick! The same applies in Africa. People are nicer to you when you are with a foreigner or someone who is “white” because they assume that you are as a black person better educated or more accustomed to the western world when you are with a foreigner. Also, it is a way of showing the foreigner respect. In Europe where we live however, it is not that way at all. LOL. We are reminded that I am black and he is white by those people who believe the two shouldn’t mix. Thank you for sharing your story.
relationships are built with love trust and understanding and as such, colour should be put into the bin…
Loved the post, Sherri! My husband is Mexican and even though the race is the same, we totally understand.
People whose first words to describe anyone are the color of their skin or physical attributes in general are people I feel sorry for.
Ps. I love Twitter thingy! Which plugin are you using to insert it like that??
Insightful post as usual. I laughed at the “You didn’t tell me he was white?!” bit – like, as if it’s a thing that people need to announce. I always get “I didn’t know you’d be white!!!” when people meet me in person (after they hear about me through a friend or we talk through email or w/e, since I have a “black name”) Kinda strange I guess as the color of who we are often doesn’t factor much into our personalities. I know a few interracial couples, and as for my own – I’m American but my boyfriend is German (we’re both white though). The more I travel and meet different types of people, the less I notice about skin color or nationality – it definitely does open the mind 🙂
YES!!! Your name without seeing you would give the impression that you were black. I mean growing up I never realised that there were white and black names until I moved to the USA and a girl in my class who was black was called Becky (Rebecca) and everyone kept telling her that her name was so white. So silly. if I were asked to describe someone the last things I would mention were their skin colour or nationality. I love people who don’t see colour but character.
Very aptly stated! Racism is just in our minds. I’ve had an interracial relationship in the past; but luckily we both were (along with our parents) pretty ignorant about the fact! It was always the outsiders who were more bothered about it…
All you said is true and more. My husband is South Korean and I am white. About 4 months after the birth of our first daughter, we went out to lunch with my sister in law to a Korean restaurant. At the restaurant, the staff oohed and ahhd over our daughter but spoke only to my husband and my sister in law. Later on, towards the end of the meal, one of the waitresses asked who I thought the little girl looked more like, all while pointing at my husband and my sister in law. I stared at the woman with a confused look on my face and my sister in law politely told the woman that I was the mother. The woman equally politely apologized for the error and let it slip that she thought I was the nanny. Which we all had a good laugh about and now we always joke that “I’m just the nanny”.
OMG! I would have dropped down to the floor! The Nanny? LOL. I am so glad you are able to laugh about it. Thank you for sharing this story. xoxo
I love your line that “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour.” Truth.
great post!! I am from USA but my father is from India. My boyfriend is German. I’m a halfie (mom is of Ukranian/Lithuanian descent, dad is Indian as I said) and I always struggled with my racial identity as a child because I grew up in a predominately white town. Now growing up, I am SO happy to see all these beautiful interracial relationships happening all around me…especially in my little hometown 🙂 <3
Thank you so much for sharing part of your story Anna. I understand the struggle you went through as I too grew up in a predominately white city. It was and it still is not easy sometimes, but we grow and learn. 🙂 I am glad you are seeing positive changes in attitudes as we get older.
I love this love.
Thanks Anna 🙂
Not dating someone because of their skin colour is as silly as not dating someone due to their eye colour.
Right on Dermot!
So many people I know have inter-racial marriages, including in my own family, Sheri. And I do believe that exposure to other cultures and religions should make us more open.
Yes Corinne you are right, and in this day and age there is no country you can ever travel to where you will not find someone of a different race or religion so it is about time we all become more open and accepting.
“Dating outside of your race might show that you are open-minded, however it won’t elucidate prejudice and/or judgement.” – So true. Fantastic post.
I am black and my bf is white. Surprisingly enough he has taken a bigger hit in regards to discrimination (thus far). It is a whole new world form him. Its nice to see someone talk about some real negative aspects of interracial dating.
Thanks Iman! This is why I write. I like getting conversations going about things people are not always ready to talk about. Thank you for reading and sharing. 🙂
This is so true! I am married to some one the same color as me, but I am American and my husband is Romanian. The questions you get are pretty crazy!
I know right? Oh Amanda, I am so glad you can relate. WHen you hear some of these questions you wonder if people really live on planet Earth! Thanks for reading and sharing 🙂