Loving in An Interracial Relationship

Loving in An Interracial Relationship

Have you ever met someone and you just felt safe with them? Not just because of their strength, but because they allowed you to be completely yourself?
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Have you ever met someone and you just felt safe with them? Not just because of their strength, but because they allowed you to be completely yourself? Some people spend their lives looking for that feeling. I am lucky enough to have that type of love. The kind of love that makes you giggle and sometimes let out that ridiculous laughter that makes you snort and blush. The kind of love that makes anywhere feel like home. That kind of love is so beautiful and is wanted, which is why I can’t seem to understand the immediate hatred that I’ve received at some points of my relationships.

When you read about the love I’ve just given you a glimpse of did you envision what I looked like? Did you envision the man who was coming to my mind? Maybe you thought of your own lover and perhaps they are similar to mine.

Let me help you-Picture this- I am white. By white, I mean Casper the friendly ghost has more melanin than I do. I have freckles and that’s the most color on my skin. As far as I can remember I’ve been attracted to black men, don’t ask me why because I had no mystical revelation or experience that drove me to this attraction, it’s just what I like. For some reason I’ve spent the better part of my love-life’s existence dodging comments and questions as to why I like someone of a different race. Part of me feels the need to shrug these questions off and another-more sassy-part of me wants to lecture.

People automatically assume my personality, my level of education and my values by the color of my man’s skin. I was raised in a middle class family- I grew up in a small town-and I think town is an overstatement, it was more like a road. I didn’t have much exposure to different backgrounds until middle school and I assumed everyone was living like I was. I always had good grades, fit everywhere and no where all at once. I looked for a partner who could make me laugh and keep up with my sarcasm. It wasn’t until my first serious relationship that I realized how different I am. How different a love like mine seems to be in this world. Interracial dating and marriage is on the rise but that doesn’t mean I don’t get stares, many times it is not the universal thought of what love looks like.

The man I am with today drives a sports car, works a full-time job that includes many hours of added sweat equity, he wakes up at ungodly hours and goes to sleep before my two-year old. If that isn’t testament to his character then I don’t know what is. He is respectful and he is chivalrous. I have never met someone who is as attentive, wise and has a more listening ear than he does. I am angry for him when he gets questions about his occupation when he walks to his car, jaws drop when he opens my car door. He works hard and he’s polite, I thought people were impressed. At first, I thought maybe his age was a factor in the impression he was leaving but the more I have noticed it is about his race. People pause before asking me his occupation, they do a small nod, the kind that is supposed to harness a secret while I just stare slightly confused. He is intelligent and never makes the kind of decision that would get a police officer involved -aside from speeding, but as I previously mentioned: Man. Sports car. Enough said.

Walking hand in hand with him is my favorite thing to do. I notice the side eyes and partial nods from one friend to another to look at us. I hear the whispers and I won’t let it waiver my undying love. Why can’t it be a positive attribute that my man loves me? Why can’t it just be a compliment that he speaks with class and eloquence, not that “most black men don’t do that”. To be honest if a man can’t hold a conversation with me, he is definitely not in my realm of attraction, which goes for any man of any race or social stature.There is always a question of 'Why' when I describe my relationship and I hate the question, because the question isn't why I love him, it's why did I pick him. Why I chose to subject myself to a love that looks different, and my answer is because he's worth it.

Let’s get interesting and add in the fact that I have a child, it is automatically assumed that I will dress my child a certain way, which apparently means she will have to choose which background to associate with. My daughter is bi-racial, meaning she has TWO genetic histories flowing through her. She has curls and tan skin, brown eyes and soft hair. She is fiery and she is beautiful. I have never felt more ostracized than the day I took her to the doctor for an appointment. She had pigtails, an orange tank top, striped shorts and flip-flops with little butterflies on them. Oh my goodness the dimples and chunky cheeks, I was especially proud because I had tamed the wild curls. I remember checking her in and sitting down next to a woman who had a child around the same age. I remember complimenting how this woman had done her daughter’s hair, long braids swept the back of her neck with glittered beads at their ends. All I was thinking was “how in the HELL did she get that little girl to sit for so long?” Her response was one that really shook me. She replied, “Thanks, but you know you’d never do this to your daughter, you dress her too white.” Luckily, I was called back as she uttered those words, but the situation still floats around in my brain. The tone she used when she said “too white”, what does that even mean? She looks too much like me? I felt wrong and I hadn’t even done anything. I had dressed my daughter and even gone so far as painting her little toe nails pink. She was cute, that isn’t even a biased statement, the girl was adorable. I felt inferior and I’m not sure why. I worried about this being something that she would have to endure life-long. But I will raise my daughter, and eventually, my children to be strong in their heritage and in their skin, no matter the shade.

