Over the past week I have witnessed or been party to two conversations about interracial relationships and in both cases, people discussed how much harder they are than same or intraracial relationships.
The first instance was watching an episode of The Grapevine on Youtube where a panel discussed interracial dating in the UK (check it out, Part 1 & Part 2) and the second instance was standing in line at an event chatting with a woman who was writing a Novel about it (she didn’t have an interracial relationship but the premise of her book an interracial relationship) . After listening to her talk about her book, I came clean about the makeup of my relationship.
In both cases, I failed to gather clear thoughts on the subject but now that I have sat on the question a while, I am going to share “what I should have said” with you.
A short answer is Yes & No.
Yes. Statistically, interracial relationships have a higher divorce rate than same couples but factors such as age when married, social class, education and how outside factors affect the relationship (i.e Family) play a huge role in that determination.
In my particular case, being a black woman married to a white man, I am actually less likely to divorce than even two white people. Although the numbers work in my favor I do think it’s a little bit harder at times.
What I find hard within interracial relationships are that there is no expectation of an implied understanding of blackness. When I watch Aretha’s homegoing and get chills … there is no expectation of sharing in that particular feeling. When a cop killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old, we can both think “that’s fucked up” or be mad but there is a way I feel it on a cellular level that is not transferable if you are not a black person with black nephews, godchildren, siblings or could birth black sons. Yes, people can understand and empathize but it’s deeper. These moments are few but they do exist.
I also cannot come to the table with assumptions or half-truths if I want to discuss an issue. It’s forced me to actually learn the history for myself and not just pass on stuff that someone else said or stuff we just suspect because we have witnessed so much injustice. Sometimes it’s frustrating. I just wanna be mad…sometimes irrationally mad … sometimes “Free O.J mad”… and I want a mad partner.
The “No” part. One of the things that annoyed me when I watched the grapevine videos was when one of the girls said she was annoyed with all the interracial YouTubers because they falsely make the relationship look easy and she didn’t find it easy at all. I felt like her comment made the assumption that all black people are grappling with race issues and that it would be front stage all the time.
As I have said before you can be black and unconcerned – we have so many examples. And also race is a comma in our lives, not a period or even an explanation point. No one is having race debates daily, weekly or even quarterly.
When I look at my partner, I see the absolute love of my life. This person loves the absolute shit out of me and proves it daily. My relationship is easy…and supportive…and joyous…and hilarious…and honest. I was ruffled by the notion that because you aren’t the same, not being the same is what you think about all the time. Let people live.
You know what I think about all the time “Why is our TV always on sports?” It’s like the default channel all year. How does a person wanna watch all sports all year, no matter the sport? Seroiously … soccer, basketball & football. I like housewives shows but even I, select a certain franchise. Just because I watch Atlanta, does not mean I also wanna watch Orange County. This is maddness.
Anyway, Y’all. Instead of having that “what I should have said” moment in my head I had it with you. In the end, I feel like nothing is perfect. All relationships take work, empathy, understanding, patience and unlucky us, we never get to stop explaining not even to other black women.
If you agree, disagree, have a personal story, I wanna hear about it in the comments below.