Interracial Relationships in a Time of Racial Tension
For many people, seeing interracial relationships is the norm. We see it on television, in movies, and even on the street. You may even be in one yourself or be the product of one. The issue of racism doesn’t often come up within these relationships because one would assume (and hope) their partner isn’t a racist. But with the state of the world, being silent isn’t an option.
I am a product of my environment. White boys were pretty much the only option I had for a long time, so some interracial entanglements were inevitable. However, the environment I grew up in was not accepting of it. I will admit, I was nervous to tell my black parents that I liked a white boy which is so crazy to say. But my parents are normal and forward thinking people who didn’t even bat an eye. They did explain to me though, that dating outside of my race would be a bit harder for me especially at the particular private school I went to.
I never found dating outside my race an issue. I hate to sound cliche, but people are people. I would never dislike someone based on their race, but at the same time I shouldn’t just like someone because they are the same race as I am. If I vibe with someone that’s all that matters, you should be with whoever you’re happy with and share common interests with. For me, often times that ends up being someone of another race.
That being said, it’s important that your partner understand your culture’s history. When you decide to date outside your race that comes along with the relationship. No exceptions. As a young black woman, I could not date someone who does not understand why we are fighting for equal rights and better treatment, and I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable speaking on issues either.
Many black celebrities with white significant others have spoken on a few important aspects of being in an interracial relationship during these times. Actress Tika Sumpter recently tweeted, “Dear Black interracial couples with a significant other who is white (raises hand), we DO NOT need to protect them. I promise, they will be A. OK. They need to continue to fight for us. If they get offended when you talk about racists. You have a bigger problem on your hands.”
Even Shaun T, of Insanity fame, described a moment where his son was playing “police officer” with his dads. His husband, who is white, did not see any issue with the game, but Shaun realized his son now knew what a police officer was and that soon they would need to discuss the treatment of black people by the police.
I try my best to educate myself on the issues going on in communities other than my own, and I would hope whomever I chose to date has the same respect. I do not need to spare someone’s sensitivity at the risk of “hurting their feelings”. It’s sad that some women will silence themselves or turn a blind eye to comments their partner made, just to stay in said relationships.
After a while, I knew none of the boys in my town would be bold to bring a black woman home to their parents. I even met a girl who kept her black boyfriend a secret for 3 years from her Persian parents (no idea what ever happened with that one). I’m content knowing that I never subjected myself to that just to be in a relationship.
If you are not open to having tough conversations about racial injustice, you are not someone who should be dating outside of your race. If you are someone who gaslights their partner or acts as if racial injustices isn’t a factor in your relationship, you are someone who likes the idea of being with a man/woman of color. Being in an interracial relationship means that you are supportive of both your partner and the adversities they encounter, because it is now a part of your life as well. If you can’t handle that being a part of your everyday life or bother to educate yourself, then you need to re-evaluate things, because silence is not an option when your BIPOC partner is suffering.