It is a minefield dealing with a cross-cultural or interracial relationship at times! One of the first interracial and cross-culture relationships ever portrayed on screen was Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner in 1960. It showed the surprise, biases, and suspicion of people towards a black man dating a white woman. It is a long time from then but things have not exactly changed.
The reality is that there are more people in a relationship that is cross cultured or interracial than in the past. But many people still are very much against any kind of mixed relationships. Some people must not solely choose a partner for the color of their skin. Others still think this is vital.
Unsolicited/ Racist Advice
The first point to talk about is that these kinds of relationships are certainly much more common these days and are much more widely accepted than ever before. There are many people out there who thankfully believe that one does not need to marry within one’s own race. But others still see it as a disgusting thing. And they are usually racists and motivated by keeping bloodlines “clean” and “pure”.
Sadly despite the clearly racist undertones of such a way of thinking, people who say such things never think that they are being racist. They claim that they are giving great advice for people’s own good. Other people will advise you that if you do have children in a mixed-race relationship it is much better than it is a girl. Apparently, it is believed that girls would have a much easier time fitting in. Despite the intersectionality of gender making the lives of a girl much more challenging than boys, people still hold this weird view!
Cut Disapproving People Out
Another piece of advice is that you do not have to keep working at relationships with people who openly despise the cross-cultural relationship you are in. If the “loved ones” around you constantly keep making snide remarks about your significant other or casually slip into racist jokes or such. It might be the case that such toxic people should not really be in your life in the first place. You might have to make the hard decision to end these sorts of relationships, be it, friends or family. Some people who you think would have stayed with you throughout your life suddenly reveal themselves to be closeted bigots and in such a situation it is always better to know than you have things hidden. If you can not convince them on changing their views on race and culture, it is best to do away with such people for good!
In a cross-cultural, interfaith, or interracial couple, one or both of you will face many microaggressions. According to Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology, microaggressions are known as the everyday subtle and intentional interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias towards marginalized groups. These could be found in the form of the security guard tailing and following a black or brown person throughout a store in order to make sure they do not end up “stealing”. It is the old lady who clutches her bag a little harder when she sees a black person nearby.
These sorts of acts are extremely hurtful. As a couple, you will spend a lot of time talking about such actions as they will be a part of your partner’s life or yours. These situations are harder inherently than anything faced by similar race couples. It might make your coupling easier if you just keep telling the hurtful microaggressions you face rather than every single little one. At the start of a relationship, you might find yourselves talking about such things for hours on end almost. But as you get to know each other, you can reduce these conversations to just a few minutes each day.
Race Discussions Unavoidable
In an interracial or multicultural relationship, it is impossible to avoid talk of race. You might choose to ignore the topic when you meet and might continue to do so for years on end. But it has to crop up eventually. Many people tend to avoid such a discussion but in the times we live in it is best to confront the topic head-on. In a world full of racial injustice and inequality, we can’t afford to keep sticking our heads in the sand. The discussions may get intense or uncomfortable as well as hugely emotionally challenging. Sometimes partners can unintentionally gaslight their S.O’s when dissecting such a sensitive topic such as race or differing cultures. They might accidentally question their partner about an act of abuse they have faced. They might struggle to understand just how difficult life can be as a marginalized group in society. Hence it is imperative to have such conversations and always be on the same page.
These experiences are not to scare someone off the wonderful experience of interracial dating. It is still a very common thing to happen in many cross-cultural relationships. You should take it as advice and encouragement. There is a chance that you might never face any of these issues. But it is always important to brace any kind of challenge that the world may throw towards you and your loved one.
At the end of the day, all sorts of relationships are beautiful. When love united two human beings, it does not let color or culture come in the way. It looks solely at their hearts and their souls. Racism and bigotry are an abnormality and a deviant mutation of our society. Human beings were brought on this earth to love one another and live in peace and harmony. We wish all the best of luck to everyone out there in an interracial or multicultural relationship. May your love always outshine the hate and coldness of the world.
** This article is an opinion of the writer.