Of all the subjects that highlight the complexity of race in America – if it is not the actual top – this one has to be near the very top of the list. There are so many nuances – so many nooks and crannies that could be explored. And, in doing so, for the purposes of this topic, I will draw from my own personal experience in what will probably be a three part series. As a black male living in America – whose wife is half-Peruvian and half-white – I inherently have first-hand knowledge and experience with the “ins and outs” so to speak of an interracial relationship. And, to that end, I guess I should start at the beginning.
I had the good fortune of growing up in a home where I was not taught racist tendencies regarding who I should and should not hang out with – regardless of gender. Whether it was my choice of friends or a young lady I might ask out on a date – there were no raised eyebrows per se where my parents were concerned. From that perspective I did not discriminate racially speaking on any front and therefore would hang out with anyone of any race without hesitation. That said – I did see – especially as I got a little older into my teenage years – the racial lines that some attempted to draw and understood the way other people of all different backgrounds viewed race (for better or for worse).
*In fact I have a friend whose fiancé and now wife was disowned by her parents for marrying outside her race*
As I left my teenage years the intricacies of race were well-known on my part. And what is interesting is that although I had dated girls/women of all races – for some unknown reason to this day – I always assumed I would marry a black woman. Not really sure why honestly. This was somehow just an innate sense I had at the time. It had absolutely nothing to do with societal pressure – or some kind of personal preference – I just thought that was what was going to happen. However, fate – as it does – took over – and I met – fell in love with – and married my lovely bride – who as I mentioned is bi-racial and whom I am fortunate enough to say: is still putting up with me to this very day.
Well, what is it like you may wonder? Do my wife and I face any race related difficulties or have we had to deal with any overtly negative scenarios because we do not share the same skin color? Fortunately enough – and a hopeful knock on wood as we speak – we have not. And I have to say as well that even if someone were to say something – I am the type who would tell them they can go kick rocks. Now, what I do notice from time to time – is the occasional extended glance. Sometimes it is a “hater”. Sometimes it may be the look of a racist heart that cannot bare the sight of two people they don’t know being…(*breath taken away*)…MARRIED”?!! Other times it is a situation where quite frankly there are others who had themselves thought to date or marry outside their race and for whatever reason it did not happen (have been told as much). So they are just curious to meet us.
With that background in mind I have to say that my wife and I have been happy socially speaking (as it relates to our outside interactions day in and day out) and have had an “ordinary” or I guess you might say “typical” marriage if you will – in that regard. We actually may have even experienced some amazingly unique connections due to the interracial aspect now that I think about it. There has been no emotional turmoil because of our different ethnicities or racial roadblocks standing in our way. The diverse backgrounds and therefore experience we both bring to the table if anything actually enhances our relationship – not hinders it. I have occasionally heard an old-wives tale that people of different races who are in a relationship “cannot understand one another” due to being raised differently. Could not be further from the truth. I could see that being a problem for someone who had bought into stereotypes and racist beliefs about someone of another race – but my guess is someone who held those beliefs would most likely not marry outside their race to begin with.
My final take for part one of this series is this: any given individual should be able to date or marry whomever they please based on common interests – attraction – etc. The divisions (where they exist) that have been forged over time in America are of our own making. If two people of the same race meet – fall in love – and get married that is fantastic. I just don’t believe anyone ought to feel as though they are obligated to do so based strictly upon pigmentation. If there happen to be people who unbeknownst to us avoid contact or talk behind our back – we would not want a relationship with them to begin with – therefore absolutely nothing is lost on our end.
So if today’s blog should happen to find someone whose family or friends are warning them to “cease and desist” from an interracial relationship – take a page out of my book and tell them they can go kick some rocks!
OREOS TO GO: Share this post with others and let’s get a much needed conversation started. Part two coming next week!
More than a blog. It’s a movement.
Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.
And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.