If you didn’t already know, I’m in an interracial relationship. Have been for a year and a half, coincidentally the best year and a half of my life thus far. Coincidentally.
His name’s Carter, and he’s my best friend.
Additionally, my parents are in an interracial relationship so I interviewed my mom (my other best friend) for this piece too.
Now, this will not be a story about my mother’s or my relationship, but rather some things we’ve learned along the way. First, I’d like to preface all my sage relationship advice with this, THE most important relationship advice I can possibly offer you:
Do not date someone because of his or her skin color. Just don’t. Don’t do it.
When you are thinking of a mate for the future, race should not factor in as a prerequisite. Race is by no means a qualitative measure of someone’s personality or worth. It is merely a color, a social construct, an arbitrary classification of people based on physical characteristics. It has NOTHING to do with how that person will behave in a relationship. Online I learned about “swirl love” which is basically people who are obsessed with interracial relationships. People actually comment things like “This is why I ONLY date black guys,” or, “Spanish girls are where it’s at!”
If you do this, do the world a favor and stop.
Take a page out of Martin Luther King’s book and date someone, “not because of the color of their skin, but for the content of their character.” If along the way you find yourself in an interracial relationship, good for you! If not, good for you!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some tips for interracial dating.
1. Keep in mind that you two probably have grown up in different environments.
It’s pretty awkward those first couple of times you two realize that you have different worldviews. With Carter and I, it’s been pretty easy because half of my family is white, so we have an ethnicity in common, but one of the things I worry about is the first time I bring him to Jamaica. (I’m terrified he’ll starve cause he might not like Jamaican food!) So when approaching topics like that, it’s best to have open communication with your significant other, so you can feel each other out for environmental stumbling blocks like food or music.
2. Understand that some people won’t be comfortable with your relationship.
This tip is the reason that I interviewed my mother for this article. While I have noticed some lingering stares at the mall, I’ve never faced outright discrimination for my relationship. You know who has? My awesome mom. She’s bravely faced just about every vile name in the book you can call a white woman who loves a black man. You could argue that it was a different time when my parents got together (Early 90’s) but still- come ON. Here’s some advice straight from my mom.
“When others hurt you with their bigotry, it’s best to remember you care more about the person you’re with than the people against you. That being said, try to know your audience. Don’t deliberately put your relationship in situations that will get a negative reaction. Live your life and all, but don’t take yourself to a hillbilly bar and look at everyone like ‘Come at me bro!'”
Always the eloquent texter, my mom.
3. Finally, always keep in mind what drew you to the person and what you love about them.
“The love is worth the struggle,” were my mother’s final comments on interracial dating, a sentiment I too hold. Always keep that in mind. During the rainy days and the sunshiny days, because there will be both! So always have that in the forefront of your interactions with the object of your love.
That’s all I have for this week, but I also suggest you give some of my articles at College Magazine a read, cause I get pretty crazy over there.