Some people make judgements about interracial relationships that are totally unfounded. This is often due to plain and simple racism.judgements about interracial relationships that are totally unfounded. This is often due to plain and simple racism.
Deciding things are a certain way because of who you choose to have a relationship with is a very narrow viewpoint, often held by people that are uneducated and blinkered. I used to be in a relationship with an African man (I’m white British) and was shocked by comments that people felt fine to make in front of me, sometimes even by my friends.
Here are ten examples of offensive judgments and preconceptions that most people in multi racial or multi cultural relationships have probably heard:
1. That you have to eat ‘funny’ foods. As in any relationship each partner will have their personal preferences for what they like to eat, and sometimes you need to negotiate. However, just because a person is from a certain country it doesn’t meant that all they eat is that country’s national dish.
2. That you have certain sexual preferences. A lot of people have stereotypes about the kind of love life you will experience because of someone’s ethnicity; for example black men being well endowed or Scandinavian women loving to be naked. Making judgments like this about people’s personal lives is simply rude; as with any other relationship sexual preference is an individual choice that is a private thing.
3. That you are only attracted to people of that nationality. People are in relationships with people that they are attracted to and get along with on an individual level. Just because someone is attracted to one person from a country it doesn’t mean that they fancy every man or women from that place, or only want to be with people from that place.
4. That you have to change your religion or way of dress. Being in a relationship with someone from a different culture doesn’t automatically mean that you have to change your own cultural habits and practices to please them. Many interracial couples manage to maintain their own traditions by showing each other understanding and respect, just as in any other relationship where there is a difference of opinion.
5. Mixed race children are confused and targets of bullying. Although bullying can sometimes be an issue, children can be bullied for many reasons whether they are mixed race or not; sometimes other children are nasty just because they don’t know any better. Bringing up a child in a dual culture can be very rewarding, as they get to experience many different aspects of life and learn tolerance, respect and understanding as a result.
6. Your family will hate your partner. Many people assume that your parents won’t be happy with your choice of lover due to their ethnicity, which is a strange thing assume. Many people’s parents aren’t racist at all, and just want their child to be happy with their partner, no matter where they are from.
7. All interracial couples have to consist of one black and one white partner. The world is a big place made up of many different countries, and an inter cultural relationship is defined as consisting of two people with different nationalities.
8. That all your friends are of that nationality as well. When people realised that my boyfriend was black they tended to assume that all my friends were black, and that I knew the whole black population of my town, neither of which was true. I still had the same friends and knew the same people as I did before; the people I met through my boyfriend weren’t all black either as he had a mixed group of friends of all races and cultures.
9. That you want to immerse yourself in your partner’s country or culture. A lot of people assume that because you have chosen to date someone from a certain country it’s because you are really enthusiastic about where they are from. They expect you to wear the clothes, cook the food and have lots of cultural stuff in your house. This is generally totally untrue, as people have their own way of living regardless of where they are from.
10. That you don’t think you are good enough to get someone from your own background. This is one of the most horrible things people say without being openly abusive. To assume one culture or country is better than another is totally disrespectful and rude. People that openly make statements like this are generally bigoted and hold racist views.
As you can see, being in an interracial relationship is not really different to any other. You need to respect and listen to your partner and try and compromise if you have any differences of opinion. The problems that are unique have far more to do with what people from the outside perceive and question than anything that actually happens within the relationship itself.