What It Means to Be in An Interracial Relationship
It is important to appreciate and understand that the context is different for everybody and that interracial dating is a big deal to some but not to others. Certain couples will experience prejudice, and some will be left to their own devices. In an attempt to highlight the experiences of people in interracial relationships, We want to reveal what it is like to be them, the pros and cons of interracial dating, and everything that accompanies it, be it positive or negative. Some people don’t even realize they are in an interracial couple; that isn’t naivety on their part; they just see each other, not the color of their skin or ethnicity. Unfortunately, others will see nothing else other than too contrasting cultures mixing and go out of their way to point out their ignorant opinion on it. We listened to some real-life interracial couples explain some of their dating experiences;
Story One: (Sara and Neil)
For Sara, who is black, and Neil, a white man, it is all about broadening horizons and learning cultural perspectives. It is so easy to get lost in your own habits, family life, and normal routines that people forget that there is a lot more out there to experience than what you perceive to be ‘normal.’ By dating someone of a different race, you are often given opportunities to expand your cultural awareness and knowledge by educating yourself on their families and their rituals. The couple that met in school and began dating shortly before their daughter was born while they were still teenagers and soon discovered there could be similarities in culture or dramatic contrasts with your own. Neil explains, “If something is out of your usual comfort zone, it is important to be respectful and go along with it and learn to embrace whatever it is over time. You will grow as a person and appreciate your new surroundings as I did”. Sara agreed and said, “Neil’s new perspective made him a more rounded person, and I saw an outgoing attitude develop to try new things in the future, which he was hesitant to do before.”
Story Two: (Craig and Shaye)
It was similar to the unfamiliar territory for Shaye, who, after being born in Jamaica, was soon immersed into a new racial community. “Your partner can introduce you to a deeply emotional, cultural, and empathetic journey that you never expected, and you will reap the benefits along the way, as I have with Craig. The exposure of viewing the world through his eyes is unique, and I have learned so much from this great white man.” Couples like these should be cherished and celebrated, not shied away from. It can be a remarkably rewarding and life-changing experience. Craig certainly found his personal ideologies changing when he started interracial dating with Shaye. “It may have been stereotyping, circumstances, it could have been generalizing, a personal opinion or derived from the way I was brought up,” he explains. However, we see the world, and why we believe things should happen a certain way are all formed from our own unique experiences, which form a personal ideology from which we base our judgments and opinions. Craig went on to say, “These preconceived ideas I had were not set in stone, and I allowed them to be adaptable. Interracial dating encourages the versatility of the pictures we have planted in our heads and challenge the status quo and stereotypical world we live in”.
Story 3: (Vikash and Tanya)
When Vikash and his family moved into the area for his father to run a local shop, he was not prepared for the negative assumptions of others. “Relationships are built on love, and hurtful assumptions about people in interracial relationships are still far too common and widespread as I found out when I got together with Tanya.” Many of these people presume that you must be rebelling against your heritage or trying to prove a point to someone. When in reality, you are just dating someone from a different background than you. Wandering eyes, even rolled eyes, sniggers, and under-breath comments shouldn’t affect how you act and behave in your couple. In trying circumstances, the couple became very socially conscious, which Tanya says infuriated her, “Interracial couples receive many dirty looks and head shakes when out and about in public and is a sad reflection of people’s naivety on the subject. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Your relationship is not about more than two people enjoying and dating each other. And others, who see it as a problem? They are likely ignorant, racist, misinformed, uneducated, or all of these things and thus aren’t worth being considered”!