GONE are the days when having a relationship with someone outside your race had to be kept a secret out of fear of persecution. But even though interracial relationships have become a common feature nowadays, the prejudices which governed these prohibitions have not disappeared and many interracial couples continue to suffer prejudice at the hands of family, friends, society and even their partners.
The truth is, you don't have a lot of control over whom you love, but if you are considering dating someone outside your race you also need to consider reality outside of the rose-coloured glasses, and you might want to heed the experiences of the people below.
“My ex-husband was the second Caucasian man I had dated. He was at first fun, charming and sweet but I did realise that he always in some way made it seem like I had to measure up to him and it was not on a masculine-feminine level — it was about our race,” Kassidy L said.
She realised that he didn't seem particularly interested in her culture or the way she grew up; his intention, she believes, was to prove to her that being white was somehow better.
“I feel like he was on a mission to isolate me; he already wanted me to distance myself from my blackness — cook less of certain things, wear less of a certain kind of jewellery, speak to fewer of my friends with a little more melanin, and choose make-up that made me “brighter”. He made me feel like it was a blessing to be closer in skin tone and relational proximity to being white, and at that point I had to get out,” she said.
“My ex is a well-respected Chinese engineer. When I got involved with him what I didn't know is that an arranged marriage in this day and age is still a big thing. Anyway, his decision to marry me came with a lot of backlash, including loss of his job,” Sherene Y said.
She recalls conversations becoming shorter, arguments longer, and he blamed her for him losing his inheritance and family.
“At that point I told him I would give him a divorce and that I would keep my child so his family wouldn't have a constant reminder of what a disappointment he had been to them,” she said. “I hear from him every once in a while. My daughter has never met any family outside one aunt who lives in Jamaica and I am okay with that.”
“I had to deal with the stares from other people because apparently a black man was not good enough for a white woman. I hated this and wondered what I had got myself into,” Charles H said. He said to make matters worse, her family and friends were openly racist — they made it clear that they would not accept him and instead went on a mission to convince his wife that black men, especially Jamaicans, were cheaters trying to get a green card.
“Her insecurity made her believe all that they brainwashed her with, they constantly accused me of cheating, and she took up the habit of addressing me by the N-word. I loved her and was trying to help her to see reason, but I felt like I was pushing a crane uphill and eventually I just let them win,” he said.
“Being with a woman of another race is a fetish for some men. Sadly it wasn't until three years into my relationship that I found out that the relationship with the father of my child started because he wanted to 'try' me,” Lisa D said.
She said that when she found the messages, he said that it should make her feel good because he went black and couldn't go back.
“There were so many red flags with my relationship. I remember one of the times, because I am outspoken and not as submissive as his Asian ex, he said he should have listened to his bros because women of colour are some 'angry black women' and as such he wanted me to raise our daughter to be as mellow as his sisters,” she said.
Constantly being on edge
“I love my husband and we are happy, but sometimes outside of regular relationship challenges it's almost like we are constantly dealing with an elephant in the room. For example, it's almost like I have to be constantly on my toes and I feel that he does too because we don't want to offend each other. Small things that we would say around our folks like, 'it must be a crazy white person', or 'it's a black people thing' can come off as insensitive, hurtful even,” Michelle shared.
She said there were other small things, like concerns over what racial features their mixed-race child would take, and her family giving her flack for suggesting that she wanted the child to have her husband's complexion, which they translated to her not liking the black woman she is.