It is now 2018. A mere 18 years since Alabama removed the anti-miscegenation law from its books.
ONLY 18 years.
This means that technically it was illegal to be in an interracial relationship until the year 2000 under Alabama law.
A common idea throughout American society is that interracial relationships are generally accepted and that prejudice doesn't really exist anymore.
This is a LIE.
I am a white woman married to a black man. I have been called tainted, damaged goods, and "niggums girl" to my face. We have been victims of side glances and glares, and it is automatically assumed our restaurant bills are "separate." These are things that same-race couples do not have to worry about.
I am not saying that these things happen daily, but they happen often.
Racism is wild and rampant in our society today. It is shocking how sneaky and normalized racial discrimination has become. Despite the fact that interracial relationships are on the rise (one out of every eight marriages according to Dailyhistory.org), they are still seen as "different."
Gina Escandon, associate Editor at Her Campus , described it as “Race will continually be injected into their relationship because society will put a big red stamp on their foreheads that reads, 'This is different.'”
I could not have said it better myself.
What are the key differences between interracial relationships and the latter?
Let's talk about the elephant in the room: Racism
First of all, I am a white woman married to a black man. Most of the time when people think of racism and discrimination against interracial couples they think of little old grandparents and the common excuse is "they are old" or "it's just how they were raised." Whatever. We get it; you’re justifying.
But what about the black women that glare at us, viewing my husband as a ‘"sellout" and me as stealing "their" man? What about our parents? I guarantee that no parent envisions their grandchildren as mixed kids. They are either beautiful black babies, with big brown eyes and curly hair, or blonde-haired and blue-eyed.
When I told my parents that I was dating a black man, they automatically assumed it was a "phase" and that I would grow out of it. Eventually, they fell in love with him, just like I did, and he became part of the family. Now my parents adore him. But this is a hurdle we would never have had to jump had we been the same color.
You are conscious of your appearance - constantly
Things that are different or against social norms have a tendency to make people feel uncomfortable. When people are uncomfortable, they stare. I constantly wonder if there is something wrong with my outfit or if I smeared my eyeliner - but nine times out of ten it is because I am a young white woman on the arm of a black man.
People assume that because you are in an interracial relationship that you ONLY date people outside your race. However, this is (in most cases) a load of crap. The majority of people who end up in interracial relationships just happen to end up there. I had never dated a black man before my husband, and honestly, I never planned on dating him. We met, we became friends, and we fell in love. Now, four years later, we're married and starting our lives together.
I feel that this is how the majority of relationships of all types come to be. The second stereotype I want to address is that "whites in interracial relationships are rebelling." Are there white people who bring home a person of another race because they know it will drive their parents crazy? I’m sure... But it’s highly unlikely that these people would maintain a relationship with someone just to spite their parents, let alone go far enough as to get married.
People making your relationship a bigger deal than it is
We are just two people in a relationship like everyone else. We did not get together to stand up for civil rights and "stick it to the man." We did not get together to make a statement or end racism. We got together because we liked each other. Simple as that.
Malcolm X said, “I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being - neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.”
And that folks, is the heart of it all.