Loving in a relationship that looks like mine sometimes means added explanation, long stares in restaurants; it calls into question friendships and relationships with family. People you never thought were ignorant or uneducated soon come out of the wood-works. It is sometimes disappointing but it doesn’t make me love any less. He is not with me to improve his social standing; I am not with him to disappoint those who are related to me. This isn’t a phase I will just grow out of; we are not a social experiment. When you ask me 'Why do you date black men?,' I will try not to look at you with pity because you show your ignorance. The greatest issue we have is finding lighting that works for the both of us in a picture. My love is strong, my love is unbiased to race, and my love is accepting and full of joy. My love can see in black and white, while yours only sees in color.

Cover Image Credit: Sifa Mtango-Zadarnowska

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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41 Thank-Yous To My Boyfriend Who Stood By My Side For Three Semesters And Graduation

Life will be scary and difficult sometimes, but as long as you're there to hold my hand, I know that I will always be OK.

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These last several semesters at college, I've learned so much and I've changed so much, all because of one person. A person that came at a time when things were going downhill, and completely flipped my life around. I will never forget how terrible I felt before I met you, and how much better I am with you by my side. Truly, I don't know where I would be without you. And that's why it will always be impossible to thank you enough for everything that you have done for me.

But you do deserve to know how much of an impact you have on me.

1. Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on when I was struggling to get through this last semester.

2. Thank you for always listening to me rant about problems I was having with my friends.

3. Thank you for never getting tired of me talking about the same things over and over again.

4. Thank you for never acting like my past trauma was baggage or a burden.

5. Thank you for trying your best to understand and to be considerate of my anxiety.

6. Thank you for being patient with me when I take so long to process everything and sort out my emotions.

7. Thank you for dealing with my mood swings and intense emotions.

8. Thank you for never judging me over things I get embarrassed about.

9. Thank you for sharing your opinions with me, even when I didn't want to hear them, but I needed to hear them.

10. Thank you for opening my eyes to toxic behavior that I was blind to.

11. Thank you for always looking out for my health and well-being, and my future.

12. Thank you for helping me grow up and mature.

13. Thank you for always wanting to talk things out.

14. Thank you for making me feel important.

15. Thank you for giving me a reason to live.

16. Thank you for showing me what true love is.

17. Thank you for being my best friend and partner in life.

18. Thank you for breaking my walls down but never breaking a promise.

19. Thank you for keeping my heart safe.

20. Thank you for giving me endless reassurance.

21. Thank you for never making me worry about the fate of our relationship.

22. Thank you for always putting me first.

23. Thank you for being loyal and committed to me.

24. Thank you for all of the memories and adventures.

25. Thank you for never getting annoyed about taking photos.

26. Thank you for the best summer of my life.

27. Thank you for making college a much better experience for me.

28. Thank you for always putting a smile on my face.

29. Thank you for always catering to me and trying to make me happy.

30. Thank you for all the little favors you do for me and everything else you might think goes unnoticed (but trust me, I notice and I appreciate it so much).

31. Thank you for supporting everything that I'm passionate about.

32. Thank you for always making an effort to change.

33. Thank you for always forgiving me when I make (loads of) mistakes.

34. Thank you for being a good influence on me.

35. Thank you for being my role model and inspiring me to be more like you.

36. Thank you for the amount of time, effort, and love that you've put into our relationship.

37. Thank you for shaping my future.

38. Thank you for making me so hopeful and excited about everything that we are going to do throughout our life together.

39. Thank you for thinking that I'm worth it.

40. Thank you for wanting to get married, have kids, and spend your life with me.

41. Thank you for making my dreams come true.

Now that we've graduated, for the first time, we're dealing with the fact that we don't have a set path laid out for us. Real life is more than what we're used to. We might struggle to find jobs. Heck, we might find jobs but hate them. It might take forever to save up money. Things might not go according to how we planned them in our heads. We're going to have to juggle a bunch of different elements all at once. Life will be scary and difficult sometimes, but as long as you're there to hold my hand, I know that I will always be OK.

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