Interracial ‘LOVE’ in the Rainbow Nation

interacial love I am a big fan of interracial love, after all I’ve always believed that if you want to have beautiful babies you need to mix it up a little. Well actually, it is probably more the fact that I don’t have any inclination to date men of my ‘own’ kind – as this would probably mean that I’d end up dating my brother from another mother or something along those lines. Plus, it’s not as if the male specimens from the Indian sub-continent have a reputation for being particularly well-endowed.

Being a London girl, I never thought twice about who or what I could date. When you grow up in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, there is nothing strange about seeing an Albino holding hands with a Rasta man, an imam from Saudi Arabia making out with a Thai lady boy on the Tube, or even just an old Englishman marrying his dog (yes, being a dog you’ll find you are treated better than certain races are here in SA). You’ve got to find love where you can in the concrete jungle.

Sadly, when I moved to the ‘Rainbow Nation’, this vision of a fairytale world where love knows no bounds quickly came tumbling down. People often asked me how I felt about being in an interracial relationship (actually what they meant to ask was how a chapatti like me managed to bag myself a lily-white farm boy?). Being the ever-so-slightly arrogant girl that I am just wanted to flash my golden BRITISH passport at them and say smoke this suckers (while you queue up outside every god-forsaken foreign embassy, filling in forms justifying your existence and promising that you will return to South Africa as soon as is humanly possibly). So let’s get one thing straight, I was actually the catch in that relationship there, regardless of the colour of my skin.

Since I’ve been playing the field, I’ve become even more aware of this (unnecessarily) complicated race issue in South Africa. My lovely friends, colleagues and even random bergies have been quick to give me advice on interracial dating. Actually, advice is a bit of an understatement, it might be more appropriate to call this drivel ‘strict instructions on how to be narrow-minded and continue living in the happy days of Apartheid. For instance, I had this one friend (note past tense) that after pursuing a relationship with a black guy who cheated and sponged off her for like a millennium (I think he can educate all of us on the art of RINSING) vowed NEVER to touch the holy BBC ever again because basically they are all useless, backward, broke-ass and sexist (even Barack Obama). Not only does this rule out 75% of the pool of potential men in the country, but as far as I am concerned it’s just plain stupid. A highly-educated, well-travelled, good-looking black dude working in high powered Christian Grey type job in Jo’burg can’t realistically be likened to a tribal chief living in the hills of KZN now can they?

I am not going to lie and pretend to be the most open-minded, liberal, burn-my-bra type of girl out there. I also have my limits (those with unnecessary missing teeth and people who just can’t string a sentence together in English aren’t really going to make it past the first date). But what I am saying is that for me it’s more about a person’s education, interests, attitudes (and maybe money has some part to pay in it) than the colour of their skin. These are things that a person can acquire. Whereas skin colour is something most of us (Michael Jackson was the exception) have no choice in.

So according to my observations, this ideal of a Rainbow Nation is very much a façade, at least when it comes to dating, relationships and LOVE. While there are people (mostly internationals, like myself) who are bucking the trend and proving that love isn’t governed by race, the overwhelming majority of relationships prove that Apartheid is still well and truly alive in South African dating circles (i.e. he will happily live out his dirty little ethnic fantasies behind closed doors but there is no way he is taking that cute little exotic thing home to meet his high-brow folks).

That’s just a little bit about what I have to say about the whole interracial dating thing in Cape Town.So now over to you dear readers/rinsers … please share your best and worst experiences about interracial love in the comments below. : )

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32 comments

  1. I agree with what you’re saying about Cape Town being racist. However, I think that what we perceive as racism is actually misread classism – the reason why races don’t mix has much more to do with class than race even though on surface it can look like ordinary racism. Many of the “racists” who would criticize a white woman for dating a black South African, wouldn’t seem anything wrong with her dating a black mam raised and bred in London.

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  2. You make a really good point. Internationals are a breed of their own in SA – and the normal race rules don’t apply. Capetonians assume that all internationals have money and class. However, I can honestly tell you that this is not the case. While South Africans may believe that all Brits are high-brow Mr Darcy types I can tell that a huge part of the reason I fled my home country was due to the UK’s tolerance of chavs. So really, the rest of the world has rough people too.

    Again, to some extent, your class is something you can change by working hard, making money and going to etiquette classes. But I wonder would any of this make a difference in the eyes of these narrow-minded people?

