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.