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Relationship Health Message Board


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Interracial Dating
Oct 24, 2006
I am a 22 year old white girl. My bf is a 28 year old blk man. I live in the south and, of course, most people around here are very prejudice. Some may not be, but are still very judgemental. We have been together more than four yrs and my family also disagrees. I feel like I spend a lot of time defending our relationship. But, I can not make myself get out of it. I have tried, unsuccessfully, for others sake... not my own.

I hate to feel that I am shaming my grandparents, disappointing my mother, and well... my father is a whole other issue...but, I will say he is the VERY least of my worries at this point. Why is it so bad to be in love? I do realize this is "surprising" to them. But, I wish things could be different!!!

My boyfriend is very understanding and we really lay low. If it werent for these things we would be married by now. I work in a professional, high class environment where most of my coworkers really don't "know" that I have a blk bf... although, I am sure some have gotten the idea already. I find myself wondering what they would think of me?? If they did know...would they look at me the same??

I know some are thinking I am insecure about my choice and it would be easier to move on... but, its not the case at all. I just choose not to give everyone reasons to talk about me. But, if they find out- then I guess they just know!!

Am I being too paranoid?? Is this normal??

And PLEASE leave your opinions, both ways, on interracial relationships in general!! I would love to know what other peeps go through...and how others honestly view it!!
Well, here's a post that I am UNABLE to ignore or to let go.

First of all, I am from a country where interracial relationships, on all possible levels and in all possible scenarios, are unavoidable.

Secondly, there are coloured people in my own family, partly because my grandfather, who was partly French, took a black woman as his mistress, and they had two children. So, some of my cousins are coloured, and I am afraid I can't say that all these events and situations were easily digested by all the members of my family and its unfoldings, so to say.

Thirdly, I had a brief affair with a black lady, when I was in my early thirties. I say it was an affair, because I myself broke it as soon as I sensed it could grow into something bigger. I have to admit I was too insecure to keep it going. I was perhaps a coward, I am yielding the palm, but I was not the only one.

However, I don't see myself as a racist. To begin with, although I am white and look like a white man, I am not racially pure. Few people in this country can claim to be racially pure, anyway. Indeed if the world survives for more two hundred years, maybe a little longer, I think we are going to see the end of the races: everyone is going to be mixed. And it will be ok.

That said, I think a racist is someone who thinks that one of the races (mostly his own) is better than the others, especially in terms of intelligence, and that the “inferior” race should serve the other. I can't accept that at all, but I am aware that relationships between people of different colours are too complex a subject, especially when they involve marriage. Avoiding interracial relationships or being very cautious with them doesn't necessarily turn you into a racist, but of course it makes you a person of limited vision.

However, I disagree with people when they say to you: "If people don't accept you, because of your choice, it's their problem, not yours." No, I think that it is also your problem, especially if these unaccepting people happen to be your family. All of the human beings want to feel accepted, especially by the peers, friends, relatives, etc... So what is wrong with having doubts and feeling insecure if you find yourself in such a relationship and are being rejected? It is quite natural to stop, think and have fears. In other words, although love is beautiful, love alone won’t pave the way to happiness, if general acceptance is lacking, and this is true for most people.
This feels hard to say, but it must be said.

Marrying a person of a different race is much like marrying a foreigner. The ideal situation would be for the couple to find a third neutral language, but more often than not it so happens that one of the parties has to give up his or her own language and take in the language (and maybe also the values) of the other. I am afraid that the assimilation is never complete, but I am sure that it can be accomplished without bitterness, like an addition rather than a subtraction, if you see what I mean.

This will probably happen in a bi-racial marriage: the couple will probably have to lean towards one or the other of the two races, and therefore either the wife or the husband will have to assimilated by the other party.

As I see it, it's often the man who is assimilated into the wife's family, and less often, the other way round. Unless it happens for a professional reason, a couple will mostly choose to live close to the wife's relatives and family. So, in your case, I see it as a black man entering a white family rather than a white woman entering a black family.

