I'm Not Shocked By The Negativity I Receive About My Interracial Relationship
Patience is a virtue that is suggested to everyone. But if you are in an interracial relationship in 2016, patience is a necessary skill. A sense of humor will take you a long way too, but you won't make it out the front door without patience.
I consider myself a biracial woman, although, based on societal stipulations, I am classified as a black woman. I would classify myself the same if my mind worked solely on a binary scale. I date an Irish-Indian-Scottish man who is, you guessed it, a white man.
Why is this important? I'm not really sure. I'm still trying to figure it out.
Being a black woman has always been my truth, and something I embrace proudly. I love everything about my heritage, culture, skin and hair. #BlackGirlMagic, if you will.
By identifying as a black woman, I often get placed into stereotypes that contradict my personality, beliefs or perspectives. This is never more present to me than when I am out with my boyfriend and get stared at like a unicorn on a busy street corner.
Here are some facts about us:
Our lifestyles aren't different. We grew up with similar surroundings, experiences and upbringings. Our values aren't different, seeing as we both believe in and strive for the same qualities in life and as humans. Our respective religions, political views and overall life outlooks are remarkably similar.
But our skin tones are vastly different shades, thus inviting a slew of ignorant questions and assumptions to be placed on our relationship that normally wouldn't be there.
At first, I believed it to be a Southern habit because living in the deep south can be hard for anyone deemed "different." Then it started happening on our travels out of state at the hands of people who have never stepped a foot over the Mason Dixon line.
It has always baffled me as to why people care about the lives of others, when that person literally does nothing to influence your own life.
It's the amount of attention that makes you want to scream, "HI. HELLO. I SEE YOU." But, that's not very polite, is it?
Oftentimes, it gets to a point where you just want to carry around a bunch of cards stating things via "Love Actually," with answers like, "No, neither of us are having problem identifying with our respective cultures."
Actually, we haven't talked about kids yet but I'm sure they will identify as "human."
No, his mom actually loves and adores me.
Yes, we both speak proper English and are natural-born citizens of the US.
No, I don't feel like I've betrayed my race by dating him. But thanks for caring.
According to this report by Pew Research Center, 12 percent of newlyweds in 2013 married someone of a different race. And beyond that, 6.3 percent of all marriages in 2013 were interracial.
That's a lot of people who are living, breathing and loving someone of a different race. So why is it such a spectacle?
I've never understood why seeing an interracial couple walking down the street can elicit the same reactions as seeing a giraffe graze peacefully in your suburban yard — like it's not supposed to be there, but you still can't pull your eyes and judgements away from it.
At times, I chalk it up to my insecurities as to why this person keeps looking at us across the restaurant, or why that man is shaking his head seemingly in our direction.
But other times — more specifically, when a black man asks me the question, “How can you support black men/black lives when you date a white man?” — I think to myself, "What the actual fuck?"
That question is completely ridiculous and I normally refuse to answer it, but for the sake of this article, here's what I will say.
There is absolutely no correlation between those two things. I hate the double standard presented to women of color when they date outside of their race, and it's about time it was halted.
Also, according to this same report from the Pew Research Center, black men are much more likely than women to marry someone of a different race. Only 12 percent of black women married outside of their race in 2013, as opposed to the nearly full quarter of black men who married outside of theirs.
I've always been shocked by the amount of attention America pays to the color of someone's skin, and sadly, I have been subjected to it for the better part of my life.
From the dreaded “What are you?” to the never-ending, “Well, you're not like normal black people…" it's rare I get away with not being questioned about my race.
But the question of interracial dating is something that never ceases to amaze me. It can come from literally anyone, even your more level-headed and liberal friend.
If we continue to objectify people by their race, we'll never get rid of the systemic racism that flows through our society.
To give in to the hatred of the world is to let people's ignorance win. It's giving people the power to influence and change YOUR life when they play no pivotal role in it.
There's not a person alive who should allow this negativity to dictate their lives, yet sadly, there are quite a bit who do.
An Elite Daily writer wrote about her experience with interracial dating, and the personal insecurities that grew from her negative experience with it. That broke my heart, because love is love.
I'll even hashtag it so it means a bit more. #LoveIsLove.
We shout this from the rooftops, but barely show it to one another. It's about time we walk the walk because I, for one, am getting sick of this shit.