The color of America is changing rapidly. There are more interracial relationships now than there have ever been. There are Black and White couples, Hispanic and White couples; there are too many combinations to name. While it seems that individuals are learning to judge the person and not the color or the culture, society as a whole has not come that far. There are still those that think that interracial relationships are wrong and destined to fail. While they can be seen anywhere, it is still hard to be an interracial couple today. They can be the on the receiving end of racial slurs or antagonistic stares. In this article, I am going to share an interview I conducted with a woman who has been in an interracial relationship for thirty-four years. The questions asked are in red. If you are in an interracial relationship, you may think about how these questions and answers apply to you. It is worth mentioning, however, that the views and opinions expressed in this article are from a small group of people and is not meant to convey feelings or opinions of any other group.
How did you meet your spouse/partner?
I met him when I lived in an apartment building…he was my female neighbor’s brother and came to visit her often. One day (spring of 1977), I was bringing packages in and he offered to help me carry them.
Did you have any second thoughts about beginning a relationship with someone from another race/culture?
Not at all, I had been raised to believe that we are all equal. People are people regardless of the color of their skin. We are all children of God.
How did your family & friends react to your relationship?
My father was the only one who did not really like it so much…but my parents never really interfered in my life. He would just say little comments that let me know he was not happy with it. I think he said once…”why can’t you find a white man?” I lived in an area that was racially mixed so my friends were open minded about the relationship. Some of my female friends were also in biracial relationships. (it was the 70’s…a time of change).
How do people react when you are in public with your spouse/partner?
At first, I noticed that some people stared at us …but did not pay any attention to it, so I stopped noticing.
Do you have children?
Prior to this relationship I’d had a full Caucasian daughter from a marriage, (she’s now 40) and also had a daughter from a previous biracial relationship (she’s now 36)
How did growing up in an intercultural/interracial family affect your children? (At home, school, or other social gatherings) You may also add anything else you feel is relevant to this particular question.
This is a good question, throughout the years I have talked to friends who have biracial children and have seen TV shows about the topic. Often I have heard that the children feel a sense of not belonging to either race…stuck in the middle and unable to develop a clear identity. I have asked my daughter how she was affected and she says that she had no problems growing up…at all. I suppose that could be attributed to often living in a culturally mixed neighborhood or perhaps my attitude toward the human race, in general. I honestly believe that God made everyone on this earth the same inside, regardless of color and loves each one of us equally. I never treated her different than I did her sister…so I suppose that gave her a good sense of belonging. She has always had girlfriends of every race but has always dated African-American men. She was married to a biracial man and they had 3 sons and is now married to a Jamaican and had a baby on Dec. 1…her children are a variety of colors!
Do you think it is harder to maintain an intercultural/interracial relationship than a relationship in which each person is of the same race or culture? Why?
Perhaps it is…because of the difference in culture, not color. When I became involved with my daughters father it was a whole new world to me…they ate different food…like grits, greens, “chitlins” (chitterlings), had a different way of talking…the use of some slang words I didn’t know, even had hair products I’d never heard of…for example. However, I was raised as a northerner. Since most southerners originated from the south, I am sure there are white southerners that are familiar with some of these same foods, and maybe the slang words.
If you would, tell me what your personal feelings on this subject are.
I think even now that there is much prejudice in our country, especially. The stereotyping and deep down hatred for other cultures can be passed from generation to generation even without a word being spoken. Those little overt actions that a father might do could be passed to his son without him even knowing it. And the seed is planted.
The fact that more and more bicultural relationships are becoming more public today is helping. Many well-known actors, singers and athletesare in these relationships. I noticed a commercial on TV recently that had a biracial couple in it! I was pleased to see that! In addition, there are a few TV shows that have biracial couples (Parenthood, for one). I don’t think it will ever change the minds of some though; there will always be those that will stare at us and wonder “what’s she doing with him?” That will never change, unfortunately.
There is some food for thought,both for people in an interracial relationship and for those who oppose it. Love should never be about skin color or culture, it should always be about the person who makes you happy.