And I am also aware that the configuration white husband + black wife is more usual than white wife + black husband. To understand why, you have to reach far into Colonial History. At least, in this country, five centuries ago, white women were relatively rare, so the white colonists usually took native women or black slaves as their wives. And this had to be tolerated by the contemporary society.

I know there is a lot of hypocrisy in society, but it is a fact that a white woman married to a black man was something very exceptional and, unfortunately, a lot more difficult to acept. Right or wrong, society demands that women conform to its rules, while allowing men a much greater mobility.

Why is it that a black man meets with more difficulty to be accepted into a white family than his white counterpart into a black family? Maybe it’s something very irrational, but I’d put forward some historical explanation, too. In a country, where black slavery existed, the white family, unconsciously or not, probably still sees the black guy as a threaten. In other words, there is a unspoken guilt-filled discourse that goes more or less like this, absurd as it may seem: ”We turned your ancestors into slaves. Now you belong legally to our family. Won’t you be taking revenge on us by subduing our daughter and possibly making use of our resources?” Now, the white guy in the black family is seen, sexism apart, as a sign of social improvement, as a window for social ascension, as the bearer of the good news that society is becoming more tolerant, whether this is true or not.

I am not saying that I agree with these ideas, but I believe that they are for real in many many stances.

Now back to OkayKK05’s dilemma. If I were in her shoes, I would first of all admit that I have a problem, as much as I love my boy-friend. And it is a rather serious problem, in my opinion, because she is the white lady and he is the black gentleman. Again, it’d be easier if the roles were reversed. As in a check-list, I would go through the following steps to see what can be done to find balance and peace of mind in the relationship:

1. She must try to learn about her boy-friend’s honest opinion about white people in general and ask him if he harbours any resentment whatsoever against white people, what bad experiences he had with prejudice, rejection, scorn, etc, and how relevant they are to his present-day life. It’s very important for OkayKK05 to check this, because curbed sentiments may come out during a quarrel, and she may have the unplesant experience of hearing utterances such as: “You, white people, are all of the same stuff. Once you have us enslaved but now you have to swallow us.” And she might have to respond, not to lose her face: “We made you into slaves because your own people were selling you.” Awful, disgusting things like that, anyway.
2. She would try to reduce or have reduced all the other minor or major differences between her boyfriend and herself, in terms of religion, education, political colours, views on various hot and delicate issues, etc, etc. More than for any other same-race couple, there must be harmony in other fields for the bi-racial couple.
3. She would think about their children. Would she have any real difficulty in accepting as her own a child that was not exactly her colour, had not exactly her features, etc, etc? What if the child meets with prejudice at school, in the neighbourhood, among his or her white and black cousins, etc? Would she be ready to stand up for her child? What kind of encouragement would she give her child? How would she help her child - her mixed child – to find a suitable identity, which is not white nor black?
4. She would try to be among the black relatives and friends of his husband-to-be to see how well she is accepted, because, deny it as you may, there is also the opposite kind of racism, whereby the white person is seen as evil among the blacks and ill-treated by them.
5. If she marries her boyfriend, she must be ready for a possible withdrawal of her relatives and friends. How will she cope with this, if the withdrawal is too large and too long? I am an optimist, and I think that, little by little, her husband will be accepted, as long as he proves to be a (very) good husband, and makes her wife a happy one, but how long is she ready to wait? Five, ten years? And very important thing: will she and her husband be ready to forgive those who went away in the first place?

I think these and a few other are all very real issues, and you, OkayKK05, have on the reasons on earth to be concerned about them. I don’t think you’re being paranoid. On the contrary, I think it’d be frivolous to imagine that all would necessarily be ok for you and that your life would be like a garden of roses. No marriage is an easy relationship, and when there is a racial difference, especially in a country and in an area where, until recently, racial problems (almost) led to civil war, one is entitled to get the creeps before taking the important and decisive step into a bi-racial marriage.

I hope I have helped you to formulate a few important questions. Now it’s up to you to fill in the answers.

Best to you.

JC





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