What not to say to interracial couples

Posted by Sidney, 25 Sep

Much as there is a significant acceptance towards interracial couples, there are some people who still find it awkward. Here is my experience...

Awkward questions and statements that mixed couples deal with

Being in an interracial marriage has taught me a lot. Some of the vital lessons are the ability and aptness at handling really uncomfortable racial stereotypes culminating in forms of questions, slurs or suggestions. Yes, I understand our society is yet to fully get accustomed to the idea of interracial marriages and relationships. So far, I’ve been doing great with my partner. We have grown some sort of thick skin to these questions. Still, that doesn’t make them right.

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The choice of one’s partner is a personal decision and one of the most public manifestations of emotional maturity. This decision, however, is subject to no outside party’s opinion and resentments. Yeah, keep the thoughts to yourself. Interracial couples are faced with many awkward interracial relationship questions and trust me, most of them are damn right rude!

Here’s the thing, when two people from entirely different races are brought together by love, irrespective of their cultural disparities, and somehow they understand each other and make it work, please respect that! Recently, I got to have a chat with other multiracial couples on some awkward questions they have had to deal with in the past regarding their relationship. And I must tell you, some are sickening to the ears.

1. Seems men within your race aren’t your type?

“First of all, I have dated men within my community.  So I date one Asian dude, and you suddenly think I hate all men of my race? That’s just plain ridiculous. What matters most to me isn’t the color of his skin but that he gets me and I understand him. That’s all that matters at the end of the day. People need to stop letting racial diversity hinder them from finding true happiness”. - Felicia Brown.

2. What will your kids identify as?

“What does it matter? We are a family. Why attach so much importance to ethnicity, label, and racial identity. My kids are biracial. They are the product of two unique races, and their existence doesn’t have to depend on a stereotyped category created to suit the public. I know I sound pissed. I just hope no one forces my kids to choose which race they prefer over the other. Believe me, I will sue the hell out of you”. - Frederick Higgins.

3. I bet your parents aren’t cool with the whole Interracial thingy.

It is wrong to assume that since a couple is from different races, their parents won’t be happy with the relationship. “They would keep asking how my mum felt about the relationship. Do his parents love you? I felt it was rude. It is usually uncomfortable when parents meet you for the first time. It doesn't matter which culture you come from. But, do not assume that our parents won’t give their blessings because we are from different races”. - Samantha.

4. Is it true, the stereotypes?

It’s so wrong inquiring from an interracial couple if the stereotypes are true. Questions such as, are black men truly endowed? And so are Latinos truly better lovers? Most times these questions are quite embarrassing. Betty Ma’ lair narrated her experience with a friend who kept asking such questions. “She got obsessed with finding out if Hakim was also good in bed as the stereotype define men of his race. I wouldn’t give in to her questions. I felt it was embarrassing to define my lover based on stereotypes. And, I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me either”.

5. Have you decided what language your kids are going to speak?

I got this one a lot when I started getting pretty serious with my husband. People started bringing up interracial dating issues, such as what language the kids would have to learn. I sought more excellent ways to answer such questions about interracial couples. But I eventually arrived at telling them it’s none of their business. Now, I am married and have kids and trust me, they speak whichever language they love. And that is the beauty of having mixed race parents.

6. How sure are you this is going to work?

I think this is the most awkward of all interracial relationship questions. I needed a timeout. "After I was asked this one it literally drove me crazy. I was like, would you ask this if it was a single-raced couple standing in front of you right now? I took a look at her, then asked her: 'Why would you ask such a question?" You can imagine how upset I was. I couldn't even let her talk after that. I simply warned her never to ask such demeaning questions again. So I got angry and left with my girlfriend". - Philip Langston.

7. It must be challenging dealing with different backgrounds right?

“Eventually, we figured out our differences aren’t a big deal. This is a relationship just like everyone else’s. It’s really no different. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes it’s easy. But that’s what happens in every relation irrespective of which races are involved. However, the same way you may not like being stared at and questioned about your lifestyle (or personal life), neither do we. We are conscious of the fact that we stand out visually in public.  But at the same time, realize we are people doing people stuff... Don’t work it. Just as you wouldn’t want someone prying into your personal life, we don’t appreciate you doing that to us also”. Wendy Joseph, who lives in New Jersey with her partner Daniel Hennessey.

In conclusion, interracial couples are beautiful. And we have to embrace the fact that Love is all colors. But you know what else would be great? People showing respect to the coupes feelings and boundaries, love over criticism, understanding over blame. If people can put themselves in other’s place maybe asking awkward questions would never be a problem.

Want to know the experiences of mixed couples in Africa? Follow the link and check out the article…

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