You are in a loving and intimate interracial relationship, and you’re starting to talk about marriage. But, your family is prejudiced – you are faced with disapproving looks, racist comments such as “it’s alright to date ‘them’, but certainly don’t marry ‘them’” (said with a sarcastic, curled lip), as well as outright rejection. Family. Sigh. It can be a wonderful support or the bane of your existence at times like these. To say this scenario is abundant with challenge is an understatement. This is a time for multi racial couples that can be physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually draining.
What do you do? How do you lovingly respond to your loved ones who at one time so willingly and enthusiastically embraced and supported you, but who are now, essentially, rejecting you and your significant other, just based on ethnicity?
Perhaps the best course of action is communication. Have a conversation with your family. Find out the source of their prejudice. Perhaps it is something as simple as how they were raised, but not necessarily how they actually feel, now. Racial prejudice was probably a cultural norm when they were small. Times have changed, and just as likely so have they; they just don’t know it, yet. Perhaps it is fear that drives your family’s prejudice. Fear of the unknown; fear for your personal safety from the backlash of others who may not approve of your interracial relationship. Listen to their questions and concerns, and address them with love, kindness, and understanding.
Give your family an opportunity to meet your significant other. Let them get to know your loved one and the neat things about him or her that you saw when you fell in love. It may be that your family won’t even consider meeting your partner, or having the two of you in their home. In this case, you need to engineer a meeting in a public place where they may well feel that they have to behave more tolerantly for the sake of appearances, your church or other place of worship, a restaurant (but not your favorite one, just in case there is a scene), a sports event or a concert.
If there is one member of your family who is on your side, make sure that you socialise with them and your partner. Word will get back to doubting parents that the potential new family member is a nice person, good company, gets on with the grandkids and so on. (By the way, the younger members of the family can be great ice breakers, accepting new people much more readily than older people.)
Let them see the loving and strong nature of your relationship; let them know, in a kind way, that even if they disapprove, your love and relationship will endure. At the end of the day, it is your life,, and you shouldn’t allow your family to run it for you. The important point is to deal with your family’s prejudice with love, respect, and kindness. Love prevails in the end.