My family has never been the type to tell me, “You’re not allowed to bring a/an [insert race] person home.”
But I initially expected a few “politically incorrect” comments from elderly relatives when my interracial relationship began about two years ago. To my surprise, it has actually been my close friends and peers have made the jaw-dropping racist remarks. It’s made me question how far have we have really progressed in society. Through these experiences and observations, I’ve learned a lot myself, my partner and people’s views on interracial dating in general. Here are five things I have learned:
We Haven’t Solved Racism
Interracial relationships often show how differences can make some people feel uncomfortable. This may be revealed through mistreatment, rude side comments or invasive questions about the relationship, which is unacceptable. Although the rates of interracial relationships in the United States have certainly increased, it needs to be acknowledged that there is still a long way to go.
People Mix Up Interracial Romance and Racial Fetishes
Since the very beginning of my relationship, I’ve received the question, “Are you attracted to all Asians or just your boyfriend?” Seriously, what kind of question is that? Outside observers are fast to assume that I have some type of sexual racial fetish. People should understand that interracial dating is when someone is romantically involved with a person of a different race while racial fetishization sexualizes stereotypes of people under a certain race ultimately objectifying one person in the relationship. Do not confuse the two.
Everyone is Curious About Mixed Babies
When most people find out I am in an interracial relationship, their favorite game is to come up with endless combinations of what our nonexistent children look like. Will our babies have blonde hair with brown eyes? Black hair with blue eyes? Although I understand people’s fascination regarding the beauty of interracial babies, they really need to take a chill pill because I have no plans or interest of conceiving a baby anytime soon.
There is Room for Learning
I think the best part about interracial relationships, or any relationship in general, is that you get the opportunity to learn and grow from someone who may have come from a different background or sees life from a perspective differing from your own. I think you’re not truly growing as a person if you’re constantly surrounding yourself with people who are identical to yourself; someone with the same background, opinions, interests, etc. If you expand from your inner social group, you may be surprised by what you may find and enjoy. In my personal experience, my relationship has been an open adventure of learning about a different culture, through stories, food, traditions, and hopefully one day traveling.
It’s Not a Big Deal As People Make It To Be
Sure, it’s great that our relationship has been referred to as “progressive” and “forward-thinking.” But just because we happened to find love outside our race, it sometimes feels like that automatically puts our relationship on full blast as if we are trying to make a political statement. At the end of the day, we function like any other relationship.