Our World Is Blending
This one is personal. It is intimate on many levels. Who knows, it may even be controversial. Revised and edited somewhat, this post on interracial relationships was first published in 2014 on my former blog. At the time the original was published, my status was married. We were discussing in a series how the world and its human inhabitants are “intermingling,” might we say?
The conversation remains very relevant today as we see an increase in ‘mixed race’ relationships. From personal experience, I can tell you that the challenges are very much the same as they were many years ago. In fact, some might say that given the racial and cultural tensions around the world it is more pronounced. With the spotlight on the United States election campaigns, the race and culture conversations are even more intense.
Interracial Couples Are Everywhere
Interracial couples, relationships, marriages and families are everywhere! People of African descent mixing it up with Europeans. Asian blending with East Indians. Filipinos merging with Jamaicans. Persians doing the salsa with Latinos. You name it and cities such as Toronto (to name one in Canada) has the mix for you!
Yours truly, for example, was married to a Canadian-born man of Scottish descent, red-head and all! He was not my first or my last interracial mate.
Mixed marriages were once illegal in the United States but not anymore. In 2012, one news headline read: “Interracial marriage in US hits new high: 1 in 12,” and reported that a Pew Research Centre study found that:
8.4 percent of all current U.S. marriages are interracial, up from 3.2 percent in 1980. While Hispanics and Asians remained the most likely, as in previous decades, to marry someone of a different race, the biggest jump in share since 2008 occurred among blacks, who historically have been the most segregated. (Yahoo News, February 16, 2012)
Statistics Canada had similar findings in this country with newspaper headlines trumpeting: “Number of Mixed-Race Couple on the Rise in Canada.” Shock of all shocks as the great White North was turning brown? Not everyone welcomed this news. Another shock. The report from Canada was, although interracial couples was one of the fastest growing demographics particularly in urban centres, growing by 33% between 2001 – 2006, prejudicial attitudes towards mixed marriages was still rearing its ugly head.
It Can Only Grow
Today, the doors of cities across the world are being banged on by people seeking refuge from countries that are internally at war. We can expect to see in the years to come the number of interracial couples and families rising as the world continues to be blend.
When my former husband told his now late father that he was getting married, I could hear him repeatedly saying, “Yes Dad, she is a black girl.” Granted I was over 40 at the time and so was he but he had to reassure his father that he had not drank some jungle juice and everything “is gonna be alright.” We lived in Alberta, the most conservative province in all of Canada, and that accounted for some of the stares we got back then walking through the mall. To bump it up a notch, my husband and I would hold hands and almost skip through the place! It was downright hilarious to see the reactions, priceless in fact.
Yet it was bittersweet. First, over time the attention and the questions eventually seeped into our relationship and it became tiresome. As well, some of the most harsh stares came from “my own” – people, especially the men, of African descent. The looks, the hissing of teeth and the furled lips said to me, “Sister, why? Why have you done a thing like that?” I recall a brother where I worked back then having the nerve to ask me whether I “married a white man to get ahead?” Being the outspoken, no-holes barred kind of person that I am, especially in that male-dominated environment where guts meant everything, my response was, “Is that what you and all the other brothers were trying to do with those Becky’s that landed you inside [prison]?” He never passed his place with me again nor did anyone else on that matter.
Marrying or even dating someone from another race/culture is no walk in the park. So many issues arise, from what food will take precedence in your household, cultural traditions that will be followed or at least respected or the dress styles, particularly the woman’s, just to name a few. Add children to the mix and you have a way more complex life, starting with a seemingly simple thing as how their hair is to be groomed.
How To ‘Survive’
Only two Saturdays ago, I was in conversation with a young woman who is married to a woman of a different race than herself. She shared with me some of the many challenges they are experiencing as an interracial couple. Note that the problems do not arise due to them being a same-sex couple but an interracial one. These issues have grown so deep that they are on the brink of divorce.
It is often said that when you get married, you are not only binding yourself to the person but to the entire family. Somehow it seems that it is double-jeopardy for those who marry outside of their race and/or culture as the communities on both sides, as well as onlookers, get involved with their opinions, prejudices, naysaying and sometimes outright hate-filled attitudes.
If the couple is not:
- Strong in their individual identities
- Complete in their personal sense of self
- Grounded in their respective culture, and
- Truly in a spiritual partnership (something discussed in Weekday Wisdom© emails this week)
their relationship can and will be impacted – including the intimacy. To learn more about spiritual partnerships and to be part of our conversations here about interracial and other relationships – the joys and challenges of them all – do subscribe and join our community. You will receive a daily email update of our posts, as well as Weekday Wisdom© and my monthly FREE newsletter.
Be blessed in and by your relationship today and everyday!