“Look! A white guy with a black girl. That’s not something you see everyday!”
That is what Christopher Clark, a Freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa, has to hear from children no more than 10 years old. There are days when he ignores this. On other occasions, he gets tired of it. He just wants to hold the hands of his black spouse without having to feel people’s gaze on them.
“Sometimes I want to turn around and scream “For God’s sake! It’s 2015!”. Other times I think about telling people that if they’re so damn interested by us, we’ll let them take a picture for R20”, he writes.
But that starring and gawking aint as as bad waiters and waitresses dropping their jaws when his partner gets the bill at a restaurant; because they are under the impression that she is only with him for his money. One day while the couple was visiting his parents at some hotel, the two had to leave the hotel because his partner felt uncomfortable about the way some old Germans were looking at her; basically she thought they looked at her like she was his prostitute.
Well, its never only the negative judgments that get to him. The positive do too. There are those that tell him how “special” and “revolutionary” their relationship is. And much as their intentions come from the right place what Clark feels its all the same – that their relationship is somehow different saying:“… because of our color difference, our relationship must be about something other than just two people who love each other.”
Well even his closest white friends judge him too. They make jokes with reference to his “jungle fever”, they have implied he has a fetish for black girls, and some have even told him that he always has to be different. “In their eyes, this is confirmed by the fact that I just so happen to have had two black girlfriends in a row. Never mind that every girlfriend I had before that was white,” Clark adds. They even keep calling her current girlfriend by his former black girlfriend’s name; kinda like to say, ‘she is just another black girl.’
When he took his girlfriend to England, an uncle reproached him for not giving him the heads up that she was black. The thing is, people still feel their black-white relationship is all wrong. PERIOD!.
Clark has also had an experience with other black girls. Knowing she has a girlfriend, they still flirt with him assuming he has a thing for any black woman. “In one fell swoop, they reduce me to just “some white guy” with a thing for black girls, they put down … my partner become nothing other than “black girls” willing to play along with my fetish.”
“Sadly, so many people seem so happy to flawlessly play out the stereotypes. Anyone who’s ever been to Jo’Burg … will have seen various German men dotted around the fringes … gingerly creeping closer to the nearest buxom black woman as if they were about to try a piece of sushi for the first time in their… Then there are the fat, rich, old British men you see strolling around the Waterfront with beautiful black girls half their size and half their age.
Initially, I get angry at all of these people for dirtying the image of what my partner and I are by association, but then I realize that this makes me just as judgmental as the people who judge us, or at the very least equally primed to jump to certain conclusions. So I try to tell myself that maybe it isn’t what it looks like.”
Clark thinks people think he is with a black woman because he hasn’t found someone right of the ‘appropriate’ race and when that happens, he will dump his black girlfriend.
He sometimes wonders…
“… how many people are scared of the idea of cross-racial dating or relationships by all of this nonsense – all the assumptions, stereotypes and judgments that they would have to deal with from other people. It’s sad really. Many friends tell my partner and I that we are so lucky to have each other and to love each other like we do. But how many people in South Africa, and elsewhere no doubt, are dramatically reducing the pool from which they might be able to draw someone they really love, just by their inability to consider being with someone who happens to have a different skin color?
I’m not stupid enough to say things like “I don’t see color,” or to claim that there aren’t differences between my girlfriend and I that are predicated on our respective races. But as far as I’m concerned, our differences – both the racial ones and all the others – are precisely what make our relationship so much more interesting and intricate than the reductive narratives that so many people try to project upon us.”
He says their differences doesn’t define their relationships; they also have so much in common and he wishes that people will get that sooner…