Guest Post: Ebony And Ivory………The Loving Way by EttaD of Simply Etta

EttaD

As borders become less concrete, people become more mobile and technology allows us to become increasingly exposed to those from diverse cultures, interracial relationships are becoming more and more common. That said, this doesn’t mean they are in any sense easy. There are still lots of raised eyebrows, dumbass questions and general prejudices that those in interracial relationships have to face each and every day.

In today’s special guest post Etta D, a blogger based in Scotland, who talks about her experiences of interracial relationships in the USA, UK and the Bahamas. She also provides insights into she (and her husband, Jeremy) deal with these obstacles. 

The uncomfortable twist, the silent gaze, the awkward conversations. I’ve experienced it all at home and abroad. Both in my past relationships and my current one.

I remember when my eldest was just a baby, this lady walked up to me while at a Mall in South Florida and said to me, ” you take such good care of her.” I remember the stares I got while sitting on a bench a few hours later in the same mall with her under her a blanket while I breastfed her. The stares gave a clear indication that the lady who approached me earlier actually thought I was her nanny. Though my ex and I were both black, his parents are both bi-racial. My own background is as multi-cultural as they come, filled with hues of just about every shade of browns from pale to dark to pitch black.

But I digress. I’m a black Caribbean woman with a white Belgian husband living in The United Kingdom, in 2019 I can still see the curiosity on many faces here. Like the lady in the Tesco who tried her best to garner his attention, then nearly passed out with shocked as Jeremy placed his hand at the small of my back or the double take by a few of neighbours when we first moved here he introduced me as his wife.

It’s been little over a half a century since interracial marriages were legalized in America. Though Jeremy and I joke about it, in reality, we know that there are people out there who still harbour that bias against our relationship. Whether they express it or know we know the bias is there. However, it’s something we have chosen to ignore because we have no control over the emotional state of others. We don’t consider ourselves trailblazers. The Trailblazers were those who came before us, those who suffered the persecution and fought against adversity for love.

I grew up in a society where race was never an issue, I had friends from all walks of life so it was only natural for me to have an open mind when it came to acceptance of others. I never looked at the colour of a person but rather their substance. I never programmed myself to only date a certain man as many women do. My heart had no preference for skin colour, religion or social standing.

In speaking with other interracial couples, I sense the uneasiness in discussing their relationships. Some even going so far as to cut themselves off socially preferring to remain within their own nucleus or only interacting with other interracial couples, just to maintain that level of comfort; they prefer to avoid the usual questions of how did you two meet? Have you met his family? What does your family think about him? How do you make your relationship work?…..

Though more relaxed socially about interracial dating, back home it is the Bahamian male who has the privilege of dating outside his race without question as it’s more accepted for a Bahamian man to have a spouse of a different race than it is for a woman.  Bahamian men can transfer citizenship to both their children and non-Bahamians spouse but Bahamian females are not afforded the same privilege as our male counterparts. A Bahamian female cannot pass on citizenship to her non-Bahamian husband. If she’s married to a white Non-Bahamian then he must be rich and while you may not get the silent gaze or awkward conversations it seems that the Bahamas’ constitution has not caught up with the 21 Century.

Colour is skin deep but love pierces the heart. For me maintaining a strong relationship, interracial or not, you must remain true to yourself, if others can make you feel that uncomfortable about being in a relationship or marriage you have to look within yourself and not at them. Jeremy and I know the basis of our relationship. We don’t need validation nor do we need acceptance from anyone for the way we live our lives and that’s how we make it work.

EttaD is a mother, sister, daughter and friend who blogs about life, love, god and family on her blog Simply Etta. She produces content to inspire and motivate her readers. To learn more about Etta check out her blog or follow her on Facebook or Instagram

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4 comments

  1. Hey Etta!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with our readers.

    Having only ever been in interracial relationships, I’ve dealt with similar things. But I do think there is a big difference in outright racism and ignorance/curiosity. In South Africa, race is way more of an issue than it would be in the UK. In SA, i think it is also a class thing, you don’t expect to see POC at middle class establishments, so if you buck the trend you tend to get noticed. In the UK, I’ve never sensed much of an issue espcially in cosmopolitan places like London. I think its a case of people being British before they are black, white, brown or rainbow coloured 😉 But I suppose in small villages, where they are less exposed to such things you’ll be regarded as a bit of an oddity. I don’t think these people necessarily mean badly and with a little more exposure and education they’ll change their ways.

    I don’t think the views of general society is as much of a big deal, as the attitudes of a person’s immediate family/network. If the people closest to you/you SO have issues about the interracial nature of your relationship then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. I once ‘dated’ this guy (I was only trying to drag something along so I had a plus one for #zlotybaby’s wedding) who introduced me to his mum, who basically sat there telling me why relationships between lovely white boys and happy clappy brown girls who worshipped elephants (I think she assumed I was Hindu but I wouldn’t know because technically even in Hinduism Ganesh isn’t technically an elephant – dumbass old hag!) wouldn’t work. Little did she know I had no such intentions towards her precious son. Sigh.

    But as you say, its about the couple in question. If you guys are willing to say screw you to society and ignorant family members, then race shouldn’t be a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your story. Your relationship and other interracial relationship make it easier for the next generation of interracial couples. The more interracial couples there are, the less surprised people will be about it. Love looks at what’s in one’s heart and that’s how it should be.

    I had one serious interracial relationship. My ex fiance was Muslim and it was after 9/11 so I had to deal with a lot of islamophobia and unenlightened views, not only with racism because I was in an interracial relationship. Our relationship ended because we weren’t a great match longterm, though not because of these issues.

    Obviously interracial relationships deal with many issues, however, I think people stare at anything that is uncommon and prefer to be surprised, rather than open-minded. It doesn’t have to do with race. For instance, here in SA it’s not a big deal that my husband has earrings but you should see how people look at him in Poland, my home country… Even when he was wearing a cap in winter and his earrings weren’t visible people would still stare at us in public transport because we spoke English and that was true even in the capital city. We’re also planning an interracial adoption so I guess we’ll just have to get used to being stared at.
    One of my friends married a Muslim and they live in Poland and she used to ask people starring at them “Are you okay? and “May I help you?”, which I think was a great way of dealing with it.

    The point is that we must do what we must do to stay true to ourselves. Hopefully, with more people moving to different countries people will become more open-minded.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zlotybaby this is like a ‘DUH’ moment for me. Forgot that you are Polish and never made the connection with your name and the currency 😉 I visited Poland back in 2008, it was a group of us Chaperoning kids who were in a National Choir at the time. We had mixed experiences on our visit, there were those who stared, even pointed at us, a group of mostly black women, then there were others who can up to us and struck on a conversation. I remember fondly an African guy we met on the street one day, he was with his girlfriend who was Polish. He was there visiting her family for the first time. Don’t know who was happier, him meeting us or us meeting him. Bahamians are gregarious by nature. LOL! I don’t think it has much to do with racism either. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced both curiosities about me as a black woman and outright blatant racism. Like the difference between the old lady on the bus telling me I should sit at the back of the bus where I belong and the lady in Walmart asking me if she could touch my braids. One was a racist and the other was just curious 🙂

    Englishrose I agree that metropolitan cities respond to things differently, the same as home. But surprisingly back home it’s reverse, on the island no one would bat an eyelash to us holding hands walking down the street, while in the City there would be a few sip, sips as we say.

    Thank you both for sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

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