As someone that has been brought up to love someone for who they are and now what they look like/what colour they are, I’ve come to realise just how naive that way of thinking can be. Over the years I’ve come to notice some odd, funny and sometimes sad things about interracial dating.
- No matter how open-minded your partner may be to your culture, sometimes, they just won’t get where they’re coming from.
As someone that’s grown up in England, I understand how things work in Western culture quite clearly. Some things I agree with and some I don’t because I’ve experienced them. Trying to explain to someone you’re dating however, how African culture works when they have never set foot in Africa or seen it can be very difficult especially when they don’t get it. I don’t live with my parents and yet I can’t leave their house without tidying up if there’s a mess and if I get home before them, I better take out food and start cooking or I won’t hear the end of it.
- There’s no such thing as taking a quick picture together.
The exposure on your phone either makes one of you too light or the other too dark. Trying to find a nice filter to use? Good luck finding something you’re both happy with in 30 seconds!
- There’s a secret interracial dating club and people feel the need to tell you they are, or have been a part of it.
Now this one I’ve experienced more in Ireland than I did in England. I can’t tell you how many times guys have come up to me and Sean (young and old) and told us how they once dated a black woman or had a thing with someone of a different race. Okay I get it, you’re not racist…
- All black people are from the same place and know each other.
This one links to the last point. Again, I can’t count the amount of times people have felt the need to come up to me when I’m with Sean to firstly guess where I’m from (always wrong) and tell me that they thought it was *insert African country here* because they know *insert random African name here*. This is always followed up by me getting asked if I know the person they’re talking about by which, they’re surprised I don’t! Have you seen the size of Africa???
- We all know someone living a secret life.
Most cultures that aren’t Western are very strict when it comes to dating. E.g. no sex before marriage, no cohabitation before marriage or no being seen out with the opposite sex. None of this is out of the ordinary in Western culture but try convincing African/Asian parents otherwise.
- Being bilingual can sometimes get you in awkward situations.
Imagine being sat in a room with your white spouse whilst your family talk to each other in another language. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this so I get that sometimes people don’t even realise they’re using the odd word in another language but other times, its just being rude.
- White privilege is real.
You know how supermarkets now let you choose whether you want to print off a receipt or not? Find me a black person that presses “no”. We all know from the moment we walk into a store, certain people will keep a closer eye on you simply because of your colour.
- Just because it’s said in jest doesn’t make it any less racist.
“Why couldn’t you have a normal name like Beth?” Who said my name isn’t normal? At least I’m unique. Also, making something a meme doesn’t make your “joke” about someone black any less racist.
- Every race can be racist.
Just as there are white people out there who don’t agree with a white man loving me, a black woman, there are black people who don’t agree with me loving a white man. It’s not just strangers that are racist either, there are “friends” and family who are too. Some just hide it better than others.
- There’s so much to learn and it’s exciting.
Whether it’s trying new foods, travelling to new places or just learning about someone else’s culture, there is so much we all have to learn from each other. I’ve grown so much as a person and travelled in the last couple of years because of Sean. Maybe if the world was open to learning more about other’s cultures, people would realise how similar we all are and the world would be a happier place. I wonder how many of you can relate…
I recently went back to this blog and recorded a podcast (2022) – watch/listen here.