Wifeys & Gentlemen,
How is everyone doing? I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like June is the FASTEST month we’ve had this whole, crazy year. It’s more than ½ over and I don’t even really remember it starting.
In many ways, I expected the opposite to be true. As heavy as things have gotten in the last few weeks, I often feel a sense of slowness that takes over. I expect everything to limply drag along. I feel like the motions of life are “forced”. Still, as this month comes to a close, I am feeling like I can’t quite keep up with everything around me. I feel like so much has gotten away from me and I am still playing a game of catch up.
Am I the only one?
Through all of the personal chaos, I have been thinking a lot about how I can use this blog to better educate my readers on race relations and relationships. While not everything I can write about will be directly relevant to the current issues being navigated and discussed, one thing that has been on my mind recently is the (sometimes) cavalier approach people can take to interracial relationships.
While I would love nothing more than to live in a world where you don’t have to over think dating and falling in love with literally ANYONE you want, I also have seen people go about this is the completely WRONG way. Yes, there is a wrong way.
Realistically, dating outside of your race comes with a unique set of struggles. Of course, you can choose to try and ignore them, but often, this leads to disaster. Instead of ignoring them, realize that they can and will happen (hopefully rarely) and know how to confront them when they do. You’ll be stronger, happier, and healthier as a result.
Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list. However, I feel these points are especially true for those of us who might fetishize people of other races or have a false narrative in their minds about what it means or looks like to date a certain race. I cannot tell you how many ignorant comments I’ve heard my white friends say about dating black men, for example. I cannot count how many times I’ve been hit on or sought after because of a belief that I would behave a certain way either sexually or romantically.
I am of the firm belief that it’s never too late to learn something. Here are some common interracial relationship struggles to consider and how to properly address and work through them.
You may encounter unhealthy assumptions.
As I mentioned previously, there are some people who actively seek to date outside of their race based on harmful stereotypes or unhealthy generalizations.
How many times have we heard that white and Asian women are “easier” or “more submissive” than black or latinx women? Have you heard any generalizations about black men and their sexual abilities? What about the reputation black men have as fathers?
We all know that stereotypes stem from somewhere, but if you find yourself gravitating to a person because you expect them to behave or think a certain way, it’s time to change your mind set. Instead, adopt a curious approach. Discover your partner’s interest and worldview with a genuine desire to get to know them and their perspective. Apologize if you ever put them in a position where you are generalizing them or making them feel inadequate based on what YOU think they should or shouldn’t be.
It is never your place to project your incorrect assumptions about someone’s race onto them. Conversely, you don’t have to accept that treatment either! Don’t be someone’s stereotype for the sake of a relationship.
You’ll have to talk about racism and bigotry.
Look around you. In today’s climate, I imagine it might be really difficult to avoid conversations about race. Even if you aren’t black, it’s bound to come up in some capacity; figuring out where you stand, wanting to help, or even discovering points where you disagree. Regardless, if you date someone of another race, you’ll encounter moments where racism and bigotry arise and need to be addressed.
Remember the height of COVID-19 when our Asian friends were being targeted and attacked? I was genuinely worried for my husband and his safety. I wanted him to know that I was concerned and was available to support him in whatever way he needed me.
It’s important to make sure your partner feels heard when it comes to issues about race. Allow them to express their fears and concerns openly without judgement or challenge. Don’t gaslight your partner or make them feel like an outsider if they tell you about their experiences. Believe them. Work to connect with and understand them.
It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and downright depressing to have to have conversations like this with people you love. We don’t want to think about our loved ones getting hurt or having someone mistreat them based on something as trivial as the color of their skin. Still, this is the reality we are currently facing. Stand with your partner and support them. Be vocal about your care and make sure they know, in no uncertain terms, how you feel.
You might have to deal with judgement and assumptions from others.
Piggybacking off the last point, sometimes you might have to deal with bigotry, judgement, and assumptions from others. This can range from rude looks or comments from complete strangers to rejection or cruelty from family and friends.
Please make sure you have a plan for how you might confront these issues as they arise. Of course, it is important to pick your battles. My husband and I sometimes get weird looks from strangers when we’re holding hands our showing affection in public, but we don’t let that bother us. However, I do not let anyone make negative or disparaging comments about my husband, even if I don’t know them.
I do my best to be kind, but in the rare cases where someone tries to question me about my love for him, I am quick to put them in their place and let them know how ignorant they are.
This is much harder when it comes to friends and family. While I can say that we are fortunate to both have accepting and loving families, we have each other’s back if anything should ever ‘pop off’. I know my husband would never let any of his friends or family members disrespect me or our unborn daughter based on race and the feeling is mutual.
For some of us, we might have to be prepared to walk away from close-minded friends and family who refuse to learn about and confront their biases. Love is love. If anyone has a problem with that, and you love your partner enough, you cannot and will not tolerate hatred or judgement of ANY KIND.
When correction and education does not cut it, walk away.
You might uncover issues of false superiority.
Watch out for a partner who believes, even subconsciously, that their race or ethnicity is superior to yours.
Sounds crazy, right?
Sadly, it’s not. I have been there…more times than I care to admit.
Listen up: YOU CANNOT date someone of a certain race or ethnicity and not support their equal rights and liberties.
While this might sound obvious to most of us, you’d be surprised to know how many “all lives matter”, “blue lives matter” or “I don’t see color” types are in committed relationships with black/brown people. You’d be surprised how many non-black people use the n-word freely while having black partners or ½ black children.
I once dated a man who, while ½ black himself, always complained about how being with me was “too political”. He wanted to be with an Asian woman because he felt like it was less “drama” and controversy when compared to dating a black woman (also for other unhealthy and stereotypical reasons I won’t get into right now). He, deep down, believed that being mixed made him better than me; that I was somehow “unique” or “special” because, compared to other black girls (especially dark-skinned ones) I had value. I was the first black woman he’d ever considered dating and I was supposed to feel honored. It was disgusting and I wish I’d seen it more clearly before it got out of hand.
The bottom line? If you don’t support justice and equality for the person you’re with, it’s probably best to let them go. Please do not EVER let anyone make you feel like you’re lucky to be with them because other members of your race aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough (etc). Your identity is just as important as your partner’s and should be treated as such. Your experiences and history are rich and important. Be with someone who sees you. Be with someone who wants to learn. Be with someone who fights for you and supports you no matter what.
That’s all I’ve got for this long post, but I will be revisiting this topic in the future as there is a LOT to unpack and be said about managing interracial relationships.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve faced any of these issues with your partner or if there are any that I didn’t list (I know there’s a lot I didn’t list).
I love you all and I hope you’re staying healthy, positive, and safe. ❤
I’ll be hitting you with a new podcast this weekend! Get excited!
Until next time,
Carry On Wifeys & Gents!
Be a lamb and tell your friends!
🏳️🌈🏳️🌈Also…HAPPY PRIDE MONTH TO MY LGBTQ readers! I love you, I see you, you matter! 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