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  3. Very interesting article you wrote here. You educated me some about SA and I related my knowledge of dating in other nations to it. What I’ve found here in Northern USA around metro Detroit, is that culture plays an important role. If a white country boy (but accustomed to city life too) like me wants to date a dark skin hottie there are limitations on the playing field. I’ll call myself physically average here. If me and another white guy (of any physical type) approach a black female Detroiter and the other guy can barely speak clear English and approaches every woman in a vulgar manner, HE WINS! If that girl is an African, Pacific Islander, or even from a few places in USA like Texas, I WIN! So, I can avoid telling a specific story and just imagine all that a guy that prefers the physical beautiful of a black woman has to go through here. Ok, then this particular guy hooks up with his dream woman, dark skin, African queen. They go out to night clubs, restaurants, and even camping. Many people look in awe. Some look in surprise! Some don’t even notice. I just see it as a growing norm here, but not extremely normal. If we went to redneckville in Northern Michigan we’d get angry stares, so there are still some very racist areas as well.

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    • Hey Scott. Thanks for your insights. Its good to know that Cape Town only place where interracial relationships can be problematic. I guess to be fair South Africa is a relatively new democracy and it will be at least a couple of generations before people’s attitudes really change here. To be fair, even in England, despite all the intergration, there are still lots of people that prefer to date their ‘own’ kind. Its just that you wonder how much of it is due to personal preferences and how much is due to racist attitudes. The point you make about culture is also v.true, I guess there are pros to dating people from the same background as yourself because they will more likely to understand shared traditions and be able to deal with certain family dynamics, etc. That all being said, I still think its more fun dating people of other cultures … that way even if you don’t end up hitting it off in the long term, you can still learn something new. Think of it as a social experiment.

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  4. It was only 48 years ago that interracial marriage was made legal here in the U.S. It’s more accepted now, but you still get those frowns, turning up of noses, etc., especially in the South. I think white man with black woman is more accepted than white woman with black men. With the white woman/black man couple, you have the white family who is uncomfortable with “from the other side of the tracks” black man dating their daughter, & then on the black man’s side, you have black women accusing the white woman of stealing all of their good men.

    I think today, particularly for black people, interracial dating can be seen as a form of self-hate. Typical comments you’ll hear from black women are, “N*ggas ain’t sh*t” or “All black men are jobless deadbeats, who wear saggy pants, and smoke weed, and listen to rap music, and have ten baby mommas, so I’m gonna date a white man.” And from black men, it’s, “all black women are bitter, angry, and emasculating. I’m gonna date a white woman.” Of course that not the case for all interracial couples, but you do hear it a lot.

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  5. […] As it’s written from a male-perspective, it also offers some useful insights into the other side of the story. For example, the difficulties guys face in asking our pretty little faces out and basically how the Internet has reduced their fear of rejection. Yup, now I understand why these fools feel they can send me obnoxious messages asking if they were ‘special’ or whether they could pay to ‘sleep’ at my place instead of at the backpackers (yes! really? really ?!?). Apparently, there’s this website called Straight White Boys Texting dedicated to this type of douchery (NB despite the name this site includes messages from douche-men of all ethnic backgrounds). […]

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  6. YES!!! I’m in an interracial relationship in the U.S. My husband is black-his parents immigrated from Jamaica before he was born. I came across problems in my own family. We lied about the day we actually got married so my grandparents had time to embrace the idea. I felt so bad when my he came home with me after we had just started dating (for one of our mutual friends weddings) and he had to endure racism from my own family. I was disgusted and embarrassed. Now, I see racism more than I had before. I will comment to my white family members about something and they brush it off as– “I don’t think she’s racist.” or provide an excuse like ” oh her back just hurt, that’s why she left early.” It’s amazing to me. I also never tell people I’m in an interracial relationship or say things like, “My husband is a black man.” because to me it’s not an important element of our relationship. People’s faces say it all when they finally meet him though. So much shock overtakes their face, then when he isn’t around they say things like, “I didn’t know your husband was black.” Does it matter? We live in a world where people assume that your significant other will be the same race as you and the opposite sex as you. Hopefully it will change, but I’m sure it will be a slow change.

    Also, thanks for the comment on my blog forever ago! You have a beautiful blog!

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  7. […] Lots of fully-grown adults can’t get their heads around the concept of dating. I know many sad spinsters who are unable to embrace the modern tools (Tinder, OKC, etc) that we have at our disposal and have resigned themselves to a life at home with their cats. If only someone could be so kind as to provide them with the Ladybird Book they would soon realise that dating  is nothing to be afraid of and is just ‘a fun way of meeting someone who is as terrified as dying alone as you are’.. It goes on to explain various aspects of dating/relationships that most of us are familiar with such as dating down, settling, blind dates dealing with people who have bad spelling/grammar and dating practices in foreign cultures. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] When it first came to light the Harry and Meghan were dating there were a lot of comments made about Meghan’s ethnic background (apparently some people though she’d come straight out of Compton!). After the Brexit decision, I wouldn’t blame a person for believing that Britain is a horrible racist little island.  Sure,  there are still those narrow-minded people (across all race groups) that  actively stick their own but the more progressive among us have grown up alongside of people of different backgrounds and genuinely don’t see much of an issue when it comes to interracial dating. […]

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